The Weight

 

 

At the start of 2016, something huge happened!!!  No, I didn’t receive a multi-million dollar TV/Movie deal (Yet) or won millions in the lottery.  Its much more fulfilling than that…It’s spiritual.  I’ve know God for as far back as I can remember.  But I’ve never felt as close to him as I do today.

In January, I had my yearly checkup.  And the one thing that became apparent was how much weight I had gained.  I was disgusted at how I had let myself go.  I felt like throwing up right there in the Doctor’s office.  Instead I decided to listen to my doctor and make some drastic lifestyle changes.

The changes we agreed to included what I ate, how much I ate, when I ate and to start moving/exercising. Believe it or not, I was once an athlete back on the day.    Yep, I played High School & College Basketball. I was actually pretty good to.  So believe me, I know what it feels like to be in shape.

At the same time I was forced to look in the mirror.  Asking myself, “What was it that was causing me to over indulge with food?  “What was eating me? Talk about a moment of clarity, Why was I killing myself with food? Why was I responding to life’s challenges by emotionally eating? No one had a gun to my head making me eat unhealthy.  So, why was I making bad eating choices?

Talk about a Aha moment…Standing there at that very moment, I had to accept who I was.   And yes, I know I’m God’s beautiful black daughter, with gifts and talents tucked away…hiding behind all of the weight.  I was Three hundred and thirty pounds of unwanted, unhealthy, unattractive, depressing weight. Yuck!!

I believe in order for this to resonate with folks I must be real… So excuse me if this grosses any of you out.  Being transparent is not always pretty but its necessary that you get the full picture.

God was waiting on me to become the person that lives behind the weight. I needed to seek him for a “Now” kind of faith, strength, courage, and clarity; to deal with the reality of not paying attention to my health.  You see as long as I could package myself up nicely (snatching it all together), making the outside look good.  I thought I was ok.  But what you didn’t know was, I felt horrible on the inside. I personally don’t know one fat person that is truly happy being overweight. I blamed my “weight” on everything and everybody.  This would also include the things that didn’t seem to happen for me.  In my mind, it was all because of my weight.  I hated my weight.  My weight became an excuse for me not to deal with my own shortcomings.

Everything hurted! I had aches and pain, my hair was thinning, my skin was changing.  I knew that there was something wrong with me.

Through God’s word I was provided with the spirit of truth.  John 16:13 (NIV) 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  That truth was the defining moment that I needed to “take action”.

I could no longer package the weight the same and I couldn’t wish it away. I felt a shift and knew that I had to make the changes necessary to live.  A change requires work as a decision implies action.  So, I begin to change the food I ate. I watched the times I ate and how much. I would pray more intensely and I started meditating to hear the answers from my prayers.  Meditating allows me to be still and listen for the voice of God. It’s the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.

Well, since that defining moment, I’m happy to report that I’ve lost 33 pounds. I believe losing the weight was a byproduct of what happens when you trust God’s plan for my life and have the NOW kind of faith that he has supplied all your need.

Philippians 4:19 (NIV) And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

He’s revealing more and more to me; about me.  I love this journey and I hope that I’ve encouraged someone that has the same struggles.

Proverbs 3:6 (NIV) Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  Ask God for guidance.  Remeber, you’re not waiting on God…God is waiting on you.  Make the connection to whatever is weighing you down.

 

Love You!

 

Thea

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.

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Having patient & love for the process of acting is a must for me. For me it’s never been about being rich & famous. Initially it was about merely finding opportunities to just work. Being able to share my ability to breath life into a character became my mission. To make one believe that I was in fact that character (if only for a moment) was my aim. Having the ability to read between the lines of the script was and still is what I shoot for. I never want to be caught acting. It is the very essence of the craft. And when someone affords you the opportunity to tap into that very pocket of creativity; there’s no greater feeling. It’s called “Magic”. Christopher A. Nolen (The Black One) did that for me. He was one of the first to take a chance on me in a huge project; acting alongside “Harry Lennix” of NBC THE BLACKLIST, “Timon Kyle Durrett” of Queen Sugar and a host of other influential actors of our times. Christopher saw me…not just my talent but my heart for the craft and for that I’m grateful. You know the Bible says: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV Christopher has an uncanny gift for recognizing talent and the ability to direct talents of all levels. True story: I remember when I was acting full-time and A famous acting coach came to Chicago and I didn’t have quite enough funds to attend the workshop; without any hesitation Christopher made it happen for me. Christopher is truly the actors director. He understands from an actor’s perspective. He directs from this space when needed. He’s also my brother and one of my dearest my friends. I have nothing but love for him. I believe there are no boundaries for him. The Sky is the limit. Love you My Big Brother Almighty 😇 grateful #honored #favor#blessed #humble15732179_10209974451011109_5088238018930544318_o

“A thousand years from now…what damn difference will it make?” By Thea Camara

Did you see this one…

Thea-ism's

This is a quote from my great great Aunt Priscilla.  She was a woman of few words but when she spoke, what she said was likely to be thought provoking. 

