The Other Three Letter Word

A couple of days into the New Year and we all have our minds hovering on formulaic resolutions. The response is typically an affirmation of the items on an ambitious check list. Instead of merely saying ‘YES!’ start to ask ‘WHY?’

WHY do I need a better body / car / house / promotion / business / social media following?

WHY am I so drawn to a career or calling?

WHY am I still in this relationship?

WHY do I entertain certain habits?

WHY 2020 and not other years?

Self-evaluation will sift all the frills out and leave you with the meat of the matter. Getting older has taught me to be wiser with my energy. I’ve realized that I don’t want to spend my entire life pouring out into an abyss of unproductive enthusiasm. I’d genuinely like to look forward to a day where I can sit back and enjoy sacrificial fruition. Remember the “hairy potato” science experiment from school where you put seeds in cotton wool, water it, place in a controlled environment and expose the project to sunlight? Days later, roots pop out and even a little greenage if you’ve been very vigilant. As much as the cotton wool was condusive for some kind of sprouting, it could never accomodate the seed turning into a potato. Only soil can do that. I wonder which things have allowed me to advance but not fully develop. It’s easy to spot the cycles that kill us and avoid them. On the launchpad of possibilities, here’s how to begin identifying hairy potatoes.

Does what you seek, in its most advanced state, lead to germination?

Success is not the entrance to a private suite. It is a revolving door that spins towards access. You walk through and leave it open for others to follow. Impartation can be achieved at every level of your progress. We all may not have the same destination but our points of intersection can prove valuable in contributing towards each journey.

Does what you do satisfy you or feed you?

I love a good oreo Mcflurry. After a hectic schedule, or random craving, it really hits the spot. I can’t live off it though. Kale would be a better choice and I make it because my body requires nourishment more than lip smacking ice cream treats. Prioritize sustaining your purpose even when it doesn’t bring instant pleasure.

Is the exposure controlled?

When I started in the film / media industry, personally, Cape Town was not the place for building myself. Having studied Film Production there and after doing a few gigs, the way things were set up, I concluded that it’ll take twice the amount of time it should before I could crawl out of the lower level ranks. So, I found myself in Port Elizabeth. The industry wasn’t nearly as developed or lucrative yet dynamics meant certain positions were within reach. I got my first Directing and Executive Producing break. In due time, I discovered new talents and began to push towards greater goals. Cape Town, would have no doubt quickly exposed me to a lot of glitzy, big budget, star-powered productions. However, my role would have been subject to one perceived skill set on someone else’s coat tail. Port Elizabeth, on the other hand has brought out the dynamic creative in me on campaigns I’ve lead. My roots run deep enough to tap into the waters of international collaborations. We all have vision. What you see determines where you’ll be.

“Millions saw the apple fall but Newton was the only one to ask WHY”

Bernard Batuch

The other three letter word is just as important. Use it!

Blessings and love

ECHOES

What a time to be alive! Seasonally, everything seems within reach. Having an African woman represent the Universe (that means you too, Mars) is a euphoric reality breaking from the nightmare of marginilization. Little girls just like her could be proud to call themselves princesses because their queen, Miss Zozibini Tunzi, reigned from a seat of infinate prospects. Events took a subsequent detour. Numerous posts fixated about what’s on her head more than what’s in it. The fact that Miss Universe has short, natural hair should not be the focal point; though it can be an entry way to more meangingful, progressive conversation. In Zozibini’s own words, “It wasn’t a strategy. I was just being myself.” Our attention should be on the how we now have someone who undertsands us speak for us in places of executorship. She has been given a seat amongst powerful people to interprit the space she so rightfully stated should be occupied. Her passions can now be on political agendas. Women were (and sadly still are) considered obtrusive for wanting to step into certain shoes when their designation is barefoot in the kitchen. Years ago, our ancestors were screaming out against such things. They risked it all to be heard. To have their opinions matter. Today, those cries echo in us.

An ECHO is manifest when winds of change blow.

According to studies,”Sound waves can be ysed to leviate and move objects,” they “exert pressure when they hit a surface, the effects are usually too small to notice. But if the intensity is cranked up high enough, soubd has the ability to counteract the effects of gravity.” Our voice is a powerful weapon. Not just in speech; its in actions, small victories, significant accomplishments, breakthroughs, sacrifice, tenacity, defying norms, disrupting culture or being bold enough to chase the dream seared into your heart. When one wakes up and chooses to look at life through their gift, the impossible is created. Because context is purpose, not labels. This will be the pitch that shatters convention. One step, leap or earthquake at a time. What has been put out shall reverb for generations to come. We are both recepients and contributors to new sound ringing in the ear of re-written destiny.

