Happy 31st Birthday Jeffrey!

For some reason I thought for a second that I was going to leave the testing of my faith in 2017. I just know that I had jumped over all the hurdles I could in 2017. Welcome to 2018 where I am still being tested.   This is where I just have to remember the sermon from yesterday, “Do Not Worry… Keep Seeking the Kingdom.” Okay God, I hear you and will keep growing in my faith journey.

So to do a full recap to the best of my memory here goes 2017 nutshell. One word truly sums it all up “debt.” But let me expound on that “debt on Earth financially.” This is not by any means any complaint but just a synopsis of how my year went. I went in debt with pretty much all accounts I had last year. The year didn’t start that way but just some decisions I made that made it be that way. To this day I have accounts that are in negative status, threatening to b closed, closed status and delinquent payments. I worked hard substituting in the previous school year along with Uber and Lyft driving. I even was fortunate to get a job as a long-term sub. That helped me out tremendously until the school year ended and I went to Miami for a week. When I got back from Miami there was no long-term job to take on so I struggled with trying to keep up on Uber and Lyft alone. Fast forward through the year I got recommended an opportunity of a place to move to DC in October. I did all I could within my power to make it happen and it did. I was able to pay for the first month of rent and was blessed to not have to worry about last month’s rent.

Now this move did not go as smoothly as I expected because even though I applied for job opportunities before I moved, none of them came through. So I was living in DC with just Uber and Lyft and then an old job I had as a valet while in college. I also eventually got a job offer to be an assistant teacher in a classroom at a theater educational program. I also got offered a role in a play that following week in Richmond, that I accepted. Things were looking up and then another crazy hurdle came up, I broke my phone and couldn’t Uber for at least a week. This interfered with me making money to pay for the second month’s rent in full. Well my mom made some sacrifices and helped me cover November and December rent. I was coasting along to make money for January’s rent all while doing the play and then getting a job at my church. This helped me also generate income for January’s rent all while doing the play and then getting a job at my church. The last major hurdle has hit where I worked extremely hard the last few days of 2017 to get rent for January and another bill paid. I made my goal for the bills and transferred the funds. Then, the money never hit the appropriate account. It is actually being routed to an account that is still in the negative. WOWZERS! Some hurdles, valleys, and rough patches have I experienced, UNTIL NOW!!!

The beautiful thing about my 2017 was that it was not all filled with low experiences. I started the year off working on a play that taught me a lot. It was a play about the life of Clara Evans Poole, the wife of Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. I learned so much about the Nation in this experience that truly made me appreciative of how they fought for equality. At the same time I was doing this play I was commuting to Maryland area for classes at the McKinnon Acting Studio. This was a once week regular trip that began to rebuild my confidence as an actor and helped me find the funny in me on camera. I also did private lessons with an acting coach in Richmond we who made me more open to learning monologues.. He even helped me to build the muscle for the one monologue that I used on all my auditions in 2017. I am truly thankful for that experience as I had fears of monologues for so long. Along with the homework he gave me, and in the session work I am much more confident about tackling monologues going forward. In the first quarter of 2017 I also continued doing Background/Extra Work for House of Cards.   One of the scenes I did in 2017 made the final cut and gave me some nice screen time where you could easily identify me. This partially boosted my confidence when I saw it, but I saw it as only the beginning. Throughout the year I went on a number of auditions and even though I may not have booked the role I was strengthening my audition muscle. This year I may not go on a lot of auditions, but I only plan to go on auditions for roles I truly want. One of the big highlights of my year was going to the American Black Film Festival. I got to meet so many awesome black creative who were doing what I want to do. I was even fortunate to get to go to a Master Class taught by Actress/Director/Acting Coach Tasha Smith. She helped me realize that Acting is a Ministry of itself and it is my gift to give back to the Lord and the world. During the school year I got the opportunity to participate in Career Day at my High School and share my career with the students. They were impressed with how much work it takes to be an actor. I was truly appreciative of that experience. Another experience I was so fortunate to have was being in a staged reading for a play that was going to be done in the fall season. This experience was so much fun that I couldn’t wait to try to do the full version. Which I did get to do! It was a full musical. In this production I got to rap for the first time ever and without the track playing underneath.

Another major highlight was setting and attaining some goals. I made a list of my Top 5 goals for the year and I achieved 3 of them on the list and many other things I did not expect to do. I am truly appreciative of what 2017 did for me. While I wanted to soak up much more out of 2017, but I am ready to tackle 2018 just like I did 2017 and just be more consistent and more faithful.

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