Pushed, Shoved & Celebrated: my life in 2016

In 2016, one of my best friends told me they were jealous of my success.

I was on the train yesterday, in the U.K., writing this entry on my phone and erased this sentence 40 times. Two students approached me in the station and asked if I was “Danielle Pinnock.” I said: “Yes.” They told me they read this blog and couldn’t wait to see the play. That moment on the train changed my life and it gave me a glimpse of what 2017 will be. It also made me realize not every one rises to the top with you.

Social media is a double-edged sword because we need it to promote our business, however, “followers” can then look at their own situations and feel unworthy or unaccomplished. Many of you may follow me online and see me as this person who is living their dream, but no one really saw the “come up” and prayer that went into all of this.

Last January, I made a list of things I hoped for and would like to accomplish in 2016: one line on Chicago MED; a great review for Body/Courage and for my Grandmother to get better.

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I’ve been absent from the blog, because somewhere in between my Grandmother being ill and dying, I experienced an intense spell of writer’s block and depression. I gained an enormous amount of weight and had zero confidence.

In March 2016, I made the decision to quit acting.

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I came off an incredible World Premiere of Body/Courage and was flown to LA to screen test for an HBO pilot. I never got cast and had to make an emergency flight back to New Jersey due to my Grandmother’s illness. My mom was living in between a hotel at Newark airport and her car during this time. Our home was in no condition to live in. Coming back to NJ, made me hopeless. My Grandmother’s skin looked like blue mush as her lifeless body was tied to life support cords. I couldn’t financially support my Grandmother & mother how I always wished. I honestly contemplated finishing my acting career and grabbing a 9-5 to support the people who mean the world to me.

So, when my friend told me they were jealous of my success…I laughed.

When I declared I was finished with acting, I experienced some strange things in my life. God began viciously pushing me to Los Angeles. Some people reading may call their God: the Universe, Allah, Buddha, or nothing at all.

Whatever you believe, we can all agree when you’ve run out of steam and someone is pushing you, it’s easier to fall than to fight. So I fell.

Two months after everything happened my life spun into a whirlwind. I was asked to come to Los Angeles to sign with an agency, auditioned for a play called Barbecue at the Geffen Playhouse directed by Colman Domingo and understudied TWO roles.

During the summer: I delivered food for Postmates; coached 40 students whilst flying back and forth from Chicago to NJ to check on Grandma & mom; sold most of our furniture; and booked a flight to move to Los Angeles. My husband and I did not have a dollar between us. We had one chair and an air mattress. Thank God for the Moms who were there for us in the dire times of need.

Moving to LA was never on my agenda. But, I felt this push that I could not explain. Within my first 30 days of living here I auditioned for a television show called This is Us. However, I had just found out that my grandmother passed away. The day our family buried my grandmother, I received a phone call saying I booked the role. #Whirlwind

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2016 was the year our parents Barack and America got divorced. Now we’re left with mom’s drunkard boyfriend who commands us to sit on his lap as his smell of Happy Hour drinks and disappointment permeates our country. #shame

As I watch the landscape of my husband’s family farm turn from frost to a golden green I find myself reminiscing about the hilarity, success and trials 2016 brought. I think about the peace my Grandmother has finally received and how proud she must be. I also find myself thinking about my friend who was jealous.

 “Even jealousy is based on fantasies: a fantasy that someone else has what belongs to you.” – Anna Deavere Smith

To anyone who has a dream they desperately have been trying to reach in the midst of life’s craziness; sometimes all you need to do is stand still and allow yourself to be pushed towards your destiny.

With Love, 

Danielle

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