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Black Girls Can’t Be Superheroes? My Kickstarter Adventure – Week 2

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“You have a lot working against you,” Q.T. said.  “You can’t be a witch, a bitch and black, you will lose your entire potential audience.
Black girls can’t be superheroes, it just doesn’t sell.  Then you are using ‘witch’ which scares a lot of black people off and those that do stick around will be offended by the word ‘bitch’,” he casually finished and then sipped his coffee like he had just given me the time.  This was not the time I needed to hear this, considering I am currently running a Kickstarter for a web series featuring a superhero-type character, “The Confessions of a Witch Bitch.”  Although, I went to him to get some suggestions on how to market my Kickstarter campaign better, I was not prepared to be shut down and dismissed.

“So, would it have just been better if I did a show about being a slave or a maid?”  I sarcastically and defensively quipped back.  “Probably,” he mockingly responded.  “Or something religious. Black women in fantasy roles is just not how the world sees you.”

Something inside of me was unsettled after that conversation and when I checked my gut, I realized, a part of me believed him.  Last week was a good week, “The Confessions of a Witch Bitch” received national press on three blogs and I got an interview on one of the top radio shows in Memphis, TN.  We still have about three weeks left in the campaign and about $12,700 more dollars to raise.  Sometimes, I look at that number and think how in the world is that even possible.  Then I look at it again and break it down, “If 508 donated $25 in three weeks, I will make goal.”  It sounds less overwhelming when I think of it like that.

I actually considered “The Confessions of a Witch Bitch” my more “censored” work compared to “Tricks.”, but the title has proven to be a hit or miss.  I’ve thought about changing it to something bland, boring and filled with less charge and every time I consider it, a part of me loses interest in the project.  Being a woman of color who loves science fiction, thrillers, horror and fantasy does not win a lot of fans – initially, but I’ve always believed that if I produced strong work then it would speak for itself.

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The Grudge – Why I Chose to Let Go of Hating Pat…

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I know. I know. It’s been a loooong time. But I promise you there is a good reason. I’ve been working my ass off!!! There isn’t much else I can offer other than that.

But since I am always evolving, I’m always discovering new things about myself and the world around me. And the latest revelation I had is – I really hate holding grudges. It is absolutely exhausting! And recently, that revelation was put to the test.

TheGrudge

I had an opportunity to hate someone (we will call them, “Pat”) and I can name 10 reasons that it would have been justified. And I really, really tried to hate Pat. I said salty things about them, rolled my eyes whenever they were mentioned and became quiet whenever anyone said anything positive about them. However, one night, I went to my regular fight class and found that I could not concentrate. Moves and routines that I could do in my sleep, I was struggling with doing. When I stopped and checked myself, I realize it was because I holding a lot of negative emotions around Pat. I couldn’t punch as hard, I couldn’t jump as high when I kicked, I was no good.

In that moment, I made the decision to let go. My therapist/mentor told me something that really stuck with me – “DeAara, a part of you is trying to seek approval from people you don’t even like.” And that was true. For the most part, I realized that I really didn’t like Pat. Now, I’ve seen Pat be very kind, thoughtful and caring towards others but I’ve also seen them throw shade at people they claim they love, mock “friends” who were not in their presence and repeatedly violate trust and boundaries. So yes, Pat could be kind, but so could Hitler…and we all know how that turned out.

The point is, I realized that a part of me was seeking acceptance from someone that I did not like and who obviously did not like me. So why was I doing this? I’m sure there are a number of childhood variables that play a part and me figuring it out would do no good if I was still suffering. So I decided to work through the pain. And you know what I discovered? It was not about Pat. It was about rejection – and that wound ran deeper than my relationship with Pat ever went. So I worked it and worked it and worked it. And when I got to the other side, in that moment, I felt only compassion for Pat and for myself.

And my energy came back! I realized I was bored with drama, made up stories and misunderstandings. I’m launching a web series, finally marketing my film and getting great results, dating a wonderful man who by all accounts I’m probably going to marry one day. I had no interest in ruminating over something or someone I had no control over.

