The Mighty Oak - A Modern Parable

People will come and go in your life. But some people will completely change your life in the process of being around. That is what my late husband, Mark, did for me. Today is the two year anniversary of the day I received the idea for this story. I was sitting on my apartment porch in Citrus Heights, CA taking a much needed break from caring for my husband who had been in hospice since August 10, 2016. I was looking at the Oak trees that landscaped the beautiful complex which inspired the story. My husband passed the following afternoon.

Doing a project like this makes my heart take flight and helps me realize a little more of how our difficult life experiences can be turned into something beautiful. I hope you enjoy this tribute.

The Mighty Oak is a story of love, loss and hope. The short film is a modern, animated parable that opens with a Mighty Oak, standing alone in a field of beautiful flowers. He has been alone for some time when a farmer comes and plants a Cherry Tree next to him. The Mighty Oak and the Cherry Tree fall in love and become entwined with one another. This love helps the Cherry Tree grow and mature and, in the end, withstand the storms that rages against her in life.

Creating Your Authenticity

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As a Creative, Producer and Designer, I am very much in my head most of the time. I am thinking of connections and possibilities. When facing personal circumstances of trauma and loss, it's very difficult for me to process my emotions without taking it outside of myself and work on it externally. That is exactly how A Bit of Forever was created. It's difficult for those who are affected by my writing to understand, but it's just the way that I process and the end result can greatly help other people dealing with what is going on in their own lives.

Recently, I started writing to process a one sided argument with someone who is no longer part of my life. Every time I read this piece to myself, the more self exploration I had into the real meaning behind my emotions and the more the poem morphed into its current form. What I ended up with was a beautiful, raw, authentic piece that was extremely healing in my walk. When I shared it recently on my Instagram page, a woman reached out to me thanking me for sharing it's message as she had recently started dating a widower who was still trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife two years ago. It's times like this that make me glad that I am Living Out Loud For All The World to Read.

The piece I wrote is below. I share it here to inspire you to create your authenticity and, maybe, the reach the heart of those who need to hear it.

Maybe

Maybe it was never just about them

Or the way their attention distracted me from

My journey through the darkness


Maybe it goes way deeper than the

Momentary emotions that made my head spin

Or the desperate attempt to take a breath

That flooded my lungs

Spilling recklessly onto the floor

Without notice to my responsibilities

That haplessly fell from my arms that night


Maybe it was the overwhelming guilt I felt

Over surviving well past my loves expiration date

Or being relieved the fight was over

Instead of missing him with

Every fiber of my being

Because the wound was too great to bear


Maybe I was so desperate to be grounded again

And their smile

Made me feel alive for a moment

Tearing my heart away from home

Until the realization of my actions

Set in motion a shame

Ruining any chance that could have been had

As I desperately tried to build a new home

On shifting sands with rotting wood


Maybe it was about losing the life I dearly loved

The one held on to with white knuckles

Screaming and praying for it to stay

Only to watch it slip through my fingers

Like water

As I stood there coping without

Anyone to understand the traumatic experience

Of pouring my soul into his final breath

After facing that cross for years

And suddenly realizing I was no longer

Wife, nor lover, nor best friend


Maybe it was the lack of identity that I felt

Or the grief that blinded me into hoping that

I could feel normal for a time

When all I needed was someone who would

Just hold me

Or ask if my empty shell needed anything

No, not from the store,

But from a giving heart to help me understand

The train wreck inside my chest


Maybe my frantic emotions

Coupled with the wine

Got the better of me

As they happily tweeted and texted their tribes

While I was drowning in the loss of mine

My stomach sick

Wishing I could nest my brokenness

With someone who really got it

Who could take care of me until my soul

Returned to my body


Maybe I searched from heart to heart

Mirroring their own wandering affections

Hoping to find someone who could

Truly hear me past their own thoughts

Truly connect to the shadows within

And show me how I could be

Happy again

Someday


Maybe it wasn’t just about them

They just happen to

Invade with their own brokenness

As this house of cards crashed down to the ground


Maybe, for that,

I’m truly sorry

I'm Back!

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After a long two months in Berkeley, California being the Assistant Director of a Tech Summer Camp for kids, I am finally back in Sacramento. This summer was insane, fun, exhausting and was not what I expected. But I got through it, completed my job to the best of my ability, and allowed it to focus me in the direction I want to go next. I have "management" experience on my resume and I made it through some of the hardest work I have ever done. 