“I strained in the silence.

Maybe there is no victory amongst mountains.

Until it echoed.”

Let 2020 be your year of echoes.

Blessings and love

You Go, Curl!

So, there’s a lot of poetic interpretation of when a woman tinkers with her coif. Coco Chanel famously remarked, ” A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” Can’t say that I had revolution on my brain when I made the decision to go short. It was a domino effect motivated by a particularly bad experience at my usual straitening appoinment. The relaxer wasn’t working like it should, or the technician didn’t possess the right skills…or both. Either way, as she tore at my regrowth, dryer frying my scalp for the umpteenth time, I’d had enough. Pondering deeper, I queried what “enough” practically meant. Was this a temporary or permanent stand off? I mean, I’m no naturalista. Neither am I a clip-on addict. I’m just a girl, standing in front of the mirror, asking the hair dresser to take it easy. As the days turned into weeks and, surprisingly, months; free-spirited, tightly clenched strands supported silky, chemically processed tops. I undid my latest braided hairstyle, noticing how the juxtaposition wrestled for singularity. What to do? What to do? Keeping my mane’s static, squiggly bravado would result in loosing the joy whipping hair back and forth. But then again, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Standing tall while bearing it all. The road to mid-thought-twirlery was cumbersome. Outcomes bounced from one scenario to another, like a tennis ball during a Wimbledon finals match. Stepping into the salon, I committed to the words as they announced, “Cut it”. Clumps of hair made their free fall to the floor as I watched, not sure whether to laugh or cry. My hair stylist was definately laughing. This is what she terms real styling: doing something completely out of the normal slay queen package. The first few days were a tug of war between the old status and new profile picture. I had to make a complete change, mind included. Taking notes from my hairscapades, here are a few lessons that I felt were worth sharing.

1. Real Growth

Inspite of how bent out of shape it got, my hair chose to push through. Being over the hill, one’s general bounce back isn’t as snappy. I did a lot of pulling, burning, curling, straightening, cutting, plaitting, sewing and a sprinkle of dying. It got thin and worn out. That’s a good tap out moment. But to my amazement, it fought the odds. My hair only had a milimeter on a mile yet, like clockwork, up it sprouted. I guess I always assumed that I had to be in the right space or frame of mind to grow. When the environment was not condusive, I shut down. It was easier to recount all the faults than measure the silver lining. Even if I did nothing wrong, I could learn to do better. In retrospect, we pick up those things our egos, emotions and “oh no’s” benched in self defence. Was that really the best way to do it? Did you sincerely have no choice whatsoever? And shooting through the roof legit hurt less than biting your tongue? Man, I’ve been stunted. The ability to grow had always been in me. I refused to tap into it unless certain factors were aligned. I touted strength to empowering situations instead of fighting through discouraging encounters. Not saying one should thrive on chaos; learn when something is being destructive or demolished. Demolition is preperation for the next phase. Destruction obliterates existance. Human beings, by design are not stagnant creations. Every part of us is constantly in motion. From the blood rushing in our veins to the marathon our minds often take us on or the high from our favourite treat. Interruption in growth, no matter the catalyst, is equal to decay. Never say die. Grow.

2. Greatest Fears Realised Might Be The Best Thing That Could Ever Happen

My entire life has mostly involved substantial amounts of hair. From the thick Afro in my younger years to long, relaxed hair as a teenager then later on, braids and weaves intentionally selected to tumble past my shoulders. Those styles miandered from my scalp rather fantastically. Bald headedness was an abomination, short hair being its dispicable cousin. I rebuked scissors feverishly, only tolerating them when it was time to trim split ends. Seeing scalp was a horrid nightmare. I pictured screaming as the breeze rushed away with my beloved. The day it actually happened was mildly eventful, at best. Nothing apocolyptic. What was I avoiding all these years? How I believed it would be was one hundred times worse than what it genuinely is. Take for example, rejection. I carefully calculate before making the decision to put myself out there with minimum risk of push back. On the other side of the cookie, a friend used to spontaneously request whatever she wanted from anyone, including complete strangers. Some situations would end favourably and others would involve flabbergasted side stepping. Insanity. Yet her reason made the whole cookie crumble. “The worst thing a person can do when I ask is say no.” Have you not done something because you’ve set a pain threshold too low to implement required sacrifice? Are your fears fuel or quick sand? I’ve experienced a lot of my greatest fears; personally, financially, spiritually and in my career. Im still here, they are gone.

