Empowerment

Still Here…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. I’ve tried to sit down and write but nothing has come out right. This may be no different. I’ve been processing so much. I like to write about things that are finished; lessons learned. But this year has been one big stream of consciousness. In fact, I just got home after emceeing a wonderful event. I threw on my big red robe that my grandmother gave me, just so you know what type of oversized swath of wonderfulness it is. My make up is worn off. I replaced my high heels with oversized Marriott resort slippers. I’m eating curry, rice and peas that my mother made as I sit at my kitchen island trying to process this fantastic night and how it fits into this wonderfully purposeful year. I did not specifically ask for any of it. But I willed the hell out of it my way.

You see six months ago I quietly declared to myself that this is not the year where I would merely react to my circumstances. I wasn’t going to stay on defense. That was SOOOO 2016! I knew that while my circumstances may not change, I certainly had to. This was the year that I would become proactive. This is the year that I would make things happen for myself. This was not the year to hope and dream. This was the year to work harder than I ever had before. I’m not even talking about news. I’m talking about life. Please believe the devil is BUSY. No red carpet has ever been rolled out for this chick. But my level of unbotheredness is so high, I am physically unable to process anything that doesn’t align with who I know myself to be or where I know I’m going.

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Annnnnd Action: Acting Class, Take One

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Here we go! First day of class

I was a little early and quickly scanned the room, quietly saying hi to the others who had already arrived before taking the last seat on the right side next to the the trash can. I wasn’t excited to be here, but I wasn’t dreading it either.

Content with staring at my phone, or the posters on the wall until the teacher arrived, I was quickly thrust out of my silence as my classmates looked at me and one by one started introducing themselves. I shook my head after each one spoke, acknowledging their initiative as if I was capable of remembering their names. I’m Aundrea, I said with a half hearted wave.

This is Introduction to Acting at the Walnut Street Theatre. Also known as a spur of the moment decision I made one afternoon more than a month earlier. The no refund policy meant there was no turning back.

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No Arms, No Legs, No Problem

The Executive Producer walked towards me almost apologetically. My story was going to change, he said. I was going to a middle school football game where one of the players didn’t have arms or legs. My first question was, how does he play? He didn’t really know.

I tried to hide my relief after being assigned a feature story, a rarity in this newsroom. I had been at the station for less than two months and needed a reprieve from all of the death and destruction that had become the usual subject of my days.

A bake sale and cacophony of squealing pre-teens were in full swing by the time we arrived at Stetson Middle School. It was the last seventh grade football game of the season. The late change to my story meant no one knew we were coming. Once they learned we were there to tell Gaven Toney’s story their eyes lit up.

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The Making Of A Jawn: My First Year in Philly

aundrea_cline_thomas-0213-copySeptember 28th marks one year since I joined NBC 10. I’ve met Sylvester Stallone, my boo Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson as they promoted their movie Creed at the top of the steps of the Art Museum. I watched Bill Cosby walk into the police department to get booked on sexual assault charges. When someone asks me where I was the night the first woman accepted the Presidential nomination from a major political party, I can say I was in the Wells Fargo Center watching it live! I now honk liberally when I drive, but thanks to the Parking Authority I prefer to walk. Legit snow pants are a part of my wardrobe as I was quickly reminded that the winter winds and snow can be downright disrespectful. I’ve racked up 2,428 Amtrak points taking practically monthly trips home. For the first time in YEARS I spent Thanksgiving with my family.

 

So many people have asked what’s different about this experience when compared to others. My answer…EVERYTHING!

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2015: The Year I Gave Up

unnamedWhile the New Year naturally prompts making resolutions, goals or loathing them, in 2015 I took it a step further and adopted a theme. I declared this would be the year I gave up! Let me explain….

I have to live in faith. Not the Christian-ese kind. You know the one that answers “I’m blessed and highly favored, God is good all the time,” when someone simply asks how you’re doing. I live with the faith that my dreams will come true and the desires of my heart will EVENTUALLY be fulfilled (hopefully sooner than later). I literally live in the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Let me tell you, it was EXHAUSTING! It’s the understanding that you’re on a journey and your current situation is just a stop and not the destination. It’s knowing that you sometimes have to do what you have to do, to go to where you want to go. It’s becoming an expert in delayed gratification. It’s having an explanation for the “are you crazy” eyebrow raises. It’s knowing you could easily make things MUCH easier in an instant at the expense of following your destiny. It’s looking around and seeing everyone else get their breakthrough while waiting…and waiting for your own.

But this year I gave up! I felt like a hamster in a wheel and I just wanted it to stop. I realized there are years of my life I really don’t remember. I may remember a thing here, or a thing there but at the end of the year I couldn’t remember what happened. I don’t really remember my second year in Georgia. I only remember a little bit of my nine months back home. I remember things here and there about living in Charlotte and there I was, living in Nashville physically but always somewhere else in my mind. I was never present! Everything was just a means to a hopeful, faithful end. I was just existing for what was next and that needed to stop.

