While writing this piece, I was listening to “All Night” & “Before I Let Go - Homecoming Live” by Beyoncé. In Harlem, at home.
A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. —David Brinkley
I have spent nearly a quarter of my life self-deprecating. Prior to learning it was a popular comedy tactic, I would find humor in criticizing myself, especially to make people feel comfortable. I would play myself. It was actually really easy to do throughout my life because I truly hated myself - from my hair to my accent to the curves on my body; inside and out. I had never really known or understood love, especially self-love. I have always craved external validation - please tell me I am not crazy, please tell me you want me. I wanted to be wanted. I am a bit far removed from my pain - many memories blocked, but the truth is that… I have always felt like a pariah.
I had never felt fully accepted. I never truly accepted myself. Until recently.
To love yourself: to own your insecurities, to be outspoken, to live without fear, to be transparent, to own your decisions, to make peace with your past... well that’s deep, that’s a different level of courage. To find the strength to own who you is synonymous with confronting demons.. some you never want to revisit. Confronting and owning your traumas, mine being sexual assault, depression, abandonment, neglect, bullying, abuse, suicide attempts, running away from home, poverty, language barriers, domestic violence, witnessing infidelity, racism, colorism, heartbreak… that is hard to do. It was hard to acknowledge and admit that I was a survivor.
I never saw the beauty in myself. I never felt valuable, worth anything. Until recently.
I think as you get older and wiser, at least in my case, you are looking less to blame someone for what has happened to you and more so looking for answers to get closer to who you really are... seeking outlets that empower you to find your purpose, to no longer feel broken. Finding the space to heal and forgive. You are seeking happiness and peace of mind. You want love and acceptance, especially from yourself.
I have always struggled with deep vulnerability, creating façades of bonds. I never want to be viewed as ‘weak’ and show my true self. I was always defensive and protective of the deepest parts of my soul. That was until recently.
Writing has always provided me with serenity, it was what had always come natural to me. Writing was my escape as a child, and what has led me to countless opportunities. Writing is how I best express myself, it’s where I find freedom. It’s my peace of mind. When you write, you get to own the narrative. You get to make sense of the world… with each prose you construct. Anytime I publish a piece of writing - that’s when I feel the most successful. I think my gift of writing, my convoluted pain, my need for making people feel comfortable at my own expense (and, my natural gift of comedic timing), along the way, was setting me up all along for this phase in my life. To pursue a career in comedy. To discover my purpose; to find my Glory.
Obviously, I would not have willingly chosen pain, but everything happens for a reason.
I had always dreamed about starting a platform that documented the journey of finding myself, a lifelong journey, Find Your Glory. My hope was to inspire everyone to dig deep and find their purpose, and meet me on my adventure. I would challenge myself to do an activity that would require me to step out of my comfort zone. First up was Brukwine - I used to be in a Hip-Hop, Caribbean, African dance troupe at ‘Cuse &, I missed being on stage, so I took an interest in dancing again. Next, I wanted to explore my LatinX roots and try Salsa, of course, as per usual - I felt like I did not belong, that is a story for another day. Next up, was stand-up comedy.
Find Your Glory became Pretty Funny Presents, my production company. Same concept, different vehicle. I bring this up because it is important to note that before I “found my path” (which is very much still under construction)… I had started and stopped so many other projects: Bum on the Streets, The Things I Wish I Wouldn’t Known, Glorelys.com, GlorelysMora.com, Glorelysmoraliz.com, The Fifteenth PR, The Social Committee and many more. I never gave up on finding what was meant for me - it existed on some level, I just had to continue to keep digging for gold.
Deep down, we know who we are meant to be - who we want to be - what we want to do, we just need the right platform to express ourselves through, to share our message. We all have a message to share, and an audience to impact. It is important to share your story and document your growth.
I think we have always known what we wanted to do since we were children. It is important to fulfill your childhood dreams (cue the Last Lecture). That is your destiny. Before you had society in the way, and acknowledgement of adulting - your heart spoke to you as a child. I think that’s success. To make the young you proud. Ever since I was a little girl - I wanted to be Angelica’s mom so bad, I wanted to own two phones and be an Alpha Business Women. I think I’ve made the girl in the cover of this blog - so proud. I am in the business of comedy, and I am going to fuck shit up.
I had tried stand-up once. It was for a talent show. My friend Jenae and I - who were deemed the “class clowns” of a college prep program we were in, got on stage… and, it was the most embarrassing moment in time. We both SUCKED.
I GOT ONE joke IN: “what did baby corn say to mama corn? where’s pop corn.”
Clearly, we both did not experience the world enough to have a good premise.
