Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mommy Musing

As I drove down the street the other day, slowly crawling with traffic, I spotted a family of five crossing the street with bicycles. While I watched the (assumed) mom, who looked like the epitome of a soccer mom, wait for her kiddies to finish crossing, the question arose: When do women start looking like moms? And, no, I don't mean that in a good way. I guess, the question I'm pondering is, when do women lose their sexy.

Becoming a mom is not a life sentence. There is no this or that, no exchange of womanhood for motherhood. At least, there shouldn't be. But I've seen so many women hand in their fitted jeans for mommy jeans that it appears that a feminine sacrifice is a requirement.

I suppose that's why many women stare in envy and openly hate the woman who has kept up her curves, her flirtacity, her sense of feminine self. She's still the woman who turns men's heads even as she creates goodies for a bake sale.

I'm not the flirtatious femme fatale and I found myself fully entrenched in self-sacrifice, not caring about my looks or, if I'm being honest, myself. So I'm curious as to when that happened. Well, I never really cared about looks but I'm at a whole other level of I-don't-care-ness. I just plain feel undesirable.

I don't want to look like a mom; that's not a prerequisite to being one. I want the looks of disbelief to read, "You have kids?" not "You have kids?" if you know what I mean.

I'm not saying that I want to look slutty but I do want a guy to do more than fantasize about the kind of sandwich I'll make him (b/c he'll be sorely disappointed-- me serve?).

(I know this post is a little all over the place but, in my defense, I do have Summer Vacation-itis and I don't even know what day of the week it is.)

Ah, well. Maaaaaybe I should take a walk around the park and shed enough pounds so that I can shimmy out of my mommy pants. Guess that would be the first step to reclaiming my sexy self. My kids are nearly grown; they become 16 and 13 this fall. That's only a 5-year expiration date until I transition from being mommy to mom. I'm scared that, when they're gone, I'll be left staring at all the pieces of me I never got around to picking up. Five years is a short amount of time.

Ah, now there's the truth of it.

Five years is a very short amount of time. I have yet to begin to know who I am without my kids and I will soon be without them-- without anyone, I'm afraid. Given my track record, I don't exactly excel in the love department. I sorely need to change that. But, first, I gotta fall in love with me again-- beginning with the park. Hope I don't re-injure myself.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Biggest Loser Season 14 Audition

I have a hate/hate relationship with auditions (yep, that's how I started the previous blog). I hate being judged off of how I look as opposed to what I can bring to the table, which brings me to the topic I'm discussing-- The Biggest Loser 14 auditions.

Interesting note: I have auditioned for EVERY season beginning with season 4 (I believe-- it might have been season 3 but I don't remember). A shame, yes, I know. But every one of those seasons, with the exception of two, have been for couples and I, for the life of me, have the darnedest time finding someone either as interesting, lively, or willing to be as open as me to audition with. No surprise that the only time I had a call back was for season 8, a singles season. I was even told by the casting director that I should expect to get called out to Los Angeles for sequestering, during which a battery of physical and psychological tests would be run and other interviews would be conducted.

I was filled with giddiness, spurred on by the arrival of the background application and the request for a biography and more pictures. I thought, finally, I have a chance to tackle and conquer the weight with help. Then...nothing. BIG let down. Guess I didn't fit the profile or they filled their black people quota [TBL, normally, allows a maximum of two brown people (individuals) or sets (couples) per season and they usually don't make it to the make-over portion, often being voted off by the other contestants fairly early]. Fact.

With, at least, the small consolation that I was initially wanted, I applied to other weight loss shows, getting as far as the background app with the promise that I'll hear something soon, followed up by silence. Even with The Revolution last year, I got the same spiel, getting passed over until, I guess, they still had a few spots left and my casting director fought harder for me. So I got to fly out to Los Angeles for the interviews then, unexpectedly (by both myself and the casting team-- they told me with red glistening eyes that they expected me to make it to the boot camp and on the show...so did I) I was sent home early.

