Wisdom from Lady X

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I sat on a plush leather couch in an office too large for comfort gazing at the Los Angeles skyline. Ten minutes prior, I stepped off the elevator and onto the 20th floor, a different world it seemed. It was a secret space accessible via access card only, a space where only the elite deign to walk. *Lady X led me to her office, opened the door then pointed to the couch. I assumed that meant I was supposed to sit. As she followed behind me, I noted how her breasts popped through her deep V blouse. I half wondered if I should cue her to the fact that her bra was exposed, not through the V but through the spaces between the buttons.

She took her place across from me, crossed her legs and said “sell me on you. ” There was an air about Lady X that put me on edge. She was like a principal waiting to catch you cutting class or a friend who gets his jonnies by saying I told you so.

I begin first with my educational experiences, going through great pains to provide accurate of examples of my organizational and administrative skills and yes that definable trend of being one-step head. Lady X was quiet, too quiet as she looks through me with contempt. “Let me tell you about this position,” she began, cutting me off not one minute into my pitch. “Yeah, I’m not going to hire you.” She puts down my resume, takes a sip from her water and reclines even further into her seat. At that point I should have laughed, offered my hand and headed back towards the elevator from whence I came. Instead I sat like a deer in headlights, prey to the inevitable crash that headed my way. “I’m telling you this as a friend…” (for the sake of an accurate memory I will only summarize what followed.) As a “friend” she told me that no one gets to the top without first paying their dues. Shocking, I thought, is this not an assistant position I’m applying for? She then proceed to tell me that she had to get a lot of coffee to get where she is and beat on a lot of doors. “So what is it you think that I can’t learn?” I said. Hell the interview was a dud, why not?

She stopped, nostrils flared ready to attack.“I know 90% of the good people in this industry,” she said with a smile. Yes I’m sure they’re in your iPhone, impressive. “You can’t teach that. I don’t want to teach that.”

I stood up confused… because that’s what you do when someone tosses you a bomb and says go play. “Okay,” I said, “Well it was nice to meet you.”

Truth moment, I cried as I drove home. I was crushed, beyond crushed. Lady X had just spent 10 minutes of a 15-minute interview trying to destroy me and with a smile! I realized days later that if I didn’t pick myself up this one moment would forever shape my interview experiences and more importantly my ambitions to conquer L.A. I reminded myself that no one can take away my power, not even busty blonde women with important connections. No one can make me feel like my experiences don’t matter. I know my worth and what I can bring to the table. And most importantly, I know that the ‘no’s’ don’t matter. I am determined to press on.

 

Dear Dad

10372338_889583341482_6805681452762775991_nDear Dad:

I can’t decide which is worse, learning that you were gone or seeing you in a casket.  I am not sure how I expected to feel, though I must admit, I tried to control my emotions as if  I could. Be stoic I said, look proud, stay strong. Of course when the time came my body felt like jelly and I couldn’t help but give into the sadness.

As I walked into viewing room, I attempted  to focus on the white, on white, on white walls and sleek marble floors. I held mom, though I believe it was me who needed to be held.  No sooner did  my feet cross the threshold between the lobby and where you were lain, did my chest sink. My chest sunk under the thought that I had lost you and I must face it now. And so I faced you. I faced you in your gray and white suit with skin as cold as ice, eyes closed and mouth in some version of a smile. I faced you as I felt the stubble on your newly shaven head  then once again on the lapel of your suit where I helped mom pin a cross. Later I faced you in my thoughts as I sat gazing at your body listening to family members speak. I faced you until I could face you no more and I (we) left.

Dad, it’s been a week and I miss you like crazy. Serious kid, how will I ever adjust to your absence? I wonder if I will always think about you especially in those in-between moments, like eating dinner with mom (and Alex) and suddenly realizing that you are not at the table and feeling full.  Yes I am convinced even on my happiest day, you will come to mind.

It’s crazy but I’ve been thinking of all the things I wish I had the chance to say like I love you, don’t get a tux Alex picked a suit, what’s your recipe for gumbo, seriously, and most importantly, I love you.

Daddy…I’m not sure if I’m ready for tomorrow but Friday is coming faster than I’d like and I’m powerless to stop it. What can I do?

You’ll always be my big daddy and I’ll always be your baby girl. I’ll keep that in mind. It’s a good thought especially for tomorrow.

 

Love

RAG jr.

 

PS: Are you okay? 🙂 🙂 I’m itching for a Back to the Future Marathon.

 

 

Daddy’s Gone

10372338_889583341482_6805681452762775991_n“Baby, I had a bad dream.” That’s what I’d say if I’d woken up and this was a dream, if this wasn’t reality and I hadn’t gotten a phone call at 6 AM from my mom telling me that my dad had died. Alex would probably say “Yeah? Tell me about it,” and I would recant every detail, how real it felt, and how glad I am to be awake. Then I’d call my dad and tell him what happened. No, I’d text him. He’d laugh and say “You miss me huh?” But I am awake and the phone call was real and this reality is pushing on the grey matter of my brain like a festering disease eating me alive. I can’t recall ever feeling so numb or so alive or feeling as though I understand nothing about how the world works. There is a dead space lingering within me. Was he scared, did he know, did he wish he could tell my mom he loved her one last time? What was the last thing he saw before slipping to that void between here and there? And more importantly, why G-d, why?My daddy and me.

