Just Checking In

thatformerskgjpg2Some of you may know I started a new personal growth blog called That Former Sidekick Girl.

Please check it out – as I’ve been spending a great deal of time working on it and, as a result, I’ve kind of been neglecting this blog.

I’ll try to be better about that since I do intend to continue to use this blog for my upcoming travel adventures and my continuing weight loss journey.

In the meantime, I’ve still been regularly uploading videos to Dawn Melissa Vlogs on Youtube. I even recently got together with some of the old gang (actors and friends I’ve worked with in the past) and created a funny video to be released soon. Please subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss it!

I’m on this fast and fierce Leading Lady kick these days. I’ve talked about it a lot on That Former Sidekick Girl and also on my Youtube Channel.

I want to be a leading lady. I want to see more Women of Color play leading lady roles in films and on TV. And since it’s become painfully obvious that that’s not going to simply happen – I’m taking matters into my own hands.

I’m making myself a Leading Lady.

I was inspired by Anna Akana and spurred by the onslaught of new movies coming out – most of them lacking in diversity – to simply stop supporting movies that offer no representation of me and to start supporting projects featuring Black women in a positive light.

So far – I’ve had to cut down on watching a lot of movies I would’ve gladly paid to see. Fortunately, Gone Girl isn’t one of them because ironically enough Tyler Perry making an appearance makes me feel OK about paying to watch this movie. Plus…I really really loved the book.

But as for the other new releases that have no diversity…not wasting my money. Please check out this blog post where I explain the decision to not watch all-White movies anymore a bit further.

In other news, I’m working out again. Actually, I’m finally using my Barry’s Bootcamp classes. I had 10 classes just sitting in an account for three years. Last year I finally used one of them. And that was it.  In September I felt like I should use them before leaving LA.  So I went back 4 more times.  Now that the countdown is officially on – I have less than two weeks to use up the remaining 5 classes. I know for some people that’s a cakewalk but for me – it’s a challenge. Barry’s Bootcamp is HARD! But at least I’ve got the sexy instructors for eye candy and that helps motivate me to keep running.

What else is new – Oh! My hair is growing. I couldn’t be happier. Maybe I should finally get around to doing an official length check. Hmmmm…

That’s all for now. Don’t forget to check out That Former Sidekick Girl.

Follow me on Bloglovin.com/DawnMelissa and add me on Google+

I’ll stay on top of both of these blogs – promise!

Have a great weekend 🙂

Former Sidekick Girl Preview

I had this post scheduled on my new blog for next month but I felt it necessary to post now.  So here’s a preview of what I’ll be writing about on That Former Sidekick Girl.  Blog launches August 3rd!  Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss my weekly posts!

“Don’t Be Someone’s Muscle”

Remember those mean girl movies like Jawbreaker and Heathers?  Or pretty much any movie where there was a mean girl and her two (usually ethnic looking) sidekicks?  I would watch those movies as a kid and think that if those sidekicks weren’t standing right there this little mean girl wouldn’t have so much mouth.  She wouldn’t act all tough and think she could get away with doing terrible things.

The truth is this mean girl secretly needed to be flanked by her sidekicks to feel tough. She needed to send her cronies or sidekicks or “muscle” out to do her dirty work.  She didn’t want to get her hands dirty or face the consequences of her actions so she encouraged her friends to rally in her defense.

But here’s the thing- why would you take on someone else’s battle?  Why would you decide to take on someone else’s adversary?  Don’t you have your own battles and adversaries to overcome? 

Another important question that comes to mind is…. Why doesn’t this person deal with her own problems herself?  Why did she choose you to deal with them?  What kind of friend puts their issues into someone else’s hands?

And so that we don’t play the blame game let me also ask why would you oblige this friend?  Why would you do this person’s bidding?  Do you want to be her sidekick?  Do you really want to put yourself in that category?  Do you really want her to think of you as the person she could turn to to handle her drama?

No.  You don’t.  You’re no one’s backup or sidekick or muscle.  You’re better than that. 

