I’m a tinker.

Getting ready for church this morning, I recalled an old friend whose personality and friendly disposition shone like the sun. All those around and whoever she came into contact with were starved for warmer weather.

I remembered thinking,

“This used to be me.”

People who often came into contact with me thought I was fun, definitely funny and my outrageous- ness earned me the consistent title of “crazy.” But looking at some of my friends and other people – who seem to exude these friendly characteristics naturally – I find that I am no longer them.

My crowd of supporters from my past has long since died down. I also find, though I may want to, I don’t as readily start conversations with strangers as I used to. Some experiences have molded me to be less trusting.The former is also due to my lack of enthusiasm for leaving my bed in the morning.

Without these characteristics [and others] I was left wondering,

“Who am I?”

Being pleasant isn’t always such a task – only when I don’t feel like it. This is the exact reason for my life long exercise. Even though there are some days that I just don’t want to be bothered, I have grown to realize I must suck it up and put my best face forward.

Part of a maturity task I have given myself is when I wake in the morning, I approach everyday as a new day. I am all smiles; all is forgiven, I am happy to see strangers, coworkers and colleagues. I will be pleasant and I will be kind.

What do I like to do?

I love to smile. Following a mistake, I make efforts to keep my attitude and demeanor positive.

A natural ability I have is to encourage people; I have been told this but haven’t realized it until sort of recently.

I like being around people; there are definitely moments I need to myself but I love a small intimate crowd. I love going out with the butterfly net of possibility and catching new experiences. Being in the house for long periods of time is not my thing.

I love to make people smile and laugh. That flesh and blood infiltrated muscle beneath my chest grows three sizes bigger when I make someone laugh or smile. I love doing that the most. But the pieces aforementioned aren’t enough to complete the puzzle.

At the moment I am still gathering the pieces.

Some truth

I must have thought finding a job in Broadcasting would be easier after I graduated. I thought my nice professors would be willing to help me land somewhere. And some really were. But I don’t think I understood the amount of effort I had to put in to make things happen; nor was I consistently willing.

The truth is in college I was not the cream of the crop. I didn’t shine that bright in my major. I didn’t work for it has hard as some of my other classmates did that are working in News right now. And I’m not sure I want it now.

I know I don’t want to let my degree go to waste. I don’t want to feel less than or be considered less than to my former classmates. Then I realized I am making this about them; how they will view me. I am letting that mindset fuel my desire to work in Broadcasting.

Shouldn’t my desire to work in Broadcasting fuel me to work in Broadcasting? It’s not about my former classmates and their careers. I wasn’t willing to work like them for News and I am not willing to work hard to appease someone else in order to be considered equal.

What I want is my own path. My choices and desires have to be separate from what I think people will think of me.

I know now it was not about them looking down on me but how I thought they viewed me because that’s how I viewed myself.

3 Questions for myself and one prayer:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. What am I supposed to be doing?
  3. How do I achieve it?

Lord lead me to discover your perfect will for my life. Please help to be obedient to follow your direction. Amen.

I encourage you to ask these questions for yourself and say this prayer especially if you feel like me.

One love.

 

I got a car!

What I didn’t do was get the car checked before I acquired it which would have been the smart thing to do. Within days I needed a new …something that monitors the air flow within the car. When I changed gears the whole car shook as if it was on the brink of explosion. The battery light also came on confirming my fear of “one thing after the other.”

Now I was warned that the car is old and it could last for another 5 years or break down. So far no break downs but I can’t say the same for my pockets. You know what I did though? I prayed. I said,

“God I want this car and if I have to struggle with it I am willing to struggle.”

WHY DID I OPEN MY BIG MOUTH?

Now what I meant was if I was broke for a week, yeah I’ll deal with that. What I did not desire were two problems with the car within the week of receiving it. YEEESH!

But I got what I asked for. And then some.

I told the previous owner about the problems I was having. She let her step son drive it around. It turns out the cap for the oil just needed to be tightened. Now there are no lights on my dashboard and my car is running smooth like baby oil.

At least until I hit all these damn pot holes. Can someone fix that please?

Moving on up!

So, no more substitute teaching. I have taken a job at a daycare, CCLC. I have a limited feature of benefits because I am part time. Which means I don’t have a permanent classroom; I get to float around. I wanted to leave room to still work production. But honestly since I’ve started I’ve just been getting more sleep.

But that’s ending soon.

One can not work hard and simultaneously sleep.

– Inisa Jefferson

I work with kids from 6 weeks to 5 years old. I love working with the babies and I wish I worked with them more often. I usually work with the big kids but they don’t need me as much. The babies are so needy which suits my personality more. I need purpose.

With the big kids you teach a lesson and then the rest of the day is pretty much damage control. You keep them from tearing things apart, from ripping each other apart; from ripping themselves apart.

Babies are fun to play with, sing songs with, teach them how to feed themselves and they very rarely talk back. You get to watch them make milestones. One has to feed babies and change babies; there are more tasks when working with babies. When the kids get older that luxury wanes.

I got a call!

