I started a bucket list and landed on stage

Do you have a bucket list? I have one. I even started a Facebook group, 30 by 30 – the account is closed now. It started as a group page opened primarily to people in my inner circle. Members were privy to post their to-do lists before they’re next big birthday arrived or before they “kicked the bucket” or whatever came first. It was created as a motivational tool to inspire us to achieve whatever our hearts desired. Whether it was to write a book, join a Zumba class or zipline, the objective was to put it on the list and do it.

I was fast approaching my 30s, and as a result, I had fallen into a slump.  In response, I had decided that I would accomplish 30 feats (no matter how big or small) before my 30th birthday. Fast forward a few more years and I’m at the midpoint in my 30s. Currently, my bucket list looks more like a what-I-want-for-Christmas list.

One item stood out among the pack; goal number 31: be an actress. That’s right. I wanted to try my hand at acting. But, the closest thing to getting on stage was volunteering with the Board of Directors for a local community theatre group. At the time, I just wanted to be an advocate for continued education of the arts.

Pictured with my DST line sisters after my stage debut alongside two acting veterans (all white attire). #Keen18

And, then…an audition opened welcoming new talent for an independent stage play. At first, I was fearful and nervous. But, I nailed it! I landed the role of Katherine, a good friend and support system to the church’s first lady and someone who despises messy people. Was I playing a character or was that my life? The director pointed out to each of my cast mates and I that we were “to eat, sleep and breathe” our new roles. I was determined to be the best Katherine this community would ever witness.

Just to be clear, acting isn’t all lights, camera, action, especially in the small theatre world. There are no production assistants, the crew and cast come with a set of multiple personalities (in addition to the characters’ personalities)  as well as a host of stage cues to memorize in addition to your lines. But it wasn’t all bad; there were perks too: a horde of laughs, snapshots and selfies to remember our experience with one another, snacks and surprise dinners for those late nights.

After two months of rehearsals, it was showtime. Time to break a leg! I stepped onto the stage under those piercing, bright lights in the company of hundreds of people eager to identify the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). The bulk of my performance was in a salon AKA gossip central. We were the supportive cast and offered loads of ad lib attributing to our comic relief. The plot revolved around lust, love, who-done-it and drama taking place in a church. Sound familiar? I mean, sound interesting?

By the end of the show, we were a hit with the crowd. Just as soon as the curtains closed, social media was buzzing with compliments, photos and videos. My acting debut, my bucket list item number 31, was fulfilled and it was satisfying. Who would have thought it? Me. An actor.

But, the part of the story that makes this extra special for me is that throughout the rehearsal dates, memorizing lines and getting to know my cast mates, I was undergoing a personal battle; a financial struggle. During this time, I was running my own one-man show;  renovating my home, making a major home appliance purchase, paying credit card and home bills and dishing out exorbitant payments on vehicle repairs. It was a struggle balancing work and rehearsal. But, it was by way of my faith, love and support of family and friends and my personal determination that carried me through this hardship. Bucket list number 31…#ibedamned

So, what’s next? I don’t know. Maybe a hot air balloon ride.

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Don’t kill my vibe: 8 ways to spice up your love life

Warning: This is not a relationship advice column. It’s more like a suggestion or offering of good words. Ok, I confess. You can call it a getting-to-know-you-better-so-we-can-become-a-happier-couple advice blog. Fair?

Even if you’re not committed to one person, take heed to the following; it can be a fun way to liven up any relationship, even if you’re waiting on Mr. or Mrs. Right.


Unlike the obvious reasons for breakups, divorce or separations like financial challenges and infidelity, there’s one issue we tend to overlook; boredom. Boredom can suck all the fun out of your love life and can result in a dull lover. You may think throwing in the towel on your lackluster relationship is easier, but indulge your partner in excitement to keep the spice alive. Resuscitate your love life and try the following:

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Be silly.

