Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sonya Michelle Smith

Things seemed to be going great for me here in Matthattan. About the time I was rounding up to my third week here... one of my all time good friends, Sonya, passed away. August 10, 2009 is the day she passed. I had just visited her in the hospital before I left for NYC so I could spend some time with her. When I heard that she passed, at first I wasn't going to make the trip home to the funeral. Selfish I think now... but it was a must when I heard that her mother wanted me to be a pallbearer. I instantly knew that I COULD NOT miss it. The total trip wiped out my savings... but the amount of personal growth that was bought with that worldly money is completely worth it.

First, I had to worry about asking off of work for two days at a job I have only been at for two weeks. Shockingly, the stereotype was broken when my bosses showed that, as New Yorkers, they had hearts and let me off ! Thank you so much Serendipity! I'll never forget that.

I left for Alabama at 4 in the morning on Wednesday the 12th and made in home about 11:00 or so (Thank God for Dana Campbell for being my chauffeur from and to the airport). I took some time to go around my college town to visit old co-workers, made a trip to one of my sisters' work to visit, then went home to rest before the viewing that night. I was a mess all day... I wanted to cry all day but the world tells us that men don't cry... so I tried to hold t in. While my mom and one of my sisters were getting ready to leave for the viewing, I couldn't take it anymore. I ran into my mom's room where they were and lost it. Full on LOST IT! It had hit me that I was about to see one of my life friends in her casket. After I somewhat calmed down... we made our way to see her. When I got to the funeral home I had so many emotions running through my mind. I was sad to say goodbye to Sonya, but while at the viewing, I saw SO many of my good childhood friends from school. I even found myself laughing at times regardless of the circumstances. I'm sure Sonya was ok with that. The night ended with my friend Jessica Fair and me going to Jefferson's for some wings and a pitcher. We didn't even touch the pitcher...

Thursday the 13th was the day of Sonya's funeral. I had also been asked the day I arrived in Alabama if I would/could speak at the funeral. Again... such a hard thing to do... but something I had to do. The service was great. Four of us spoke... all of which were so great and moving. I went last, ending it on what I guess I could call a "happy" note. Then after the service, the other pallbearers and I carried Sonya to the hearse... then again to her place where she lay now at the cemetery. After it was all done, I went to eat with some of my peeps at a Mexican joint, then went with Jessica to visit Sonya's mom at their house. After all that... I had a little time left to spend with my family (not enough though, I might add). After hanging with the fam, Dana carried me back to the airport, and I made the trip back "home" to NYC.

When I got back to Matthattan at 9:00 am, I dropped my stuff off at my apartment, and went straight to work at 10:30. I was drained emotionally, physically, and mentally! I was pretty much a zombie at work. When I got home from work... I immediately went to bed. While waiting to fall asleep... I had so many thoughts.

- Oh no... I have no more savings.
- I can't believe I spoke at Sonya's funeral and helped carry her.
- What was that noise?
- It was so amazingly awesome to see some of my good friends.
- I miss my family.
- I miss my friends.
- I can't believe Sonya isn't alive anymore.
- I have to pee.

But, out of everything I thought, it ended with "Thank you God". Thank you for taking Sonya home where there's no more worries. Thank you for allowing me to experience this. Thank you for your plan for me. Thank you for everything. Thank you. What I experienced in such a short time span gave me so much personal growth. It gave me more memories and rekindled old ones. It gave me new strengths and made me think on my weaknesses. So, with Sonya's passing... she still found a way to influence my life. I love you Sonya.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Please, if you have an extra rib, remove it...

