How to Catch Creation

I had the honor of being invited to attend the opening show of How to Catch Creation. I actually withheld reading any reviews, or any the media write-up before hand because I love coming in without any thoughts of what to expect before hand. I was pleasantly surprised of this production. First of all the set was magnificent. I grew up in theatre so sets matter to me. Secondly the cast looked like me. I loved seeing all of the representation of pretty brown faces.  Third, the play captured my attention and gave me a whirlwind of surprises some subtle and some knocking me over.

Let me give honor to whom honor is due by saying that How to Catch Creation is coming off the acclaimed Kilroy’s list.  It’s a play about discovering legacy as well as what it means to create and how creation shifts during periods of life. Creation takes many forms from art, life, relationships, and how all of the loops come together. As a creator myself it definitely spoke to the hills and lows of life and watching my own work take dips according to what may or may not have taken off.

Christina Anderson, playwright, did an amazing job on capturing the experience of black queer feminist writer and how through her life, life has taken on turns that end up bringing the most unexpected people to unite. When you see the connection I found myself holding back in the audience try not to mess it up for someone who might not have. I laughed so hard during this play.  I loved at moments when the audience interacted right on cue without a notion. I also loved seeing Christina Anderson herself in the audience as well as the director, Nataki Garrett. Seeing them watch their work had to be amazing.

This play is for everyone. I do love how it highlights love and heartache for same-sex relationships.  To be honest sometimes society in my opinion forgets that they have an experience like everyone else. It’s not as easy even with society beginning to open up to what it means to be apart of the LGBTQ community and also be Black.  I enjoyed hearing prior to the show from Amber Hikes who is the Executive Director of LGBT Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. I didn’t even know there was a division first of all.  I also didn’t know that are only 3 other positions in the cities of the United States like it. There is definitely a need for all of us to be aware of what our city is offering. It was great knowing that the city of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s office is representing all walks of life.

So what were some of the themes presented:

Despair, from seeing Lindsay Smiling who played Griffin, try to work his way to normality after being wrongfully accused of a crime and incarcerated for 25 years. His struggle to want to have a child of his own as he learns about his mother and her past was incredible.

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Love, from Tiffani Barbour who play GK Marche a writer who falls in love with Natalie played by Shauna Miles and seeing who their love goes from incredible highs to the lows of breaking up and infidelity. Their love was priceless and unmatched until loneliness lead Natalie into the arms of another.

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Betrayal, Shayna Small plays Riley a young woman who has motivated her boyfriend, Stokes, played by Jonathan Bangs, who is losing his focus and rhythm.  Their beat is thrown off when Riley falls in love with Tami, played by Stephanie Weeks who is opening herself up to this forbidden love.  The beat is so off that now in order to get the rhythm back do they let go?  Do they go back to life before the betrayal? Can they co-exist?

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Explosive, fun, witty, and most importantly colorful are some of the best words to describe my experience. You are not going to want to miss out on this adventure. How to Catch Creation will be playing until April 14th. You can purchase tickets which range from $10-69 by clicking here

I would strongly encourage you to see the play and take some friends or family along as well. Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre Company for as always inviting me and treating me above well. Thank you to Kory Aversa and Aversa PR for these opportunities as well. Thank you to the amazing cast of How to Catch Creation for such a wonderful time.  You all were professional and most gracious as well after the show.  Thanks to my personal team for always helping me get to these shows and for being the best caretakers for my littles!

 

 

 

 

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Ask Toi: How do I know if I should Give an Ex another chance?

Hi Reader,

Any ex that you would even give 5 second of consideration should be held at a higher standard than anyone you date. You have history together. There is a reason they are an ex.  Remember that!!! For you to entertain them and cut off potential quality people for your future, that ex has to already demonstrate growth that isn’t connected to the potential of a relationship with you.

This means not lip-service of IF we get back together. It has to be an already they are already walking in the light. They should be walking in a certain higher level of growth that is catching your eye and not just them “old feelings” coming back. My husband is an ex, he demonstrated after some years apart that he was walking in growth that was not attached to the idea of us being an us. Can your ex or does your ex walk in growth that if you and him/her do not reconnect he or she will continue to walk in? If you are doubtful of that, the answer is move on. Thank God for the memories, remain cordial, but continue growing so you can walk and find the one whose growth is enough to speak to the growth that you are walking in.