Lying in bed, I can only think about my dad a year from now and erase him from all the excited daydreams I had about my wedding. I take out the part where he gives me away, kisses my forehead (or some part of my head), smiles and cries a little. I erase the part where, for the father daughter dance, I tell the DJ to hit it and “The Power of Love,” by Huey Lewis and The News come blasting through the speakers and we jam.  The perfect song for us, birth from hours of quoting our favorite movie, Back To The Future. And G-d how I wish I knew what words of wisdom he would have said when it was his turn to give Alex and I our toast.  Then almost suddenly, I try to not to think about the grandkids he’ll never see, or the things he’ll never know, like how I just booked a Betty Crocker print ad, and just this week I had job interviews with Nick, NBC and Sony and did I mention I got into graduate school? Yeah, I’ve been waiting to tell you.  I try not to think about it because breathing in what could have been is just as painful as trying to erase.

My dad was one of the few people who supported Rhonda The Actress, he never doubted my ability to succeed or told me I should reconsider my career choice. He backed my decision to enter production. Seriously, when I got my first job at Warner Brothers, my dad texted me “WB here we come!” “What do you mean we,” I said? It makes sense now, I wouldn’t be here (literally) if it weren’t for him. 406081_633577888462_1194288852_n

We had a lot of fights my dad and me. We would go head to head, sometimes over big things, sometimes over little things and I wouldn’t be so foolish to say that it didn’t matter, because at the time it did and I would give anything to go head to head with him again. My dad is gone and it doesn’t feel real. Then again, is it supposed to? I woke up this morning at 6 AM, I woke up to a death and I wish, for once in my life, I wish, that I could go back sleep, wake up again and know that what is staring me in the face was just a nightmare and all is well.  Oh how I wish and wish and wish… Yes, I wish.

It’s Good To Be Back!

So the guy didn't speak English and I'm pretty sure I didn't know what he was telling me to do.

This was taken just before I was about to go sky diving. My partner didn’t speak English… I wasn’t nervous.

One man’s living is another man’s boredom.

“So… what do you want,” said M my 20s something therapist I was learning to appreciate, despite our closeness in age.  His question struck me as odd, perhaps because I hadn’t formulated an answer to it out loud. I shifted my weight in my chair.  “Well” I said,” I guess I want to live.” My lips reached for my ears. “I don’t think that’s asking for too much.”

A few days later, the question resurfaced on the lips an inquisitive manager. “What gives your life meaning,” R asked.  My mouth was full of sandwich at the time, “ummmmm…” I paused, confused that I couldn’t say G-d; my how I’ve changed over the years.

Turning 28 has done a number on my brain. Seriously, I feel as though I’m waiting for that moment of grown-updom to hit me. That minute where I lay aside the things that make me come alive in favor of the humdrum, ordinary, American existence we are told is the dream.

I bungee jumped off this thing...twice.

I bungee jumped off this thing…twice.

 

GROWING UP ACCORDING TO RHONDA:

A boring 9-5 that drags onward until my extinction

   An overall general life plan (save, save, save, build, build, build) that will continue long after I’m dead

    Having kids before my womb dries up or my uterus spontaneously combusts into menopause.

 

Truthfully, I find myself missing the excitement of new things, the rush of staring at a map and planning how to get there, the titillating process of endlessly trying to communicate through sign language or broken English or even, bungee jumping in South Korea, sky diving in Italy, packing up a suitcase full of clothing and couchsurfing in Israel for a month! I miss movement. To me this is living and meaning and what I’ve wanted to do since, well, high school.  I can distinctly remember my father (annoyingly, perhaps) asking the high school me, why I always wanted to go somewhere. I stared at him blankly “I don’t know,” I said. That statement rings true even today. That’s not to say there weren’t struggles, or challenges, or periods of missing familiarity as a traveller. Yes, there have been moments of exhaustion and trepidation at the realization that I am locked into a year contract and I hate my school, or the bratty kids that follow me home screaming “fuck you bitch,” because they think it’s how American’s talk, or not understanding the random woman on the bus shouting at me about Africa. Through it all however I would rather take the pains and blows of that journey than waste away doing something passable just because it’s the grown up thing to do.

Exploring the Republic of Georgia...climbing statues in a dress...this was normal for me.

Exploring the Republic of Georgia…climbing statues in a dress…this was normal for me.

In another life I was Korean.

In another life I was Korean.

These are my confessionsjust when I thought I said all I could say…

I travelled because I couldn’t stand the thought of being trapped behind a desk all day.

I travelled because it was the perfect package, work and play all wrapped into one.

I travelled because it was easier than endlessly hating my job.

And hell, I travelled because I had the guts to do it and it was a shit load of fun!

 

 

Tony Hale...what an interesting character.

Tony Hale…what an interesting character.

Random Questions or On The Road Again

In six weeks I’m moving to California. I’ll admit there is a rush of excitement as I begin a new chapter in my life. Admittedly, I’m afraid to repeat previous mistakes, that is, let’s take a job without considering that you spend more time at work than you do at home. In other words, I have look beyond the moment of yay new job! I have to ask: Is this worth it? Can I stick with this? I mean really stick with it and thrive as a creative individual, one who can barely sit still long enough to solve a mathematical equation. If not, I’ll end up in the land of self-indulgent indifference.

