Accomplishment: My first New York Stage Play.
I set many goals in moving here. I didn’t want to move to a new place and fall into doing the same things I did back in GA. In moments of trying to elevate yourself, you have to take the opportunities as they come. One opportunity I had my eyes on was hitting the stage in the NYC theater scene. To conquer a stage in the city known for performing arts, Broadway, and theater galore, I needed to challenge myself in this arena to see if I had the chops to do the work and execute successfully.
Submission after submission, audition after audition; I landed a role in the stage play Precious Metals: Beauty in Brokenness. This play centers on women and their stories of overcoming hardships, addiction, and finding the beauty within. All the while creating a sisterhood of support showing that no matter what we go through in life, there’s always someone out there who can relate, understand, and help you heal. The play was written by C.E. Harrison and directed by Tabitha Matthews. The play did its run for the NY Summer Theater Festival at the Hudson Guild Theater.
In the beginning, I almost didn’t make it in the cast. Life happened, dealing with my obstacles of the constant adjustment to New York as well as other areas that weren’t going right. I felt down and defeated. But luckily when God has a plan for you, there’s no way to venture away from that plan and purpose. I thought I’d missed the audition deadline and one day an email came in saying that I was able to still submit my video. I took that second chance and worked tirelessly to create the best audition tape to submit. Hours of setting up the camera phone, doing different takes, and trying to remember what I need to say.
After packaging up the finished product, I submitted and let it be. That’s one thing I’ve learned in the audition process. Once it’s done, you have to let it go and let it be.
About a week or so later, I receive the news that I was cast as the character Winsome in the play. Winsome is a young woman, feeling abandoned and abused by her mother Loretta. But after growing and learning, she realized that she missed out on so much love, fun, and the beauty of life with her mother who died at a very young age.
Working full-time, finishing a book, studying lines, rehearsing the lines can be a lot! But I felt that as long as I stayed committed to the process, it would pay off. I needed this exposure to the NYC market. Being that this was something I’ve always wanted to break into, I couldn’t let myself or anybody involved with the production down. Throughout rehearsing, I was able to challenge myself with learning various monologues while placing different emotions, pulling from other emotions, and taking lessons I’ve learned from different acting classes. It was a great process as my cast mates and team were very supportive and fun to “play” with. I was able to build relationships that I feel will last a very long time. Along with building my acting brand with this new credit and the overall acting experience which can/will take me to higher levels.
With three shows, I was very nervous about how this was going to play out. Will people understand my character? Will they even like me? Will I remember my lines? EVERYTHING was racing through my mind. For opening night, the crowd really came out to support the show which added to the nerves, along with judges from the festival. There was a time when I had a mini-meltdown backstage as I was the last one to come out. The wait got to me, stepping into the unknown. However, once I stepped out on stage, feeling the energy I knew I was READY! My preparation paid off! After the show, I received so many compliments from strangers giving me kudos on my performance. This was really helpful as my family and friends weren’t able to be there that night. Second show was a breeze, I was able to just let go and have fun. The crowd loved it and it set us up for closing show. For the closing show, I had friends from GA and my NYC friends in the crowd. This was their first time seeing me in this element and I wanted them to be proud of me.
Afterwards, I felt such a relief however it was bittersweet because the journey was complete. We ended on a high note, and I was able to share it with my loved ones.
Being part of Precious Metals only amped me up to do more. Although I’ll miss the dynamics of my first NYC stage fam, I’ll always take the lessons and the joy with me. Now I KNOW I was born to do this. I can officially change the title from “Aspiring Actress” to “Actress”.
Boat Watching and Beautiful Sunsets.
Upon my many ventures I stumbled upon a new hobby. Now I’ve always LOVED bodies of water. But growing up in the heart of GA, my options were limited. I thought I’d only have a chance to gain the peace and serenity the waves could bring by only taking a vacation. Of course there are lakes and rivers but I couldn’t stay long because bugs usually saw me as their latest meal. Also, the good lakes were always so far away from me.
As always, NYC never disappoints. Whether I’m uptown or downtown, I get a chance to view the beautiful Hudson River. And across from it, the state of New Jersey. What first started as a walk on the pier with a friend, turned into a constant activity that gave me peace, serenity, and inspiration.
I’m always looking for ways for this city to just calm down in my mind. New York is ALWAYS busy. Sidewalks filled with fast walkers getting to where they need to go. Subway riders are constantly on the move with an “every man for himself” mentality. Not giving much time to take in a new experience because “MOVE! GET ON THE TRAIN!” The Hudson River is very different.
