Act as if you have it and it’s yours….a parable 

“I need more from you, it seems as if your holding back” says the director on our first meeting about our project. I know this. I got this. but this criticism still stinging.I prepped and racked my brain to give this character life. I studied the greats trying to capture their spirit and put together their essence with my own perhaps this was my first mistake.
First off, I’m new to this, raw unfiltered emotional dude who loves this woman and she dares not to love him enough. The role did spark a fire in me that while always there, was damned due to my insecurity in allowing the negative comments from years past to penetrate my consciousness and never break free from it. In preparation I fasted, I exercised, my mind and my heart to get it right. I got this. I know this. 

The third rehearsal goes something like this “have you ever felt when someone told you something and you know it is untrue but you still listen”? the director says looking stern and uncompromising not a smile in site.
My reply….. I know the feeling well it seems like this is my way of living all the time, the world has a contract to tell people what they want to hear be gentle they say, don’t hurt feelings they say, and have us walk around thinking we are something that we are not. I got this. I know this. The up coming weeks go by fast and with each rehearsal I feel better, I feel supported, I feel the universe is with me every step of the way. Feedback is great, I’m on top of the world on this particular day I meet the playwright she loves how the piece flows but thinks a song is needed to push the piece into the stratosphere.
I’m excited thinking I can do more, I can be more bring my full self. I sing the song in rehearsal but you can hear a pin drop. Silence. Is this good? It seems like 20 minutes have gone by and then I hear the directors uncompromising and stern voice….”are you comfortable with this? Because you really can’t sing and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, we are gonna have to get it together or find an alternative”. Rehearsal ended but the comment/critique set with me, ate with me, came to bed with me that night. It rises in me as I started each day. What do I do? Quit the show and go back into my shell? Stay in dreamland and live there for the rest of my days? I mean it is my favorite place. Can you guess what I did?
I regrouped, picked myself up and realized that while I was nowhere near where I wanted to be I could get there with practice and tenacity. I prayed, practiced and I meditated. First show of the run. Nerves. Sweat on the brow. Lips shaking. Well wisher’s, crowd silenced, some laughs and it’s the end. Standing ovation. I’m shocked looking at my leading lady who was also shocked. They actually liked it. I’m elated that I didn’t muck it up, I have a talk with spirit that same night while I try to explain my feelings about the experience, the emotion and my goal for the duration of the rest of the shows I feel a chilled finger pressed against my lip not allowing me to speak.
” you feel it now don’t you, it was always there. You compare with no one. You are your own person with your own gifts, talents and technique. Will you be everyone’s taste? No. You were not designed that way. The people you have met and critiqued you were to strengthen you, push you to go farther then you knew you were capable of. I’m proud of you and I know there’s a lot you want to say but you do realize I already know the words you want to say. You Recreateand create that’s why you’re here, don’t ever doubt, always trust and believe. You’ve enjoyed my work on this planet and now I demand you give this same courtesy to every living soul out there, don’t make me come back and give this speech again”.
Spirit then smiles and gets up to go. I’m trying to speak and maybe say thank you, get words out but that something keeps my lips in place I then hear clear as day like a song… “I wish you joy and happiness, but above all this I wish you love” she then fades away. I knew I was always loved at that moment.
©MarcusCaesar

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Road could be long, but worth it… (Champion)

This nervousness is astounding, my heart is beating fast, sweat is forming in places that are dumb. Back of my neck, inside of my thighs, the crook of my arm. I had been nominated for 4 Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, Original Screenplay and Best Original Song. By this time of night I’d lost 3 of them and now it was time for the last category I’d compete in and one of the last of the night, Best Actor. 
This was one of the best years of my professional/ personal life. I wrote a movie for me to star in AND I got to work with 2 acting heroes of mines Meryl Streep and Steve Martin. I had become engaged to a childhood friend that summer and became a step-parent to his 2 kids Savanna and Rob Jr. I also inked a deal to write a pilot for HBO about the lives of escorts to the stars, that was getting a lot of buzz. In other words, a fucking fantastic year.
My friend Zarah was by my side at the Oscars being the support, the comedian (we played guess who gets drunk quicker) , and my edible buddy (she owns an edible bakery). I admit I wasn’t largely favored to win any of the major awards but best Original Song, I thought I had it in the bag. Top 10 hit, platinum seller but alas so was Sam Smith’s ballad that ended up winning. I found myself tearing up after not winning that one, my self esteem was slowly falling down. In my eyes this award show was my moment, my HEY WORLD IM HERE, my launch pad. One by one after each announcement of the winner I had to fake a smile, damn those cameras.
It was after the winner was announced for the screenplay award where I decided I was gonna take a year off and cry, eat, sleep. You know stay at home and play househusband. One thing about me it shows on my face when I’m upset, worried, irritated, hungry, happy etc and boy was my face twisted up that night. Commercial break comes and a tap on the shoulder jolts me, it’s Samuel L Jackson whispering in my ear “keep your head up brother, shiiiiid you’ll be up there next year. You new to the game. You can’t always win awards but you put out good work and the rewards gon be great. You’re a champion Youngblood. Believe that shit” before I could respond we were back from commercial break. 
Best Actor category up next, the sweat is on my eyebrows now, Zarah is holding my hand. There are some great actors nominated tonight Izaya Spencer (acting school buddy), Sharlto Copley, Orlando Bloom and Matt Damon. I’m rubbing my leg with my right hand, tapping my shoe and the winner is called and it’s…….Orlando Bloom 