Yeah just be and old Billy Zane here...chilling.

Yeah just me and old Billy Zane here…chilling.

What’s next?

In 354 days I will be marrying the love of my life, a musician. His desired career is one I thoroughly respect. I am neither intimidated by, nor ashamed of what he hopes to do with his craft. It is my belief that creative urges are the fruit of living. So few people have the chance to taste it. I applaud him and yet, how can I cheer for his career enlightenment and conveniently ignore my own? No, I don’t have the luxury to pack up and move anytime the wind blows, but surely there must be something worthwhile to pursue in the world. Surely.

I have rarely if ever thought of what life would be like if I wasn’t in entertainment (see previous posts if you don’t catch my drift). Even now it’s hard to separate my mind from such a deep obsession. I dreamed a dream in time gone by that I would be the perfect trifecta: actor, writer, producer, blazing a glorious path as portrayed on the silver screen. Cleary that didn’t happen. Though there have been moments of touching, barely touching, and admiration from afar, I have yet to be settled in my true passions.  For the past few weeks, I’ve  felt as though my dreams were dying and I could only envision myself staring down the barrel of endless boredom and monotony.

Me and Mr. guillermo del toro chilling after a movie premiere.

Me and Mr. guillermo del toro chilling after a movie premiere.

But…

I am a fighter and as much as I encourage my lover to chase, with endless fervor his dreams, I am reminded that I must chase my own. I cannot settle for life according to (insert every person who has told me that I can’t, or that entertainment isn’t a career, or they would never allow their children to do that). I have to give myself a chance to shine, to grow, to live, so that life has meaning and is worth living, each and every moment. I have no clue what that’s going to look like, but damn it if I’m not committed to finding out. I travelled and had plenty of adventure so believe me when I say, there is still more to have.

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah...that's right I did that.

Yeah…that’s right I did that.

The Religion Complex

(This is the tip of the iceberg in a long stream of thoughts I am attempting to complie)

Jesus Camp Poster

Jesus Camp: “a charismatic Christian summer camp, where children spend their summers being taught that they have “prophetic gifts” and can “take back America for Christ.”

Jesus Camp has been staring me in the face ever since Netflix decided I should watch it. You know how it is, one film leads to a suggestion, leads to a never ending subliminal plant that you come across each time you open the site. So there it is Jesus Camp…Jesus Fricking Camp. I’ll be honest I made it about 10 minutes into the documentary before I clicked pause. In my head was a swarm of thoughts pressing to get out. The first: G-d I used to be like those kids. The second: G-d I’m nothing like those kids.

To say my background was a religious one doesn’t do it justice.  So… backspace, I grew up in a home plump with religious jargon, made neat by a few conveniently placed scriptures. When bills needed paying, we’d huddle in a circle and pray for G-d to intervene. When my mom got sick, we spent hours petitioning to G-d for help. Anytime the world came crashing in, we prayed for relief, but to my mind, everything pretty much stayed the same. Everything good was G-d, everything bad was the devil, and only if we found favor would things be okay.

Have I found favor with G-d?

I grew up lower middle class. I come from a broken home. I spent most of my time lonely and isolated (even though at times it was caused by myself and my fear of being hurt). In middle school, I was the kid who carried her bible and found herself eating lunch alone for two years. I was the kid who had rocks thrown at her, who was pushed down the stairs, and had two, sometimes three bullies waiting for her outside of class. At church, the one place I felt I should belong, I felt more of an outsider  burdened under the weight of clicks and teenage normality. But church was my home and I was heavily involved, from youth ministry to drama team, you could find me there three times a week doing something.  And then there was college… I attended a religious school with nothing to my name. I was so broke I had to ask a young lady on my floor to buy me tampons and soap because needed it and I couldn’t afford it. I watched as the President and First Lady Roberts had a yearly money box during chapel where, much like a game show, students would stand inside collecting all the dollars they could.  “For once let it be me Lord. I can really stand to purchase some books.” I was never chosen.

I struggled a lot, I prayed a lot and through it all I felt G-d was silent. I was still broke, and outsider, and very much emotionally (and sometimes physically) broken.

I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25), a scripture I prayed many a night, agonizing over my situation. Yet I felt forsaken and no matter how much I prayed,  the conditions of my life never changed.  I was tired of waiting and praying for every little thing. I began to see life, really see life, the good, the bad, and the ugly as just that. I stopped looking for hidden meanings in everything. Honestly, I wanted to live and embrace all of Rhonda, be at my full potential, and learn from everything that happened.  “G-d” I said, “I just want to live.”

Tbilisi Georgia

Church from around the world. This one, Tiblisi Georgia.

At that point I began praying two things: the first, if there was a Holy Spirit, that he would draw me in an undeniable way. The second, that it would not be something “tragic” such as losing my legs or going blind or something of the like. “G-d,” I would pray, “let me find you in the everyday moments of my life. This is for sure most important to me.”

