Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ms. Here To Stay

Hi Joy,

Once upon a time, I moved to NYC and got involved in the improv comedy scene as well as a major Off-Broadway theater. I then got pregnant via a fast and furious romance, got married, gave birth to a beautiful boy and became a full-time mom.

At 3.8 years old, our son was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer in his nerve tissue. I had the rare gift of care taking 24/7 for the next two years while he was in treatment. He was almost six when he passed away.

My heart stopped beating. I literally lost a year of my life. I changed my career path for years and didn’t pursue acting. Yet, acting never left my soul- especially independent film. I’ve now found my way back and realize that my gift is artistry that enables others to identify their experiences. I’ve jumped across the country again and am in LA acting, writing, and creating.

This is all a part of me but, should I share my story? If so, how do I do it in a way that lets people know I’m here for the long haul and devoted to acting? And, since I’m not a spring chicken coming to this town, how do I package myself?

- Here To Stay in LA

Ms. Here To Stay,

What an amazing life! To answer your first question, Yes. If it would have helped you to hear a similar story then, you should share (if you want to). As a woman, a mother, an actress, a writer and all the other nouns that make you unique, it’s reasonable to think your experiences have informed your life and your work. They’re not shameful or embarrassing. If anything, moving forward after such loss affirms your commitment to living a passionate life.

You never have to bare your total soul and you have the power to stop talking about it whenever you choose. You never know what will happen. Your journey, strength and generosity might just change someone else’s life.

If you tap into the reasons why you are pursuing your artistry again, the truth of that will be what you need to express to others. The passionate reasons driving you are what you use to let people know you’re devoted to acting and here to stay. These passionate reasons will also help others see and feel your humanity.

Don’t worry about spring chickens or any other seasonal fowl. The fact that you know some real things about real life is your advantage. Look at sharing your story with women’s lifestyle media such as “Woman’s World” or “More” magazines and lifestyle TV formats such as CBS’ new show “The Talk” with Julie Chen and Holly Robinson Peete.

Also, if you get a moment, take a look at Benu Mabhena’s case study here. This is an actress whose past informed her work in Blood Diamond and her social outreach has been a complement to her work and life.

Keep rising!


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