3. Be True To Yourself

No matter how much I tried to get my hair to conform, it never gave up its authentic identity. By nature, it is curly, kinky and often cheeky when it refuses to let the comb through. I wanted it straight. That made it much easier to manage and redirect. Which is ironic because the process to getting it that way was as uncomfortable for all parties concerned. Boxes, spaces and ideologies confont our “otherness” daily. We wind up trying to allocate shapes to holes while we equally don’t know where we fit. It’s hard being a woman in the midst of chauvanism, hyper sexualisation, stereotyping or cultural consensus. It’s hard being a black woman in an industry controlled by white, male domination. It’s difficult being amongst fellow black collegues who put you down just as hard because they can’t accept that we are also deserving of certain opportunities. It’s exhausting not being thin enough, being too tall for a chic, not possessing the right complexion or being considered a bit too hairy. Thrown in your face at every unwanted glare, belittling tone or blatant conduct, one can feel deflated. It’s not about what gets attacked. It’s about what’s on the inside. “Being” works its way from the inside, out. No matter how much the world tries to get me to conform, my true self can withstand it. I’ll only be different if I pretend I’m something I’m not or turn into something I was never meant to be. People will either make the effort to familiarise what is foreign to them or tear apart what they do not understand. Your existence was crafted without a cent thrown in from the peanut gallery. Why then should they be given the right to moderate it? Simply put, do you boo!

4. Forgiveness

I didn’t automatically do the “big cut”. I chose to transition. Secretly, underneath braids, I was drawing out a fresh start for my hair and I. All I’ve ever done to my hair has been public, in plain sight of everyone. But when the time came for me to do what I felt it took to take care of that relationship, it happened privately. My hair never fussed about it. Instead, it worked with me, doing its part as best as it could. How many times have people hurt me publicly, yet I was offended when the reconciliation would be kept in a private space? Worse still, when they felt around their apology, touching sore points, I was just about ready to throw up because it made me so sick. Sick of them. Sick of this see-saw. Sick of treating certain hurdles like its something I can get over devoid of a burning in the market square. I craved for the whole world to know how sorry they were for how I’ve been treated. I needed the satisfaction of seeing them squirm. Which meant I didn’t want an apology, I wanted revenge. It’s a lie that seeing someone who did you wrong suffer will make you feel better. Releasing bitterness, anger, doubt and open wounds brings healing. Your happiness should not depend on whether that perpertrator goes on to greener pastures or hits rock bottom. Both legally and biblically, justice is out of your hands and must be meted out by a higher authority. Our interpretation of justice is contrived, hardly ever considering reformation. I’m glad pay back from the ones I messed up remained a sinister thought, strolling over to fulfiled plots every now and then. Much as negativity may have been carried out, I can appreciate that it wasn’t the full scope of their desired end. In that, I got the chance to realise where I missed it. There were doors opened to rebuilding from “I’m sorry”. There were also closed doors, where those words would never be received. When approaching reconciliation, we tend to rationalize it as two parties present, one grovels before the other responds accordingly. The Lord forgave us before we were cognizant of our wrong doing or grateful that He did. An apology is not the key to unlocking your forgiveness. It is remorse expressed from the other person. Meaning it’s all on them. The choice to forgive is therefore an independant one. That’d be all on you. I can forgive even if you don’t understand what you put me through. I can forgive even if you’ll never know that I have. I can forgive even when you throw it in my face time and again. Forgiveness is valuable. Nobody deserves it, nobody can earn it. Yet, truth of the matter is, embracing the future would not cost us as much as holding on to the past.

5. Acceptance

At this stage, my hair is in limbo. Maybe I’ll let it grow out again, maybe I’ll keep it short……heck, maybe I’ll throw on a 14 inch wig or go back to straightening. The options are endless. Wherever this leads, I’m taking it one day at a time. My old tendencies dictated satisfaction in light of full glory. Change felt awkward when it should have been liberating. I’m allowed to express myself in every season. Yesterday, I was all about the faffing and styling. Today, I switched it up to something I can do in the shower then be on my way. Tomorrow is yet to be discovered. What’s good, I’ll keep, what doesn’t work was worth a shot. Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes chimed, “If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never know me.” My new mantra? “If I don’t surprise you by now, you will never, never, never know me.”