It’s hard to say where I stand with G-d, feeling what I feel, and knowing what I know. I will say however that I have a desire for truth. Not a feel good, your life will be better (because this is what I believed those many years ago) but perhaps a deeper connection to Jesus, an understanding of what Christian means and how I can be Rhonda and a Christian without the pangs what happened so long ago.  I haven’t found it yet but I’m looking and I imagine that’s what really counts.

An Interview With Rhonda’s “Religious” Side.

Tell us something about you we wouldn’t expect.

Over the course of my life I have been admitted into two seminaries. This decision was the product of a desire to know and understand scripture and to discover a truth independent from what I’d was used to. I’d gotten to a point where I wanted study original text, I was hungry for it. I had a genuine desire to know what it meant to be a Christian and if it was something I could stand behind. Jesus was very specific about what it meant to follow him. There are certain mandates that he gives his people. Throughout the course of my life I began to feel like Christians (including myself) picked the parts they wanted to accept and rejected the ones they didn’t. But really can the bible be a pick and choose your own? The older I got the more frustrated I became, I didn’t want to commit to something I didn’t 100% believe in and I realized that I didn’t 100% believe.

Give us some insight into your relationship with your parents and how that’s shaped your religious views.

That’s a hard one. I love and respect my parents but as an adult, there are some things I find hard to stand behind. Growing up I felt like G-d was used as a crutch. Good decisions weren’t made, period. A lot of our instability could have been cured by more problem solving and less reading of the scriptures, especially financial troubles. But who knows, perhaps it’s the combination that provides success. On average I felt as though more time was spent waiting for  G-d to move, than doing something that was within our hands to change.

I have a very distinct memory of our family circled around a bunch of overdue bills paying for G-d’s help. In my adult life I would never do this. The last time I prayed for G-d’s help my finances, I was in college and broke as hell. Thanks to all that answered prayer I owe quite a bit in loans. Looking back common sense, research and hard work would have prevented this but I grew up believing that G-d had to bless me to reach such heights, like going to school for free. I only prayed and took no personal action.

There was a time when I prayed about everything out of habit. I couldn’t make a step without first asking:  G-d should I be doing this? I seriously had anxiety over every little thing. My first distinct memory of doing something without praying was moving to South Korea. I remember my dad (or mom, I can’t remember) asking if  I’d  prayed to see if it was G-d’s will. No I hadn’t but I wanted to go and I did. It was at that time I began to appreciate being an adult, living my own life, and making smart choices.

Are you angry at G-d?

(smiles) I don’t blame G-d for what happened in my life, but perhaps at one point I did.  Now I realize that G-d and man are two different entities and we cannot judge Him by the actions of others.  I feel as though my life is a never-ending conversation with my Creator and where that will lead, only time will tell. For now I’m enjoying the journey and am seeking to live truthfully in the moment, no matter what that looks like.

 

 

 

 

8 Things women just don’t do anymore, A Response

100283I recently came across an article entitled 8 Things women just don’t do anymore (that they should!) It had been posted by not one but two of my Facebook male friends. With heightened curiosity I clicked the link and beheld a slew of content that prompted this response.

“There was a time,” the author begins “when a woman’s greatest duty and achievement was taking care of her man.” I stop, catch my breath and prepare myself for whatever comes next. The author then goes onto say that  women have become more independent and in so, she has lost this care-taking ability or at least forgotten the traits. “You can still have your career and your own mind and what not,” she states “but maybe there are a few things that women just don’t do anymore, that they should!”

 

sexism-1

Her List

  1. I am to learn how to cook at least two or three meals.
  2. I should as the woman of the house, know how to clean.
  3. When in public I should respect my man by fixing him a plate .
  4. I am to never curse, I must watch my mouth.
  5. Every day give him one compliment, then multiply it the next day. He needs to hear it, he’s more sensitive than me.
  6. Always look good, I reflect my man.
  7. Always look good (again).
  8. Anticipate his needs, never wait for him to ask me to do anything .

 

I understand Tara’s reason for writing the article and am not angry at her advocating her side. Again, I get it. But I found her article so ridded with a-woman-is-meant-to-serve-a-man-stink, I couldn’t help but write.

I grew up (and live in) in a very male dominated culture, it began in my home life and trickled down to the religious school I attended.  My whole life I have been told that man is the head of the house, throw in a few scriptures and yeah…!  Flash back to my childhood. My mother did everything for my dad…everything. Very rarely did he bring home flowers, very rarely surprise her with a home cooked meal, very rarely did I notice a huge effort on his part to maintain  romance. This is coming from a child’s mind. Perhaps there were things I could not see about their relationship or hidden depths I did not know. Perhaps. But this is what I saw:  my father comes out of the room,  goes to the refrigerator, looks inside, goes back into the room and tells my mother what to bring him. She comes out, goes into the refrigerator, and brings it to him. I was SO disgusted by this, so turned off,  I told myself not me.

Authors note: my mother did not work and my father was the sole breadwinner. Although I loved him,  my father was famous for coming home and checking out. He was not involved in our lives. To me he simply made money…I always thought “is that what it takes to be free?” My mother and sister are both homemakers. I am the first woman in my family to graduate from college and I will be the first to have a career and a family when the time comes….This is what I promised myself those many years ago and this is what I will achieve.