It wasn’t until later in life that I came to an understanding about what this quote means to me.  She would often say this when things didn’t go as planned.  I guess it was her way of saying; when things don’t go your way…in time it won’t make a difference. 

We focus so much on the small things in life that we tend to miss what’s really important.  For instance, what would this world look like if we focused on helping one another instead of tearing each other down?  And how about doing that without looking for anything in return?  Wow what a concept! I somewhat disagree with my Aunt’s statement.  I believe that when we help each other be…

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Faith…My Journey through ChiRaq

It was one of the biggest auditions of my career. I had 3 callbacks and was placed on “check avail”.  I felt really good about it but wasn’t sure. So, after about two weeks of waiting I finally get the call from my agent, only to hear these words,

“Thea, you’ve been released”

I remember thinking, what?  At that moment, I couldn’t comprehend what those words really meant….I felt like I had been hit by a “mack truck”.  I was paralyzed by doubt, insecurity, shame, and sadness. I had shared the “Auditon Process” with several people.  And I started to feel like I not only let myself down but them as well. After about an hour of being in total disbelief, I rolled out of bed to share the news with my family.

My 16 year old son (Kader) was the only one home at the time.  I knocked on his bedroom door and entered, he took one look at me and before I could utter the words I didn’t get the part…he knew.  He stood and I literally fell into his thin 6’4 frame.  He began to rub and pat my back, to let me know it was okay,

“Mom, its okay, don’t cry”.

Moms of teenagers can relate, I think it was the first time I felt like my son wasn’t being a jerk. I was able to get a glimpse of the awesome young man he is going to be.  He stayed by my side for what seemed like an hour. I’ll never forget that moment.

There were lots of negative thoughts running through my head: who do I tell next, what does my agency think of me NOW, maybe this whole acting thing isn’t for me, perhaps I’m just not good enough.  I thought it was important to share the news with my friends who have supported me throughout this process.  I felt like I owed people who had been supporting me over the years a call, an explanation as to why I didn’t land the job. I later came to believe that the remedy to eliminate this “obligation” was to simply stop sharing my “audition process” with others, this way I won’t feel like I’m letting the whole village down by not getting the gig.

So, I made the calls.  One of the first people I called was my dear sister-girlfriend Charmaine.  She’s been one of my biggest supporters and I felt like I let her down the most. Charmaine reminded me that maybe it wasn’t personal and I was probably just not the person Spike Lee envisioned for that particular role.  She also told me that it wasn’t over and to continue to trust God’s plan for my life.

Charmaine said, “don’t lose your faith”.  We talked for a bit and after, I proceeded to call others who’d supported me on this journey: my husband, Nikki, Pilar, Pam, Shanel, Therase, Melisa, Elisa, Christopher, Thomasa, Cynda, Tressa, Keshia, Andrea, Vee, Dee, Laurence, Richard and a host of other friends and family members.

I dreaded sharing this with my husband. I felt like he would say something I didn’t want to hear and it would cause me to feel even worst, and I was right. He told me he thought that I should give up acting and go back to corporate American.   I avoided being in the same room with him because I just couldn’t bear what else he might say.

About a week went by and I received a call from my good friend Adele.  As we chatted she told me she heard something in my voice.  Adele said you just don’t sound like the “Thea” I know. She asked me what was wrong.  I broke down and told her everything and in her unique and funny way she told me to tighten up my wig because she had a project she wanted me to work on.  She told me how talented I am and that this was just how the business of show business works.  She really helped me put things in prospective.  I shared my husband’s thoughts with Adele and she replied,

“That was his only way of protecting me because he can’t in this industry. He feels like if you just go back work, that safe place; you wouldn’t have to deal with all this.”

It made sense. I quietly forgave him and started to heal.

Two weeks passed and I felt about 85 percent better.  I look forward to auditioning again and even look forward to substitute teaching over the summer.  Then one day I’m running errands and while I’m at the checkout line in the grocery store, I get a call from my agent. She tells me Mr. Lee (Spike) wants to see me one final time.  My reply was, “Look don’t play with me. I’m 85 percent better with this whole thing and I really don’t have time for games.”

My agent replied, “we wouldn’t do that; we will send you details shortly.”  So, I got the email with the details and there’s no sides. (Part of the script to memorize)  It simply advised me of the time and place.  I show up and there’re about 30 people there and I still don’t know what this is all about. I signed in and waited.  Then my name was called and they took me to a room where Mr. Lee waited with two chairs and a table.