So, a couple months back I signed up with central casting. A few months later I honestly thought it was a bust. Wednesday afternoon, it seemed fate had turned around and acknowledged me after I had been tapping her shoulder for so long.

Central Casting called me and asked if I was available to play a mother in a commercial. The shoot was for two days and it was $150 a day.

Then he asked,

Have you changed your look recently?

I replied,

Yes, I have cut my hair up to my chin.

I sent a picture via email and have not spoken to the representative since. Fate was blowing raspberries in my face. But the fact that she even looked at me has filled me with hope. Somewhere out there people are looking for black actors and actresses with locks who don’t have perfect bodies.

I’m so uplifted I’m only a little disappointed that I haven’t received a call. I can see it 20 years from now and never getting an acting gig and Central Casting calling me out of the blue because someone out there will want the way I look. Don’t you see how inspiring that is?

I do.

I made a connect!

So, being at the Art Factory has allowed me to meet another professional that works in the business. He was working as an AD for a short film when I met him. I first asked a young girl -not so eloquently – what company was producing the film. She could not give me much information because she was a stunt double; and she didn’t look happy to be talking to me.

I asked the guy who I had come in contact with five minutes before when I first entered the building. He made a point of saying how hard it was for newbies like me to get into the business without a connect. And he said he could give me some names. Maybe get me to work for some shoots.

As of late we have been in contact back and forth but no work yet. And the last two times we were supposed to speak we didn’t.

AM I LOSING MY CONNECT?

I’m starting to think I have to make myself relevant. (I was actually already thinking that.) That guy probably has so many things going on; why should he help me? Because we both are black? No, that is not reason enough. I’m going to keep bothering him; I can’t give up so easily.

That’s why I have been making moves.

Wrench in the works

At the interview, my mic was working fine and then it stopped.

I suspected this would happen to one mic. I used up much of the battery testing everything to make sure their would be no hiccups. One went out on me the night before. But I didn’t suspect both wireless mics – that I had only bought the day before – to go out on me.

*hand hits head

I should have bought extra batteries. After all I’ve learned the least I could have done for myself is to remember to buy extra batteries.

It was down to my recorder – my trusty recorder – that captures exceptional audio. And this much it did. The interview was saved and went quite well despite my hiccups. On my way home I noticed my bag was leaking. I stopped in Penn Station to use the bathroom and to discover a pool in my purse.

I poured it out to into the toilet in order to avoid making a mess. And I lost some of my personables in the public toilet that I did not be retrieve. Not the recorder however. That suffered a far worse fate.

My recorder was soaked from the inside out. Luckily it still turned on. I shut it off feeling relieved. But I didn’t transfer the files when I got home so when I finally tried to …

my recorder would not turn on.

What am I to do?

I read on a forum to take the batteries out and let it air dry for a few days. The author swore by it. My last day is Friday. I’ve been sending prayers up for my little recorder ever since I discovered how sick it was. I hope Friday holds more miracles than only being the last day in the work week.

I bought my own equipment

So I finally did the grown- up media freelance thing.

I bought my own equipment.

That’s right I looked in three electronic stores downtown, Elizabeth and finally found what I needed; two wireless mics and a big receiver. I wanted two smaller receivers but I was doing an interview in two days; I could take what I could get.

IMG_5322

I walked in, tested it paid $107 for it. Now this is important – but back to that later. I went home and tested everything. My mic wire was too short and I needed an adapter. I decided to take it back get the less expensive wireless lavalier that I needed.

I took it back and did not read the fine print on the receipt.

No refunds only store credit.

Crap. I did not have the funds to buy what I really needed unless I returned this. The salesman thought he had a better solution; he threw in an adapter for free and $10 wire. Which was double the value he was charging me. I tested my new additions in the store to see if my problem was fixed. With my situation improved I made another decision.

IMG_5323

I was going to get that $10 wire for free. See, last night after I tested my equipment I wanted to find out how much of a good deal I had. The system I bought for $107 was being sold online for $40.

He had already overcharged me but he wasn’t going to get anymore. I prayed to the Lord, “please let me argue this man down into getting this wire for free.”

When it came down to paying the additional fees I said,

“I’m going to take this wire for free.”

Sales Man: “No. This is $30 and I’m giving to you for $10.”

“No, you said the wire was $20. And I found this same system online for $40. You already made your money off of me so I think I deserve this wire for free.”

Sales Man: “Sometimes people order offline and they don’t really get what they think they’re ordering-”

“I found this system for $40.”

The man stood quiet for a  while and then said…

“$5.”

I had to laugh.

Sales Man: “What you don’t want to pay $5?”

“No. I said I want it for free.”

Quiet again.

Sales Man: “Ok. We want to make the customer happy.”

I said thank you; still swindled but proud of the very first deal I ever made. I don’t know why but I felt a little guilty after. I called my mom to confirm I had done the right thing.

“You prayed and you got what you wanted. There’s nothing to feel bad about.” She also confirmed that I should have done my research before I bought it. A mistake I won’t make again. I let the feeling slide onto the pavement as I got into the car. Proud of the system I would use the very next day. I didn’t think I’d have any real problems on the shoot.