5 The idea that a woman is to serve a man is so rooted in sexism, I don’t know where to begin. Take for example these dating tips from the 1930s that outline the best way to keep your guy. This comes from a culture where women were to be seen and not heard. A woman was arm candy meant to make her partner look good.

Why is everything about a man’s pleasure, so he can shine, so he can feel like a man? Hasn’t he always been a man according to society. And haven’t men had the privilege of setting all the rules? And haven’t women ALWAYS assumed the role of the caretaker, the homemaker, the one who upkeeps while he goes out to hunt? We are not in the great outdoors. I don’t need a man to wrestle a deer to feed the family . I need a man who recognizes that I am just as smart, capable, and worthy as he.

 

How to Get And Keep Your Man…the 1930s way

  1. Don’t be sentimental
  2. Never talk while dancing
  3. Don’t touch him in public
  4. Give him your full attention so no talking to other men while you’re out
  5. Don’t drink.
  6. And more...

I pride myself on being a strong independent woman, and yes a woman who takes care of her man. I reject however the idea that a penis some how makes my partner better than me. This is what I took away from her article; because I am a woman, because this was the standard, I should be doing these things. I want to redefine the rules… I want to make them equal and balanced. I want young women to know it’s okay to be strong and capable and not know how to cook. A man shouldn’t marry you to be his chef. Bring what you have to the table. Where you lack, he will be strong. Where he lacks, you will be strong.

6 things partners should do for one another…

couple-cooking-together

  1. There is nothing steamier than the kitchen tango. That is, he chops while you sauté. A suggestive stir, a crisp glass of wine and you’re on your way to the perfect date night. Harmony in the kitchen may not always look this way. You’re busy, he’s busy, it happens. Taking the time however to enjoy a meal together should. My golden rule: when you can’t cook together and share in the delights of making food bliss, the one who did not cook cleans. If I cook you take care of the dishes and vice versa.

  2. Couple holding brooms   For some cleaning is theraputic. If you’re like me, it’s a necessary chore that keeps the house functional. It doesn’t matter if you work a full time job at the office or with the kids, house chores should be divided equally. If I wash and fold the laundry, you can put it away and of course it goes both ways. If you come home and the floor has a few crumbs, grab the broom! Making a home together includes both parties participating in the upkeep. No one person should do it (unless he/she really wants too) alone.

  3. There is nothing sexier than my man pouring me a glass of crisp chardonnay, telling me to take a load off and enjoy some speciality gourmet cheese. Or coming home to a bouquet of flowers just because or even a package of delicious speciality chocolates that I simply must try!  In turn, I love planning surprises for him: a staycation, a reservation at a new restaurant, an impromptu massage.  Keep things spicy in your relationship with surprises, it goes a long way.

  4. Words are powerful entities, see to it that your words uplift one another. There are very few people whose words I respect. My fiancé is at the top of the list. I value his thoughts and opinions more than anything.  Words have power! Remember this as you approach your partner in both good and bad times. And never forget your power words, “I love you.”

  5. couple_021213051301There is nothing more exciting that going for a walk with my beloved. We hold hands, we recant stories about the day or our life. Most importantly we enjoy whatever is around us. Don’t be afraid to go for a bike ride, take a long walk or learn the tango! Life happens so get out and move with the one you love. Move together to create moments and memories. Enjoy spending time in each other’s company. For some couples this means hitting the track for other its means finding the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Whatever it is, do it together and bask in the moment.

  6. Couple-Holding-Each-Other And finally support one another! Work hard to maintain your relationship together. Keep communication open, talk about your needs, don’t be afraid to say I hurt or I’m sorry. Give each other your full attention! That’s what counts!

 

There are many things that go into making a partnership. For some women (and men) this will look dramatically different than what I’ve painted or author Tara Carr. Find what works for you. Never allow society dictate what you should be doing. If you’re strong, remain strong and find a partner that loves and appreciates this about you.  There is nothing wrong with serving your better half as long as he/she is deserving, appreciative and returns the efforts. We were not born to wait on someone hand and foot, you both are royalty and should treat one another as such!

 

 

An Abundance of Change

16_origChange is one of those delicious things you either love or tolerate. I personally treat it like a date with destiny, anything goes.  For me change is in abundance this year! I’m engaged to the most dreamy man I know. I’m on the yellow brick road to a more solid career and I’m calm. Calm is the antithesis of my usual state, which is anxious. It is the thought that I’m not where I’m meant to be. It’s a restless feeling that says what the hell are you doing? Get out…now…seriously NOW. Honestly I haven’t felt this good in years.

 

It’s hard to believe this career change was birthed out of a debilitating situation.  Were it not for this sudden madness however I don’t know if I would be as determined as I am now. I don’t know if I would have the power to ask myself the hard questions or reflect on my life so aggressively. There is a theory I learned from How I Met Your Mother: before you meet “the one,” you will first date the hell raiser…or something like that. So far I haven’t met the one (job) but as Ted Mosby learned it’s all about patience.