Whether hanging out, having a picnic at Riverbank State Park or taking a walk along Pier 46, the Hudson gives off good vibes and a place of refuge from the city that never sleeps.
One activity that I love while being a voyeur on the river is boat watching. For some reason watching these machines sail along the river places me in a mood that allows me to meditate, think, and get inspired. I love to develop stories for these mini ships as they make their way to Jersey or along the lines of the Hudson River Ride!
Just try it out! You can’t go wrong with spending an afternoon to evening witnessing the sun set and the clouds paint a beautiful picture of colors that you’ll only get to see with your naked eye once. A new visit, means a new canvas. Take in the moment and just BREATHE!
I’ve gotten so much better with this subway system. Now people are asking ME for directions and I can actually get them going in the right place! Go figure! Of course, I still have to deal with delays, random track switches from express to local. The usual NYC MTA aggravation that makes New Yorkers even more impatient with constant human contact. But all in all, you take it in strides and part of the experience. And we’re not even going to get on the MTA vending machine taking your money while the workers behind the desk tell you to “call the number on the side of the machine”. Umm ma’am I have places to be so just buzz the door, so I can walk through. Thanks!
Throughout the aggravation of transportation, the destination makes it all worth it One Saturday I ventured to lower Manhattan. Not too sure how I got there but I guess my feet and eyes wanted to take my mind on an exploration. The bar scene, shopping and “museums” were impeccable as always. I decided to make it an exploration day. I LOVE the décor in the random bars and restaurants. Each place is different placing its own spin on the dining experience while having fun art and fixtures that creates conversation or if you’re like me, have wonderful things to stare at while chilling alone.
I love to “people watch” when I’m out by myself. For those who don’t know what it is, the name says it all. I like to study various mannerisms, conversations, and create my own scenarios of how two or more people ended up together and where their story will lead.
At a spot near 8th street. I observed a woman alone, eating, drinking and slowly seeing the liquor take its toll on her. At first, she was timid. Making small conversation with the bartender but as time went on, she developed a courage like no other. On the other side of me there was a handsome man sitting and having a drink while doing some writing. I wondered what inspired him and the masterpiece he was in the process of creating. The liquored up woman decided to take a chance and come across the bar to sit next to him. Immediately, he showed that he wasn’t interested. But somehow she missed those signs and kept the small talk going. I don’t know whether he really had to go or he grew tired of entertaining an unwanted guest, but he quickly settled his tab and packed up to go. She ventured back to her original seat and finished her drink before leaving as well.
Hopefully her spirits weren’t all the way shot. I mean it IS just a man. The woman was inebriated heavily so a clouded judgment played a major role in her shot getting blocked.
The next bar was simple yet festive. A group of friends were upstairs playing a game of beer pong while spitting the lyrics to Cardi B. Part of me wanted to join in but #1 I didn’t know all the words and #2 that would just be weird. I grew bored and left to walk the streets. NYC is like none other.
I found a vintage Volvo parked on the side of the street in Greenwich Village along with beautiful brownstones that I’d wished I found when I was on the apartment hunt. Tourists holding up the walking process to take pictures of the high buildings and local spots. Capturing memories that will not only be posted on Instagram, but cherish and become part of the “Remember when we were in New York…” stories.
After all of my venturing I was back on the train heading back to Harlem. Not ready for the night to end, I wandered into a spot I came to when I was just a visitor. Harlem Public. A smooth, chill date spot with dim lights, candles on each table and me sitting alone. For the first time all day I wish I had a companion to chat with. Looking around at all of the conversations, even the loud ones that irked me, I felt at home. I was home. Soaking up the people and scene like I frequent there on the regular.
My night ended at a more “turn up” style bar sipping on my usual rum and coke while meeting new people. It’s amazing that most people I meet aren’t even from New York. They’re “transplants” like me. What connects us all is the hard part of getting used to the mechanisms of the city and making the best out of the situations.
Let’s just say I shut the place down and didn’t’ leave until the house lights came on. 4AM in the NYC streets. Ending on a high note as it began.
People watching mission was a SUCCESS!
Desk Note from the Heartbreak Diaries Series.