Sure you want to be a good friend and show support to your friend.  But show your support by encouraging her to handle her drama like a mature adult not by sending you out to try to intimidate someone on social media.  That’s the kind of cyber bullying we are cracking down on.  (And if you think I’m going to stand for it for even a second you’ve got the wrong one.)

I used to be that girl.  I’d jump into my friends’ battles and run off at the mouth like nobody’s business.  I was that loud, obnoxious, stereotypical “black best friend.” Even though I made unnecessary enemies I thought it was worth it because I foolishly believed that when something happened to me my friends would stand up for me.  They’d support me.

They never did.  Not once.  On more than one occasion I found myself in trouble and in need of support and those friends were nowhere to be found.  That’s when I realized there was something very wrong with those relationships.

The friends I have now don’t step in and fight my battles for me. In the past I’d wish they would.  Then I’d feel supported or protected.  Maybe then people wouldn’t think they could mess with me if they knew I had backup who would retaliate.  But one thing I noticed about my friends now is they aren’t about that life.  When something bad happens to me they uplift me, encourage me, comfort me.  They remind me to focus on the bigger picture and help me not to let my emotions get out of control. 

Now I realize these are my true friends. They really care about my well-being.  Because when you think about it…once the emotions get out of the way the drama no longer has any power.

When I was running around with the wrong friends they wanted to see that drama.  They wanted to be entertained.

But I’m nobody’s court jester.  And I deserve to be taken seriously.  Like a person.  Not like this person you can send into the fray when you’ve got drama.

Take a close look at your friends.  Take notice of what they ask of you and what they use you for. If you find you’re being used to fight someone’s battles (either verbally or physically or through social media) put a stop to it. Think for yourself. Don’t be anybody’s TOOL.

Go Be Happy.  Now.
That Former Sidekick Girl

In response to Ma Cherie Amiee’s post

A few days ago I sent a group email to some friends/people that I know and asked them to check out That Former Sidekick Girl’s Code of Conduct on my new blog that’s launching August 3.  I really do appreciate the people who did check it out and offered feedback.

Anyway, I happened to find the blog of one of my email recipient’s and I was shocked to see she’d written a blog post about sidekick girls!

“Sidekick mentalities vs Real Women & Boss Babes – Let that sh*t Go!”

It was a blog post basically bashing sidekick girls.  It suggested that anyone with sidekick girl mentality isn’t a real woman or a boss babe.  The blog tried to disguise itself as a positive, uplifting post but really it was a dig – at me.

I could just imagine this girl writing her post in her apartment – fueled by white wine and brie cheese – venting and stewing about the upcoming launch of That Former Sidekick Girl.  I can only assume that her strong reaction to the launch of my blog was due to the fact that she thought my blog had something to do with her – which is only something a narcissistic LA actress would think.  If I wasn’t so busy being angry at her nerve, gall and audacity I would have laughed at her silliness.

Don’t ever be self labeling as Sidekick girls since You alone are writing your own Biopic every single day. It all starts with YOU, and You alone. Don’t like something? Own your power and change it! Don’t put blame on others because life isn’t going the way you planned – fix your own bullshit and move it out of your way that you’ve allowed to limit yourself

When I first read the post  I was incensed.  I wanted to explode – I felt like this former friend of mine hadn’t really taken the time to read my Former Sidekick Girl’s Code of Conduct.  I was also hurt because I’d sent her the email asking her to support the blog for the launch.  I know I’m a ballsy girl and I’m pretty direct with people but not even I would send someone a direct link to my blog knowing it was  going to be about that person and would probably piss her off.  I’m not in that vindictive place anymore – ain’t nobody got time for that.  I had nothing to hide when I sent the email.  But somehow, this girl got it into her head that I was launching a whole new blog that would focus on her and our failed friendship.  Craziness.  I’m still bemused by it.

