Adventures in Acting, Forensics, and Poli Sci: Part 18 of my Journey

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Hey all I am back again, and it’s been a hot minutes once I last posted! So much has happened over the past few months that I’ve honestly had such a hard time gathering my thoughts let alone keeping my living space clean! As always, life has been a bittersweet whirl pool of happenings. So many amazing things have occurred that I’m not exactly allowed to talk about just yet, but do know I will keep you all posted when I receive the go ahead to do so! As for the not so fun parts, well, the pain issues have come in waves. I have seen multiple massage therapists trying to find one that will work with my body since the one that did help moved away. On top of it, the company that I had worked for for nearly 4 years closed and I found myself transitioning into a few different job opportunities in hopes that I could find some stable income. One of them I had to quit working for due to some pretty severe back issues that flared up and the other, I’ve continued to work for but on a very part-time basis. Meanwhile, I’ve continued to work on sets as an extra and some pretty amazing things have happened in that area. With everything going on, I continue to press on and just hope for the best! Now, I left off in the last portion of my life story where I had finished summer vacation and was working on the set of 13 Reasons Why season 2 as an extra! I was also transitioning into my final semester at Contra Costa College and was taking on political science along with speech and debate team. Now, my journey continues!

Part 18 of My Journey

Fall, one of my favorite times of year! The smells, the excitement of the holidays coming up, and for me… I was finally getting ready to finish school at Contra Costa College! Yesss! Fall 2017 I headed into the semester with body in a lot of pain. I continued to work on set and saw various chiropractors at a local chiropractic chain only to find no relief. I was also working at my regular job as a supervisor at Kmart. Schoolwork, was comparatively light to the previous semesters I had spent on campus. I had such an amazing professor for political science who really helped me understand the work plus the majority of our coursework and grades were based on paper writing! Hmmm welll I couldn’t have asked for anyone better considering the fact that I love to write! As for Forensics (Speech and Debate team), I had such a blast challenging myself! I tend to be a bit of a loner and this forced me into a team atmosphere where we were performing in front of each other to help each member improve, traveling and competing together, eating together, etc… this definitely pulled me out of my comfort zone! On top of it, my division was Dramatic Interpretation, which is very much like performing a monologue, only it’s more on a storytelling level that pulled me again out of my comfort zone and force me to work harder to strengthen my performance. I had such an awesome professor along with amazing team members that really helped make it an unforgettable experience!

As the semester went by, I spent several days on set where I would do my studying and paper writing. I also met so many people with tremendous stories that have really encouraged me to keep pressing on despite my personal challenges. What amazes me the most is the energy I had to push through the 8 to 16 hour days on sets. There’s just something about doing what I love to do that gives me the passion and energy to get through each workday with joy. I have not felt more alive doing anything else in my entire life!

While on set one day, one of my fellow extra cast members/dear friends happened to be a massage therapist and recognize that I was not feeling that well. We spoke a bit and she scheduled an appointment with me for some massage therapy. Upon speaking with her during the appointment she advised that I go back to see Dr. Runco who is the chiropractor I had been seeing while I was running competitively. I took the dive, wrote an email to them asking him to forgive me for taking his previous care for granted and asked if there was anyway he would possibly mind helping me receive treatment again. After some time, he replied and told me how much it would cost. All I could think was how grateful I was that I was finally going to receive proper care! Within a few visits, I was already walking a bit more normal. The massage therapy had also done wonders just in one appointment!

I continued on through the semester, working one day a week at Kmart, various days on set, and completing my schoolwork in the mix of it all. At one point, I had scored a booking on the set of “Ant-man and the Wasp”as an extra. This was a four-day booking in San Francisco during which there was a scene that several of us were asked to run in. I sucked it up, took the chance, and I ran! I FREAKIN RAN!!!! No, it wasn’t super far, it was about a block, but I ran! They asked us to do it a couple more times, and my body actually felt OK afterwards! I walked away from that portion of filming slightly in tears. My dear friend, Irena, this amazing young woman who has been with me through so much, was on set with me that day. As we got into her van and headed back home for the evening, I told her what it happened and she was so happy for me! I love that girl so much, just like a sister!

As the semester came to a close, so did set work for 13 reasons why. Plus… my car broke down and was unrepairable! Such a bittersweet season! There I was, finishing what seemed like an eternity in college, writing my final paper for political science about human trafficking (during which I got to tell my family‘s story and how we have been affected by it), and… we were ending the filming of my first paid gig as an actor! I looked at the lead PA, whose name I’ll keep quiet unless otherwise authorized, and I said, “I’m totally going to turn into a blubbering baby!“ then, with that, the semester was over, the filming was over, and I was released into preparation for yet another singing Christmas tree event at my church where I finally got to play the lead role!