So what is on the agenda now? Jumping back into creative work doing voiceovers, design, writing and directing a film. I hope to complete the animation of my first short story - The Mighty Oak. I also hope to start on a new feature-length film continuing the story of Christine from my short film A Bit of Forever

On an even more exciting note, the audiobook I narrated is available now on Amazon and Audible. New to audiobooks? Click on the picture below and start your trial with the audiobook today!

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

I recently closed a painful chapter of my life and moved on. I was invited by a dear friend to join him in launching his boat for the summer in Poluck Pines. What an amazing weekend. This was a welcome transition from moving out of my home I spent over a year building and destroyed over a few careless words as well as the release of a year of frustration and anger. The invitation from my friend was simple. Come up and just enjoy life, and that I did. From the engaging conversation, wonderful connection to nature and the seemingly easy partnership that occurred, it was a clear reminder to me that I still belonged here on this earth.

Proud Moment

Proud Moment

We all have our proud moments. Whether it's watching the first steps of our baby walk across the room, supporting someone walk across the stage with that degree they worked hard for, or watching the hard work of others be celebrated. We all stand, arm in arm, with one another in celebration of their accomplishments, and this moment is one of those experiences. 

What If I Dared?

What If I Dared?

Coming from a place of brokenness and having my previous life crumble to pieces, I have emerged stronger and more focused on the possibilities of what has been placed before me. This song embraces how the expectations of others that try to chain us down can help bring clarity and vision to your life. Don't give up.

Oxygen

Oxygen

My girlfriend asked my girl crew to go away with her. She needed some time out of her normal space and I knew the perfect place. The Round House. So three of us decided to rent this space for the weekend. With my home life in flux and deadlines quickly approaching, you would think it would have been a good time to stay at home and get things done. On the contrary. I needed this as much as my girlfriend.

When Life Interrupts

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In November of 2017, I was commissioned to do a wonderful audiobook for a self-published author of a Young Adult Fantasy Romance. I had just gotten back into short form voice acting and this was my first time doing long form narration. I explained upon taking the assignment that I could not work on the piece until my Winter Break due to my work schedule and other voiceover projects. She agreed and I planned to have the book done within the month I was off.

That is not how things went. Not even the slightest.

Once off, I was barraged with repair requests from the house owner in which the first week and a half we had four to five contractors come through and fix and inspect various things in the house. Then there were the holidays. Then my winter break was suddenly over. 

WAH WAH WAH

No problem. I still had three months to get this 10 hour book done. However, I realized within recording the first chapter that I had to severely edit my narration to make it sound smooth and professional. This was because of the road noise next to my house. This took alot more time than expected and pushed my project back to April 1st. 

Then suddenly, I found myself having to move on top of getting a summer job out of town. Needless to say I am now facing having to do this project within a short period of time and all in time before I pack up my home, and recording booth, for the summer. 

This does not come off as very professional. However, I found something strangely wonderful about this whole experience. The author ended up liking the fact that the project was going slowly because of her own schedule in reviewing the audio chapters. This symbiotic relationship has turned into a unique, creative partnership for not only this project but voicing her other books in the future. It has opened up ideas and ways to edit future volumes that might not have been considered before. We both are growing in an instrumental and creative way.

So when life interrupts your projects, especially professional endeavors, look at why it's happening and how everyone can benefit from the way things are going. Do your best to work around it, don't judge yourself for not meeting your own expectations and embrace the growth process embedded within the experience.

You will be a much better creative in the long run. 

Persistence Abounds

Tenacious.

That would be the one word that describes a part of my personality. Not that I come to each moment in robust pride and over exaggerated self-confidence, but something in me stays true to who I am deep within, regardless of the expectations of others. Especially when it comes to my creative nature.

My father had a hard time accepting my creativity because, of course, all artists are starving...right? And the last thing a parent wants is a dependent child who puts their art above being a self sufficient contributor of society. My mother was the compassionate supporter and did her best to balance the frustration of my paternal caretaker. Almost to the point of codependency. While I faced one challenge after another, I stayed true to the creative person inside of me all the while trying to be a responsible adult for everyone around me.  

Creativity became my outlet of self-discovery. No matter the emotion or issue, I would write, sing, dance, act, film or compose music to process my emotions. It was a way for me to take my thoughts and feelings outside of myself and work my way logically around the situation before putting it back in my head. The amazing thing about this process of using creativity to sort out the mysteries of life is how many people relate to the piece created.