 

Change-of-Plans-LogoThe year was 2008; I’d just wrapped a semester at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center and was making my way back to Oral Roberts University to graduate. With 48 hours to spare I flew in, graduated, celebrated with family, and hopped on a plane back to sunny California. I was convinced it was where I was supposed to be. My time was short lived and several months later I packed my bags and moved to South Korea. I have since dreamed I’d make my way back to the sunny state. In fact I tried several times, each time failing more elaborately than the last. My shiny new ring however leads me to believe there were other reasons why I was meant to take the indirect route.

 

In a few months my fiancé and I are moving to Los Angeles. It will be a joyous occasion freckled with fear and excitement. I feel like a new woman as I venture a second time to the west coast.  I feel all at once ready to take on the world and all at once ready to retreat. This surge is not only in my thoughts but also in my actions and is so uncharted, so like an explorer first landing on new ground, I can hardly stand it.

 

I’m in my late twenties and am often reminded that I have time and that nothing needs to be decided now.  There is no rush they say… and they’re right. I’ve always been the kind of girl woman who believed in timing. For example, it was more important for me to meet the right guy than to marry the wrong one because I had to be married by a certain age.  I also believed it better to understand myself and know exactly what I wanted than to work a series of jobs that meant nothing.

 

I have had a good life but let the next kind of job pains (and changes) be from something worth the energy. Let the love pains of mychange-same relationship (and marriage) be from something deeper and more lasting. And let me grow and change and reach my potential beyond measure. I am convinced there is something to accepting life and all it’s blows and going round for round with anything that could potentially destroy you. Changes are in abundance and no, I’m not sure where it will lead but I welcome them openly.

The Nature Of Love

1487826_850382360562_1902920514_o“I’m sorry,” barely manages to escape my lips before another round of vomit comes rushing out of my mouth and into a small metal tin. I try the statement again and like a wounded bird attempting to fly, I fail. Chicken noodle soup thoroughly wasted. Alex sits next to me holding my locks trying to keep them from being tainted. He wipes my mouth a few times before another round of sludge. “It’s okay baby” he says. I love the sound of his voice, its comforting.

Nine hours ago I was on my way to work ready to begin my day. What started off as a minor headache in the car transformed into a massive migraine. By the time I’d clocked out I was barely able to drive home let alone to the gas station to buy the  now wasted soup. This isn’t the first time I’ve had such crippling migraines, they usually last an a few hours before passing. This however was different, this was worse.

“Thanks,” I manage, turning on my side and burying my head under a mound of pillows. Everything hurts right down to the dim light crashing through the window.

The next day, Alex calls to let me know he’s coming home with soup which he will fix for me then he has to scurry off. I remember his face long after he’s gone. The way he loving warms up the canned goodness, sits next to me on the bed and hands me the bowl. This boy really loves me!  The thought is officially plastered in my mind. All at once I’m self conscious: barely showered, eyes baggy and puffy and teeth…? Honestly I can’t remember if I brushed them. He kisses me and tells me I’m beautiful before he leaves.

love-man-woman-silhouette-sun-sunset-sea-lake-beachother1_1 love-wide-wallpaper-1920x1200-008

I am convinced I did not understand love until I met Alex or how to surrender to it. Like most women my age, I’d grown up under the tyranny of romantic propaganda. That is the frail yet worthy beauty waiting patiently for her knight in armor to whisk her away, thus solving all her problems. I am not against these ideals per se, for some women this is perfectly fine.  As I aged however I developed my own saying. I don’t need a man to slay my dragons. I want a man who knows when to let me slay my own, isn’t afraid to ask if he can join, and not afraid to take over when needed. Hell it made sense back then and in some ways it still does.  I am independent and thank G-d I’m with someone who isn’t intimated by this.

Learning to let someone in has been a challenge. In the past, being independent meant never asking for help. I am not sure where this habit came from but it was (and sometimes still is) there. Accepting help (and love) from those closest to me is a lesson that I learn daily. I recognize that to love and be loved means accepting care, taking an outstretched hand, and allowing someone to be strong when I cannot. It is one of the best things I can do.

In 2008 (or 2009 if I’m remember correctly) I caught a bout of pneumonia.I was living in Los Angeles at the time and hadn’t bothered to tell any of my friends that I was sick. Big. Mistake. By the time I made it to the doctor a week later, I had already experienced, as the doctor called it, night fevers. That is I would wake up burning and on fire, barely able to breathe. To make things worse I could barely walk two steps without being winded and of course I lost my appetite.

One night after being awakened by a night fever, I made my way as usual to the bathroom to get a cool towel. This seemingly simple task took a turn for the worst when I found myself spinning and the ground coming dangerously close. I crawled on my hands and knees to my sleeping roommate and very weekly knocked on the door. One knock, two knocks, then three before I realized that he was dead asleep. I crawled back to my room crying. Okay I give I’ll find a doctor tomorrow.