Opening night of the singing Christmas tree, my godmother, godfather, and dear friend Irena got to go see Mr. Alex Ramon’s magic show!

I had won tickets and figured I had enough time before my performance and it would be a perfect way to celebrate The end of my final semester at CCC and the adventures that Irena and I had in filming! The show totally did not disappoint! With card tricks, an underwater escape, and so much more… I was beyond thrilled!

Then, it was off perform! What a blessing!!!

The opportunity to do what I love to do in front of a community of people in hopes of spreading the gospel! I couldn’t have asked for more!

Once the show was over, it was onnnn to regular life along with a major blessing… my godmother treated Irena and me to a day at Burke Williams day spa in San Francisco as my graduation gift! I could not have asked for a better way to exit college! A full day of pampering, time with great friends/family, plus excellent food… fully satisfied and beyond grateful!

Now, during rehearsals for the singing Christmas tree, I had continued to try to run. I’d actually build up to about 2 miles, but with the stress from everything winding down after the end of the semester and at the end of the show, my body ended up hitting another low. Pain, so much pain. At times, the pain was debilitating, but I pushed through, and refused to give up. Every day, I would at least attempt to walk a little while. I continued to see Dr. Runco and we worked through the issues, and slowly but surely… I began to regain my strength.

In the midst of it all, my mom and I were blessed with the opportunity to see my other nephew on the weekends! What a blessing it was to see my two nephews, these sweet brothers, enjoying time together and my mother getting to be grandmama to both of them!

Bittersweet… Pain… blessing… life can be oddly satisfying.

Now, in order to keep this one short, I’m going to leave off here for now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish my journey in the next post. Before I do go though I want to let you all know that I matter what you face, God is with you! Don’t give up hope! Until next time, God bless and thank you for joining me!

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Running, Graduation and More

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Photo credit quotesoftheday.net

Gutsy… I guess this is a term that best describes me. Growing up, I was a kid that people made fun of for singing and acting. Those closest to me ridiculed me and made me feel ashamed of everything that I was and everything I wanted to be. While my mom and her family encouraged me… There were MANY who made me feel like crud if I tried to pursue anything other than what they wanted me to be. In other words, my stepdad and various (not all) people in his family along with various school mates and even teachers. Though my mom loved me, she submitted to my stepfather’s overbearing ways because he was her husband. This left me feeling alone and fighting a battle to find, own, and fight for who I was. You see, words have power, and I didn’t have people telling me “you can do this“ or “you’re talented and beautiful and wonderful and you can put your mind to anything and do it!” I had to learn to tell those things to myself. One thing that echoes in my mind is a period in which I was told “no” when I wanted to go auditions, but another sibling was allowed to. This was the constant case until in my late teens when I started to fight for who I was and who I wanted to be. Since then, this has been what has helped me become a fighter!

Recently I have been very quiet about what I’ve been doing. Why? Because I tend to guard my dreams with everything in me! Now, I’m going to be very open with all of you! In order to do so, I’m taking a break from telling the Journey of how I got to this day and time. I’m giving my mind, body and emotions a break from pulling up all the dirt of my past, and I’m going to involve you, those who have been taking precious time out of your days, to share in my journey! You all have no idea how much this means to me! That being said, I’m going to share with you some major victories that have happened, and where I currently stand in some of my trials! I can only hope that this post will encourage you to keep pressing on the matter what you’re facing!

Now, I started going back to see Dr. Runco for chiropractic appointments just before the fall semester ended. This man has been such an amazing saint and by the grace of God… my body was beginning to heal. No, he’s not seeing me pro bono anymore; however, he deserves to be paid much more than anyone could ever pay him. His heart for his patients, his kindness and encouragement, and the work that he does that has really helped me come back stronger than I thought I would has been such an amazing blessing to me and I’m sure so many others that he has helped! I’m not sure if he’ll ever read this, but Dr. Runco if you are reading this, thank you!

A week after going in for my first appointment, my body began to get the urge to run. I had been going on walks that were between 1 and 2 Miles with very little muscular flare up, and I decided to give it a little go! I jogged a few little spurts, then walked back to where I was parked (still had my car at this time). What a success! I was working on set of a Netflix series during this time and days of work were so much less painful and days I worked at Kmart were less painful too! Yes, there were speed bumps just like any other healing process; however, this time it didn’t seem like they were nearly as bad.