I jump up and start clapping, seeing me do it the other nominees follow suit. Standing and clapping, my mind is cloudy, throat is dry, hands now hurting holding back the tears. I could play it off and say I’m just happy for my buddy Orlando (first nomination) but it’s a mixture of disappointment and genuine happiness for the winners. 
It was my first as well, do I count? I could see the headlines now, and I’d be in them as capital L for loser. On the way home I’m silent, Zarah is running down the coolest moments of the night, who she met, who she’d fuck, whom she wouldn’t. She gives me a hug before she walks up to her townhouse and whispers “You’re my Champion forever and always ” followed by a kiss on the cheek and then she skips to her door. The driver gets on the PCH and that’s when I lose it, tears streaming down my face. I had to let it out, the driver sensing discomfort just let me be. He put on some music and the first song that comes on is Champion by RuPaul…..45 minutes later I’m home.
Rob comes at me both arms raised and we hug, sobs coming from my mouth, nose stuffed up. He knew as soon as he saw me, I felt embarrassed, distressed and low. Letting me go, I then go into my meditation room and see a bouquet of flowers with a note attached from my spiritual mentor it read “To my friend, always remember : Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday. -Wilma Rudolph followed by Best of Luck my friend signed OPRAH WINFREY
A smile appeared on my face. It was time to regroup and so I started my meditation……

©MarcusCaesar

Daddy Lessons 

“Dad what’s a faggot? “he wouldn’t look at me he just kept driving. It seemed like miles had passed before he spoke. “Why would you ask me some shit like that, you heard your mom say that?”

” I just wanted to know because I heard some boys call somebody that in class and the boy started crying.”Next thing I know there was a bop bip bop and there was a swoosh sound and then my dad saying FUCK real loud. We pull into a motel on the highway and just sit there. 

Silence fills the car as time seems to drag. “Well it looks like we got a flat tire my dude and I don’t think I have a fucking spare.” Call uncle Darrell I say, he got a big truck to come help us don’t he like to fix things? My dad continues “before I do let’s talk about living with your mom since I’ve been gone is everything good, ain’t nobody fucking with you Is they? I look at him and we both smile.”it’s OK I say she is grumpy most of the time but she lets she lets me eat Taco Bell all the time,but dad you didn’t answer my question what is a faggot?” 

My dad,never at a loss for words took extra time to answer too long for my taste. A deep breath in and he begins explain “you know I made a vow to myself and to you when you were a little dude to always tell you the truth because that’s where I want you to be empowered, I will always support the truth tellers and the real people. Authenticity is how you live your best life son it’s where it’s at and don’t you forget that shit.The word faggot i believe is a slur used to make it seem wrong to like someone of the same sex, some use it to describe a gay man.” 

My brow immediately furrowed and he continued “some folks want everybody to be the same, have the same beliefs, act the same, love the same and that my dude is not how the world works.” It kind of made since to me since the boy they picked on acted girly, kids thought he liked other boys. He continued “the word faggot is a term that tries to make gay people feel bad about themselves and make them mad and sad.” 

I asked him “did you call anybody a faggot when you were younger?” He pulled out his cell phone and started to dial while speaking to me “I wasn’t the smart young dude like you so yeah, I used that word before I knew what it meant.I bet not ever catch you using it you hear me!”

My 10-year-old brain comprehended that with surprising ease but I was now hungry and though I had more questions he was on the phone talking to my uncle and I was mesmerized watching the 18 wheelers go by. 

©Marcus Caesar

*In response to the prompt Slur*
Image courtesy of Google Images