Per my doctors orders I was to remain in bed for a week, drink plenty of liquids, and take a dosing round of pills. As luck would have it two days into my bed rest I caught a sinus infection and was barely able to open my eyes or breathe without pain. So essentially I laid in bed with water, pills, and a phone. I called my mom every day crying and crying and crying.  My mother who was living in New Orleans, asked if I had any friends who could come over, make some food for me and lend a hand. I was ashamed to admit that I was afraid to ask. I was afraid that they wouldn’t think I wasn’t worth the trip.  I was afraid…sigh…. afraid that they didn’t love me enough. “No,” I said. Honestly I can’t even remember if I ate…I’m pretty sure I just bought a huge gallon of juice or something.

love-by-cuddlesaur-on-deviantart-2tz7pa6aFive years later someone is by my side. He asks “is there anything I can do for you?” My first response is to nearly always say no I’m okay, I can take care of things. But…I pause for a moment, I reflect on my life, I remember the people who have loved me in the past and how I have been afraid to ask for help and denied them the opportunity to show love. “Yeah baby, can you bring me some soup, it would be a big help.”

I never want to be the kind of woman who buries herself under a series of untouchable layers. I’ve played that game and it ended with me kissing the floor because I have no strength to make it to the bed. I’ve changed a lot over the years no, backspace, love has changed me over the years and I am a better woman for it.

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

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I’ve been on a career kick these past few months as I attempt to unleash Rhonda the Career Woman, patent pending. To recap, I’ve talked about the many things that have stood in my way. Myself being the first, disinterest being the second and fear being the third.  In an effort to make a positive step I’m asking myself what would I do if I weren’t afraid?  To face the question and speak the answer into existence however feels… wrong.

I dream big, I reach for the moon, and I have never wanted an ordinary life. If I am to live, truly live, I want it to be as someone who isn’t afraid of her own potential although in many ways I am. There is so much fear, mostly of failure. I second-guess myself and at times I don’t believe in the assumed impossible.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. (Marianne Williamson)

Photo-for-071211-blog-post-overcome-fearSo…what would I do if fear weren’t an option, if the world were at my feet and willing to do my bidding? Well… the answer is not act (not entirely at least). Cue shock and surprise. Before I recognized I was an actor, I wrote… a lot. I always had a journal; in fact I use two of them today. Writing is an essential part of my life, as is storytelling. To date, I have written two screenplays and have pitched them to several producers. You may or may not be surprised to know I have received some interest in my work.  You may also be surprised (or not) to discover that I have yet to send anything to anyone.  I’m afraid my work isn’t good enough. I’m afraid of the rejection and it’s easier to keep my ideas as just that, an idea.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,talented and fabulous?Actually, who are you not to be?

Writing is an important part of who I am, I can’t imagine my life without it. There is something to taking what’s in my head, putting it onto paper, and seeing it portrayed. It’s an experience I’ve only had once or twice in my life. More important than seeing my work is seeing the work of others. That is, reading scripts and working with an author to make a more comprehensive story.  As I’ve matured I learned that a producer could do all these things (bingo). For example Mindy Kaling (my girl crush and idol) was a staff writer, producer, and actor on The Office and now The Mindy Project.  This is what I imagine (and hope) my life will be like. When I think of Rhonda’s Production Company (name pending) well lets just call it Rhonda’s Company because my thoughts on the matter are fluid…I clam up.  For some reason I can’t grasp the severity of what it would take to actually do it or what it would mean to achieve that level of success. In fact, I’m not sure where to begin which.

Little Life Lessons

  1. If it were easier, more people would do it.
  2. The most impossible tasks begins with one step
  3. What’s really standing in your way? Is it that you really can’t do it or that you won’t try?

 

???????????????????????????????????????????????????I applied to UCLA and USC because I wanted to learn how to be an independent producer. I wanted to learn how to be “Mindy Kaling” and write and produce either my work or the work of others. When I was rejected, I understood it as part of having a dream. I have to try first, and second, accept the outcome. I cannot let it deter me from my path. A door was shut and perhaps it needed to be in order for me to find a better one.

It’s been several months since I received a no from both schools. I have since gone back to UCLA’s website only to discover their certificate programs. There is a certificate program for producing that is one third the price of the masters degree. As I furthered down this rabbit hole I found several screenwriting workshops… already I feel one step closer to my goals.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

In a short while my fiancé and I are moving to California and I am determined to make more strategic steps.  That means choosing things that will help me get closer to my ultimate goal. I started this post by asking what would I do if I weren’t afraid. I guess the simplest answer is I wouldn’t be afraid. I would free myself to jump all in without fear and as best I know how that’s what I’m going to do.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

 

 

Be Unstoppable…Maximize Your Potential!

Are you living to the fullest? Is your life everything you hoped it would be? Are you growing, changing and adapting to new situations that come your way? Are you unstoppable?

I’ve been on a journey, a life kick of sorts that has me questioning how I’ve lived these last 27 years. As I mull over my life’s history, I can only conclude good or bad it’s in the past. BUT I am willing to take previous lessons and  allow them to shape my future.

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Roaming around The Republic of Georgia

I grew up in a very religious home. While I don’t hold to the same rigorous beliefs I appreciate biblical teaching. My favorite by far is  the parable of the talents. To summarize, the master gives three servants, three different yet equally important “talents”. To one he gives five, to another two and to the final, one. The first two multiply their share making their master proud. The third and more “wicked” of the three, seeing he only has one, chooses to bury his in the ground. When the master returns he becomes enraged and reprimands him (or her) for not using what had been placed in his care. Actually in Matthew’s retelling the guy goes to hell. Luke’s ending is a bit more…softer?