Dating is hard. Going back to someone you once was with is easy but hard to separate the past.  It’s never good to not have a vision for what your life should be. Sometimes an ex doesn’t fit that. Let me give you an example. Before getting with my husband two ex tried to come back. One was married so you can tell the level of integrity that showed on my part to entertain it had I and his for pushing the issue. The other one was homelessexual meaning he had no place and needed resources. They both were great men back in the day for the period of my life I had entertained. They didn’t fit my life anymore. They have both last time I seen them are better or at least I hope they are. Not everyone on memories alone is suitable for your life. When I think about the hardships and the ways I have gotten through them with my husband there is no way it would have worked out with those other men. That’s not shade towards them at all. Do not go back to potential or to what could be. There’s many relationships that come together on what could be that end up in what the hell is….

 

Good luck and make some decisions not based on history or potential.

Bob: A Life in Five Acts

I had the opportunity to attend Bob: A Life in Five Acts on Saturday and it was a phenomenal comedic play. Bob is wondering various parts of America trying to be a “Great Man” he encounters many relationships that ultimately brings him to discovering he’s never alone. This play is written by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and directed by Michael Osinski.

This comedic play is definitely worth going out to see. One it’s incredibly funny mixing a lot of pop art, music, dance, etc. to the stage. Bob who starts his life literally in a White Castle bathroom is born into a traumatic hardship. We see that just like in real life, hardships don’t have to define us and along the way he learns a lot about what it means to thrive, what’s important, and how separation can create hope.

A word to the wise because it is comedic I would come in with an open mind. This is not the play to bring a child as there are scenes that may not be suitable for a young audience. The play is interactive meaning I found myself openly reacting with the characters. I found myself thinking about what life was like if I felt abandoned and how would I respond. Would I be able to be positive in a negative world? Isn’t that our fight daily? We have to take the good with the bad and know that even when we have hit rock bottom, we are still connected.

How the tables turn and the paths cross for Bob during his journey was illustrated colorfully. I enjoyed watching Bob interact during the various stages he made until adulthood. How his life was somber as a child although he had to deal with events most kids today don’t readily have to deal with.

During stage plays it’s always amazing to watch not just for meaning but how interactive the characters seem to be with one another. The best productions come from the closest cast members. This was no different. Even after the play during the reception, you can see that not only had they come together simply to put Bob on, they were definitely a family. Shout out to the play for having one of most diverse cast I’ve seen in quite some time.

Here’s how you can come and not just watch, but be apart of the production:

Bob: A Life in Five Acts will be showing until March 27, 2019. All shows are pay what you decide. This means you pay after the show according to what you feel, can afford or feel led. I would encourage you to attend and definitely donate and give. It makes for a great date night to do something different and get out in Philly. It also makes for a great group trip as well.

It’s performance is at the Proscenium Theatre, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia PA

You can reserve your tickets Here

Please arrive early as you will not be able to be let in during the performance and the production is about 130 minutes with one 10 minute intermission. There are drinks available for purchase before the show and during intermission.

Cast:

Paul Harrold as Bob

Dan D’Albis as Chorus

Frank Jimenez as Chorus

Claris Park as Chorus

Sabriaya Shipley as Chorus

Special thanks to the amazing cast and production members, Azuka Theatre, Kevin Glaccum, producing artistic Director, Harmelin Media, production sponsor, Two Roads Brewing company for sponsoring the reception drinks, and all the donors both foundation, corporate and individuals!

Anxiety, Balance, and Relationships

People always says that when you meet the right person you will be able to navigate anything with them.  There is a lot of truth to that statement.  However in life you may not have that someone in your life, you may really be struggling, or the person in your life struggles with understanding you in the way you need them to understand.  This blog will be super personal but not meant to paint the people in my life as horrible individuals.  However it is a reality that I know many like me experience.

Expectations vs. Reality

Expectations tell you that if your partner loved you they would know how you feel as your anxiety mounts.  Reality says no matter how much empathy they might have, they aren’t going to understand if they don’t go through it themselves.  This is why you in reality need someone who has a high level of empathy while you in return are going to have to do active self-care.

Expectations says that if you have a partner they will have a higher level of understanding to help see you through. Not always true. There are movements when you find that your partner misses the mark. What they see as ungrateful, anger, fear, is masked as anxiety. When you have anxiety often times you have a thousand questions, you don’t deal with unknowns or you may not be able to express yourself correctly. These feelings are complex.

Let me give you an example. In college freshman year I was learning myself. I came in the door strong-willed and able to articulate myself extremely well. Over the course of those first years through fault of my own, I was made fun of, talked about, and had to withdraw from many social circles. On top of that I already lacked social skills even though I had great academic skills. I found myself not able to be bubbly and I felt alone. I started to figure out once around certain people what I should or shouldn’t say. As the years went on I became more and more reserved that once I graduated although I was happy to be away from some of the dismissive crowds I had managed to just tolerate; I greatly couldn’t navigate even in my small town outside of my set crew. This is when my anxiety took off.

