On Siblings, Social Injustices, and Snowcone Regrets
I had the opportunity to answer some questions, for a director, in anticipation of hopefully getting to work on an upcoming project soon. This was originally just an exercise in getting to know me better before finalizing any sort of casting, and while unconventional, is very much appreciated by myself as an actor. I believe it should be done more often. Considering most people never take the time to ask questions like this, I thought I'd share my answers as an insight into more of who I am and how I think. Enjoy.
1. Do you have any siblings? Describe the pros and cons of that relationship (If only child, describe a close friendship that's similar to a sibling bond).
I am the oldest of three children. The relationship between me, my brother, and my sister, is a little strange, in that the gap between my birth and my sister's birth is only 2 1/2 years. So we were very close together in age growing up, all three of us, but that's about as much as we share in common. Our parents divorced when we were very young - I was 5 - and we moved around a bit before finally settling in South Texas when I was around 8 years old. As the oldest at the time, and from what I observed of our mother, I took on a big leadership role amongst my siblings. I don't know what taught me about leadership, but even then I never believed "leader" was synonymous with "friend." We were bound by blood, but I never had to like them. This became more apparent as I grew into a teenager, and wanted very much to distance myself from my siblings. I suppose it's like having twins. Sometimes you have to define yourself beyond your shared social circles, shared friends, and shared interests. The pros of having siblings is that I was never left wanting when it came to needing company, but the cons of my siblings was that we were forced to stick together at a young age, but our differences caused a lot of irritation, at least in myself, so that we would grow apart. This was also good, because as adults, after having discovered who were are as individuals, we got to learn more about each other and become close together because of it, later on. It's strange really. I feel like even though we did everything together as kids for the longest time, I never truly got to know them until we became separated.
2. How do you feel you relate to the "average, everyday man?" Through sports, pop culture, politics?
I suppose that depends on how you define the "average, everyday man". To me, I've never been able to relate to pretty much anyone, and yet I have the unique ability to find common ground WITH everyone, and in essence find something relatable to bond over. This is what makes me an actor. Empathy, multiple interests, curiosity for all subjects even when I'm not initially enthralled by it. As an individual, I could care less thinking about sports or politics, but if I find someone who is passionate about watching paint dry, then I can could listen to them talk about that all day. I'm obviously more in tune with pop culture, and movies especially, being a filmmaker and actor myself, but I've never had a problem engaging in conversations about games, music, sports, makeup, beer, fishing, cars, lifting weights, foreign policy etc etc. Even things I don't know much about. I get it. Because if they get it, then it's just an opportunity for me to learn more about them as an individual.
3. What world conflict, political issue, or injustice that most gets under your skin and want resolved?
Human Trafficking. Honor Killings. We talk about equality for women today and we're deep into conversations about how we can become a more matriarchal society (ie: "The future is female") and yet the worst injustices to women are never being addressed. The fact that you can legally be murdered for talking to a boy who doesn't share the same religious beliefs as you should be a cause for concern. As a person who loves "love", and who can't imagine where I'd be without the influence of so many women on my life, including the fact that I find women one of the best creations God could have ever made, and can't look at these stories and not think to myself, "What kind of monster would I have to become, just to look a woman in the eye before I stone her to death?" The thought of it makes me insides cringe. How can people bring themselves to do these things? How can you take a girl off the street, sell her to the highest bidder, and watch as her humanity is stripped away from her little-by-little?
4. Describe a major regret in your life.
I regret that I don't answer these kind of questions more often, to be honest, because as you can see I have many thoughts and I love finding a way to express them. If I had to choose one regret, however, it's that I didn't learn how to save money when I had money to save. During my time in Iraq, and the military as a whole, I was young and spent money on simple things and just didn't care about investing in my future. Had I known my future as a filmmaker, actor, youtuber, videographer, and storyteller would become so prominent in my life, I would have done more to save until I could afford to pursue those things on my terms.
Actually, that seems like a broad regret, and an easy one to come up with. Let's go with something more specific. There's a lot that I could choose from, but I want to bring this full circle in talking about siblings and relationships from the first question.
Once, while driving my brother, sister, and my sister's friend home from school one afternoon, the girls in my back seat decided it would be a nice day to go get snowcones. Neither of them could drive, as I was the only one with a license, and as we live in a small town where everything is pretty close together, they asked me to drive by the snowcone shop because they thought it would be fun before we go home. I refused. In my 17 year old head I was more worried about going to see my girlfriend that night. I didn't care about my sister and her friend's cute little escapade. I just wanted to drop them off and be done with them. It literally would have taken all of 15 minutes, but I had plans and I had no intention of interrupting them. I said "No." They were disappointed. And I moved on with my life.
I regret, when I think about all I've mentioned today, about my love and respect for women, the fact that some girls don't even have a brother to ask to get snowcones with, the fact that some girls aren't even allowed to think about - what I believed to be - "childish things" because they are forced into an adult world, and because I never took opportunities to become close to my little sister, or brother, when I had the chance, that I couldn't get past my own selfishness to say "yes" for one lousy snowcone.