Blessings and love

The Wait On Her Shoulders

Hustle, grind, getting it, making in roads, killing it, taking prisoners, goal crushing. An endless supply of synonyms exist to describe fulfilling plans. What you want is on the other side of average. Going the extra mile is the only way to actually get places. This line of deliberation is a doer’s dream: Effort equals Much Creating squared (see what I did there?) It reads like my recent experience. International collaborations, media interviews, first short film as writer / director, lecturing to Master’s students…. NEXT! The more I achieved, the deeper my confidence in my ability grew.

“Good things are worth waiting for” is a term I throw around when timeous preperations appear more and more elusive. I never expeted it to be the second chapter of an action-packed season. Back on home soil from all the activities, we purposed to take a (very) short break before (thankfully) returning to the jet-setting, crammed schedule mania. Trenching it out would now be levelling up. My hand was firmly on the gear stick, eagerly anticipating the seamless change into the subsequent gear. If you’ve ever driven a manual car you’ll notice that two things happen when you change gears. First of all, you have to release your foot from the accelerator. As much as you might want to hold the pressure you’ve been applying, engineering requires relention for the sake of progress in a manner which will not inflict damage on the vehicle. However, natural instinct prompts one to strike the iron of future endeavours while they were still piping hot. The four letter “w” bomb reared its undesired head first in prayer, then in unfolding events. To wait would be counter productive in the scheme of building momentum. Probably why we pushed and pushed and pushed in the opposite direction. Wait not, want not. Inevitably, maintaining pressure on the accelerator results in dwindling power output and a loud, strained accelerating sound. The more we forced matters, the less fluid the flow became. It got to be about making it happen instead of understanding the intricacies of timing. We had to go back. Practically applied, it meant we also had to ease up. Imagine chugging to the top of the roller coaster peak. It clicks and for a few moments……nothing. Your emotions are already experiencing the dizzying thrill of accumilating speed over the twisted tracks yet your body registers suspension. The weight of the pause is crushing. You constantly have to reel your mind in. No, no. We’re here now. Bring it back a little.

Introducing the second phase: asserting the clutch. Clutches are what make gears disengage and engage from the engine as you are driving. Meaning before engaging the new gear, you have to disengage your current one. The previous period included a lot of me in it; my film, my lecturing, my accomplishments. As the clutch thudded against cushioned flooring, tactics changed and mode of propellant was re-established. Opportunities which came my way required me to show up, not show face. There’s nothing more sobering than giving your all so someone can accomplish their own dreams while yours lie pending. You’re made very aware that your little planet is a blotch in the solar system. Not to mention digesting a universal truth that not everything is about you. Entitlement suffers a slow suffocation at the hands of celebrating another individual. Boy, did it choke. As the demand was placed, I grew in a different way. My receiving capacity expanded to include others. An eye-opening revelation was moving from the notion of value scales to validation. Value scales are very heirachal, personal and items change according to priorities. I deem the work which I do to be of high importance, therefore, everything I encounter should be subservant. Validation on the other hand, is acknowledgement over placement. Respect goes a long way when connecting to what was never really on your radar. There’s less proving and more being. You’re not hestitant to serve because you recognize learning will enrich you greater than demanding status.

Waiting in many ways has been the best thing for my advancement. As I kept my gaze forward, my heels dug into the ground so I could carry more than bragging rights on my shoulders. New gear in operation, I’m stomping my foot down on the accelerator again, open to the ebb and flow of process.

Blessings and love

My Loud “NO” Before a Soft “YES”

I once ran a campaign on a crowd-funding platform for our feature length film project which was, unashamedly, worth more to me than the estimated target of financing requested. Scripting the concept had been a two year process of research, development, writing and subsequently roping in a script editor when I felt confident enough to have other eyes glance over my beloved baby. Mind, body, heart, accompanied by fiercely passionate spirit had been poured into forming what I regarded a timely and important message. Its shorter counter part, “Blind” had faired extremely well, managing to scrape the international space with its global appeal. It got people talking. Which is exactly what we wanted when we set out to create conversations rather than critisize convention. Then, uncannily, in all that bubbling promise, Black Panther identity was gushing across our screens like a tidal wave of ethnic expression. Wakanda was an “it” place. Accents with less twang and more stagger were suddenly desirable. Colour burst into cinematic view (in more ways than one). The world was ready to see more African films on a bigger stage. I was an African with a film. It was practically in the bag! Right?

