Walking the red carpet takes more than glitz and glamour, it takes guts, especially as a newbie. With bright lights flashing and overzealous photographers yelling your name (or not!), making your way down the red carpet can be incredibly intimidating.
When Zendaya (who plays my daughter on HBO’s hit show Euphoria) invited me to attend the “Spider-Man: Far From Home” red-carpet premiere this past June, I was really excited. But while I was standing in the spotlight that night, something other than the paparazzi’s adulation popped off.
I felt like I didn’t belong and that didn’t feel too good.
Zendaya’s dad, Kazembe, noticed and he gave me a few nuggets of wisdom. One being I can’t let this shit go to my head. Play the game. Act like I belong. He also said he saw some blockages and wanted me to meet with his spiritual teacher friend. I received everything he said because deep down something made me feel like maybe this was all a fluke. Like it would all be taken away from me. And like I said, that didn’t feel too good.
I'd been in therapy twice before, so I wasn't a stranger to sitting across from an individual and pouring my heart out about my childhood. But I wanted something more this time, I needed something more. For too long I’d felt like a mouse on a wheel -- experiencing the same void with each relationship, accomplishment or career advance; never really feeling satisfied or happy.
Enter Janice Taylor, founder of Ahava, who became my lifeline to feeling better. Ahava is rooted in giving love to that inner child who was wounded. Making her feel safe. Moving out of the ego into the soul.
In our first session, called The Discovery Whiteboard, I talked about childhood, my parents and my beliefs. It was intense. As Janice explains, this is the part where “we discover the calling buried in our earliest childhood pain. The calling is always there beckoning us to unlock our true purpose.” In that session, I identified the trauma behind meeting my dad for the first time at age nine. My dad was a street pharmacist. A true hustler. I’d never really asked about him; I was too busy surviving and helping my mom take care of her four kids at the time. Meeting him opened the door to lots of lies. He’d come into town and not see us. All that shit. The stuff that hurts.
Feelings of not belonging or that success is a fluke are rooted in the ego and the ego is basically the root of all things not good including pain. So when I was on that red carpet, I was letting my ego do all the work to make me look and feel beautiful. The ego is fragile, the soul isn’t; it’s no wonder I felt shaky.
Ahava includes three phases and 12 steps. I'm moving out of the second phase, the Adventure/Cave phase (where we slay that beast of all beasts: fear) and into the Homecoming phase (where I’ll emerge ready to bring my true self to the world). This will all lead to my mountain top moment where I will rejoice. It has been a beautiful journey. I’m stepping into a new chapter of my life ready to receive all the blessings and happiness I deserve. Red carpet or not.