Disappointed but not completely discouraged, I came home, enrolled in a boot camp and injured my foot. The rest, if you've been following my blog, you already know. I spiraled into depression and have ridden the lowest point of my life for the last few months. I'm just beginning to ascend and regain my sense of self and purpose.

Now, apparently, The Biggest Loser is auditioning again and this time they are looking at people a little differently but I have a problem with the wordage. An excerpt of the interview follows below.

"Here's a Q&A with Brandon Nickens about "The Biggest Loser" Season 14:" (font emphasis on words are completely mine)
"Q: How do you choose contestants for "The Biggest Loser"?
BN: "For Season 14, we're doing things a little differently. Instead of looking for someone that meets a certain profile, we're asking the question, 'How deserving are they?' We're looking for real, genuine people who will appreciate this opportunity to change their lives! It's really a golden ticket! We spend four to five months searching for the ideal candidates for this show and we listen to their personal stories."

Yes, I have a problem with the word "deserving" because, again, there's this negative judging aspect attached to it. What is the criteria they're checking off to determine who deserves this "golden ticket"? What makes someone more deserving than someone else? I feel like I'm back in P.E. getting picked for teams and TBL is the cool kid whose team I want to be on. Do I want to put myself through that agony?

Well, here's the rub: I already applied. I edited together an audition tape, painstakingly and honestly answered the questions on the long application, combed through family photos, then attached everything to an email as instructed to BL14Casting@gmail.com, addressed to the Cool Kid, with the fervent prayer of "Pick Me" woven into every electronic fiber of the biography I wrote as an introductory note BEFORE I found the aforementioned interview on the web. Now I'm trying my best not to obsess and worry about being passed over because I may have been considered undeserving

This second interview I found clarifies the sentiment a little more and makes me feel a bit better:

"Who they want: Nickens says that past seasons have often relied on contestants who were TV savvy, with big personalities and dramatic stories to tell, but this time he’s after something different. “For Season 14, we’re looking to get back to basics. The most-important thing is to find a deserving, “rootable” person. … It’s good to have a little back story, someone who’s been dealt a rough hand, but this is a golden ticket. We want to give it to someone who is deserving of the opportunity. A person who will pay it forward.”"

The word "deserving" as it's used here is a bit more positive than it was in the other article. And, given the rest of this second excerpt, I feel I fit the criteria of what it takes to join the Cool Team because my mind has already been on a way to pay it forward, not just the opportunity but life's lessons in general. 

I'm definitely ready to play. So I guess this means I'll be heading to this weekend's open casting call. Now, what to wear...?


I Abhor Auditioning

I have a real hate/hate relationship with auditions. I hate the judging, usually based off of looks instead of content or character or contribution that could be made to the script, show, etc.

I've acted on the side, dabbling in the industry to figure out if it was where I wanted to focus my energy, time, and resources (I'd often been told how great of an actor I am by audiences after a theater performance or by crew members after an acting gig, was even told I was a natural by Will Smith's acting coach, Aaron Speiser after a workshop). But, instead of growing more confident with each audition, I grew more self-conscious, especially in this Miami market where a breakdown doesn't usually call for someone like me (fat black female) unless it asks for someone loud, brash, crass, rude, angry, ignorant, lazy, and/or ghetto (I'll put a video of one of the roles I was hired to fill below and you tell me if one or more of the aforementioned adjectives doesn't apply)-- in other words, someone completely contrary to my own nature. Doesn't help that my mom named me a ghetto name (I deleted the name-- those who know me know what it is), does it? Lol. Of course, that was in the 70s before it became ghetto.

With every audition, I became aware of my blackness and how the world of writers and directors see my blackness. With every breakdown, I became aware of the lack of acceptance for the variety of people who come from a black background. Even if a breakdown calls for a black woman, she has to be "ambiguously" black, meaning you can't pin her down as an African-American type of black person. The mixed race makes her more accepted by the media masses. The intelligent black person rarely finds his/her way on screen-- unless his name is Will Smith (I quite admire the dude by the way).

Someone told me to just keep playing the roles until I didn't have to, until I could make my own decisions and choose my own roles but my conscience won't let me. So I crawled into my head, sub-consciously sabotaging auditions for roles I felt perpetuated the American black stereotype.