Top 3 Lessons Learned

  1. The servant with one is no less than those who have more.
  2. It is each persons duty to work hard and reach their potential.
  3. Excuses get you no where.

 

With that in mind, I ask are you unstoppable? Are you taking everything that’s been given to you and doing your best?

Turning the magnifying glass on myself, I see a woman with commitment issues especially when it comes to jobs. My previous post Damn You LinkedIn was inspired by this. I’ve spent my life half ass-ing two things, my work and my passions; hating or loving both or one, life depending. Acknowledging this and realizing my need to change was the result of my relationship with my fiancé and ironically my father. Being in a couple helped me realize I needed to reach my full potential or else I would be short changing my partner.  I started with looking at my parent’s to see if this could explain some of  my innate fear of  job commitment.

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Skydiving in Italy

My dad never committed to a job for more than a year, two if he really tried.  When asked he never raved about how much he enjoyed his work. It was always “just a job” good only to make money and pay the bills. As a kid I thought well if this is how it’s going to be, I’d rather be doing what  love than a job I hate. With that in mind I spent most of my early years living overseas, job hopping and seeing (some parts of) the world!

My dad often remarks how similar we are (agreed). In the case of job stability, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Like my father, I too changed jobs frequently. I never fully committed to one thing and I always found myself chasing something in the distance. In my dad’s case it was money. In my case the perfect moment when I’d lay down my desk job for an on-screen position. On a rare occassion my dad and I talked about the chase. “There has to be more to life than this,” he said.  I understood. I too felt the really, this is it? I’m going to be working at this forever moment when it came to jobs.

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Walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival

Before I met Alex I was comfortable jumping from one thing to the next without much thought. Now that I am a part of something that includes two moving parts, I’m rethinking things. Even my parents have noticed a change “We don’t know how you got her to settle down,” they once commented. “She must really be in love.” I’ve had a lot of adventures in my life (with more to come) and I’m proud of every one of them.  I am however ready for a career adventure and have decided to commit to finding something I love and sticking with it. 

So…why is having a career soooo important to me?

  1. My mother is a homemaker.
  2. My father’s career is “store manager”?
  3. My only sibling doesn’t work…neither does her spouse.

 

Then there’s me…

  1. First in my family with a college degree
  2. First in my family to travel within US and Internationally
  3. First in my family to be a published author
  4. First in my family to be on television
  5. AND well… I am too ambitious to just waste away barely living.

 

I enjoy working and taking my skills and putting them to use. I agree with my dad there has to be more to life than this and I’m on a mission to find it.

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Hanging out with friends in Korea.

Rhonda’s Steps to Career Success

  1. My first goal was to decide where I stood with acting. Last year I auditioned for my dream school The Actors Studio at Pace. I flew to New York on a 7 AM flight and by the time I left at 7 PM, I’d been offered admission. I never went back and my admission went unclaimed. I mourned this death for months. There are 101 reasons why I couldn’t say yes to the dream: the price tag, fear of failure, fear of leaving Alex. I concluded that if I couldn’t commit 100% then it was time to move on. Yes, after a long struggle I placed acting in the hobby category.
  2.  My second goal was to accept and appreciate my other talents.  For the longest time, I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t acting. When asked what are you good at, I always struggled to find an answer. Honestly I never thought about it. Perhaps this is why I  never put effort into finding a job that fit me. Growing up the advice I was given was if it pays well, do it. With that in mind, I went from one job to the next never asking myself is this the kind of job I could stick with.
  3.  My final goal was to accept change. For years I have been clinging to the idea that I would be an actor. Moving it to the hobby section, I was now left with the now what? Seriously what do I do now?
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Living in a kibbutz while backpacking Israel. Seriously I met this guy on the internet.

It was a typical weekday night. Alex was cooking shrimp curry. I watched as he floated effortlessly throughout the kitchen.  Some where in the space between roasting Brussels sprouts and the sautéing the shrimp I asked, “Baby what do you think I’m good at?”

“You’re good at organizing and communicating and working with people.” He went back to cooking and I went back to thinking. Communicating, I like that. I took to Google and searched “jobs for creative communicators”. Those four words opened an entire world of careers. Bingo.

Rhonda’s Short List of Must Haves

  1. Must be entertainment or media basedI may not be a traditional working actor but film and television will always be my passion. Plus, I’ve got a working resume of  freelance PA gigs so I”m off to a great start.
  2. Must be creative (a loose term) and have elements of writing.  I get bored with jobs that are mundane and require no real creative energy (problem solving, projects, etc.). I love the rush of brainstorming and coming up with ideas.
  3. I must feel essential to the team  I’m sick of the whole worker bee, come in, put your head down and do your job life. I want to be in a place where my thoughts count and I can see how I’m helping things grow.
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Getting ready for a night out in Thailand

The parable of the talents is one of many allegories that teaches us ownership. Ownership of our potential and ownership of our success. I want to be unstoppable. To me that means I thrive, I achieve and I live life to the fullest. For some people this doesn’t mean getting a career but ask yourself are there areas where you could be doing more.

My career search is far from finished. I’ve essentially narrowed it down to four fields: PR, advertising, marketing, and casting. And for the first time I’m genuinely excited. Next week, I’ll explore the question: What would you do if you weren’t afraid so stick around.

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