Today is my birthday!! Last year, I went through some major changes, some good, some painful. I accepted a new dream job, and thereby released my dream job of touring with Stevie Wonder. I moved from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, away from my family, my pets, my friends, my relationship, my students, my familiar local performance opportunities, my comfort zone, into the unknown world of late night television. I was nervous, but also excited. I never imagined that I’d be on television, and yet, there I was!
Every day that I went to work on the Arsenio Hall Show was incredible. Preparing for the show was an intense, all-encompassing effort. I had to familiarize myself with a vast array songs, musical styles, lyrics, learn songs extremely quickly, make last minute changes, often while the show was taping, project energy, smile and have fun entertaining the studio audience, while being aware that millions of people would be watching at home. No pressure…!!
When the show was cancelled in May, it came as a shock. It seemed that the show was doing well, and that momentum was on our side. But the saying goes “that’s Hollywood”! As a natural optimist, I shed my tears, dusted off and focused on what’s next. So, I got to work on completing (at long last) my debut album. After all, if I was still touring the world with Stevie Wonder, or working 10-14 hour days on the TV show, it would be exceptionally difficult for me to find time to finish my album. So the timing is perfect, n’est-ce pas?
Indeed, I miss performing in Stevie Wonder’s band, sharing the stage with him, experiencing the heights of musical expression, watching his audiences swoon and cry tears of joy from my keyboard station. I miss walking onto the KTLA lot, going into my dressing room (with MY name on it!), saying hello to the staff and crew, going to my unbelievable keyboard rig, running tunes with my brothers in Posse 2.0 (y’all just don’t know if you didn’t come see the show live. The band was AMAZING!), walking in as my all-natural, no makeup, wild curly hair flying, Birkenstock wearing, hippie-chic self and being transformed into Black Barbie by my glam squad everyday (EVERYDAY!!), performing for a hyped up live audience, watching Arsenio entertain and make everyone laugh on set. It was magical.
So, in this coming year, I am publicly declaring a few of my birthday wishes, but, of course, I’ve got a few which will remain secret ; >
As an artist, I make the adult decision to reveal my inner child – the vulnerable, scared, insecure little girl that lives in my heart and mind.
I want to live with more authenticity. I was raised to be a “good girl”. I’ve lived my life being a people pleaser, seeking approval through my achievements, my good behavior, my willingness to go along, not “rock the boat”, even when it didn’t suit me. However, living that way means that I’m denying myself.
In celebration of another year of life, I am going to make a greater effort to speak my mind, even if it means disappointing someone. It’s not my nature to be mean spirited or offensive purposefully, and my authenticity will always be rooted in loving kindness, self-awareness and a desire to be a light in the world. But even the idea of declaring what I truly want and standing up for it is liberating. My new mantras:
If I can’t say HELL YEAH, I say no.
When considering whether to say yes or no, I must choose the response that feels like freedom.
I think if I can do those things, it will be an incredibly fantastic year. Even if I am not consistently successful (old habit sometimes are hard to break, and there is an exception to every rule), I know I will be alright, because I’m already surrounded by so much love, light and support. And for that, I am truly grateful. Thank you for believing in me…
And now for the gratuitous plug:
Make my birthday extra special by making a pledge today! The album is almost done! Don’t you want to join in?? : >
Check out my Behind The Scenes video of my Grateful Album photo shoot:
And follow along as I compose the final song of the album, Human:ArsenioHall, Blog, front-page, Stevie Wonder, Victoria Theodore. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.