But this color issue is actually not what I want to talk about; it's not why I began this blog. Never mind. Let me just make it its own blog entry and I'll move what I wanted to talk about to another blog. So continuing on this track, I go.

Which brings me to some other more practical advice I heard-- write my own scripts with the kind of people I'd want to play. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck did it with their script, Good Will Hunting. So there's an option I'm interested in taking. But, as of today, I've been arrested by a crippling case of procrastination. I'm just going to have to fight through it otherwise I'll just be all talk.


That's it for now. Enjoy the video. If anything, you'll get a laugh out of it, especially if you know me. =) (reading the comments on YouTube were funny, except the racist ones of course).


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Real Daddy's Day

Forgive me as I give in to my tears for a moment.

Normally, I'm not affected by Father's Day but, given the course of the way things have been this year, I've come to realize just how much my kids have missed in not really having a dad, especially my youngest. This realization hit me first in church. Initially, I was all "oohs" and "ahhs" as each pastor spoke with love of his family, showing off pictures of their offspring with a pride that filled the room. But, as the service closed and as the all-male choir sang a song filled with words of a father to his son, I got to understand what my son has missed. And I got to understand the truth of these words: a child/boy needs his father. This is especially true on a day like today, a day when men recount stories of growing up under the guidance of their father or share those stories of pride and love for their own sons. A day that magnifies missed moments.

I didn't exactly help by not dating, though, I can definitely say that those who wanted to date me weren't the type of people I needed to bring around my sons. But those were the kinds of people who were attracted either to 1) any female or 2) a challenge and weren't looking to play step-daddy to no one else's child(ren). Maybe, if I'd been more open to the world of dating and the idea of love, I could have attracted the right type of fellow.


Can't dwell on the past, which is why I'm working to be more open-minded. I don't think it's too late for someone to come into my sons' life, to give guidance and love. I've got to be more open. I need someone in our lives to fill that void.

From my lips to God's ears...


Update: Just saw a poem from singer/actor Tyrese on fatherhood through the eyes of a child. Click the link to read it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Real Talk

I often find that I have nothing to say. Ironic for a girl who was chastised on Facebook for being too talkative.  I guess, now that it's a blog and not just immediate access/posting of my thoughts as they occur, the thrill is gone.

It's a little lonely out here in blog world. I'm not a person who just likes to see myself speak. Yes, I said see.

I'm a true Gemini; I equally like to be left alone and engaged in discourse with people. I need that escape from my thoughts and, at times, from the hardships in my life. I do so much alone that it's really all I know how to be but it's not all I want to be.

I wish I could be the person with scores of friends, people from interesting places with interesting lives. But that's never been me. For as long as I can remember, I've always had just one close friend. I remember just once having three close friends at the same time but, then, I think I became jealous when they left me out of something (don't remember exactly) and I shut them all out. I'm really good at that, shutting people out. Very good at that. But I'm wise enough to know the only person hurt is myself. I'm used to the hurt; I tend to hug it my chest like a long lost relative. It lives within me until I find a new friend and the cycle begins anew.

How do I change that? And how do I beat back the irrational monster of envy?

How do I get more people to converse with me on my blog?


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Passing Failure

"You always pass failure on the way to success." Mickey Rooney, actor

More Cactus Hugging

I wanna be cool.

I wanna be funny and witty and glamourous and entertaining and all the things that make people gobble up blogs like they were free samples of fresh, authentic Italian pistachio gelato.

But I'm not.

I'm just me. Boring (sometimes), exhausted (nearly all the time), stressed out (that's what the "S" stands for in my name) me. Gah, even as I typed all of that, it felt like a lie.

I'm not boring, not inherently. What I am, right now, is broke.

The Secret. Remember, The Secret. 

Right, what I meant was...I'm in the process of re-evaluating my current financial situation and envisioning a more-improved one-- say, like, seven figures before the decimal point. Call it my 2-comma dream.