He stood up and greeted me with a hug and he said, “You thought it was over huh”.

I was like, “Yeah. I was really nervous the last time we met.  I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”

He inquired about my nervousness.

I told him, “Dude you’re freaking Spike Lee!”

He laughed and said, “You can’t be nervous and land the job.”

I told him, “Well I’m not nervous now. What’s the job?”  He shared his vision of where my skills would be best put to use. It was within a group of women that would be in a scene with Ms. Angela Bassett. He told me it wasn’t scripted yet (meaning there were no lines) and asked if I was okay with that…Of course, I said yes.

I was hired as a “Featured Extra”.  I was part of a core group which gave me a slightly bump in pay from being a regular extra.  I didn’t mind. I would’ve done it for free but getting paid was a nice added bonus.

I was given 10 scheduled days on the project and for that, I was grateful. I hadn’t been and extra in a movie for some time and I forgot all that was involved.  You see, last summer 2014, I was a principal in a movie called Christopher Nolen’s 72 Hours with Harry Lennix (Blacklist) Brely Evans (Being Mary Jane) Terri J. Vaughn ( Steve Harvey Show) Cynda Williams (Mo betta Blues) and a host of others. So, this was a humbling experience for me. By no means am I saying this was beneath me, It was just something I hadn’t done in some time.

On set for ChiRaq, , I met and developed relationships that I believe will last a lifetime.  I met Carole, one of the 4 little girl’s (Carole Robertson) niece, which Spike did a documentary about. I met Lee Albritton, the manager of the late Bernie Mac, Atty. Ernesto Borges, (who knew he was a brilliant theater Actor), Father Pfleger and many others. The absolute highlight for me was meeting the mothers of the children that had been gunned done by gun violence in Chicago. Sitting with them, hearing their stories of loss and witnessing their courage to go on was incredible.  We, together, participated in Father Pfleger’s 3 mile annual march in Engelwood, which is one of the neighborhoods that have been plagued by violence. I was afraid while I protested…we chanted “Put down the guns”, “Stop the violence” and “Don’t shoot”.  Some of the mothers were compelled to stop in their tracks with grief; where they were consoled by the other women.  It was at that moment that I asked God to reveal to me why was I there? What purpose did he have me in the middle of a town where I was at that moment fearing for my own life.

It was on my ride home that God spoke to my spirit as to why I was chosen to be a part of this production?   It wasn’t to have a principle (speaking) role.  In fact, I had relinquished all possibilities of that. I was more focused on fulfilling my commitment as a featured extra.  See, I live in a quiet southwest suburb of Chicago and it’s there where my children can ride their bikes to the park and not fear getting gunned down, it’s a place where they can walk to the corner store or pizza parlor and not have their gym shoes, coats, or money be taken, It is there where my children can play basketball in the driveway and not worry about a drive-by shooting. Please don’t misunderstand me, violence can happen anywhere; by no means are we exempt from it. However, It’s doesn’t rid our town as it does in Chicago.

I cried the entire ride home (35 miles ) and had to sit in my driveway until I got myself together. My heart is heavy for the many families that don’t (and should) have the same opportunities as families in other parts of the city where crime is not so prevalent.  I shared this with my family with hopes that it would increase their gratitude and awareness of just how good God has been to us.

With about 2 days left on set, I struggled to go back, but I was committed to finish.  On my last day, I had another huge audition with the director of another feature film.  I was contemplating with my agent whether or not I should jet out on lunch to make it. I stepped away from my group and sat in the hallway.  I was still thinking about whether or not I should go to this audition.  Meanwhile, Spike walked in the door and asked me to join him on set. On set I began rehearsing with the principal women in the movie. Spike looks at me and gives me a line with Angela Bassett and instantly my whole world changed. I went from a featured extra to a principal in a blink of the eye.

I am now SAG-eligible. My pay increased. I will get an IMDB credit on the movie and everything else that comes with this awesome opportunity. Nothing but God!

The lessons I’ve learned being a part of the ChiRaq production are immeasurable.  Spike gave me a gift that will continue to serve me and others. I will never forget how gracious and kind he was to me.  Talk about perseverance, dedication, loyalty, humility, spirituality, confidence, and just feeling a sense of pride of being not only black but a person that truly cares about the struggles of our people.  This is not just a black issue it’s an issue that plagues our nation…and Chicago is in the very center.  I’m sure that this movie will bring a heightened awareness about to the violence and hopefully peace to a city that is in desperate need.   #Chiraq #bestsummerever #gratitude #peacetrain #stoptheviolence