1/2/2015 - Written, recorded and video created in my car on a snowy day in Nevada City while waiting for my daughter to was doing makeup and modeling for a photoshoot. 

Being a creative person facing tragedy and severe loss can propel you into turning around your own circumstances through that creativity. According to an article written in the Huffington Post:

"An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life."

Some people have not understood this creative process of figuring out life. I had a grief counselor tell me that I had exacerbated the grief process by writing and filming A Bit of Forever. On the contrary. I prepared myself mentally, emotionally and physically for the journey I had perceived was coming. And when that time and moment came, my mind was set that tomorrow would be a better day than today. That film has touched many lives both through the making and viewing of it.

Tenacity was the beginning of my journey into writing, design, music and filmmaking.

So I encourage you, continue in your creative efforts of self discovery and expression. It may just change your perspective all the while touching lives of all those around you. 

A Time to Bloom

It has now been a year and a half since my life drastically changed by the passing of Mark after a five year battle with Colon Cancer. Since then, life has been busy. I fell in love too soon, moved, started a new company, became an empty nester, did a few shows, directed a short film, got my heart broken, started a new job, took on new work as a voiceover artist/narrator, got through my second set of holidays without my normal family unit, and started Griefshare. To say this year and a half was filled with just as many challenges as the five year prior battle is an understatement, but through the difficulties of this time I have grown in ways that I didn’t think possible.

The first being that I am learning to take care of myself emotionally. I know this should sound like a given, but for 16 years I had a love that had intertwined itself around my psyche. I shared everything with him. Every thought. Every emotion. Every dream. Every fear. Every passion. All of who I was. With two words of “I do”, the foundation of trust and love was laid. It is what I had prayed for and what I had received. However, in my new life the relationship I found myself in was filled with periods of loneliness and such emotional distance that I realized that I could not be the same way with this person as I was in my prior life. I had to start hiding more of myself because as I shared who I was, the more they separated themselves. This caused me to go internal, went quiet and start finding other ways to care for my own emotional needs. 

So what does it look like to go from a partnering relationship to a self dependant relationship? Well, at first it was very lonely. Even in the middle of a relationship, loneliness was my constant partner. I had become so used to having my heart rest in the nest of someone else’s hands that I forgot what it was like to hold it in my own. And as the people in my life around me failed to be there over and over, I got stronger and learned to stand on my own again. But the biggest factor that helped me was my faith. 

I was getting into some pretty strange things that really contradicted the promises I made to myself as a Child of God. It was out of fear, running from the trauma of losing Mark, yet anxiously searching for the same spiritual and emotional connection that I had before that drove me to worldly spiritualism. But all of those other things made me feel like I was running after the wind when I needed roots grown deep into the earth to ground me. And as I sat in bed alone, crying, shaking, feeling numb, that my spirit started to cry out.

As I had written before in a previous blog post, it only took one spark to get the fire going. I’m so grateful for my friend to have spent the time with me and asked me the deep questions that was part of turning my eyes back to God. In the past month, I have found my footing on firm ground again as my conversations with God grows stronger and stronger. I talk with Him on a daily basis through worship and prayer. Knowing He is constantly by me and loves me with such a deep love cures the loneliness that I have been suffering with. And regardless of my emotions or decisions I have made based upon them, His love is always there to surround me, to fill me.

Being a true romantic, connection, affection, beauty and love are at the core of who I am. It is the river that flows deep within my soul. And God’s love is the only thing that is high, deep and wide enough to fill this seekers heart. Mark and I got along so well because we both reflected that same love. So it is best for me to strengthen myself in that Love on a daily basis. It is my sanity. It is life to these dry bones. 

Now, I find myself enjoying time alone and taking care of myself. I still have so many thoughts and dreams I want to share with someone, and I do. I share them with God. With friends and family. With writing in my journal and through social media. I find the connections and validations when sitting alone in a movie theater and a story jumps out a certain truth to me. 

I may never find that type of understanding again in a human being here on earth, but my heart is open should that be God’s will for me. In the meantime, I am learning, growing, thankful for every moment and enjoying this journey. I am finding the fingerprints of God through every person I encourage and inspire. I hear God through the laughter of friends and family. I am feeling His love during the quiet times when spending time in nature or laying in my bed alone. I am surrounding myself with quality people who are kind, courageous, generous, loving, patient, inspirational and encouraging themselves. I realize that God has given me everything I need for an abundant life so I am purposefully seeking to live that abundant life. 

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