Unfair

I wanted to start taking my cousin’s son one night a week in order to spend time with him. His father said it was ok. I had gotten to the point where I was ready to watch over a little human being for one night on my own.

I had food for him, games for him, activities in mind; outside from his clothes for the next day, shoes and rest what else did I need for a four year old. His mother has now been deceased four months due to cancer and I had not seen much of him when she was alive. Now that she had passed I wanted him to know who I was; I wanted to know more about him.

The week I was supposed to take him I was told he had no clean clothes to wear. I wondered how he was going to school the next day. But the nonetheless I went to see him so that I could spend some time with him. Last week I was supposed to take him again.

The drawn out conversation went as follows:

Him: Call***

Him: She home

Him: Ask her

Him: I’m not there if she says no I’ll bring him

Me: Her phone isn’t on.

Him: Ok I’ll call her fiancé phone

Me: Do you want me to come pick (my cousin) up.

Him: No

Me: I can’t believe you guys did this again. I know my cousin is not happy about you keeping him away from his family. We are both disappointed in you guys.

Him: Yo I was on my way but okay

Me: So bring him.

Him: Trying to stay cool her birthday tomorrow… It a lot right now… Planning something for tomorrow at the cemetery.

Me: I feel sorry for you but it has nothing to do with me seeing (my cousin). Wat y’all doing is not right.

Him: K well I’m coming give me a min

Me: Did he eat?

Him: That’s what he’s doing now.

Me: Please make sure he has his tooth brush, clothes, shoes and homework for tomorrow. I also need his school address.

Him: Ok.

Him: Hey tomorrow better he don’t wanna go no where he wit ***

Him: And his cuzzin so tomorrow u can come get him

Me: Wow… Cassandra is really disgusted with you guys.

Him: Don’t tell me who disgusted u never came and took him over night while she was here now u want to leave me alone

Me: Yeah she’s disgusted can’t believe your treating her son this way. I’ll pray for you guys.

Him: Mann I do everything for him not u pray for yourself I can’t belive u.

Me: Can’t believe you you’re really just hurting (my cousin) but what do you care? He’s only your son. Gn.

Him: I feed him take him to school new clothes I take care of him he good u mad cause he didn’t come none of her family help me wit him gn to u.

That last message was a ploy to segue into him requesting for more money. There are a plethora of things I could add to this post about the way they are raising my little cousin. But I’m not writing this to bash but to relieve a heavy heart. One of my favorite cousins and dearest family member is now gone. While she was alive she took care of her son. Now that she is gone I fear for his well being.

Last week when I went to see him. I watched him as he and his cousin played with a toy car and a bottle cap on the kitchen table. It was then my cousin ran his bottle cap into a very large knife with wide serrated edges; almost as tall as him. My little cousin is four but small for his age. I removed it only to see him run his bottle cap into a butcher knife on the same table – I removed that as well. His aunt and some friends were having a gathering in the living room. Who was watching the kids? I did – during the short hour I was in the house.

I thought of calling the state over the situation. My roommate stated the he might be worse off if I had decided to do that. I realized it was a coin toss. I only hope that worse does not happen to make me realize I made a huge mistake by not calling them. As I said before there are a plethora of other things I could mention.

But not allowing him to see his family worries me that he’ll feel as if I lied to him or he is unloved. The little one is very smart for his age; I hope that one day he will piece together that his father and aunt kept him from me and not that I didn’t want to see him.

 

Fridays are the days that make you happy for the weekend.

Ain’t that the truth.

When I came in the next day the students had most of the editing done.

I was impressed.

I hate editing but I must admit I kind of took over. I just wanted it to be perfect because they worked so hard. And I wanted it to be perfect. Due to us not having enough light in some of our shots some of are scenes are grainy. I symbolically kicked myself for this.

I know better. I am supposed to be their mentor. School. Degree, HELLO! But,

“What you shot is what you got,” as a former professor of mine used to say.

When we were done editing, our film would not export. We thought it was because some of the footage wouldn’t render. Maybe it was my music. We kept getting the same error message that explained nothing but noted ‘it could be this or that.’

I was upset. I couldn’t let what we did this whole week go down the drain. Mrs. Crooney assisted us. She was all over the place teaching but she still made time for my group and never complained. She was the one trying to encourage me.

Sweetest woman ever.

Other mentors also came to the rescue. Our last resort:

  1. Save all the clips to a hard drive.
  2. Bring it over to Tom’s computer.
  3. Import them into his editing software.
  4. Start from scratch.

I wrote down all the clip numbers of the all shots we used. And we did just that. Well they did; I had to leave. But…

We made the deadline.

Mrs. Crooney thanked me. She said I could use her for a recommendation. I feel like an honorary mentor in her class only because everyone was so nice.

The sad part about substitute teaching; I don’t get to the see the kids grow up. Real teachers have that privilege. I honestly would like to maintain the bond I made with the students but unless I worked at their school, that opportunity is slight.

But anyway; I’ll still be around.

I had this idea of what my 20s would be like…it seems as though fate had other ideas.

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