Or better yet, moving forward from a pandemic.
No complaining here. No one in my immediate family missed a paycheck. I have a wife and two adult daughters, only one of which got COVID. She’s fine. But what the pandemic did was it forced me to rethink what it meant to be Kandi and HOW to be Kandi.
This essay will serve the dual purpose of discussing where I see myself and how I move forward as well as being a public service announcement for volunteering, which I will address first.
This world never gets any better if we do not make the effort to improve it. Some have the reach, resources and the platform to make large scale changes. Others, like myself, can only do so one person at a time. And we have no right to complain if we do not do our part. Recently, I was involved with The American Heart Association’s STEM Goes Red for Girls event on the campus of Cleveland State University. There, classes of young women came and spent a few hours learning how STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) can help them make a difference in the world. I was completely accepted and a valued part of the day. And I was honored to be there.
I sat with a retired teacher, whom I go to know and I talked about the responsibility I feel, to be an example and how I feel that (forgive the third person here) Kandi is special. She exists for a reason and it is my obligation to allow her to flourish in whatever way she was meant to (still haven’t figured that one out). People are drawn to me in a way that I find quite remarkable.
If you want a way to go out, to be accepted, to be part of the mainstream, then volunteer. Give your time. Any charity for which you might work wants help. They will welcome that help and they will welcome you! You will get the opportunity to interact with others on your terms, generally without concern about being accepted. How do I know this? Because I have done it, lived it and used it to make myself almost completely accepted wherever I go. I have worked with over 25 principally mainstream charities and/or theaters. People now seek me out because they got to know me and want to be a friend, all because I simply gave my time and for me, I did it in a dress (or a skirt, you get the point!).
So as the restrictions of the pandemic have been eased recently, live events are back. And I have worked a few. It has helped me more forward. And with the downtime we all had, I remade myself. I have become a model, published in three, soon to be four, magazines and having walked three fashion shows, including New York Fashion Week. I have been in now five movies, one of which was a big budget Netflix movie. And I have taken improv classes and performed a few times in public.
Don’t settle. Find a way. There is always a way. The world simply is not an excuse to be yourself!