So I had one of the most vivid dreams of my life one night this week. I'll share it (in its abbreviated form to save time) as the beginning of this post.
My favorite musician Jason Mraz had just finished a concert which, for some reason, was at my house. As the crowd left my home, I found Mraz camping outside of my home. I was shocked! I mean... my FAVORITE musician was camping at my house! I sat down and chatted with him and took some pictures to prove that he was really there. After I settled down, we started talking about life and how we all should do in life... what we want to do. Mraz went on to tell me that if you aren't doing what you want to do, it's like having an extra rib; a protruding rib that caused a discomfort of sorts. With that extra rib, nothing would feel natural... no movement would feel natural, no activity would feel natural, and no thought would pass without first thinking of the pain/discomfort of the extra rib. But, to do what you want to do... to follow a dream that you've always wanted to follow, would be like removing that extra rib. Nothing would be uncomfortable. Movement would be natural. Thoughts would be pure with no interruption. It would in a sense be... freedom. Wow.
So I finished my first week of work at Serendipity. I am a "reservationist." I literally sit at a little table and answer the phone when it rings and take down reservations. What can I say... it pays the bills. Well, I'm actually not certain if it will pay the bills, but I'll soon find out. My first day was kind of shaky. They told me what I was to wear at my "interview", but didn't go into very much details. So I showed up in lighter colored jeans, a nice button-up shirt, and a nice pair of Steve Madden sneakers. When I arrived on my first day, they immediately told me that I didn't meet dress code, but that I could stay since they didn't specify at my interview. I am not to wear washed out colored jeans and I must wear leather shoes that can hold a shine. So after they informed me of the dress code they also told me it was a clean shaved establishment. For those who know me well... my trimmed man stubble didn't cut it. So... they told me to leave and come back when my face was shaved. I left the restaurant, rounded the corner, found a barber, had him shave my face, and headed back to work. Work since has been fine and I'm starting to open up to my co-workers and it's becoming fun.
I met up with a producer on this past Tuesday evening and he refreshed my memory on how to work a camera. He might have some work for me starting in September recording seminars put on by the NYC Bar Association (lawyer stuff). It pays $25 an hour so I'd be dumb to pass that up.
I got my first audition for something this past Thursday! A friend of mine (Dana) has a roommate (Courtney) who got me in touch with her mother's friend's sister's cousin's brother (or something like that) before I left Alabama. He forwarded an e-mail to me on Tuesday to audition to perform for something which involved a 2 day gig in a mocap suit... which is one of those black suits with balls all over it to transfer human motion into a computer. It went well and I was told that not many people auditioned for it. So, keep your fingers crossed that I get it.
I originally thought that I would blog every Sunday... but I think I'll need to do it more often so I can go more in depth about stories. So... Until next time...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Serendipitous indeed.

So this is it. The first official blog of many to come to track the progress of my life here in New York City. So starting out... I actually don't have a sappy story of struggle (yet anyway...). I'm not living out of my car, I'm not jobless, and I'm not eating out of a garbage can. So if a "True Hollywood Story" is pitched to E!, I'm not sure they'll take the story, but I have a story none-the-less.

Today marks he 4th day of my life here and they have been more than great. I arrived here Wednesday the 26th. My goal was to have a job by Friday the 28th and sure enough... it came to be. The first place I walked into was Serendipity 3, a pretty well known restaurant. The last time I was in NYC... a month or so ago... me and my friends, Peach and Amy, ate there. Our waiter was from Hunstsville, AL strangely enough, and he told me to check back when I moved here. And so I did. I walked in and asked if they were hiring. The man almost said that they weren't and asked me to wait for a moment. He walked back up to me and I asked If I wanted to fill out an application and I did, of course. After turning it in, he asked me a few questions and told me he would call me. He then asked me to wait a moment again, walked off, then he approached me again and asked if I could start Monday at 10:30. I couldn't believe it and giddily said yes. Job... check!

I'm apartment sitting for two great and helpful people, Melissa and Jim, until I move into my more semi-permanent apt for the month of August. One of my greatest friends, Rachel, made the trip up here with me to give me one last bit of home before the newness of a place with no friends really kicks in. We've had a great time walking the city, kayaking the Hudson, eating good food, and relaxing before I fall into the "City That Never Sleeps" routine. On top of Rachel making the trip, one of my old teammates, Yib, is also here getting ready for school.We all three got to eat dinner along with another one of our college buds who this in city where I'm apt sitting. Serendipitous indeed.

Another cool note... I have been in contact with a JSU Alumni who has put me in touch with a producer here in Manhattan who might have a place for me to live after my semi-permanent place in August. So I contacted him and we are still working out the details of the apt... keep your fingers crossed. While speaking with him, he asked if I had a job. This was Thursday, so I didn't at that moment. I let him know that I didn't have a job and was willing to work to start earning money. He asked if I could work a camera and I said yes... and that my major was actually Broadcast Journalism. He was surprised and offered for me to met him this upcoming Tuesday night in the Theatre District to work at a shoot and learn the camera. I at one point e-mailed my head shots to the JSU Alumni since she and I have become pretty good pen pals... and she had passed them onto the producer... which I'm ok with. When he told me he had my head shots, he wrapped up our convo by saying, "So you can potentially work off and ON camera...", to which I replied, "Absolutely."

So... my first four days aren't too exciting, but they are far from dull! Thank you to all of my friends and family for your thoughts and prayers and if you don't mind... keep them coming! I'll try to keep you all updated as much as possible. Until next time...