As my final semester at Contra Costa College ended, the stress levels brought my body into a state of needing to rest. At the same time filming for the Netflix production ended, and just prior to all of this… my car broke down. All the highs and lows took their toll on me, and just like every time I’ve left a semester, I ended up in severe pain, this time I had no means to get me out to see Runco unless my mom had time in her schedule. Despite that, I’ve continued to fight!

Over the past few months, I’ve worked through the chaos of work at Kmart, family, financial issues, the list goes on… to regain my strength. Walking and finally…. running… yesss I started FINALLY getting freedom! One morning, as I was praying, I felt prompted to sign up for another marathon. YES, a FULL 26.2 MARATHON, but this is not going to be one that is like any other that I’ve run before. You see, for this event, I’ve decided to set up a pledge board, and for each mile that I complete, people will donate their pledged amount to an organization called “the Glass Slipper foundation” that helps young woman break free from sex trafficking as well as verbal, physical and sexual abuse! I’ll be posting the link my Facebook profile soon. Now, since I took the plunge and signed up for the event, there have been battles and victories. Victories… well I finally built up to RUNNING 7 1/2 miles. This has not been easy by any means! I have had to work my butt off to get to chiropractic appointments and I’m currently facing an unexpected injury that could very well take me out of the event as a whole. You see, last Sunday, I experienced a weird feeling in my hamstring area. I didn’t want to ruin my nephew’s birthday party, so I kept my mouth shut and just kept going with it. Over the week the pain came and went. Then as graduation approached, The pain got even worse! As I was sitting down, waiting for them to call my name and and walk in front of my fellow classmates and MANY professors, faculty and staff that helped me on my journey, my leg began to throb! I sucked it up and decided I was not going to let it ruin my moment! Now, I’m here with uncertainty. I don’t know exactly what happened to my leg. I just know that I’m in pain off and on. I also know that while I’m sure there are many remedies that could help, I don’t have the means to get those remedies. That being said, I choose to do what I’ve continued to do and what has helped make me stronger during times like this. Focus on God, and continue to believe that His ways are higher than mine. Though it seems like yet another dream might be shattered, I know that God always has a better plan. I choose to praise Him during this time and to focus on all that he has done for me. In doing so, I’m going to share some major victories with you all!

1.) after nearly 4 years of not being able to run and race, which is part of what makes me feel like I’m truly doing exactly what I was created to do, I finally built up to 7 1/2 miles. Despite my current predicament, I refuse to give up on believing that I will run and race again!

2.) I FINALLY get to share with you all what I was working on with Netflix! Last summer, a friend/ sister in Christ named Irena had been talking with me. I told her that I wanted to get serious about acting, and shortly after that, she sent me a link to a casting call for extras to work on the set of “13 Reasons Why.” The weekend just after my birthday, we spent several hours waiting in line determined to get in even though they sent half the line home. We got in, did our paperwork, got set up on the website they told us to go to, and went home to celebrate my birthday! Within a week, I was called in and began working as an extra and even a stand in for their show! This was my first paid acting gig and one that I will never forget! The storyline of the show has been extremely controversial, but I will say this, despite the criticism this show has received, I saw so much of my childhood and teen years in this series, so much of Hannah and her story in my own life and in those around me that I refuse to let the critics bother me! The show confronted many serious issues that need to be brought to the table today and that so many people are afraid to speak out and do something about! I can only pray that young lives are changed, and people are given hope to continue to live instead of letting the tortures of life bring them down.

Coming home from working on set, I felt so alive like I have not felt in years! For those of you who have kept up with my blog, y’all know how much I enjoy the performing arts! I finally found the career path that makes me feel 100% me. After all the years of being told who I am and who I should be according to other people’s perspectives, I. Am. Finally. Being. Me! On top of it, upon the premiere of the show, I kept seeing my face and the faces of my new friends pop up everywhere through various episodes! What an honor and a privilege to see the hours and hours of being on set really pay off! To be honest though, the best part of it all was the friendships and the people that I met along the way! I’ve never been treated so respectfully on a job. Though I was only working as an extra, the cast and crew were incredibly kind and gracious! I made friends and connections that I believe will last a lifetime!

Upon the end of the filming season, I fell apart like a blubbering baby! I can only hope and dream that this was just the beginning of many amazing acting adventures for not only myself but my friends that were all involved!

3.) I FREAKING GRADUATED!!! OK, so graduation is a very big deal for anybody that does it whether it’s high school diploma, AA degree, bachelors, etc. for each person, the journey to get their degree has so many challenges! For me, this marked the first time I ever walked for any graduation ceremony. You see, I was supposed to graduate from high school in 2001, I ended up graduating summer of 2002 because I went back to school to get my diploma. I missed the graduation ceremony because I had to work at Costco, and back then, I didn’t realize how important such an event was. I didn’t even actually receive my physical proof of diploma until just before I reentered college spring of 2015.