You're not his woman, nor does he have the desire for you to be. You're just filling space until the original owner comes back OR until he finds a better fit. You know, the one he’d be willing to put in the work for. Not you though. I call this position, the seat filler. There's nothing wrong with you, he just doesn’t see you as "the one".
Now think of the responsibilities of a REAL seat filler. They attend the award show, get called to a particular seat if they have a certain look or just next in line. They can’t get too comfortable no matter how good the show is. The star returns, and the seat filler is escorted back to the holding area. THAT’S what you are in his life.
If you are fully aware of when you’re in this position and decide to move forward anyway, understand that it’ll never be a win/win situation. You won’t get “camera time” (No social media sightings), no red carpet appearances (date nights), and you’ll never be welcomed to the stage during the highlights of his life. And at the end of the night, when your duties are complete, you’ll be sent to the back before the show is over.
Don’t invest too much in this position. It’s just temporary fun. And know that you do have the option to get up and sit in a section that is meant for you.
I've often found myself in this position. So much to the point where I started recognizing that I was a seat filler and became "ok" with it. I understood that any day the phone calls and texts would stop, no more "quality time", no more intimate hugs in pubic. Whether I'd be warned beforehand or not, there would come a time when I would be forced to let go. Then I had the nerve to be shocked about it. But the ending would appear out of nowhere. When I wasn’t ready to let go. Like a roller coaster stopping the ride after the first big loop.
Oh that’s it?!
Over time I realized that, in a way, I inflicted this pain on myself. I knew the risks and I knew the results but I kept it going anyway.
On an episode of The Golden Girls I remember Blanche telling Rose: "Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we want it to, so we have to grab our happiness however we can get it". I used to live by this. Telling myself that if I couldn’t have him the way I wanted, I'd settle for whatever I could get.
But when does a person come to the point where the constant disappointment and heart ache is enough? If I’m just going to end up alone, why not stay that way. Why was I giving so much to someone who gave so little? Was I not worth more? Did he not understand that I’m worth more?
Doesn’t matter. I wasn’t it for him. For whatever reason, I didn’t do it for him. My only job was to “fill the space”.
So tell me. What section are you sitting in?
Welcome the HEARTBREAK!
Learn more about the Heartbreak Diaries Series and the first entry
"Rushing to Distraction" Available Now!
It wasn’t planned but, here we go…
I was on the hunt. The AMAZING APARTMENT HUNT IN NYC. I’ll have to tell you about that one later. But once I found my personal space…I had to wait. Wait to move in that is. So where was I going to go? I was tired of being in someone’s place as I’m 32, I need to be an adult….sometimes. The good thing about New York being a major city, MANY HOTELS. The bad thing about New York being a major city, MANY HOTELS. I had to narrow down where I was going to lay my head for a good price.
With the help of a few sites, Kayak.com, Expedia, and HotelTonight, I was able to go on an unplanned expedition. A hotel tour.
Now why didn’t I just book a hotel or an Airbnb for two weeks and stay put? Great question. The answer, I didn’t know the actual move-in date. Yea, another “Welcome to New York”. Days of emails, phones calls, emails phone calls, and waiting for returned emails put a sister in one hell of a position. A position of the “unknown”. Glad that I’d eventually have a roof over my head, but anxious about when and how much it’ll cost me in the meantime.
First up on the list, The Franklin Hotel. An Upper Eastside boutique hotel, located in a nice area with shopping, cafes, and nice bistros to pop in for a good lunch. The staff was amazing and helpful. Took my bags up to the room, very friendly, and explained all the perks that came along with my stay. One of my favs, along with the free breakfast, free wine and cheese EVERY night from 5-6:30pm. Rushing home after work, I was treated to a relaxing hour of my choice or red/white wine and assorted cheeses to get me in the mood for writing (the Heartbreak Diaries). Now let’s talk about the room. Fit for a pleasant staycation, my room was a resort of its own. Decorated with vintage style furniture and artwork, I was treated to a view of museums every morning when I woke up. I even had a nice chandelier in my room! A few days there was just what I needed to face the continuous unknown “joys” of the apartment stuff.
Upon finding out “No you’re not moving in just yet”. I was on the hunt for another place as extending my time at The Franklin would extend my pockets that I just couldn’t do. Checking out of the Franklin, I found a reasonably priced room at the Days Inn on 96th street to spend the next few days. The staff was VERY helpful and pleasant. Location was GREAT as it had eateries in walking distance and the subway a few blocks over. However, the room…..ehhhh….not my fav. So I’ll just leave it at that.