I've been thinking about my blog for the last few weeks, been thinking about why the two posts with the most views are the ant (160 views) and the rose (79 views) posts; some European countries really have a thing for pictures of ants and roses.

My most prolific post, the one on child sexual abuse, is a very distant third with only 38 views. Now, that's a piece I feel the world should read. Yet, it sits buried on my blog.

So how do I get more readers? Do I even want more readers? The research I've done suggests that the blogs who perform well are the ones that are niche blogs. But my mind doesn't work that way. Well, it does...and it doesn't. I, usually, have so many ideas, thoughts, and topics to discuss that I'm often mentally paralyzed, choosing to writing nothing. But when things come out, like this current post, it's like I mentally vomit all over the screen and I have to fight to keep my posts from being as random as, well, me.

But, hey, it beats the depressive period I just went through. I've still got a paperweight of problems sitting on my chest but, at least, the Great Flood is no longer trying to escape through my eyes.

And that, folks, may not be cool, funny, witty, or glamourous, but it is progress.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, I turned 33.

It doesn't feel like a joyous occasion, especially given the week I've had leading up to today. Yesterday was such an emotional day. Last night, I cried so much that my eyes were nearly swollen shut this morning. Today, the words for this blog just aren't flowing with the ease of the Nile River. So I'll just list a couple of things:

*I'm using my work laptop to write this.

*I'm really grateful to my ex-boyfriend for helping me with my emotionally tormented son last night. My son has so much hurt, bitterness, and anger from the absence/inconsistency of his biological father that it all burst forth in the presence of depression and rage yesterday. Nothing I said could calm him. He said something about wishing I'd stayed with my ex-boyfriend because he wanted him to be his dad. I explained that we had too many problems to work through. As a last resort, I offered to call my ex so he could speak to my son. Twenty minutes later, my son asked for just that. They stayed on the phone for about half an hour. My son hung up happier and more optimistic.

*I pawned MacKenzie, my MacBook Pro. I feel like I sold a child.

*I really, really missed my ex but all I could say to him was thank you for speaking to my son.

*My foot hurts from the rehab stretches I'm doing.

*It rained for most of my school's outdoors event yesterday.

*I'm dead broke; I just got paid yesterday. That includes the money I got for selling my electronic child.

*My oldest passed all his standardized testing.

*This 33rd birthday sucks pickled eggs and has been the worst birthday I've ever had so far.

*I need cake.


Teaching: Quality vs Quantity

I get that quality teachers are a must but, what the anti-teacher people fail to get is that quality is something that takes time to develop. 

Teaching is a job that requires on-the-job training, not university learning; it requires mentoring and patience. 

Teaching is not the same as a corporate job where skills can be acquired within the 90-day probation window. 

Teaching is one job where the clientele is forever changing from one period to the next and one year to the next. 

Students do not come in a one-size-fits-all package. As a teacher, that takes time to learn and acquire skills to handle. On average, it takes 3-5 years for a teacher to become really effective (yes, some perform faster than the average but they are not all). Unfortunately, however, the revolving door cycle of teaching is about three years. I know I wanted to leave after my first year of teaching. If I had been able to find another job, I would have left without looking back. 

When I got surplussed after three years (budgeting axe fell hard on education), my learning curve was reset-- I was at a higher pressure school, dealing w/ a new grading system, a different level of parent (over)involvement, a new (non-supportive, micro-managing) principal and more advanced classes (advanced placement and honors) than I had the responsibility of teaching at my first school (elective courses). Finally, after my fourth year in the new school, I got it. I may not love teaching but I've become more comfortable with it. But I had the time to get there (though, I'm still trying to leave). Now, newer teachers don't have that necessary time to develop quality because, according to the new law, job uncertainty is a year-to-year thing. Plus, if there is a tenured-surplussed teacher floating in the wind, the job would have to go to that tenured teacher. I've lost a few teacher friends to other fields because waiting until the week before school began to see if they had a job each year was too stressful to handle. 

Teacher quality, though important, certainly doesn't matter because, according to the FCAT and school grading system, it's all about quantity. 

And, I won't even get into the pay because that's a whole other can of worms.