The year started off beautiful. I was planning a wedding, I’d found the venue of my dreams, I found my life partner and love of my life who loves me just the way I am and we were creating beautiful memories. Damon was making good money and I had just started working in October with a promise of working every week. All that money was going to go directly into our wedding plans. We even got me a new laptop and both switched over to I-phones. Everything was synced up. We decided to take the “leap” on leap day and my parents and best friend came up to witness. We had a small ceremony with his closest friends and family and mine and it was wonderful. We even had a weekend honeymoon trip up to the Poconos.

Also, my money blocks moved. Compared to last year I have moved out of a space of scarcity and into a space of abundance. Almost everything I wanted to come to fruition did. I kept repeating all the tools that I need are right in front of me. Money comes easily and frequently. Etc… But the year had other plans:

So of the worst moments included:

Around March and April, Damon’s health became an issue. He was having tooth pain, back pain, and really feeling stressed out at his job. The not-for-profit turned from weekly to every other week or twice a month to none. Other issues came up and I decided that since we had already put the deposit down that maybe I should try to find a full-time job or part-time job so that at least we could pay the rent and eat. I started to realize that I didn’t want my dream of running a tour company to just go down the drain and that maybe I just needed more admin help so I asked my cousin to help me with some admin stuff and then I started putting out feelers for part-time positions.

May 10th, We sent an email to cancel our wedding venue, our entertainment, and put aside all the save the dates and RSVP’s we worked on. I had even built us a website that no one ever got the link too. and then the following day on May 11th Damon’s brother Luke passed away due to negligence at his in home facility. After that Damon quit his job and ended up going into a whole psychiatric evaluation that made us question his health and well being. The same time that he stopped at his job to get on disability my insurance ran out and we had to renew. We didn’t have the money to pay for Obamacare even though I would have if I had it. He had all these problems with his teeth and we didn’t have any money for a dentist or therapy. I had also signed back up to work on Planet Connections Festivity again to help out and make a few extra dollars but after this I had to quit. We were planning the funeral and the family needed me. I had to cancel several tours.

In June and July my knees started hurting. We qualified for Obamacare and the insurance finally kicked in and I was sent to Elmhurst hospital for a check up. The doctor told me that I had osteoarthritis in both my knees and that I should consider bariatric surgery.

July 31st, Damon’s family got together and there was a huge fight and Damon needed extra psych help immediately. I took him to a hospital and we looked into clinics and nothing seemed to be helping so we went home to Florida for a few weeks. We considered maybe he needed reevaluating.

August 4th, while in Florida Carol his mom was then taken to the hospital for breathing issues or heart problems. Then on August 27th, we had to put Carol’s dog Pepper to sleep. I felt her spirit leave her body and it was a beautiful sad moment.  And then when I went back to work on the 31st my knee gave out under me and I had to be taken in an ambulance to Bellevue. It was very scary and I was worried about not being able to give tours anymore. Mikey my tour guide had lost control of his legs in July and was still in physical therapy so I didn’t have anyone to lead the tours.

September 27th, my other knee gave out. I had more tours that I had to cancel and or refund and it was very trying emotionally. I had to get another cortisone shot and on my way to see the pain management DR I was called for the phone interview with Disney. I did this whole 45 minute interview standing on the street with my cane outside the Dr’s office. I was in pain the whole time.

October, the month was filled with interviews, tours, and Dr’s appointments for my pinched nerve in my shoulder, for my knees, and all of the other appointments that I was required to attend.

December, I found out that my dad had cancer in his lungs. It’s operable but will know more in the following weeks the status. I also found out that someone I cared about as a friend for the past 5 years hated me and was only tolerating me which drove me to a depressive state for at least a week. So with everything that had happened Damon and I just were not really feeling at all into Christmas this year. We didn’t have a lot of money for gifts and we had to get cards for everyone. Christmas evening we had ordered Chinese and it made me extremely horribly sick. New Years eve was OK but for some reason my body again was not having it. I think way down deep inside I was actively purging all the negativity out of my life. This is the only way I can explain it. That’s the only lesson I can take away from this.

The Good Stuff:

-Married on Leap Day (featured on NY1) with a fun quick weekend honeymoon in the Poconos.

-Learned to delegate and ask for help.

-Took on new 3rd party clients to help sell my tours and was able to keep on a hired tour guide.

