With my spiritual background, I tend to gauge how I’ve progressed in life from the end of one Ramadan to the beginning of the next. Ramadan begins for me in a few weeks, so…
Since the last Ramadan, I bought my parents a vacation. They’re both retired now, but they also don’t road trip like they did when I was growing up. They love to gamble, so I flew them and my sister into Vegas for Christmas. It was as cold as I’ve ever known Sin City to be, but it was still better than snow and ice. And they had a good time, which is all that really mattered. My taste for ‘the good life’ really stands out when I spend time with them now. I fly them halfway across the country and they would rather go to Denny’s than have a five star breakfast buffet. What can you do? But they’ve lived their dream life though like I’m living mine.
Since the last Ramadan, I went to Michael Jackson’s funeral. And a little part of me hasn’t been the same since. A few nights back I had this dream: I was hanging out with one of my lady friends. We were out near some palatial estate (Neverland?) and ran into Mike. He introduced himself and his kids. I woke up for a brief moment thinking it was real, then realized he died a few weeks back. If I go at the same age, that means I’ve already lived more than half my life. There’s still a couple of things I’d really like to do before my time comes, but there’s no way to really know when that will be, is there? I just live my life today, plan for tomorrow, and hope for the best….
Since the last Ramadan, I’ve learned a lot more about who I want to come home to. I still have a lot to learn; I’m constantly asking questions to people I confide based on my experiences and things they’ve been through. To be honest, it’s been a fairly enjoyable process so far. There’s a practical side of me that doubts it will happen, but then again, I wasn’t looking for Maria when she entered my life either. In Islam, there is a prayer (istikhara), which expresses the desire for marriage if it’s in God’s will. It’s only been in the past few months that I’ve tied my spirituality into my personal life. If that comes across as absurd based on what you’ve read about me, trust, after the fact I was asking myself, “Why have I been separating the two for so long?” I learned many years ago though that timing is such a major part of the relationship game; everything happens when it’s supposed to happen.
Since the last Ramadan, I’ve made a film. The filmmaking process is long and grueling, but it’s so gratifying when you have something you’re proud of. In the short time since we finished it earlier this year, Lady in My Life has created opportunities for me as a director, a writer, and as an actor. Somewhat surprisingly, it’s created the most opportunities for me so far as an actor. I’ve been asked to audition, and been cast in supporting roles in some short films and plays; most recently I auditioned and was accepted into an Actor’s Studio. Being an actor is the one part of my craft I’ve paid the least attention to. I’ve already ran my mouth and mud wrestled on national television; I’ve ridden a bicycle butt ass naked in my first big screen appearance; there’s never been any shame in my game as far as getting on the stage or in front of the camera. But I know (and you know) how being in the spotlight constantly can change people for the worse. When’s the last time you heard about a director leaving the set and just going to Africa? Or a writer flipping out in the middle of the freeway? In my own experience, I’ve seen the temptation of being the ‘Head Negro on Campus’ turn completely well-adjusted brothers into…Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
But I’m older, wiser, focused, and hungry as hell. I don’t know if I’ve ever told any of them this out loud, but one of the main reasons most of my inner circle became my inner circle is because at some point if I was out of pocket or messing with some girl who was out of pocket, they weren’t afraid to, uh, let their opinion be known. The world is filled with negative people of course, but I feel very lucky to have found a few people who, when they call me out on something, I trust they’re looking out for my best interest, and not just flat out hating.
All of that is a long way to say I’m no longer half-assing on my acting talent, and I’ve made the commitment to find out if that is in the fact the door I need to use to establish myself in the Industry. I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I would end this by saying ‘The sky’s the limit…”
But if I’ve learned anything in life so far, it’s that I still don’t really know what my limits are…