In college my coping mechanism was to be loud or angry just so it would make more sense that if someone didn’t want to be around me I would already have an outlet. I started being only around my 4 friends for the most part but even with the them I felt I had lost a little respect.

I’m learning how to get back to myself. When I had my kids and moved to Philadelphia which made sense it still mentally stripped me of a lot of independence. I had already moved from my apartment to my parents home. The only reason that wasn’t a total bummer was because they wasn’t there and I was living in the home with my siblings. Being able to secure my own bag, right or wrong pay my bills, and live on my own terms always made me feel stronger. Moving to Philadelphia didn’t make me feel secure on my terms. Everyone told me how great it was to have my needs met by someone else but by then my episodic anxiety had already kicked in. I moved away from what I knew and only expressed it outside of fights with those around me. See how that anger as a coping mechanism was the band-aid that didn’t help me in the long run? Once again I was around people who were smiling in my face, talking behind my back, but wanted to have a private relationship while publicly bashing me felt like college all over again.

It’s funny how that type of mess didn’t bother me in high school because I was too focused on my academics. Now my focus was on my kids but without outlets I was feeling alone. I’ve called alone stuck many years because I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t stuck it was feeling alone and honestly let’s call a spade a spade; I was. I didn’t understand my anxiety and by this point I hadn’t been seen by a counselor. I moved away from familiarity, and I couldn’t articulate what I was going through but that didn’t stop the talking. It didn’t stop my anxiety either.

Let’s flash back to now, anxiety is better managed but it doesn’t change how I am perceived. If I’m having a hard time and stay to myself I’m perceived in my mind and by the things or situations as ungrateful. If I express myself, I’m angry. Now this is why having anxiety is hard. That line between real and expectations slide into one other. Have I been told I’m ungrateful-at times yes. I have to be 💯. I’ve walked in on conversations that my husband has had about me and my anxiety with his friends that made me not want to be around the same friends he spoke ill about me too. Some to this day I speak but mentally side eye. Having anxiety has stripped me of the ability to have peace while I actively take ownership of it. I had to talk to my counselor many times and her advice I took but not all of it. As I work through that why not, I’ll reveal it at a later time.

When I blogged about going to counseling I was told by some how brave it was to speak openly but often times people I wouldn’t have told were told anyway. I grew up in a home that if others were going to speak about something about me; let me tell it in my own words. Again this isn’t to throw anyone under the bus. These are real situations that have happened and I have to work through those scars and how anxiety has robbed me at moments to control who I allow into my inner circle and who doesn’t. People make it seem like it’s not a big deal but if you’re left vulnerable, having someone not want to talk to you because you’re getting on their nerves or not wanting to go out because you feel like people are whispering about you because they know things that you would never tell them is debilitating.

I’ve missed cues on friendships because of my own anxiety. However because I was used to certain people and their antics I allowed disrespectful behavior too. How I was able to figure things out was to go to therapy to find out who was who and what people’s words, actions and behavior means to me. A lot of that is to speak truthfully about where I am. So when you see a personal blog and I’m writing it comes from a very real place.

How you perceive how people treat you can very much be clouded by anxiety. However you have to know yourself and trust your instinct. As much as I wanted to carry the anger of my husband’s friends the reality my issue was with him and not them. How I felt they were responding was based on my anxiety. And it was up to me to work through that.

I can’t say that I’ve conquered my anxiety. I have and do manage it better. I struggle with perception because when actions say someone would rather not be around me and I know I’m super dope individual, I know it has to be a few reasons, they really don’t like me or my anxiety has me perceiving the situation one way.

To those who suffer with anxiety that has caused break ups, lost of jobs, or feeling alone know that I understand. All I can offer is understanding as you work through it! Don’t give up on yourself! Don’t think you’re alone. Don’t think you aren’t worthy of finding love that will help you in getting towards your goal of controlling your anxiety. It will get better!!

Valentine’s Day Message

I would like to say Happy Valentine’ Day to all who celebrate this holiday. Sending you love and peace today and everyday.

white and pink floral freestanding letter decor

Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

To my husband, I love you! Another year of love to push through this life with! To want to still wake up and pray with you and push you to being your best self as you do the same! To wake up feeling safe in body and mind-I don’t take that for granted. To know you are being honorable in a world of Futures……….thank you!

To my children, mommy absolutely adores you! Y’all turn up to that candy so y’all can turn down at bedtime so mommy and daddy can drink our wine and fall asleep on the couch!