I grew up on the classics: Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Wayans Bros, My Wife and Kids, Family Matters, The Parkers, Friends, MADTV, One on One, Boy Meets World, The Rugrats, Malcom in the Middle, Lizzie McGuire, Full House, Sister-Sister, Smart Guy, The Simpsons, Sabrina the Teenage Witch & more. I did not catch up with the stand-up comedy until my undergraduate years. Looking for a distraction - instead of doing my work, I remember coming across Capone, Katt Williams, Dave Chapelle, Mike Epps, Rasheed, MoNique, Anjelah Johnson (her Bon Qui Qui skit), there was this popular ‘crackhead’ hood video series that was floating around - can’t remember the name, and more… finding them absolutely hilarious.
I remember recreating the Mike Epps, “white people… your kids will kill you bit.” I posted it on Facebook, getting the attention of “the love of my life.” While dating “the love of my life” …in quotations because I was buggin’… we would often bond over watching Kevin Hart’s comedy specials. We were together through ‘I’m a Grown Little Man’ (2009), ‘Seriously Funny’ (2010), ‘Laugh at My pain’ (2011), and ‘Let Me Explain’ (2013).
What I loved about watching the comedy specials with “TLOML” was that Kevin Hart would literally say everything that was on my mind… he dragged our relationship, and me not being the best verbal communicator - it helped me to feel seen. I was praying and hoping that, after we stopped laughing, my man got the memo… stop treating me like shit and respect our relationship. He did not get the memo.
Comedy has helped to heal me. While it is not easy, I am resilient - literally built for this sh*t. So, I do get peeved when people constantly remind me that “comedy is hard” … life is hard, I’ll be fine. Plus, I pledged. Telling jokes has been one of the most humbling experiences in my life, just when I think I’m killing it - right back to the starting point I go.
I have had to study myself deeply, I have had to study my jokes deeply, I have had to study other comedians deeply, I have had to study different audiences deeply, I have had to study other cities deeply, and I have had to study different settings deeply. This task is not easy, and I have a long way to go. While challenging, comedy has given me a platform to make sense of my life. I am lost at most times, but I still having a sense of direction - not sure if that makes sense. I am doing the scariest thing you can do in life… day in and day out… to be on stage in front of a group of strangers and try to make them laugh. That takes courage.
As a woman, A BLACK LATINA, comedy is even more challenging… I am going against the tradition of what it means to be ladylike.
With my jokes I am challenging privilege - literally the war of my life. Before you get on stage, and run your set - you need to face you insecurities, every single day. Something I have been afraid to do up until recently - literally confront my demons every day and find a way to work in tandem.
I am collaborating with my worst enemy - myself.
There is no external validation in this game, you have to do it for yourself. You cannot give the power over to the audience & other comics are too narcissistic and self-centered to hand over an ounce of confidence to you. Comics, we are busy in our own heads.
Through comedy I have been able to express myself. I have been able to develop a healthier relationships with my hair, with my accent, with my body; with my soul. I have been able to forgive. I am able to connect with people in a new way. I am authentically being myself, I am renewed - I am owning every single part of my Glory. For so long I felt like I didn’t fit in-in this world, and now I have a place that was clearly meant to be blessed by me - the stage.
I fit in on stage.
In this past year of comedy, I have used the technique of self deprecating in a different way. I am detached from who I used to be, still paying homage to her and collaborating with her every day. I do find humor in criticizing my past, I can joke about the wounds that have healed. That’s not who I am anymore - so if ever anyone wanted to hurt me… they cannot.
On April 15th, 2019. I celebrated year one in comedy. A year of committing to myself. And, these are the lessons I have learned.
Have faith: in yourself, in God, in the Universe - in whatever your belief system is. Denzel said you should always put God first in everything you do - I’m still exploring this relationship. The closer I get to my dreams, the more I realize I’m not the only one at work... Ironically, many comedians are miserable - they don’t truly believe in themselves and the possibilities. You need to have faith, know that everything is going to work out as it should.
Figure out your why: if you’re why is rooted in shallowness, your success will be temporary. If your why is intertwined with the greater good of impacting the masses, a level of selflessness - of actually helping, it will show in your work. Your why is your barometer which helps you to continue to make the best possible decisions on your journey.
Respect your grooming period: throughout the process, that is where you develop, where you learn, where you find your voice - what makes you special. There is no need to rush, everything will happen when it is supposed to happen. The worst thing you can do is rush through the grooming period and not be truly prepared when you come face-to-face with your wish. I attended a New York Times talk with Kevin Hart & Tiffany Haddish, where they spoke on this. And, recently, was given some golden words by DeVon Franklin on ‘the process.’ I love him and his perspective.
Slow down & develop your own unique creative process: this is a lesson I am still working on. I talk really fast during my sets, I have gotten slower, people need a moment to digest what you’re saying. Also, everyone’s creative process is different. I find that I have work in bursts. I will literally knock out a month of work in a weekend. But, then have moments where I can’t find the strength to think to write new jokes. I say take advantage of the moments where you feel invincible.