“People will invest in what they see. You sticking it out may be one of those things”

So, pitch video made, yours truly front and center: Check. Links to site blasted on social media for all my contacts / collegues to circulate: Check. Regular updates posted on fundraising: Check. Further screening venues confirmed in Los Angeles and Chicago: Double check. I opted to give the campaign a comfortable 90 days to reach 100% of the goal. During the first month, it never phased me that nothing came in. My duck shoulders let it slide smoothly on; even when a collegue in Chicago told me nothing of what I wanted to hear by saying I should give it at least another year or two before making this move. It was out there and there was no turning back. Second month in, my updates and posts had an air of subdued franticism. I probably became the bane of many inboxes’ existance. Being familiar with last minute breakthroughs, I soldiered on, preparing for the process by finding HODs, location scouting for certain key scenes as well as getting the ball rolling on auditions. Hubby dearest, who’d been observing thoughtfully asked me a question that smacked the sass out of my bougie street smarts: “What will you do if it doesn’t happen now?” The idea of a back up got my back up (ok, I’ll stop). Here’s the kind of person I am: analytical and obstinately strong willed. If it resignates upstairs, I’ll be halfway to the door before you realise I can see an opening. Words like “impossible” are often triggers that challenge me to change the status quo. Which is great when its no guts, no glory. Not so great when you’re flogging a dead horse. His question was like a manual over-ride to the excuses my brain had formulated for the lack of tangible results. When the third month lapsed, the campaign raised exactly $0. Multiplied by the current exchange rate of 13 also gives R0 in South African currency. To add salt to injury, there was an article written in a reknown newspaper on how I, the “go-getter” had a film project which was “set to take off”. Readers were enlightened to the fact that this local girl was overseas, accumilating all the finances and backing required to totally crush it. SUPER. SIZED. CRINGE. The worst part was having to answer the “What’s happening with the film?” questions. Admittedly, I set myself up for the latter confusion. Maybe it was the confidence in my presentation as I projected timelines. Or the contracts I drew up. I never banked on a steep shortfall of harvested cyber investors.

“Some things are better swallowed. Chew, and it’ll eat you up”

What’s the first thing you do when you’ve had the most epic belly flop in full view of everyone around the pool? You quickly swim to the surface, cooly pull your most impressive stroke and pretend, very astutely, that it didn’t hurt. Under the water though, your stomach is burning like hell. That was me. My days were a medley of going about my business, playing the ultimate cucumber, while privately, I’d moan endlessly about how / why I thought the campaign bombed. Or obsess over the number of spectators who witnessed my “fall from grace”. A speck in the glass had put me off the whole drink. I’d rather go thirsty than down the fact that it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. Every reason it didn’t work became everything wrong with me. My name, my face, my work was splashed across a dud on the world wide web. Oh the shame! The horror! Somebody please get me a hole boasting enough girth for me to crawl into but not so big that others can see I’m lying in the dust. I’ve attracted too much negative attention already. Was it a pity party, you ask? I dunno. There was dimmed mood lighting, a sombre DJ in the corner playing bluesy jams and I could swear guests were offered a piping hot plate of humble pie. But no-one wanted to eat it because…..well, we’re here for the vibe. The turning point came when “Woke Up This Way” eeked its way into my creative nerves. “Another one?” I thought exasperately. “In the same vicinity of my belly flop?” I still had to go home and face my defeat. Nope. Not today. Yet the characters and dialogue continued to seep into my concious until I had to let them out onto the blank screen in front of me. There. It was real. I couln’t relegate the project to a figment of my imagination anymore. I was confronted by an opportunity I never even dreamed of while the one of my dreams seemed shelved. This caught me by complete surprise. I’d pined over the sunset of the previous film when a new one was already dawning. Instead of taking it on the chin, I prayed for a TKO. Truth be told, I was refusing to be humble about the entire thing. Kicking and screaming, I was pushed to admit that the absolute sum of my efforts won’t always result in met expectation. You’ve got to take the bad as much as the good. Key phrase in “doo-doo” is, well, “do”. Success is messy business. Plus no-one said 100% was strictly achieved in one sitting. There’s a term for when the light bulb switches on, especially for stubborn folk – breaking point. Or if you’re leaning towards euphoric terminology, an “Aha” moment.