So after venting about it on Twitter and Facebook (and sending her a direct email telling her it would’ve been more “real woman” of her to talk to me directly instead of hiding behind her blog post) I went to bed.  When I woke up this morning I was still pissed off.  I think it was pretty messed up for someone I know personally to write such a harsh blog post about me and then tag my old web series “Lila, Long Distance” and “Side Kick Girls” in it – I guess in an attempt to really drive home the point that this blog post was about me (can we say High school?  Doesn’t feel really Boss Babe to me.  Feels childish).  But after making some tea and preparing to put a couple more hours of work into my new blog I had a moment of clarity.

This new blogger and I had once been in a very complicated, uneven friendship that ultimately I walked away from.  But not before subjecting her to my wide array of insecure, jealous bs I would later come to regret.  I’m not saying that it was all my fault – I am saying that I remember being a jealous person and verbally lashing out at her whenever my jealousy got the better of me.  To this day I feel guilty about some of the things I’d said to her.  Because that’s not the person I wanted to be.  I didn’t want to be a jealous girl.  I have since apologized for my behavior (I got no apology in return but that’s OK I didn’t need it) and I’ve been working to move on with my life and work on myself.  Not only have I tried to release any residual bitterness I may have still had for this former friend but I also supported her latest business endeavor by attending her party/business pitch for a makeup company.  My other friends were surprised that I would bother supporting her but I was still feeling guilty and wanting to make amends – so I went.

But after reading this blog post I can now let go of my guilt.  I can finally forgive myself for my past behavior where this friendship is concerned. I’m glad she wrote the post and said her true feelings.  In a way, her blog post is like an open letter to me.  And sometimes you need to write an open letter to the people who have hurt you or pissed you off – especially if you can’t face them directly.  I know it’s the way I feel about my past bullies and the person who physically assaulted me.  So I get it.  I totally accept this blog post and I appreciate this blogger for expressing her thoughts and getting them out there.

It’s not going to stop me from launching That Former Sidekick Girl on Sunday, August 3rd.  In fact, this whole situation has lit a fire under me and now I’m even more determined to make this new blog a success. Because when I first created Side Kick Girls the web series it was a silly comedy about a group of jealous, ugly girls who hatched a plan to take down the ‘It girls.’ It was my way of laughing at my own situation.  This blogger was actually on set when I shot this web series – she was part of the crew.  And when we talked about where the idea stemmed from she understood I meant no animosity toward her.

Since then Side Kick Girls the web series garnered some interest from some industry people who wanted to turn it into a TV show.  The idea started to take shape and formed into something entirely different.  The focus was more about friendship then it was about being jealous or exacting revenge.  It had a more positive and hopeful tone.  Nothing happened with the TV show but Sidekick Girls never left my mind.  I was going through a transition – spiritually, mentally, physically.  It was painful and I was going through it entirely alone.

Now that I’m finally getting clarity and starting to understand my past behavior I want to bring Sidekick Girls back in the form of a blog.  I want to connect with other people who’ve felt like the sidekick all their lives and who want to do something about that. This blog isn’t about my former friend or about anyone in particular.  So I hope that other people who I’ve encountered in life can get that in their heads right now.

Once again I want to thank Ma Cherie Amiee for writing down her thoughts and expressing them.  I hope she can heal and move on from whatever pain I caused her in the past. I also hope that when That Former Sidekick Girl launches on Sunday, August 3 – she’ll take the time to actually read it and understand how, in a way, this blog is for her as well.

How To Feel Better

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…a Former Sidekick Girl does not ask permission…

Yesterday was pretty rough- one of my low energy sad type of days.

I hate days like this.  I wake up and I know it’s going to be a bad day.  This cloud of doom settles over me, my heart sags and I can barely move.

It’s depression.

I’ve danced around this for years but I don’t think I’ve ever actually come out and said it but I struggle with depression.  I have struggled with depression for a long time.

Sometimes it’ll go away for weeks or months and I’ll think “I’m cured!”  But then it comes back and I know that I have to battle it all over again.  Today it came back with such force that it felt like there was no way to win. The fact that I haven’t slept in two days due to the excruciating pain in my tooth probably had a lot to do with it.  There was just no escaping the pain and when I feel pain I cry – simple as that.

But the difference between how I handled my depression a few years ago and how I handle it now is that I’m better at pushing through it.

