Who am I?
I am a star. You may not see it now but trust me, I am.
I’m one of one.
A mother, a leader, a resourceful, resilient, educated, warrior woman. I am motivated and determined to succeed no matter what obstacles I face. I light up the room when I come through and nearly every day, someone tells me that I inspire them. I am a star.
Ok, maybe you haven’t seen me on any of your favorite shows just yet but it’s coming. I’m out here making it happen and it is starting to pay off for me. In just the past year or so, I have been in four feature-length films, two short films, and I’ve completed a web series and a TV series. Go to YouTube and watch 'The Boxx' and you will see me playing Ashley. Yes, I’m telling you — I’m a star!
I’m also broke. Not broken…just broke. There is a difference.
Too often I lay awake at night stressing about how I am going to make ends meet for myself and my 12-year-old son, Calvin. Even though I have my degree from Chicago State University, and I run my own business, it is just not enough for a single mother raising a son on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I figure it out and I try hard to never let my son know how tight things get. But he is smart, and I know he sees me worrying. We find strength in each other, a community that holds us close and the inherent optimism that comes with each new day and the opportunities therein.
There is an internal debate that everyone has at some point in their life. On one hand, we all have our parents and friends telling us to go to school so we can find a job that pays well. But on the other side, we see Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey or some successful entrepreneur telling us “follow your dreams.” And, honestly, it leaves me feeling baffled and nervous, questioning whether the best example for my son is blindly following my lifelong dream to be an actress with little chance to get money from it in the near future or choosing a career that I’m not crazy about just because the job pays a decent salary and makes it easier to provide for us right now.
With maturity, I have learned that money is a powerful tool. I know that the more money I have, the better able I am to care for myself and others. But at this point in life, I have resolved that there is value in showing my son the sacrifices I am willing to make to pursue my dream.
It’s unfortunate that in today’s society, all too often our measure of success is reduced to what we earn or what we own.
I want to show my son and my community that even though I may be short on money, I am not short on drive, ambition, dreams, or character.
I am proud of myself, and I envision a world where we don’t have to choose between passion or a paycheck.
Through UpTogether, I connected with a community; a village of strong women who understand we cannot be defined by our bottom line.
We share. We strive. We inspire. We figure out life. TOGETHER! This amazing journey is a blessing for my family.
The investment from UpTogether allowed me to purchase a washer and dryer for my home and be able to afford the athletic and activity fees for Calvin to participate in some of the best programs in my area. I am committed to giving him so much of what I did not have growing up.
My next goal is to move out of Chicago. Even though right now I am on a fixed income, and can only save a little, my son and I still believe that it is time to leave Chicago and set up roots somewhere else. Where? I’m thinking Atlanta, the new Black Hollywood. It won’t be easy and there is no guarantee of success. But hey, I’m a committed dreamer and there is nothing I can’t accomplish. Don’t be shocked if one day you turn on Netflix and you see the name Inglish Washington in the credits. After all, I’m a star!