Inevitably, I will run into Pat again. What will I do? I will speak. I will be myself. If they speak in return, great. If they don’t, no hard feelings. It really is – no thing.

Holding grudges really does trip up other parts of our lives. Letting go doesn’t mean you have to let that person back in, it just means that you open yourself up to the Universe’s blessings and gifts. And that is so much more rewarding than hating someone or seeking the acceptance of a person whom you don’t even like.

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I Just Want a Fucking Burger…

Starting a diet is easy, staying on it is tougher. Sometimes, no matter how healthy the food is, no matter how much weight you’ll lose, by the end of the day, you just want a fucking burger.

Is Your Husband Cheating? What You Mad For?

Women who have ever dealt with a husband/boyfriend cheating and the “other” woman doing everything she can to break you all up will be able to relate to my next “monorhyme” – What You Mad For? This came right out of my personal experience that is well chronicled on this blog.  So if you dig it, give it a thumbs up, leave comments on Youtube and share it!

The Pastor and the Prostitute

When I was writing my film, “Tricks.” I interviewed a woman who shared with me her experience dealing with a Baptist preacher and his congregation who judged her.  I thought it was an excellent story line, but “Tricks.” was already too long and I had to start editing it down and couldn’t add anymore storylines.  I never forgot that story and decided to do something with it when I started producing, “The People Inside My Head.”

Since I do “monorhymes”, I thought was one of the coolest songs to perform this rhythmic monologue to would be Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap.”  I had meant to do this last year, but it took “The People Inside My Head” a little longer to crank up.  So here it is, watch, share your thoughts and share the video!

Now That George Zimmerman Has Been Acquitted, What Will Black Mothers Tell Their Sons?

Now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin, what will black”mothers tell their sons? Much has been written about how the verdict and how racial profiling affects young African-American men, but little has been written about how it affects fearful African-American mothers struggling to cope with the verdict.

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Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part IV

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Continued from “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part III”

After I released the energy around that situation, my heart started beating even faster. Colors became more vibrant. Sounds more crisp. I didn’t know what was happening, something just told me to stick with it, stay the course. So on December 10, 2012, I decided to do something about my weight for real. I had the exercising down. I had been doing it for two years in fight class and lost 20 pounds while gaining a considerable amount of muscle. But my eating was off. Working out for two hours and then eating a cheeseburger was counter-productive to say the least. I got serious, cleaned out my pantry and stocked up on healthier foods.

Then another set back. One day within my new way of eating, one of my rental properties got completely destroyed by a fire. A day before my birthday! And I so wanted to go to that place again. That dark place. That place that reminds me that God really doesn’t love me and will make sure that I suffer no matter how hard I work to dig myself out of it. But I wouldn’t allow myself to go there. I was in tears as I drove to my rental property, completely furious with the tenant who already was a slow-to-no-payer. I was paying the mortgage on my own often because she didn’t have the rent and now the damn house was on fire?! Why the hell is all of this happening, I thought.

Yet, my parts were working themselves out in the background and something suddenly hit me on the way to the house – I had property insurance. I owed much less on the house than the house was worth, so no matter what, I was covered. Although I was nervous and my heart went out to my tenant who lost everything, I was relieved to know that I wasn’t going to have another huge financial setback. The house was deemed a complete lost and it was totaled, literally. Although I felt sad at the loss of the income, I was relieved I didn’t have to deal with that tenant anymore. Hell, I was relieved I only had one rental property left with a good, timely tenant.

Things slowly picked up after that. I stayed the course with my diet, the weight started to melt off and one day my Facilitator introduced a new technique to me that completely revolutionized the intrapersonal work we were doing. The process went so deep and was so compassionate that I was flooded with tears when we finished. He walked me through a process where I let all of my parts know that I was the love, the light, the joy, the innocence, the courage, the confidence, the creativity, the clarity that they thought they lost. I let them know that I loved and accepted them, no matter how deep their secrets, how dark their shame. And the only mistake they made was forgetting that I (SELF) had always been there. That I will always be there. I was there before conception and I will be there during their transition out of this life and beyond. And that’s when it hit. That’s when I realized that I was God. That’s when it all came together. Everything I had been learning, all the work that I had been doing. I finally got it intuitively, not just intellectually. The hatred, the punishment, the things-never-work-out, nobody-likes-me mentality came from wounded parts in me, not the God in me. God, the Light, the Sun, the Universe or however Ones sees it is incapable of that type of existence.