I don’t just give up, crawl back into bed and take a ‘mental health day’ anymore. I get up, get active and choose to be happy instead. Today I made myself hang out at Barnes, drink iced tea, read books and work on my new blog.  When I got back home I decided to get creative and make a couple of Vine videos and wouldn’t you know it, I felt better.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

So if you’re like me, battling depression or just having a bad day – don’t let your day go to waste.  Get out of bed, get dressed, put on makeup, get out of the house, blast music, make some Vine videos, laugh, workout, treat yourself to an ice cream…or simply jump up and down for five minutes.

Don’t let the sadness win.  Save your ‘mental health days’ for when you’re going to the beach or sneaking off to an afternoon movie.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmingly depressed and having thoughts of suicide you should seek professional help.  At least pick up the phone and reach out to a friend.  Don’t go through those dark moments alone.  Asking for help does not make you weak…you can still be a strong (Black) woman even if you’re sad or in need of help.

I mentioned earlier in this post that I worked on my new blog.

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It’s the official blog for That Former Sidekick Girl.  It launches August 4 and right away I want to do my first ever Giveaway!

Be sure and subscribe to That Former Sidekick Girl, Follow me on IG, Twitter and on my Youtube Channel for details.

Remember- you can choose happiness. Even if you have to fake it until you really feel it. Fake it til you feel it!

Go Be Happy.  Now.

Abysmal Casting Call for N.W.A. Biopic – Duly Noted

Universal Pictures I was so excited when I heard there was an N.W.A. biopic in the works.  Universal Picture’s Straight Outta Compton is set to release next year.  Oh joy!  A film that’s going to feature a lot of Black people – yeah that made my day.  I was all set to pencil in movie night for its opening weekend- maybe even audition for a role, hell, why not?  But then I saw the casting notice:

SAG OR NON UNION CASTING NOTICE FOR FEMALES-ALL ETHNICITIES- from the late 80’s. Shoots on “Straight Outta Compton”. Shoot date TBD. We are pulling photos for the director of featured extras. VERY IMPORTANT – You MUST live in the Los Angeles area (Orange County is fine too) to work on this show. DO NOT SUBMIT if you live out of the area. Nobody is going to be flying into LA to do extra work on this show – and don’t tell me you are willing to fly in.

SAG OR NON UNION FEMALES – PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR SPECIFIC BREAKDOWN. DO NOT EMAIL IN FOR MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY:

A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair – no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: A GIRLS

B GIRLS: These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: B GIRLS

C GIRLS: These are African American girls, medium to light skinned with a weave. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: C GIRLS

D GIRLS: These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone. Character types. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: D GIRLS

Let’s not pretend it didn’t happen or refrain from commenting on it just because Sande Alessi took the disgusting casting notice off their Facebook page – oh no, we saw it.  Thank you Gawker.  Thank you Shadow and Act.

I believe we should definitely continue to document all of these horrible moments when beautiful Black women are reminded of just how little Hollywood (and I suppose the casting directors and assistants…??) really think of us.

Even though I’m not surprised by it – I’m still disappointed.  I feel sorry for these people who are just so clueless and so ridiculously shortsighted.  I’m glad Black people are getting work for this new project but it’s unfortunate because if this casting notice is any indication, dark Black women will be depicted negatively in this film and light skin Black women (the Beyonce standard, ahem- I seriously almost spit out my tea when I read that b.s.) – will be cast in a more favorable light.  Gee, thanks Hollywood.  A healthy portion of reinforced racial stereotypes is just what I needed for breakfast this morning.

My stomach is in knots.  And yet…and yet…someone has to play those roles.  Someone needs a job.  Those women will bite their tongues and hope that by getting through the project – getting paid- it’ll pave a way to better roles.

Hmmm, maybe it will.  But at what cost?