Find someone that laughs at your corny jokes or someone who reciprocates a corny joke or two. It can be something that only the two of you understand. Or, come up with your own handshake. Celebrities like Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union have one. And in my opinion, it’s pretty silly. But, that’s the point; it’s their thing and they love each other. That’s all that matters. If you can’t be silly with the one you love, then with whom can you be the most vulnerable.

paddle_boarding_in_bora_boraSet goals.

Dream about a future together. In the event, you’re with someone for the long haul, start putting those dreams into action. Whether it’s about planning a wedding or a vacation, talk about it. Save up for the things you want and desire. Prepare yourself. Be the change you want to see. And, if that person cares enough for you, they’ll make changes necessary for a life with you.

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Role play.

Don’t be shy. If you’ve ever desired to be an actor, here’s your chance. If you’re still not comfortable, revert to Step # 1; be silly. Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. They can be for any day of the week. And, it doesn’t have to be in person. Try phoning your lover in phone play. Break the ice. Better yet, invite a cup of ice into your bedroom. It’s just another way to introduce excitement into your bedroom, living room, kitchen…you get the point.

baby_dance_scary_funny_baby_danceTurn on the music

And, dance! “Music soothes the savage beast.” Quite the cliche, but it’s true. Music can enhance the playful or sensual side in both you and your partner. Music can fine tune any relationship. You don’t even have to go out to a club to listen to music. You can enjoy it from the comforts of your home.

extreme_christmas_quiz_with_phil_lester_collabmas_day_13Pop quiz.

Take one of those online quizzes. You’ll be amazed at the amount of information you can learn from someone you thought you already knew. There are a ton of questions you can ask each other, especially questions pertaining to your childhood. What was your favorite cartoon? If you could possess a super power, what would it be? Why?

bungee-jumpPlan a super date.

Don’t just do dinner and a movie. Do something totally unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone. Need some help? Take a road trip to nowhere. Pack your bags and enough food and snacks to keep your bellies full while you take on the open highway. It’ll be a perfect time to talk, reminisce, act like teenagers again and enjoy each other’s company. How about tap into your youthful side and visit a zoo or horse ranch? Or, walk on the wild side and go to a zip line park or take on parasailing. Nothing says excitement like being suspended 800 feet in the air; that’s one way to break out a relationship stalemate.

dip

Get into your birthday suit. 

No no no. Get your mind out the gutter. Well, actually just peek a little bit. Take a skinny dip into the pool. Getting naked is definitely not boring, if you’re doing it right. But, getting naked in water with your boo thang is like a scene out of an HBO skin flick; tawdry and self respecting. What an oxymoron!

letterWrite a love note.

Leave a note in his wallet or in her purse or in a lunch kit. Everyone likes an encouraging word to get them through the day. Write something you would want to hear or remind them why you chose them as your SO.

So, there’s hope for you after all…#ibedamned

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I'm Not a Strong, Educated Black Woman

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“Hi, I’m a strong, educated Black woman,” says no one. Can I be strong and intelligent? And, can I just be Black? Separately? Excuse me for acquiring all three, but I like my “compliments” to stand apart from my blackness.

I am a woman. Yes, I earned a degree that’s likely resting in a box in a corner collecting dust. Yes, I use my knowledge, skills and my God-given talents daily. But, I am still a woman. Yes, I am Black. But, I am simply…woman.

I don’t twist my neck and snap my fingers. I am a woman. I don’t need fancy titles or adjectives to distinguish my intelligence. I am  a woman.  I don’t use my physical prowess to beat and cause injury. I am a woman. I’m not angry at the world. I’m a woman. My blackness is strength, not insulting. I am a woman.

I am outspoken, I am proud, I am funny, I am fierce, I am fabulous. I am a woman.

And, like my fairer-skinned sisters, I am educated and strong. Stop equating my intelligence and strength to my skin color and race. When’s the last time you heard, “she’s a strong, educated White woman?”  Is it easier to hear an opposing word from a White woman? Is she less angry than a Black woman? Is education more appropriate for White women? Are White women not as strong as Black women? Well, #ibedamned. I am not a strong, educated Black woman. I am a woman.

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