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Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part III

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Continued From “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me…Part II”

In 2011, my heart was slowly started to beat again. Fighting and taking medication for insulin-resistance knocked about 20 pounds off of me by that time. I was feeling a little better. And I met somebody. It was such a relief to connect with someone who had a like-mind and spirit, to know that I was still desirable, that I tried not to pay attention to the red flags. But I had been doing my work and I was healing, so I couldn’t put a veil over my eyes like I did in the past. My parts were stronger now, had more clarity, loved me too much and after 7 months, that relationship ended. Initially, I went into panic mode. “Oh no, am I going to mourn him as long as I mourned my Ex before him?” “Is this breakup going to cripple and stall me the way the one before him did?” I was just getting my creativity back. I was writing again. I was slowly acting again. I was going to have to go through this shit all over again? I was devastated at the thought. I did go into a funk after the break up. But something odd happened – I only mourned it very deeply for about two weeks. This was unusual for me, because I’ve taken break ups hard in the past. After two weeks, however, I just couldn’t really get my hip into being sad over it. I examined the data and knew that, that was not a connection that was meant to be on that level. I got what I needed from it and I let it go. And that was the first real testament to the work that I was doing. I had no way of intellectually knowing how that was going to play out. But I had been working tirelessly on healing my inner parts so much so that SELF was able to step in and took care of it for me.

During this time, although I started getting better, I had a huge set back – my producing partner and one my best friends, Rod Pitts, had died at the age of 37. I went into a complete panic mode and the panic attacks hit an all-time high. I became compulsive about illness and disease. Every time a family member got sick, I panicked. And looking shit up on the internet didn’t make it any better. Someone connected to one of my family members was very insensitive and cruel about it. She didn’t understand what was going on, probably didn’t care and attempted to attack and shame me when one of my panic attacks happened in her presence. It was actually my grandmother who recognized that the attacks were very largely due to my friend mysteriously getting sick. And once again, I rolled up my sleeves and begin to work tirelessly through that pain with my facilitator. And my heart beat sped up even more as I released the pain and gave myself permission to really mourn his loss.

With Rod’s death and my latest breakup, I really had no desire to date. But I did have a strong desire to create. I fiend to be back on stage again, to be producing another movie, to be writing. I wanted to give “Tricks” its final push into the world so that I could release it. I was anxious to get “The People Inside My Head” off of the ground. My heart begin to beat faster. Soon enough I found myself waking up daily excited about life. It was slow, it was cautious, but it was there. I knew I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t a zombie.

Then another set back. A group I was a part of had issues with how I handled the promotion of an event we were producing. One of the members approached me in what I believed to be a very disrespectful and condescending way. I was hurt, shocked, embarrassed and disappointed in myself. If he approached me this way, it could only be because the others had discussed their issues about me amongst themselves, I thought. The thought of that was very humiliating. How could I have dropped the ball on this and have an entire group hating me? In the past, I would have probably sucked up the email and tried to appease the person who was upset with me. But that was no longer who I was, my parts were working themselves out in the background and I didn’t want to do that anymore. I couldn’t. I was a different person. A person who ran to the roar instead of away from it. So I emailed this person back and called them out on what I believed their intentions were and set some very firm boundaries with how to approach me if there is conflict in the future. And I held myself accountable for the part that I played and my part only.

I was very hurt about what happened, very disappointed in myself. I was doing all of this work, how could I drop the ball on something so important where so many people were counting on me? My facilitator reminded me that shit happens and that’s how I learn from it. He commended me for holding myself accountable for my part while not taking on the burdens of others. And that’s when I made a decision I would leave the group at the end of the year. I learned a lot about choosing my time wisely and not over staying my welcome in any situation. And not to be so hard on myself when I mess up, because I will mess up. And shit does happens.

Click Here to Read Part 4 of “Why I Really Thought God Hated Me.”

