It’s officially 2018!
Did you make any resolutions for the new year? There are always the two biggies that top the list – lose weight and exercise! I can attest that they’ve been very much a part of my resolution lists year after year. Then, lo and behold, I had an epiphany. It’s not about making resolutions that often quickly fall by the wayside. It’s about coming to grips with the bigger picture and what’s important in my life. And, then, the rest seems to fall into place.
When I was at that impressionable age as a pre-pubescent teenager, Twiggy was all the rage.
She had those big doe eyes, short blond hair and, most importantly, she was stick thin. That bode well for my sister who was tall and thin; but for me, my self-image was low. I was curvaceous and shaped more like Marilyn Monroe than Twiggy. I always thought I was fat. I was athletic and didn’t eat much because of colitis; but I still couldn’t look like Twiggy.
Even though many years have passed, the story is still the same today. Young girls deal with self-image problems. Today they deal with eating disorders to achieve that anorexic look that is so esteemed in today’s culture. Having a woman’s figure is considered plus size.
This plagued me even during the years pursuing my career in the beauty industry. I’ve always cared about the way I look. I enjoy dressing well; and I never leave the house without wearing my makeup. On the job, I was surrounded by “beautiful” people who fit the mold. I was the outlier. I remember being on a commercial shoot for Maybelline Mascara. Our model was, none other than, Christy Turlington.
She was one of the supermodels of the day. She was the consummate professional and a genuinely nice person. I found it amusing that, as the client, I would have to check her makeup, especially her eyelashes, to make sure there were no clumps of mascara. She was and is a flawless beauty. Boy, did I feel insecure about my looks. I’m 5’2”; and it felt like I was standing in hole next to her. To add insult to injury, while working at Maybelline, I was seriously affected by the weather in Memphis. I suffered with sinus infections and needed to take medications to help alleviate the problems. Unfortunately, I had reactions to the meds. I blew up like a balloon. I’ve had to battle the affects for, basically, 20 years.
I had to deal with the fallout; and I was just feeling sick all the time. I needed answers. I needed help. As a woman of faith, I cried out to God. Upon realizing traditional medicine was not the answer for me, I began seeking a more holistic approach to my health. I sought out nutritionists. I even became vegan for six months. I did lose weight; but I needed to put marinara sauce on everything. After all, there is an “O” at the end of my name. Everything tastes better with sauce on it – even tempeh!
Throughout my search, I was neglecting to deal with one major thing – me! I was in such a place of despair. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror without feeling ugly. Even though I’ve booked some wonderful work, I hated to watch myself on camera. And, here I am pursuing my lifelong dream. As an actress, I can portray other people; but I was uncomfortable with myself. Image is important, especially in Hollywood. I was battling back from the meds. I was battling back from the car accident. I was battling both physically and emotionally. This is when I had to did deep. I’ve always been a fighter. Even though I have my moments, I always find a way to pick myself up and keep going. Every step is a step of faith.
And then, little by little, I started to see changes. I started to see myself as an overcomer. I started to believe that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I started to believe in myself and that “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” I started to believe that I’m where I’m supposed to be. Instead of thinking I was crazy to pursue acting so late in life, I started to embrace my passion. I’ve been truly blessed with family and friends who support me. I don’t take any of them for granted. For years, I was that independent woman who could do it all. I’ve come to learn, I can’t. I’m learning to ask for help. I’ve come to understand that I’m on a journey; and I should look at each challenge and setback as a learning tool to grow and expand my horizons.
As I say goodbye to 2017, I welcome in 2018. I’ve come through a year full of surprises. In January, I was diagnosed with stage 1 endometrial cancer. I had surgery; and each day I’m grateful that it was caught early. I did not need to go through chemo or radiation. This was my epiphany. Although I’ve always been an optimist, I’m approaching each day with an attitude of gratitude. I was diagnosed two weeks before I premiered my show, It’s Only Lipstick, on February 10th. That night, I had a blast. I gave it everything I had.
I wasn’t going to let cancer stop me. While recovering, I committed to doing a 7-week run of my show. And, now I’ve started writing this blog to encourage and entertain. I’m seeing the bigger picture; and those goals that used to be on my new year’s resolution lists are falling into place. In 2017, I lost 20 lbs. I performed a run of my one woman show, It’s Only Lipstick. But most importantly, I embrace who and all that I am. Just beautiful!
While you look at the bigger picture, remember…it’s never too late to go after your dreams!