Also, upon entering college, I had lost my ability to run and was nearly unable to walk. My first week I spent shuffling around praying to God I would make it through each class. I’ll get into more detail in my actual story when I continue sharing it, but I will say this… My first semester, I signed onto 14 units. This included a performance in a show called “All in the Timing” in which I played several different characters.

Throughout the semester, I went through several different physical therapists and doctors just trying to regain my strength. My family and I battled severe financial struggles which left us nearly unable to feed ourselves at times. Thank God for His grace! I started working out at the school gym, and had hopes of running again. I also started a new job at Kmart and life seemed to be getting better. Just before summer classes, my body failed me again. Apparently the stress of everything took it’s toll and I ended up nearly unable to walk once more. In bed for three days just before summer biology, I was determined not to give up! I spent my summer working my butt off through physical pain, doing housesits, working at Kmart 1 to 2 days a week, working past the crash of my computer and doing my best to hold on to Christ and persevere. Thankfully, I did!

Fall classes came, and my body was starting to allow me to do some physical activity again. Another plate full of classes along with the family stress and my inability to do what I love to do the most (act and run) anorexia begin to overcome me. Though I was eating, I was not eating nearly enough to sustain all the activity I was doing. October 12th, my godmother got me on the scale, something that no one else could ever get me to do, and we found that I was just over 84 pounds after eating and being soaking wet from pool running. I knew something had to change. Between classes, family stress, and everything else, I had a new battle to fight, one for my life! I continued to press on through each semester, slowly regaining my strength and my health. Along with this, came 2 episodes in the ER due to heart problems, several other episodes in the ER due to various health problems connected to stress levels and low weight, consistently being poked and prodded by doctors, physical therapist, chiropractors, the list goes on all while facing several family car losses, loss of my grandmother and a dear friend from church… I was screened for cancer and autoimmune diseases both of which I have none (thank God), and FINALLY, upon my finishing of my final semester… I was officially weight restored. In other words bodily functions were going properly (TMI I know). People kept telling me to back down, to take semester off, but I’ve refused to give up! What do I have to show for it? A testimony of God‘s goodness and grace! Despite the trials and tribulations, God help me obtain two AA degrees 1.) Liberal Arts: Math and Sciences 2.) Liberal Arts: Arts and Humanities and a certificate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) . On top of it, I graduated as what is known as a “president’s scholar!” Me, the kid who was told I couldn’t be or do anything, that my dreams weren’t good enough, that my grades were never good enough, yes!!!! THIS WOMAN GRADUATED and achieved everything I set my mind to do and MORE!

Through it all, one thing remains…. there is only one being who can truly take credit for any of this that is Jesus Christ Himself! I ended my graduation evening by speaking to and sharing time with some of my nearest friends and family. Despite the pain I was in, they made it all better! I could not of asked for better celebration!

Now… as I get ready to end this post, I want to let you all know that no matter what dreams you’ve seen shatter before your eyes, God can turn everything around in a heartbeat! Will I have her run again? Faith tells me “yes!” In the meantime, while I’m waiting, I choose to praise God for everything He’s done of my life knowing that He will continue to do miracles again and again! As for my acting career… anything that I have in life truly belongs first to God. If it is His will, He will open the right doors in His time! I’ll just continue to walk through open doors He provides in faith knowing that He’ll lead the way! Again, as I wait, I choose to celebrate the moments that I have gotten to spend on set of various projects (2 of which I’ll reveal when given the OK). Until my next post, be encouraged, know that God is with you, He will move every mountain in your life if you just believe!

Before I go I’m going to share a recipe for savory lunchtime waffles that I came up with recently! I hope you all enjoy!

Savory Lunchtime Waffles

-1/4 cup brown rice flour (you can make it by processing brown rice in a blender)

-1/2-1/3 cup shredded red cabbage or grated cauliflower

-A pinch of baking soda

-A pinch of baking powder

-1 egg

-1 tablespoon of water or milk of choice

-sea salt and rosemary to taste

-1/2 tablespoon of all of oil or olive oil spray

Coat your waffle iron with the all of oil or the all of oil spray and let it preheat. Put all of your ingredients in A blender. Blend until creamy without any lumps. Put mix on the iron and let it cook all the way through. These taste excellent with eggs and turkey meat! You can also serve them with a side salad and canned salmon! If you try this recipe me know what you think in the comments!

Made with cauliflower

Made with red cabbage