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Questions Every Artist Struggling with Discouragement and Bitterness Should Ask Themselves…

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Oftentimes when artists are bitter about their dreams not being realized, it’s not because they didn’t have opportunities, it’s because they didn’t take them. So here are some questions every artist (or anyone pursuing a goal) who is struggling and feeling bitter may want to ask themselves…

Are you doing all you can to reach your goal? When you get off work, do you “hit the pavement” or do you just end up sleeping, watching television, losing time browsing the Internet? Do you have a plan? What sacrifices are you willing to make while maintaining integrity?

Are you making calls, getting out in the street, saving money to go to that event that’ll get you just a little closer? Are you investing in yourself? Taking classes, courses? Do you practice daily? If not, why not?

Do you jump from one project to the next? Abandoning the previous one when it doesn’t do what you want it to do when you want it to do it? Do you start writing that book when you have a burst of energy, only to stop when the initial excitement fades?

Do you have a strategy in place to deal with discouragement, disappointment, things all artists (and almost everyone) will inevitably face on a regular basis? Are you trying to make it happen from a place of comfort? Would you have a better chance if you left the city? What are you doing to leave the city? Are you saving up? Getting your health in order? Arranging a place to stay?

Are you putting yourself in situations that will make it harder for you to succeed? Are you in your early 20’s wanting to sing, act, dance, see the world but are also trying to get married and settle down with someone whose goals are in total opposition of your own? Thankfully, we live in a time now where having children doesn’t mean a person (especially a woman) has to park their artistic dreams, but without support, it can make it more difficult. Certainly not impossible, but tougher. So to young women just starting out, please take this in. Falling in love can distort perceptions, once that feeling takes over, for a while, nothing else seems to matter. That’s nature doing what it is supposed to do to ensure we continue to exist. Know that, understand that and think before you put yourselves in situations that yield a permanent result.

More questions to ask – Did you just get a job that gives you a sense of comfort and but is actually inflexible and extremely demanding, robbing you of your time that you can be accomplishing your goals? Did you take on another side project to “get you there” but it has now become a full monster of its own draining you of your time?

How’s your credit? If you needed to borrow a little bit of cash to finance something, could you? If your credit is not on par, what are you doing to fix it?

Are there people in your life who do not support you? Are you hanging on to the hope that they will a little too tightly? What are you really doing? Are you really going for it or do you only go for it on the days you feel inspired? Questions to ask, questions to answer.

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The Dating Down Syndrome – An Independent Woman’s Memoir on Clipping Her Wings to be Loved…Part II

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Continued from The Dating Down Syndrome – An Independent Woman’s Memoir on Clipping Her Wings to be Loved…Part I

Now I know what some of you “liberated” “anti-system” folks may be thinking, “Just because a guy does not open the door doesn’t make him selfish. Those are old ways that promote inferiority amongst women. Today’s woman is independent, self-sufficient and wants to be treated like an equal. So being treated like an equal comes with certain losses.”

A woman wants to and fights to be treated like an equal in the work place. A woman expects and deserves to be treated like an equal at home but first and foremost, a woman wants to be treated like a woman. In a relationship, it’s not always about being fair, it’s about being cherished.

And I seriously doubt if anyone in this country grew up on a small deserted island where there was no concept of chivalry. So what I’m saying is, yes, the practice is probably rooted in an expired tradition. Yes, its history probably suggests that women are somewhat helpless. But that’s not what it represents today. And men who do not do it usually often have much deeper character flaws when it comes to how they treat women and how they behave in relationships.

Another value that is deeply important to me in a relationship is a man who works and earns his own keep. This is a tricky area for me I must admit. Being an artist, especially when making the decision to go for One’s career full time, people often have to go for the “unemployed” status in order to do so. Work is sporadic and unpredictable and sometimes, especially in acting, a person can go for months without a gig.

I’ve never been a woman who didn’t understand that because it’s a sacrifice I will one day to make quite soon as well. So those are not the type of men I am speaking of. I am speaking of the ones who choose not to work because in their deluded head, they are somehow “bucking the system.” They despise the construct of this country so much so, they will not work for “The Man”, however they have no problem depending on other people who do so.

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