twenty five

“Becoming a mother is life altering.” I hear that. I read that. I laugh at that.

Obviously, we are not talking breaking news here. Yes, becoming a mother alters you life. Forever.

However…

“Alter” is nice, polite. A pleasant word for change; a slight, sweet modification, perhaps. The perfect dress that just needs to be slightly altered, a hem. Pin, tuck, sew. There…perfect. Altered.

In regards to pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, “alter” is more of a tsunami in the Bermuda Triangle of physical body change, emotional mental upheaval and a soulful evolution that grounds your life’s existence on this planet.

Alter? That is precious, but it doesn’t even come close.

25 years ago today, my life was not altered. My life was shattered. Shattered into a million, brilliant beautiful pieces of light, that have since rained down over me, reflecting all that is good and true and funny and beautiful in this world.

A million, brilliant laughs with a million, brilliant happy tears.

A constant brilliant shower of an authenticity, a shining light that I had never known, yet recognized immediately. 

Strong, intelligent, beautiful, courageous, assured, nurturing, wise, creative and the funniest goddamned person I know.

Whatever she does, wherever she goes, she and I will always carry that moment inside us. When the million brilliant pieces of light shattered, rained down from the heavens, blew gracefully through the early morning warm summer Texas breeze and whispered, “mom”.

Happy Birthday, Jordan Adeline.

July 8, 2015

twenty five

diversity is golden

After a brief hiatus of, oh let’s see…seven months (!), I am happy to be back with a somewhat decent grasp of my time. Many of you know of our relocation to Martha’s Vineyard, where we have purchased an iconic dive bar/live music venue. Life just keeps getting more interesting. So, let’s get back to it.

 

A couple of years ago, my daughter was finishing up her Film and Television degree at Boston University. She shared with me a class discussion about our entering another “Golden Age” of television with HBO and Netflix productions gaining popularity. Having paid the BU tuition and knowing the full cost of said film degree, I took her word as well-educated gospel.

It was about that same time that our DVR started to fill up with episodes of “Homeland”, “The Newsroom”, “Parenthood” (highly underrated), “Downton Abbey”, etc. Terms like “binge watch” were spot on, as Larkin and I would look at each other, bleary eyed, after 4 hours of “House of Cards”… “One more?”, we’d beg each other in unison.

One of the golden elements of television now, is the fact that our favorite pastime is on our time. We decide when, how, where and even the device to watch our favorite shows. No planning your life around a TV schedule, just carefully navigating your Twitter feed for any spoilers.

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For me, there is a much different “Golden Age” of television occurring with the parade of Hispanics and diversity marching across my screen in the CW’s “Jane the Virgin”. Holy Golden Brown Goodness!

Having a show like this on TV when I was a kid, would’ve been a game changer. (Not to mention a brown Barbie doll, but that’s another post.)

I remember a story Oprah Winfrey recounted from her childhood, when she saw Diana Ross and the Supremes on TV. She and her friends yelled from house to house, “Black people on TV! Black people on TV!”

I could so relate to this.

As a little girl in 1974, it was my starry-eyed dream to be on TV. But, there wasn’t anyone who looked like me on that big, console screen. On any of the four channels. I remember being thankful that I had a distant second cousin that mildly resembled Tony Orlando.

Where were all the brown skinned, doe-eyed girls like me?

Fast forward to the 80’s and my days of acting and modeling auditions. “Too exotic.” “What are you?!” “We’re looking for someone more ‘girl-next-door.'” “Too ethnically confusing.” Well, I was in Dallas, Texas. The makers of J.R. Ewing apparently didn’t know what to do with me.

And speaking of “ethnically confusing”, when I auditioned for an actual Hispanic role, the casting director simply stated, “You’re not Mexican enough.” Seriously.

So, at 48, I finally can see a cast of strong, smart, beautiful Latina women on TV. And that is oro puro. (Go ahead, look it up.)

Lauren Duca recently wrote a great Huffington Post article on the break-out series: ” ‘Jane the Virgin’ is that show everyone is talking about. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Yeah, the one based on accidental artificial insemination. If you wrote it off based on that premise, you’d be justified, considering it’s about a pregnant virgin. Except, that absurd log line turned out to be a huge component of its unlikely charm.”

“Unlikely charm,” indeed. Gina Rodriguez, the “virgin” heroine is authentic, approachable and, well, like the “girl next door.” The diversity of the cast is a genuine attempt to depict what this country looks like now. For a show that never mentions race, it is a realistic representation of how we should appreciate and celebrate our different cultures and traditions. The depiction is the melting pot our country deserves to be.

