The greatest gift is the gift of understanding


Imagine, you’re an 8 year old boy sitting in the back of a classroom with all the energy life has to offer. One minute you wanna sing, the next you wanna dance and then you draw. You’re constantly creating but the world around you says sit still. Something is wrong with you. You can’t focus. Honestly, I think the inability to focus is the action of trying to drown out all the voices in ones head telling you to think a different way.
Today on set was a surreal experience. The reason I have fallen in love with background and television is for the first time, I have found a space where I can explore who I truly am. No one is directing me, there is no pressure to have to get things right. Today, I acted, I danced, I wrote a song, and I’m gonna sing later. I existed in a world created for me and there was no text involved.
I have started studying piano in order to learn how to read sheet music and speaking honestly, there is something that I experience particularly from white people often; My teacher is teaching me the patterns of the piano because there is a certain structure to playing it. So, the other day I was learning a pattern that goes from left to right and the curious kid in me tries to figure out the pattern from right to left and because of the piano and structure of the hand, the pattern was different.
I’ve heard many people, refer to my curiosity of trying to understand something my way as resistance but I calmly explain I’m just trying to understand my way of thinking before an idea is imposed. I think people are comfortable with the idea of just following a way that works even if it feels uncomfortable to them.
I play the bartender on a popular tv show and while on set, the lead actors will sit and have their dialogue while I’m given the very simple direction of going from point A to point B. That’s it. And I get to make up everything in between. So, I made the choice to check the alcohol inventory. As I walk in, I check the bar well to make sure the bottles are full and then I move on to the shelves to make sure there is enough in stock for well refills. In order to maintain continuity I create actions and pauses on specific words and in different spots in the bar. This is something I did a year ago but was unaware It was happening. Now this may not seem uncommon because the first AD will usually tell you to move on certain words, the difference, he doesn’t tell you what to do in betwee. I realized, I was so used to moving to a Rhythm that the words themselves never registered.
I take in all the information around me and create different tasks to lead me to my mark on those words. It sets up for a very smooth and shorter take.
The real gift of this was having the opportunity to understand how my mind works. I’m realizing I create associations with a lot of things in my life. It’s how I connect the dots and create connections. Even how I choreograph and direct. When listening to words, it’s like music and I’ve always been one to move to the music.
I also realized that memorizing words off a page is harder because there is no music. It explains why songs stick a lot faster than words.
I did have one teacher in college who told me she thought I learned musically. She was the first person to ever say that. It was nice not hearing I have a learning disability. But I still believe this just the tip a very large iceberg.