It’s 2014.  Why are we still reading casting notices that seem like they’re from the 80s and 90s?  Surely the same people who worked in casting can’t be writing these notices.  A new generation had to have come up by now which means…oh no…Racism 101 is still part of the curriculum.  It further saddens me to know that there are obviously Black men involved in the making of this film and yet…somehow this casting notice happened.  I’m not saying this to be true about all Black men across the board – some of ya’ll really do defend us sistas and I love you for it.  But in this case – I’d like to see little more indignation from some more Black men and hear a little more chatter out there in left field.  This casting notice is an atrocity.

But rather than let this friendly reminder from Hollywood get me down I’m just going to make a note of it.  I’m not letting it ruin my day.

Nowadays it’s harder to make Black girls like me believe we’re not beautiful.  Because now we have groups, blogs, websites that are all about empowering us with or without our natural hair, regardless of our shapes and sizes and skin tones.  I engage and network with many of these other beautiful Black women who are involved with these organizations and because of that I continue to feel beautiful and confident.  I’m able to dismiss the notion that my dark skin is somehow a curse.  My dark skin is not a curse.  It’s a beautiful, mostly blemish-free Blessing.  So yeah, this little moment may sting a bit but it’s only furthering my own personal determination to continue to uplift beautiful, dark skin women.

It won’t always be like this.  One day, there will be a shift in power and Black women won’t be at the bottom.  I choose not to buy into the belief that this is ” just how it is in Hollywood” and there’s nothing that can be done about it.  It’s simply not true.  There is something that can be done about it and eventually we’ll actually get around to doing it.

So for now, let’s just make note of these little irritating, ignorant moments that try to bring us down and keep it moving.  As long as it’s documented we won’t forget.  We won’t forget any of it – not where rock & roll and rap came from (there’s no such thing as “white rap,” by the way, let’s just get over that right now OK, Iggy Azalea?  Thanks.) and we won’t forget that before White women finally realized that oil was good for the hair Black girls like me were being tormented in school whenever we deigned to rock a Black hairstyle or admit we we didn’t wash our hair everyday and that after washing we always oiled our scalps.

So obviously, at some point, they’ll catch on to how amazing Black women, DARK SKIN BLACK WOMEN, are.  It’s only a matter of time.

P.S.  I may be a D-CUP but I am not, nor will I ever be, a D GIRL.  Remember that.

The Good Stuff

Sunday starts a new week.  And with that will come a new video – Yay!  But since it’s the first day of Summer I thought I’d do a blog post today and talk about the good stuff.

First of all, I just need to say that I’m getting so much better at acknowledging the good stuff and letting it outshine the bad.  I used to wallow in self-pity like nobody’s business but now my bounce back is a lot quicker and I just have to pat myself on the back for that.  It’s not easy – it takes work for me to stay positive especially given my circumstance.  I totally tip my hat to the people who are just naturally fake sunny but at least I can admit that negativity and  I go way back and can recognize that about myself.

Anyway, here’s the good stuff I want to focus on – I’ve already talked about getting into Grad School, getting a partial scholarship and losing 10lbs.  Yay!

How about I checked my Youtube channel today and realized I’d gone from having 285 subscribers to 315 in about the course of a week?  (Maybe a little longer but I hadn’t checked in awhile so I can’t say for sure.)  That’s awesome to me.  Soon enough I’ll reach my first milestone (500 subbies) and maybe then I can do my first giveaway – wooo!

Have you seen any of my Youtube videos?  Check out Sexy Shit White Boys Say:

If you like the videos, please subscribe and share!

What else can I be happy about?

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Oh, yes, my hair is finally growing!  I’ve been working really hard to get some length and recently I took out my braids and I can see progress!  I’m so excited.  I know there’s this video trend going around where Youtubers are reminding us that outer beauty isn’t as important as inner beauty.  Nevermind the fact that most of these Youtubers range from “super cute” to “super hot,” it’s still a good message and I get that.

I know it’s supposed to be about how you feel about yourself and knowing your own self-worth and having confidence and high self-esteem.  I am re-teaching myself all of that.  But I’m not going to pretend like I don’t look at myself in the mirror and think, “Hey there high cheekbones, you would look even hotter with just a dab concealer and blush,” Or, “What’s up brown eyes?  A little eyeliner will make those eyes pop even more.”  I like my face.  But I also like make up.  So I will continue to learn to use make up on my face.  While I am working on my inner beauty I will continue to enhance my outer beauty.