“Travel light for the journey is long”

People often talk about the industry needing thick skin; like we’re somehow always invariably bullet proof. What about the shots that sink in? How does one stay healthy when gall smothers any positivity? I’ve found a releasing heart can be very powerful. There’s nothing wrong with feeling disappointed. You’re in the red zone when an isolated incident becomes a place you call home. Belts have standard notches, which serve their purpose to a lot of wearers. New notches that have to be created are because of the unusual size of the owner. The bigger they are, the more you’ll probably have to wedge into the seemingly unyeilding leather. Normal is cut and paste. Extra ordinary will take some negotiating. And pushing. And troubles others will probably live without. Be intentional to “let go and let God”. You’re not going to control everything or everyone in your life. There’ll be incidents you’ll want a do-over. However, the clock ticks forward. Release it. If it comes back another day / way remember, its another day / way. Understand what it means to be objective. An objective attitude does not exempt you from running into potholes. It does however, take the emotions away, leaving you a clear reasoning capacity to abandon the current route, swerve and recalculate. That serves you better than flying into an empassioned fit of road rage followed by grumbling all the way to your next destination. Looking back from a different landscape, the small parts that frustrated me make sense in the bigger picture. I did come home with a film, just not the one I origionally planned. It was a local picture, exactly as I had wanted, though the context was a complete one-eighty.

Instead of holding tightly on to “broken pieces”, release what you have and allow the fragments to fall together in a unique puzzle. Whether you get it right or wrong, know that this is life, not an exam.

Blessings and love

Slow Prep. Quick Cook

There’s something distinctly delicious about food that’s been slow cooked. Nothing quite compares to your favourite roast falling off the bone as you savour each meltingly yummy bite. Yet, another method exists of cooking that packs just as flavourful a punch. The quick fry. Calamari needs only a few moments of intesnse heat in order to deliver the fresh, juicy, tantilization often dipped into a zesty tartar sauce. Any longer and it becomes your article of preference as you practice your basketball shots using the bin. The similarity between these two methods of cooking is one: preparation.

“Preperation is a season, not a ritual.”

I must say, my journey in the film industry has been slow preperation, quick cook. Mainly defined by years of not a single decent project coming my way to fulfilling weeks of handling my first short film with a talented, first-time cast and a skeleton crew. Before proceeding, allow me to define what I considered “decent”:

1. Well paying

2. High-end equipment

3. Reasonable hours

4. Managed expectations and realistic planning

5. Clearly demarkated roles

How did my formative “newbie” years, which contributed greatly to my hasty conclusion look like? Slugging it out. That’s any initiate’s gateway towards seeing your name roll up the screen of a respectable film. I’ve gone to bed at 2am making final production arrangements and woken up at 4am to prepare catering for the cast and crew. I’ve sat over my laptop for days on end, often inciting volatile spasms in my neck, writing proposals for projects that I was later elbowed out of. Ouch. I’ve worked a straight 19 hour shoot on swollen feet then stayed behind to pack up when all I wanted to do was pass out. I’ve been roped in for production and ended up pouring my skills into the company’s internal administration with no extra pay or credit. There have been projects where we’ve slashed the price so low in order to “meet the client halfway”, it ended up costing us more than it made us. I’ve had sponsors disregard their commitment and pull out at the most crucial phase of the project, leaving me to pacify upset, unpaid crew….and a bewildered ego. The kicker is dealing with fellow believers and their wonderful ‘get out of ethical practice’ one-liner, “God will reward you”. It’s been a real. But I made a decision:

“All this grinding was sharpening me, not blitzing me to a pulp”

A shift in my perception helped me to see things differently. Starting from what I considered “decent”

1. Partnership

2. Resources

3. Fruition

4. Open mindedness

5. Room to grow

Wealth is a funny thing. It seldom comes from your bank account but resides in your ideas, network and experience. You have to build it before ever getting to benefit from it. Deep, taxing foundations and endless shuffling in the dirt become your daily bread. What kept me motivated was the fact that I was acutely aware of the future I desired. This too shall pass. You got your mark on that graduation day? Be willing to pay up. Most importantly, aspiring for a destiny bigger than yourself helps you to step back and be less selfish. Ok, you’re over it now but this isn’t about you. It never was. What you have, lets say its a gift, means nothing to you unless it comes into contact with others. Most likely for the better. Sooner or later, you’ll want to expose your gift with the intention to gauge how it makes someone else feel. Another way to put it is excersising your calling.