To my friends and family, have a loving day!  Some of my best points in waking up to text messages of encouragement from dope friends who are out here trying to be whole and happy is the best!

To my readers, I send you abundant love!

To my single readers and friends-I know today is hard. You question your when.  It hurts and its okay to say it hurts. People will tell you how you should feel and how to process today. I say process it in a healthy way.  Process it in your way! I get it. I used to wake up and decorate my apartment and watch all of the girlie romantic comedies, go out on dates or hang with my family or friends. Night was hard especially if you feel or don’t have anyone to hang with.  It will pass but it doesn’t change the depth of feeling you feel today! I understand!  Sending you an extra genuine dose of support!

Valentine’s Day Snub

This day can be so super dramatic. Between the movies that make it bigger than life. So often, we even I get caught up in this day. What I think is important is to be honest about where you are and your expectations.

When my husband and I dated in college he really outdid himself. Without even having to say anything he really did a good job. Before him I really was blessed to date and whomever I dated just naturally got it right. I love holidays of all kinds. I love the art of celebrating. It breaks up life. It gives you small victories to look forward to. So for me it’s another celebration. It’s not just above saying well as a married couple he should show love so this one day doesn’t matter. I post holidays of all kinds and everyday I get excited to find a way to celebrate one of those holidays so Valentine’s Day is one as well.

I used to not be so vocal in my love for the day because everyone would make these claims of how commercial they were. As a preachers kid holidays depending on which ones you celebrated were deemed wrong. As I came into my own, I realized how happy celebrations made me feel. So I don’t allow others’ feelings to fall on me. I won’t allow people to say that a commercial holiday doesn’t matter. I’ve heard it all from what if your husband wasn’t able to make the day special?! How is that possible when he and I can make heart shaped cookies and watch a movie feel special?! End of day I enjoy his presence and I enjoy celebrating these types of holidays with him. It’s a perk of having him in my life.

So there’s never a Valentine’s Day snub for me. Although I understand that some don’t feel the same as I do or as blessed as me in regards of having someone to share the day, I don’t want to snub my feelings to appease others. I can have empathy without dissing my own love of the day!

I respect everyone no matter where they are. There were many years that I spent with family, by myself or just with my girlfriends. Some years in my singleness I felt fine and other times I was heartbroken. Admit where you are. Own it! But be okay if you like me love these love holidays!!!!!

Inis Nua Theatre presents the American premiere of Box Clever by Monsay Whitney

I had the elite privilege of attending Box Clever for my Friday night fun. This play directed by artistic director, Tom Reing was outstanding.

Let me set the stage for you:

Marnie is living in a women’s shelter in London with her 4-year-old daughter. She is headstrong and says whatever comes to her head. While attempting to protect her daughter she is also dealing with her past boyfriends and the drama that ensues from their lives. This is a 2 women show. Ruby Wolf plays Marnie and Rachel Brodeur plays all of the other roles. This isn’t simply two ladies talking back to each other. Both of these ladies put so much passion into their interactions that they made me believe I was in London with them and entangled in Marnie’s frustration.

Now for those who would want to attend this production let me forewarn you, Marnie doesn’t mince her words. There is some cursing. However when you take a step back if you’re a mother trying to keep space for your daughter nothing Marnie said I didn’t want to stand up and verbally co-sign. This play hit a personal moment for me. Growing up and being in a shelter for a bit I saw what I remember seeing in my own mother. It took me back and it was done so well that it tapped into that part of my past. I didn’t feel ashamed. I did feel slight sadness thinking of the lack of resources available to her. I felt proud of my own mom for doing what she had to do to get us settled. Every emotion of upset, pain, frustration and anger I felt and so will you.

I’ve grown up around the arts and I will tell you Ruby and Rachel are professional and more than exceptional in their acting. By the end if you didn’t laugh, get mad and cry (some moments at the same time) you aren’t human. I would love to see the play again. I encourage all of my readers to attend this show if you’re able.

Box Clever will be showing up until February 24, 2019. Tickets are from 25-35 dollars a piece. All of the performances will take place at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 South Hicks Street in Philadelphia. Thank you to the cast, and all staff who from the door to the theatre floor showed care to all of their guests. Thank you again for the reception afterwards as well.

A little more about Inis Nua Theatre:

  • Inis Nua means New Island
  • They produce provocative contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales
  • Based in Philadelphia, they have been in production for 15 years
  • They have produced 17 American premieres, 13 Philadelphia premieres, and 1 world premiere
  • They won 6 Barrymore including the prestigious June and Steve Wolfson award for Evolving Theatre Company in 2014

To purchase tickets, Box Clever