Before I start in about how divided we are in reality and get all political, I will stop here and just celebrate and congratulate the entire cast and crew of “Jane the Virgin”. It is just good, fun television.

This morning, I watched the announcement of the Golden Globe nominations. As I listened to Gina Rodriguez named as a nominee in the “Best Actress in a Television Series” category, I smiled to myself.

My 1974, brown skinned, doe-eyed self.

10 life lessons from Katharine Hepburn

(edited from a previous post, August 2012)

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The Tao of Hepburn~ 10 Life Lessons from Katharine Hepburn 

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” Finding your passion and making it your life’s work is a choice, your choice.

“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.” Do not stand on the sidelines and wait for someone to put you in the game. You are the quarterback of your life.

“I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.” Every day, every minute, each mundane moment is a chance to create. You can conjure up boredom and complacency or you can make magic. It is all on you.

“Being a housewife and a mother is the biggest job in the world, but if it doesn’t interest you, don’t do it – I would have made a terrible mother.” If you choose the mission, then give it your all without demanding anything in return. Grow respect by mothering from a place of love, not expectation. Nurture, guide and teach by example, without criticism. If you choose to forgo motherhood, see the following….

“Never complain. Never explain.” Do not ever give someone the power to make you feel guilty for your choices. You are on your path, living your life. Stand tall by your convictions and let your actions define your character.

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.” Go ahead and pay the therapist your hard-earned money, get your parental angst off your chest. Now, get over it. Parents do the best they can with what they have. It is called the past for a reason. It has passed. Kick it into high gear and move forward. It didn’t kill you, it made you stronger.

“Without discipline, there’s no life at all.” Either you do it or you don’t. If you cannot apply discipline to your studies, your workout, your health, your screenplay, your marriage, your child rearing, your job, your finances, your blog, your novel, then, you will never achieve the success that will create happiness and security which, in turn, will cause you to feel doubt, fear and depression and, yes, that is “no life at all.”

“If you want to change attitudes, start with a change in behavior.” Your attitude is your superpower. You choose good or evil. Positive behavior creates a magical life, negative behavior fills your days with chaos and drama. Again, it is your choice.

“If you need a helping hand, you can find one at the end of your arm.” Roll up your sleeves and get it done. Especially if you want it done right. Nothing worth anything is easy, remember…

“Life is hard, after all, it kills you.” As long as you draw breath, draw breadth. Leave this earth knowing you worked hard, you played hard, you loved hard and you lived hard. This is your one life. Don’t hold back.

Be like Katharine.

 

at 48

“You can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”

Heartburn (Nora Ephron)

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48

~

I continue to choose “fool”

Always dreaming

I believe in now

Enjoying the adventure

I believe in next

Creating the new project

Never settle

Push the envelope

I am the little engine that CAN

“I know I can. Hell, yeah I can”

~

I stumble

I break

I get up

~

I laugh

I laugh even more

Then, again

~

Intention

Breathe

Meditate

Breathe

See it

Breathe

Breathe

Make it happen

Exhale

Enjoy

Repeat

~

This is how I do

48

“the opposite of loneliness”

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“The Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan

“An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world’s attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.

Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.

As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.” -Amazon Books

I was on Martha’s Vineyard, two years ago, when I first heard about Marina Keegan’s tragic accident on Cape Cod. There were several elements of this story that hit too close to home. The accident itself happened close by and flooded our local news. Additionally, she radiated all the hopes, dreams and spirit of my own daughter; only a year younger than Marina in 2012. They possessed that end of college sensation that anything and all is possible. “We are so young.”

I read “The Opposite of Loneliness”, a collection of her essays and stories, this past week. As graduation season approaches, this makes for a perfect gift for the young adult reader. (Sans vampires or nether world killing games.) The essays are funny, poignant, self-aware, refreshing and above all, well written. It does yank at your heart, as we will never hear from Ms. Keegan again.

I admire her parents and teachers, for pouring over her work and not changing or revising one single word. They allowed us to “see” their daughter. Their absolutely normal, spirited, fiery college aged daughter. They let her be…well, real. They could have easily sanitized a few sentences in her fiction, made her more prosaic. Given us the literary airbrushed version of Marina. Instead, they honored her talent and granted readers the chance to know their daughter.

To me, her pages echo a voice of both of a young woman wise beyond her years along with the spirit and idealism of a young child. Believing in the power of her words to inspire and impel to action:

“Let’s make something happen to this world.”

My original post, Living Marina, from May 2012.