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Everything's Alright

There are some snow flurries outside, it's my seventh full year in Pittsburgh. My ad is around town, most notably it's near Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center, and Three Rivers Casino.

The photo shoot was a little over two months ago, I remember it like it was yesterday because it was the first paid gig I'd had as a model. Now, I'm less than three weeks away from opening night at the Kelly StrayhornTheater. 

The only thing I have to do before then is memorize my singing solo, practice feeling the lines, and work on getting into character regularly. 

The show will do well in Pittsburgh, but I'm more concerned about the traveling and how it may impact my work schedule. 

Depending on when we travel, I may have to take off work. We're going to the South and the Midwest. North Carolina: Greensboro and Charlotte. Illinois: Chicago. 

We may do other theaters around town and add cities to the roster. Well, this is a significant milestone in my life. The back-to-back interviews, auditions, and paid gigs means that things will only get better next year. 

La victoria es mía

After defeating my landlord (successfully winning a civil suit against him) and beating all the false criminal charges dropped that were filed by the local police department, I'm becoming more confident in my abilities to overcome adversity and more importantly to stand up for what I know is right.

The District Attorney of Allegheny County conceded that there was insufficient evidence to find me guilty of even a summary offense. Therefore, after what I hope is my final appearance in court for 2014, I won't have a criminal record.

Nevertheless, it strikes me as odd that in most American cities, four-fifths of the black population has a criminal record. After a year of postponing court dates and getting all the facts straight, volunteering, and proclaiming innocence, I'll be able to expunge my records on 10/08/2014, which is the last time I'll appear in court for that offense.

The reason the majority of black males, in particular, have records may not be because they're the most aggressive group of men on the planet, but rather because they're the first to be profiled and are targets of the criminal justice system. I want to file a civil suit after getting everything removed from my record, perhaps that's what the detective fears. But, this sort of thing needs to stop. We need to be made aware of all the options available to us as citizens. Information asymmetry is hurting the profession as much as it was hurting the health care market in the U.S.

Legal Zoom

Now, the best news is that I beat my landlord in court.

The judge ruled in my favor. The landlord has no right to do anything illegal in order to obtain rent.

This meant that the whole month of July, I was able to live in the apartment rent-free.

The bad news is that I still haven't found another place to move.

However, since winning in court, the landlord has been much more amicable and actually declared a truce.

Every day, I ask people for job leads and there are a number of them. In a couple weeks, I'm going to court to get a prior legal issue resolved. It will be a whole eleven months since getting into a heap of trouble over something that is relatively minuscule.

The one positive about this whole situation is that I'm much more cautious about everything that I do. Taking less risks and laying low for awhile seems like a wonderful idea.

Jobs come and go, but character lasts for a lifetime. Although we all make mistakes, for whatever reason people magnify some of those that I make while ignoring their own.

Zoom out and appreciate the human behind the writing. Whenever, I can, I give back to worthy causes and God knows that I have a good heart for people. Nevertheless, sometimes I run before walking and don't take the time to really read instructions or look the other way when crossing the road. Life doesn't come with an instruction manual.

Zoom into your own life and notice how judgmental and condescending you may sometimes be when dealing with other people. The more you realize how sanctimonious you may seem, the easier it is to change and identify with those who have struggled in life.

When I finally do get my act together, which isn't a single moment, but rather an ongoing process, I'm sure I'll zoom out and appreciate these struggles and the number of lessons I learned along the path to wisdom.

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