It was around 4AM when my bus finally arrived to Penn Station in NYC. I was tired, hot, and scared from:
1) riding on a cold and stuffy bus for 8 hours while 2) listening to this Jamaican recite his sermon over and over and over again, and 3) being followed and called a bitch by this crazy New Yorker because he swore up and down that he remembered me at a movie theater in New Rochelle, NY last weekend when I was clearly at home.
Anyone would have an attitude after all of that.
I had only a few hours before WEEN’S Bootcamp. So I headed straight to bed at the Mr.’s sister, Danielle’s, house that night. Those five hours flew by fast and it wasn’t long before my alarm was yelling at me. It was time for me to get up. But I couldn’t. Somehow, I was paralyzed from the neck down. I couldn’t lift a finger. I could barely keep my eyes open. My eyelids struggled to blink and constantly forced to close. I was too tired to do anything. Fifteen minutes had passed and I wish I had gotten up the 1st or 3rd time it rung. We may have left the house on time.
“Oh My Goddddd!!! GO!!!! Oh my God!! People can NOT drive!” Danielle screamed as she weaved in and out of traffic. I didn’t mind, though. I had to be there at 1:00PM sharp and it was almost 12:45PM. As soon we turned left onto 46th Street, a NYPD officer directed Danielle to pull over. “Why?” We were both confused yet anxious to know the reason. “Ma’am I’m pulling you over because you are not allowed to make a left turn on this street.” The officer shared. I rushed to slip on my shoes because now I had less than 5 minutes before it was 1:00PM. “OK, I’m just going to walk from here. Thanks, sis! I’ll call or text you when it’s over.” “Ok! Good luck.” She replied back and continued to chat with the officers.
I was speed walking to meet my girlfriend, Shelly, before we both entered The Playroom Theater for WEEN’s Bootcamp. “Hey girl! You look cute.” Shelly was wearing an all black casual jumper with some thick black wooden heel sandals. She looked very comfortable and appropriate for a midday event, unlike me. My feet were hurting and my dress was hot as hell. I began to wonder if I was too overdressed. After a quick small talk, we quickly touched up our make-ups, added more lipstick, and straighten out or clothes. We wanted to be “camera ready” as instructed by the host and got onto the elevator.
As the door slowly opened for us to exit, the hallway appeared quite dingy and empty. I wasn’t sure if this was the right floor, so I looked at the elevator door sign that read 8th floor. Yup! It was the right floor all right. But where was the “Welcome” sign, the paparazzi, music, red carpet, greeters, backdrop or something. There was none.
Nevertheless, we proceeded silently into a very dimmed and unattractive play theater. I instantly got an attitude and asked myself, You came all the way to NYC to sit in a dingy looking playroom? In my mind, I had imagined a “modern” Playroom Theater that had been transformed into a chic area filled with round tables that was accessorize with tulip centerpieces for good conversation amongst over guests.
Well, my imagination had fooled me. It wasn’t quite set up that way. There was a guy attempting to set up a backdrop on the stage that set in front of a few rows of theater seats. The room was very tight, which made it impossible to have social mingle. “Hi! Are you here for WEEN’s Bootcamp?” Shelly and I both smiled and replied. “Great! Can I have your name please?” a host asked before checking us in and directed us to have a seat.
As we walked across the room, I smiled and greeted a half full space of other attendees before sitting in a worn out and torn seat. “Oh My God! This seat is broken. I’m leaning. “ I whispered to Shelly. Now, I really had an attitude and the diva in me surfaced and I thought. First of all, why wasn’t there a photographer snapping my picture as I entered. Why would they say be “camera ready” and instructed us to arrive at 1:00PM sharp if there wasn’t no camera? And why the hell is my seat broken? And why in the hell did I come on-time and overdressed in a half decorated room? At that point, I just wanted to catch a flight home to make it back to my niece graduation cookout. I wanted out. I’m a believer of : presentation is everything and at that point the presentation was piss poor. I was so over it.
Shelly and I sat down while secretly giving each other a raised eyebrow to communicate something like “Chille!! Really? Our venues for P.Y.N.K. berri’s events are better than this and we are far from being nationally established like this organization.” But we quickly dismissed our negative thoughts and began to interact with the other girls around us before it was time to do our head shots with award-winning photographer, Sabrina Thompson.
Twenty-minutes later, an older lady entered the room in some hammer pants and a book bag on her back. I knew she was a member of WEEN and a host for the event. I had seen her face on their website during my brief research of the organization.
“Hello ladies! Welcome to WEEN BootCamp! I am Sabrina Thompson and in a few minutes I’ll be taking your head shots outside. The board members and other guest speakers will be on their way in a few moments. They are currently in a meeting. I really hope all of you take advantage of this opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. But think about your question before asking. Do not ask a stupid question. If you can find the information on Google, Instagram, or on our Twitter accounts, don’t ask those questions. These are some powerful women and very raw with their responses. So today is not the day to be shy. Lastly, I’ll be calling you down shortly for your pictures. The only thing I ask is that you breath. Some people stop breathing because of the bright light that bounces off of the reflector. It will be hot outside but I ask that you continue to smile. Ok? Well, that’s it. Thank you for coming ladies.”
For the first time since I was there, I gave a genuine smile. I had liked Sabrina. Besides the fact that she was talented and smart, it was something about her spirit that communicated that she was very down to earth. I loved that. Suddenly, I began to feel confident that this was going to be a memorable event. I became excited again. Very soon I was going to be meeting the other board members, such as Valeisha Butterfield Jones, WEEN CEO, and Lauren Lake, attorney and Host of Paternity Court, and guests, such as JoJo Brim, General Manager, LaFace Records that some people dreamt of doing. At that moment, I told myself:
It’s not about the appearance or how it looks on the outside, it’s about what’s in the inside. And today, inside of this playroom I’ll be getting a wealth of knowledge from highly respected professionals in the entertainment industry.
I smiled at the thought and in an instant everything became priceless.
To be continued….