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Dear Viola…THANK YOU!

Am I the only one who woke up this morning with a little extra pep in my step? I couldn’t stop thinking about last night’s Emmy awards! I’m not even going to lie, I watch award shows primarily for the fashion. Last night was different. When Regina King, Uzo Aduba and Viola Davis received their statues I was cheering from my little makeshift bed in my empty apartment! History was made! My theme music just got a little louder.

I could go on and on about why this was all things amazing, wonderful, gratifying, etc. But Viola Davis said it best in her succinct yet powerful speech.

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With Gratitude

It’s easy to think that you’re walking through this life alone. Especially when things are uncertain, get hard and you live in a city that’s thousands of miles from family. (Not to mention being single.) But lately I’ve been overwhelmed with reminders that I am LOVED SO WELL!

I had surgery last week and I’m confined to my apartment for at least two weeks. My mom flew in to literally wait on me and hand foot. Friends have stopped by just to keep me company, bringing my mom food and me a goody bag to help pass the time. I’ve received two beautiful bouquets of flowers and get daily text messages from friends and family across the country just checking on my progress.

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I’m not one to ever ask for help, in fact it’s uncomfortable. (I’m fine by the way!) But this moment reminds me that my life is only filled with AMAZING, SUPPORTIVE, GIVING, SELFLESS, and LOVING people! I recognize it’s a gift that I don’t take for granted.

I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it, but I’m overwhelmed and so incredibly grateful!

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Happy (BELATED) Birthday To Me!

It’s been a long time…I know! June was a CRAZY CRAZY busy month. The truth is, I’m exhausted!

June is always a month of reflection for me. As a goal oriented person it’s a natural time to check in with myself to make sure I’m on the right track. My birthday is at the end of the month so I’m always envisioning what I want the next year to look and feel like. This year I was able to spend my birthday with my family in friends at home in Maryland and Washington, D.C. I’m not a person that wears a sash, celebrates for the entire month or “turns up.” I like to eat, so that’s exactly what I did on my birthday.

Now I’m officially 33 years old! GASP…I know! I actually had a whole birthday blog prepared but it doesn’t truly reflect the space I’m in right now. From incidents of hate making its way into a loving black church ending the lives of nine innocent people to personal challenges, life.is.really.happening! There’s so much to say but it’s difficult to find the right words.

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Images In The Media: My First Keynote Address

I’m going to be honest emceeing and moderating events are more my speed. After all my days aren’t spent speaking to a crowd, but instead a camera and a photographer. So that’s why when my friend Erin (that’s Dr. Lynch-Alexander to you) sent me a text while I was at work a few weeks ago, I paused:

Erin: Sooooooooo would you be willing to serve as a keynote for my chapter’s scholarship luncheon March 28.
Me: I’m not an important person.

I mentioned it to my friend Faith, who is a producer at the station, as she passed by my desk a short time later. And she said without skipping a beat, “You better let the Lord use you!” And then she put some stank on it, “we are…what…stepping out of our… comfort zone. Isn’t that what you said?” (Or something like that.) She was referring to this blog that I posted a few weeks ago.

(Pause: You know you have real friends, really good friends, when they can put you in your place in a blink of an eye! No is not an option. No tiptoeing in my camp! No ma’am.)

She was right! So I got my phone to text Erin…

Me: I’ll call you on my way home.

(a little later she replied- in response to all of my texts)

Erin: Whatever!!!! Hahaha! You’re important to me! That’s all that matters.

So I agreed to give my first ever keynote address at the Zeta Phi Beta Scholarship Tea this past Saturday. I was asked to discuss images in the media and I could say whatever I wanted. So it started consuming me. (There are very few things I’m lukewarm about. Either I’m all in or all out.) I started thinking about what I wanted to say while cooking, brushing my teeth, driving to work, day in and day out.

The goal wasn’t to keep it cute, but to keep it real from my perspective.

So this is what I came up with:

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#FirstWorldProblems

I almost had a fan girl moment when I was assigned to cover Ndelika Mandela’s visit to a high school in Smyrna, Tennessee. Obviously being a Mandela alone carries a lot of weight and having an opportunity to speak with someone with such poignant life experiences is really a gift.

I was VERY excited. She was so nice!

I was VERY excited. She was so nice!

 

Ndelika, the eldest granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, is a force within her own right.

“I’m Ndelika first before I am Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter,” she said when asked if it was difficult to establish her own identity.

“I try to carve my own identity but emulate [Nelson Mandela]. I can never be like him. I can always emulate him.”

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