Learn to say no: no to gossip, no to shows, no to your friends, no to distractions. It is important to be disciplined to reach your higher self. And, as I read in a tweet, “sometimes saying no to others means saying yes to yourself.” One of my favorite mottos is to underpromise and overdeliver. Do not overcommit. You will burn out.
Face your insecurities: I was at a show once, and I felt very uncomfortable in a dress I was wearing. I knew this before I left the crib. While on stage that night, a guy made a comment about going to the gym - I thought he was trying to say something about my figure so I told him to ‘suck my ass.’ The point is… if you don’t deal with your insecurities, you become more easily offended - and, don’t have the ability to navigate hecklers correctly, letting them win. Also, you dealing with your insecurities helps others to deal with theirs.
You need a team, and you need to learn how to communicate with your team: people cannot read your mind. As a leader you need to be clear on goals and tasks. If you’re not, you’re leaving room for miscommunication and for your team to feel undervalued. It is impossible to achieve greatness in silos.
Know your history and give proper credit: pretty straight forward.
Not everyone is funny, but you can always say something nice: comedy is hard, don’t be an ass.
Someone is always watching you: you never know whose life you’re changing or who is pitching you for a project. Keep being vocal about your journey, the universe will align to connect you to the right opportunities. You never know, that’s how I got a spot on a TV show with David Banner. Someone who had been watching my hustle pitched me for the project. Off of instagram.
Discover your legacy & live life to the fullest: this one is a bit deep, but I have experienced a lot of death recently. It’s scary because you realize how short and precious life is, but it also lights a fire under your ass - because, at any moment you can create the life of your dream and leave something you are proud of… behind. Don’t be afraid of living while you’re on Earth. Don’t cut your own life short by constantly having regret. After you survive your existential crisis… live and create something bigger than you.
Respect your body: so many clubs offer payments in drinks, and the schedule of a comic is all over the place - do your best to find a routine and to not fuck up your body. Plus, the less you drink the more you preserve your set, I’ve had nights where I forgot my set because I had two drinks. Smh. I’m working on this one. I need more discipline in this area.
Find balance: as with any job, you will need an escape. It can get a bit toxic, especially with a lot of jaded comics. Take some time to yourself to re-align yourself and more importantly … spend time with those you love. You also need to live life to get more content.
Always be humble, honest & gracious: people have their own moral compasses and rules, mine is to always be transparent. You do shady business and people will think you’re shady. I try to do my best to preserve my brand and let people know I am honest and about quality. I care more about respect than being well-liked. I’m running companies here, and I don’t ever want my brand to be aligned with negativity. Also, after shows - I always do my best to send a thank you note to the booker. Stage-time is a gift.
Always find a way to pay people: this is a rule I have for myself. I respect creatives and I value their gift to the world. There is always a way and I wish more producers would have this mentality. Stop being cheap.
Karma is real: i don’t play with that shit.
Don’t doubt your intuition: if you have a feeling about someone or something, it is for a reason. Don’t second guess yourself and trust yourself. Develop a strong relationship with your intuition - because these hoes can’t be trusted.
Make every experience count: every job you had, every network you’ve joined, every skill you’ve acquire - it will come in handy for something, don’t overlook it. Everything in your life comes full circle. Put it to use for business or talk about it in your set. Make it count.
Have fun & enjoy the journey: if you’re not having fun the audience is not having fun, you’re living a dream being on stage - have a good time.
You can’t win everything and everyone: there are people that no matter what you do will find a way to bad mouth you, try to discourage you, talk down on your name - treat everyone with respect anyways. Not everyone is your crowd and that is okay. As long as you made someone laugh during your time… that’s all that matters.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Arelis, Jose, Madelyn, Sophie, Ysidra, Alcedo, Hipolito, Gloria, Maria, Jeanette, Melissa, Jessica, Ashley, Enoma, Earnest, Justin, Ozzie
Yainel, Orah, Rudy, Iman, Kate, Olivia, Romel, JT, Erica W., Austin Millz, Ryan Merchant, Steven E., Idalia H., JT Anderson, Trey Coastal, Aimee, Kierrah, Kelsie, Jenae, Danielle, Karina, Bryan, Niah, Janaya, Samuel, Kemberly, Terichi, Debbie, Nilda, Meta, Tamara, Ieasha, Catherine, Kimberly, Ebony, Tony Martinez, Bryan, Lydia, Kelsie, Shamira, My Spec, Sabrienna, Kelsie, Latoya, Linda Smith, Bob Sumner, David Banner, Janel Martinez, Ruperto Vanderpool, Derek Gaines, Anthony Moore, Drexton Clemmons, Quan Wiggins, Eagle Witt, Dori Dimplez, Vanetta Schoefield, James Arthur M, Rooom 28, NGL Media, HBO Latino, Converse, Syracuse University, HEAF, My Sorors, Refinery 29, Teen Vogue, Ain’t I Latina, Powerhouse Productions, CLEO TV
Everyone that has attended a show. Supported the dream. Shared like. My exes that showed love in Los Angeles.