Sam @CUSP Conference 2015

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Year in Review

It's been an incredible year -- 2013 was more than I could have ever hoped for!

I had no idea when this year began that it would be such a turning point for me personally and professionally.

The year began with me in my typical routine -- reporting daily to my job as an automotive writer and occasionally finding time to to review a show for my newspaper, The Oakland Press. I also had been moonlighting as an entrepreneur and pitching my idea for an outdoor Shakespeare festival in Detroit to several organizations in the city. Then in May that routine went out the window and pitching an idea turned into making it a reality when I received a phone call that my theater company, Shakespeare in Detroit, would be performing "Othello" on the Quicken Loans stage at Grand Circus Park for their Summer in the City series.

I almost forgot, I also had been fundraising since the beginning of the year for the American Cancer Society. So I was busy but there wasn't anything out of the ordinary happening in my life until that phone call.

Two days after opportunity called, I lost my biggest supporter -- Lucille Hamilton, my grandma. But, I continued on as my grandma would have been very upset with me if I reacted any other way.

I experienced so much growth throughout the rehearsal process as a first time director and new entrepreneur. It was quite the experience. I made a lot of mistakes like forgetting to take care of myself -- I neglected things like my workout routine -- and taking on too much by directing and producing. But, I also made some awesome choices like hiring a great cast and the most amazing costume designer this side of the Mississippi.

On August 14, 2013, Shakespeare in Detroit made history as the first-ever Shakespeare in the Park experience in the city with an all-local cast. We received a standing ovation from the audience and some really encouraging feedback that the city would love more from SiD.

I am so proud to be an African-American woman who was able to make history in my hometown.

"Othello" was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I looked into the audience and saw black, white, old and young faces standing, applauding and appreciating all the hard work we put into that show, all those lessons -- mistakes and good choices -- made perfect sense.

The most important lesson that I learned, however, is that I won't be taken for granted anymore.

"Othello" showed me that I am capable of making all my dreams come true. I've always been an active woman. I'm always performing or writing and doing other things. But, this was a huge feat as it was a culmination of strategy, planning, organizing, managing and creating.  It really pushed and inspired me to think differently about my life. And what I now know for sure is that I will never be taken for granted again.

I've worked so many jobs and been in relationships where I was treated with a take it or leave it attitude. My time, talents, potential and other qualities were not valued. And that can not and will not happen again. I want to make my living and give my heart to people who will treat me the way I -- the way we all -- deserve to be treated.

Women, take control of your lives and know that you are worth every blessing that God places in your life. And anyone who isn't adding to your blessings? Throw them the deuces! Peace. Anyone who treats you like your are ordinary? Say goodbye to them, immediately!

Here are some other of my favorite moments from this year -- personal and professional -- in no particular order

1. Riding in the back of a drop top Mustang down Ocean Dr. on South Beach with one of my besties
2. Winning Rookie of the Year at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life (Ferndale, Mich.)
3. My birthday party was pretty kick ass this year
4. Speaking to my grandma for the last time, she couldn't respond but I told her the story of her donkey "Bob" that she shared with me a long time ago and she smiled
5. Winning EntreSLAM, October 2013 -- I told my truth and people responded positively

Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year from coming to see "Othello" to pledging your hard-earned money via SiD's Kickstarter campaign! I love you all.

I am looking forward to what God has in store for me in 2014.

Happy New Year everybody!

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