“Calling is using your gift for influence, not affluence”

Enter my short film, an awareness project on the issue of Human Trafficking called “Woke Up This Way”. Since 2015 to present, we’ve been meandering an interesting space of finding ways to use media for social advocacy as a production company. Media can shape a lot of thinking, but it doesn’t think for itself. It takes someone behind the wheel to create topics which consciously affect the recepient. So as the two production weeks snowballed, crammed with final draft of the script, rehearsals, round the clock shoots and a marathon edit; the mechanisms seemed to gush out of me almost naturally. First time actors on a tight schedule? No problem. I had a vision to see fresh talent developed merged with razor focus on timeline execution. Funding impossibilities, even for a worthy cause? Tight. If I couldn’t get the finances, what about negotiating for the things I was going to buy / rent with the money? Besides, off the bat, this wasn’t my big cashing in. Woke Up This Way was a re-investment of the wealth I’d been establishing. Every project I’d stuck it out on had been a preperation for this. I used to believe I was languishing in mishaps, misfortunes and missed maximised potential. However, the truth is, I was left marinading for the quick cook. Its akin to learning maththematics. You go to school for 12 years, memorizing those tedious diagrams. Fast forward and its hard to come by a scenario that requires you to deduce the missing angle of a parellelogram. “What was all that about?” you scoff. “What good did it do me?”. Never connecting that the drilling was to stimulate an analytical mind.

“While you may not encounter the same battle twice, your strength will be tested continuously”

I’m grateful for all my experiences now – the good, the bad, the ugly cry. They are my tools to pry open awkward opportunities. Let’s face it, nobody is banging down my door (yet) and things don’t always come wrapped in pretty bows. My best shot is doing what nobody else is doing or wants to do. Which will butterfly into my edge in the future. That cognisense cushioned the mistakes I made with a tenacity to improve. It also nudged me to find my rhythm in the dance of life.

Blessings and love

Febru-Worry

February is my birthday month and in 2018, I faced turning the big (hushed tone) 3-0. “Dirty thirty” and “Thriving at thirty” were all captions I considered inserting in a picture next to myself looking triumphantly thirty. Whatever that means. Where had all the years gone? It’s like I’d been sucked into a tsunami of ploughing, figuring myself out and becoming my own person that when I came up for air, the youthful hope I’d once pursued my future with had receeded. I was in the future. Now what? As I mulled over these things, my husband suggested that we go to Los Angeles for my special day. Being a part time film maker and full time creative (characters, scenarios and dialogue bounce around my head all day), the thought of visiting all the studios and exploring Hollywood should have made me scream with giddy excitement. Instead, I found myself nit-picking all the things that could go wrong and why the timing wasn’t great. My pre-planning preferences cringed at the thought of taking a vacation at the drop of a hat. Hats should be kept on heads. Heads were more reasonable than shuffling feet.

As the wind of travelling blew, my husband threw caution to it and I flailed around, battling to keep up as flights were spontaneously booked, only just managing to secure accomodation. Only just. And off we went. Two African adventurers about to hit Rodeo Drive harder than Julia Robert’s punchline to the snobby sales representatives in ‘Pretty Woman‘.

Laborious layover and wee-hour pick up at LAX later, we settled into our new address in Orange County. My jet-lagged mind still couldn’t grasp that we ACTUALLY did it. Barely three days ago, I was stuck in the comfortable melancholy of what I knew and now, I was existing on the other side of my boundaries. Driving down the famous palm tree route in Beverly Hills, I arrived at a realisation. I had worried about everything else except living in the moment. Yes, the years had flown further than our international trip, but I was there for every single one. I had brought with me a bag of encounters and had to check-in at every new point of conviction. My character was not marred by my journey, those were stamps that showed my entry and relieved exit into places I often had to trek alone.

Turning 30 taught me to stop living from your head and start living from your heart. You’ve got to draw solid lines but colour outside the box. Those are some of the best memories you’ll ever create.

Blessings and love