-Saw Aladdin like 4 times! Twice with student tour groups and twice with Damon.

-Took on more coaching opportunities as a tour guide and website coach.

-Was featured as a tour guide/actress about my company on both a musical theatre blog and the radio.

-Went to a spiritual workshop (February) and a womanly arts workshop (November) by myself.

-Produced and Directed The GANYC Apple Awards for the second year in a row.

-I helped create a tourist guide convention for bringing the WFTGA to NYC in 2019. This led me to being a part of the few GANYC representatives who will be traveling to Iran at the end of the month to present the BID. We created a video/photo commercial shoot as part of the process that I will be featured in. The trip was almost half financially sponsored.

-Got the part-time job of my dreams working at Disney’s New Amsterdam theatre the most beautiful theatre in North America.

-Was invited to create a proposal to host weekend workshops/cabaret/movie/lectures using my Broadway knowledge that I will start selling effectively this year.

-May 28th I created a photo/video shoot to make commercials for my tour company. A lot of the photos are being used on several various websites that now sell my tours.

-I started interviewing several actor/tour guides for a podcast series I was creating for a coaching website I am about to launch this year.

-Saw my family 3 times this year in Florida (February, August, and October). Definitely need to see them more often.

-Started purchasing monthly MTA cards regardless of the amount of times I need to come into the city. (money blocks!)

-In September, I auditioned for a musical which I hadn’t done in a very long time.

-In October, my best friend Anna had her baby! I got to be there with her and see little Emma come into the world. It was such a blessing! The following week I flew back home (Free from JetBlue Points!) to Orlando to interview for the Disney Tour Guide job. Out of thousands of applicants I was one of the few who made it into the room of 50! I had back pain that week but I saw a massage therapist and again was in pain the entire week. I didn’t get the job but it helped me realize that I needed to prioritize my time more efficiently. So I started created my calendar to offer tours in the afternoons directly after my regular Disney job so that whenever I was working it wouldn’t be a conflict of time.

-November, was hired by ToursByLocal a tour guide company that offers specifically private tours to the general public. They are also very selective of who they hire. I was thrilled that I had several other tour guide friends who gave me rave reviews. Later that month I got CPR training which I had been wanting to learn for years! It was offered by Disney. I also had returned to working with a company Students On Broadway where we lead tours for the week and it was a really great fun gig! I was asked to return for next year. Cha-Ching!

-We also finally worked out a deal with the wedding venue where they only want 2k for the cancellation fee. Since we hopefully will be rebooking again when we are ready.

-December, Co-Produced the WFTGA video presentation, got to use my marriage officiate finally and I got to marry one of my best friends (it was unexpected and I will have more details later!), Damon and I actively worked on creating and setting our goals for 2017.

Overall my feeling about 2016 was that it definitely raised my awareness about being healthy. It’s the one thing we have some control over and if you don’t do something about it now then you will be sick or nearly dead and that’s not a life worth living. I felt like my depression and social anxiety had recessed quite a bit with the help of therapy and I am not ashamed of actively asking for help now when I need it. There’s so much work out there to do but we can’t do it all and we don’t have to. We need to grab on to what we can do and do the best at it when we have the time to do it. It’s totally OK to say No.

2017 is going to change everything for me. I can feel it and I am ready for it. I am already looking into materializing new projects and getting my business more off the ground than ever before. I am so grateful for Damon’s family. I am grateful for my tour guide/social media manager intern Mike Haber. He always keeps me excited and up to date on the latest and greatest Broadway news and he’s pulled me through so much just by being so optimistic. I’m grateful for my best friends Anna, Moses, and Ebonye as well as my mom who have kept me sane this year. And I’m thankful for all the other angels and friends that even though we don’t talk or see each other all the time text or message me to check in. Im truly blessed for so much love in my life. 

I’ve  also grown really close to several colleagues and friends volunteering with GANYC that it almost feels like family. 

And throughout it all I am still here. 

Throughout it all Damon is still here. We found love and these trials have really tested us but I know that we will get through it together. He’s my rock and my love and my life. I’m so grateful for him. Our anniversary is coming up and I’m hoping we can do something to celebrate the first year of making it through all of this. We will have to see what the future holds but we will be together and that’s all that matters.

Thank you 2016 for the lessons….But See YA!