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Also,  I like having hair that is long enough to offset the size of my head.  So I will celebrate seeing my hair grow.  Yay for natural hair!

Regarding work:  I’ve been making a conscious effort not to complain about working in retail.  It’s not helping my situation.  Instead it shines a negative light on what I don’t have.  Which only attracts more negative feelings.  I found that when I focus on simply being happy to have a job I notice I can get through a workday more easily.  I don’t go home as tired as I used to and I have the energy to write or make Youtube videos.  It’s been a nice switch.

But recently, my hours were massively cut.  At first I was a little annoyed and anxious about how that would affect my ability to eat.  Then I realized this wasn’t necessarily a setback but rather a set up.  I needed that reminder that I’m not supposed to be in retail.  And so with this extra free time I’ve been able to catch up on my writing and videos (which helped me get from 285 subbies to 315) and I’ve also been able to job hunt and work on scholarship essays.  Because I’m still applying for scholarships so that I can go to school in the fall.

Speaking of which – I’ve entered this scholarship competition.   It’s a ‘no essay’ competition – so it’s basically a random drawing.  But the more sponsors I have the more entries I can submit into the drawing which will increase my chances of wining.  If you click the link below you can become a sponsor and help my chances of getting this amazing scholarship.  Is it a long shot?  Probably.  But that’s what I said about getting to London in March – look what happened?

So please click the link – become a sponsor and pass the link on to your friends.

https://www.gotchosen.com/en/scholarship/sponsor/DawnMelissa

Thank you!

I won’t acknowledge the bad stuff today.  I won’t wallow in self-pity. I won’t get angry at the little things that normally annoy me.  I will simply breathe and appreciate what I do have.  There’s so much more to be thankful for.  I know there are many more miracles and Blessings on the way and I look forward to them.

Everything in time.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend.

Daily Prompt: If You Love Something, Set It Free

You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?

Perfect timing for this as I will need to seriously start thinking about this sort of thing very soon.  The first thing that comes to mind is my first boyfriend and that first awkward kiss followed soon by the heartache of him dumping me because his parents didn’t approve of our interracial relationship.

I was 14 and I was devastated.

As a freshman who’d just  entered high school I wasn’t quite comfortable with sharing my problems with the high school guidance counselor.  So – like the unusual little girl that I was – I went back to middle school and sought the counsel of my middle school advisor.

She was very understanding and sweet and very patient with my tears and my inability to “understand why my color was such a problem for his parents.”  She couldn’t very well be 100% honest with me.  But she tried her best.

Then she gave me this:

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She just took it right off her wall and told me to read it aloud whenever I was missing my ex and feeling overwhelmed with emotions.  She told me that there was truth in that quote.

I believed her.  Because at the time I wanted my first boyfriend back more than anything in the world.  Despite the fact that he’d already begun dating one of my best girlfriends at the time.  It was the first time I remember truly feeling betrayed by the people who were supposed to care about me.  Looking back, I totally remember that my first boyfriend had liked my best friend before he even met me so I guess it makes sense that he would go after her again but at that time it was all too much to deal with.  I just wanted everything to go back to that first kiss when everything was perfect and we were together.  So I cherished this quote and told myself that one day we would find our way back to each other.

We never did.

It took a long time for me to recover from that broken heart.  I was young.  He was my first love and there was racism involved.  But when I finally started to heal and the crying days became fewer and farther between and that friendship with those people dissipated I always thought about my 8th grade guidance counselor and appreciated the gift she gave me right off the wall of her office.

I’ve kept it ever since.  All through high school.  Then it came with me to New York for college.  Then to Boston where I worked at the camp from Hell.  Then to LA for musical theatre school.  It’s been with me for a long time.

And so, of course, when I embark on yet another journey away from home I will take it with me.

As a reminder of home and the people I hope to find my way back to.

Daily Prompt: An Ounce of Home