Then, I was off to Hampton Inn-Times Square North. It was the weekend and I wanted to spend it locked in a nice room, writing! This spacious luxury was close to EVERYTHING I needed! I had TWO queen beds all to myself, big bathroom and the perks of a hot meal in the morning complimentary of the hotel of course. They also provided coffee/tea 24 hours. I was spending my weekend in Times Square! Taking a break from writing, I ventured out to check out the scene. Seeing the beauty of Times Square put me back into the mind frame of why I came to NYC in the first place. I needed that reminder, especially with all the trouble I was going through. Spent some time at a cool bar, The Three Monkeys - American Bar, trying out new beer and eating garlic fries for the first time, I was well on my way to rejuvenation. The next morning, I set my alarm clock, so I wouldn’t miss breakfast and got some much-needed rest in my comfy bed.
Sunday was check-out, and NO you’re not ready just yet to move in. May Monday. Back to my trusty app, I found a gem! $88 a night for another luxury pleasure at the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square (8th Ave). Pleasant staff, another hot meal in the books for breakfast and 24hour coffee and tea just for me! This room was a glorious splendor as once again I had two queen beds to choose from in a big space, my room was located in the perfect position. The sunlight light up the room as it was the BEST place to write, catch up on the Housewives and prepare for the upcoming week. Had to snap a few mirror selfies in the bathroom as the mirror was lit like a celebrity’s dressing area creating the perfect glow. I did NOT want to leave but “maybe Monday” was waiting for me. Right? WRONG!
Next up on the tour, Wyndham New Yorker Hotel. Nice place, very big, the room was vintage decorum but….the Hilton Garden Inn spoiled me. It didn’t do it for me. I don’t know what it was but….It just wasn’t it. It could have been the stress from the non-move in. However, they did have a nice restaurant, Trattoria Bianca, inside where I enjoyed a tasty rum and coke at the bar. Spending my time there watching the Bulls play, I met a foreign businessman who bought me a glass of wine. A few sentences later, I received an invitation to his room. Are you serious?!?! I’m dealing with some real life ish and you think I’m going to come up to your room!?? Nah bruh I gotta go! Thanks for the wine sir. **rolls eyes**
Another swipe on HotelTonight App and I found a good price at St. Giles-The Court. Which should be called St NIGHTMARE! The staff was lovely as I checked, I found a great room adorned with unique décor, big bed, spacious bathroom, and a secret area in the room draped with wine glasses. Dainty right? It also had a comfy chaise style chair right in front of the TV where I spent most of my evening. When it was time to lay down, the nightmare began. I woke up to itchy skin, and numerous bites on my body. Oh hell no! This can’t be what I think it is. Running late for work, I flipped up sheets and then my pillows only to discover a critter chillin on the cool side of the pillow. To my surprise, the dahlia didn’t sleep alone! Uninvited guests who did NOT chip in on the room stayed with me, feasting on my sensitive skin. Rushing to work swelling up, I sent a lengthy email along with pictures to the hotel, along with the Better Business Bureau. I’m not finished with them!
More emails, calls, and another email. Oh girl you’re still on tour. Greeeeaaaat! To the rescue, courtesy of unlocking a new level on HotelTonight, the next tour stop was Hampton Inn Madison Square. After walking over an hour to find the place, THANKS Googlemaps, I settled in a nice room, coffee and tea available, multiple channels on the TV, and some writing time. I was able to get A LOT of work done here but apprehensive to lay down, due to my previous scare at St. Giles. I enjoyed my two-day stay as I ran late because of the tasty breakfast served each morning. And they didn’t give the same treats every day! Gotta love variety!
Glady, Hampton Inn Madison Square was the final leg on my Hotel Tour. I was able to move into my apartment and enjoy settling MY OWN ISH! Now I didn’t leave each tour stop without special gifts. I’m an avid collector of bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face soap, and whatever they had laid out for me. I even came across a “vanity kit”. Which included q-tips and a cotton ball. Nice!
Although I had an allergic reaction due to St. Giles’ staff negligence I learned to enjoy my hotel tour and found a great app for traveling. I guess this journey was meant to be in my NYC Living. Wonder what the next journey will entail.
Stay tuned…And don’t forget to download the app, HotelTonight K?
E. Alexcina Brown
I just like to write and create stuff. These are the diaries of how I'm living in NYC with sprinkles of life lessons I've learned along the way!