life, Id always felt vaguely disconnected from other people. I say vaguely,
because even though Ive always had lots of friends and immediate family around,
always stayed in the social mix of things, and stayed busy with
extra-curricular activities; at the end of the day, I never missed anyone once
they were gone. Never felt lonely.
was perfectly content in solitude, and actually preferred it that way. My
feelings always stayed very surface, and out of sight, out of mind couldnt
have been a truer description of life for me. I was connected, but disconnected
if that makes any sense.
a matter of fact, when some of my own extended family members would tell me
that they loved me, I would internally wonder, Really? How, when we hardly
ever see one another? How do you find
things to love about someone that you
hardly ever talk to? Like, maybe. But
exactly is this default love and connectivity that everyone else feels? Are
they just faking it? Or am I just immune? Up until recently, I still pondered these
basic human questions. Come to find out, I would uncover the answers in the
most unlikely of places - at my performing arts studio, while rehearsing for an
upcoming showcase. Let me explain
done lots of film and television, but for the very first time in my adult life, I am part of a stage
ensemble a wonderfully energetic mixture of song and dance and drama; Hip-Hop
and soul; a journey from my freedom fighting roots, to the freedom of throwing
my hands up in the club. And even though I am one in a mix of about 20, what I
do individually on that stage profoundly affects my fellow performers.
what they do profoundly affects me. If theyre off-beat, it throws me off. If I
misstep, I may hit someone else. If their energy is high, it ignites the person
next to them, and the person next to that person, sending an inferno racing
through the room. If their energy is
low, they muffle the beat of the next mans drum.
all matter to each other, whether we
like it or not. And we may not even know one another all that well, might have
just recently met, but in this exchange of living creativity, we all have to
fall in line with one another as if we have been connected for years. We must
believe in the connectivity ourselves, or in short, our existence on that stage
will be a disaster waiting to happen. We belong to one another, and its not an
option. So as I stood there in rehearsal
on that Monday night, I had a light bulb moment that sent my heart racing. This
is kind of like life!
also occurred to me that actors and performers, on a fundamental level,
especially those that start from a very young age, constantly must make
physical connections in order to achieve their creative goal as a group. And
its just natural law that when your body repetitiously does something, your
mind follows suit, then your heart, and finally your soul.
a basic level, creative people (actors, dancers, and singers, etc.) are thrown into the midst of humanity each and
every time they perform with others, forcing them to connect, which in my
opinion naturally makes them more open, receptive, feeling, and sensitive people;
hence, my biggest emotional puzzles being unlocked in the midst of performances
and rehearsals. As someone who had my emotional faucet turned down to a
trickle at a young age, it felt absolutely explosive standing there when I
finally understood. So believe me, it was no coincidence when I received a
life-altering phone call just days after that very same rehearsal.
since I could remember, I struggled to understand the place that my paternal
grandmother (may she rest in peace) had in my life. I honestly felt no
connection to her, and the outpouring of love she displayed when she
occasionally saw me actually made me feel uncomfortable and distant, because I
just didnt understand where she was coming from. Again, I would have those
same questions: How can you love someone so deeply that you hardly ever see? Was
she just saying all of that? What exactly was her place in my life? Does she
really even know me?
sometime last week, my maternal grandmother
gave me a call. Before we got off the phone, she asked me what I was working on,
and I told her all about my upcoming stage performance. Then something in her
voice changed. She said, You know, your other
grandmother used to do this speech that mesmerized a whole room! I, of course,
had no idea, since I had rarely spoken to her when she was alive. She continued
on, Yeah! And she would be so into
it! She used to do this thing where she would slide down on the floor, and I
cant remember the name of it, but the whole room would just burst into a
standing ovation . You know, thats where you get it from!
last words from her caught me by the throat and sent a shockwave of revelation
through my body. Literally, driving on Interstate 285, it seemed like my 80-mile-per-hour
world came to a screeching halt.
Thats where you get it from.
Thats where I get it from?
Thats where I get it from!
was the very first time I was able to
place my fathers mother in my life so personally. It was the very first time I
felt a connection to her. Years after her passing, the first time that I truly
felt all the love she extended to me, and could allow myself feel it 100 times
over in return. All this time, she and I were a part of an ensemble, and she
had passed on a gift to me that I had never allowed myself to see or receive,
until that very moment. I felt human. I felt love. I felt a connectivity to
this ancestor that had tried so hard to reach me in life; and not only did I now
understand her meaning to me, but it truly opened up the floodgates to the
realization that everyone else Id ever known is an integral part of this
ensemble as well.
finally found true love, and it has revealed itself to me through acting.
Hip-Hop and Thespian Discovery,
Hit Noree up at