For as long as I can remember I’ve made it my business to celebrate my birth the entire month of November. In fact, November 10th is the day my mother was actually due to have me.Yet, November 20th is when I arrived for all the world to see. Doctors had to induce labor for fear of my life, so here I am!
November 10th managed to remain a significant date in my lifetime because it is also the day that my spoken word piece, Broken Poem will screen at the Caribbean Film Festival! As I am getting ready to embark on another trip around the sun, I wanted to share this incredible testimony of Love, Family and Friendship!
My birth was the very beginning of the many sacrifices my mother has made for my dreams so I had to make it my business to make a pit stop in NY to celebrate my birthday early (after all my mother says it’s her birthday too!) on my way to Dominican Republic. This year’s trip was to celebrate Crystal Brown’s birthday, my friend of 18 years. To say this trip was needed is an understatement. At the top of this year I declared it to be the Year of Franceli, stepping into some uncharted waters, which was really scary. I started freestyling publicly, joined a band, and even started a bible study group.
When I look in the mirror sometimes I see my father, Francisco Chapman-Veloz, a man who was so much to so many, a man who overworked and over extended himself at times to a fault. He was charismatic, intelligent & passionate about so much, but most importantly, people.
So here I am back in the Dominican Republic, hoping to find the happy balance between what my parents have passed down to me on this island all those years ago.
There were so many special moments on this trip. Eight is the number of new beginnings and on this trip I reconnected with someone I hadn’t seen in eight years. There is too much to say about the timing of this connection for this blog. 😉
To the director of my short film, Broken, Yolande Geralds, thank you for seeing me and wanting to help me make this thing happen. Spring 2019 here we come!
With these new beginnings God has also allowed me to revisit the past in a full circle way. I went to see a play at the theater where I started my professional acting career (Castillo Theater) with two of the same people I started with, all while catching up with two of the mentors of my life from all those years ago.
Then there are the tres amigos from High school. All three of us have seen our share of life, yet there they were in the Bronx, laughing and sharing tales with me like yesterday. We found a tape and threw it in my old karaoke machine and uncovered a freestyle tape that we recorded in the 11th grade. A tape of Chaz and I rapping.
So in rapid fire fashion here are some other highlights:
- The words of encouragement from my cousin Jose Luis, (he’s also an artist)
- the Chapman turn up!
- the sister who will fight anyone for me
- a little brother who reminds me of my worth
- A Special red head whose handwritten letters make my heart melt (she reminds me of myself in that way)
- A Mom who threw a Dominican Birthday dinner party!
- the Varela cousins who drove across state lines to see me (Scarlett, Arela, Fabiola, Justin, Jason)
- The gifts and cards from the family (you don’t expect these after 30)
- My amazing aunts and uncles
- Carlos- who drove 2 hours to catch up over a road trip in DR
- The pastor on the beach in DR who reminded me of my purpose
- My first ATV riding experience
- first private boat party
- My bestie, Crystal Brown who lets me speak my truth & doesn’t hate me for it
What social media doesn’t showcase are the nights I cried myself to sleep, the moments I doubted If I was enough, qualified, or chosen. Guess what, though? God chose me! My life isn’t by accident or else I wouldn’t be here. For every November 20th God allows me to see I pray to continue to share who I am with the world, to share my gifts and inspire you to fight for the best YOU!
I’m training for a half marathon to FIGHT for my physical health!
I am writing poems and scripts again to FIGHT for my mental health!
Speaking publicly on Afro-Latino representation in Hollywood to FIGHT to be seen & heard!
Serving the kingdom of God by being a prayer warrior to FIGHT for my Spiritual health and growth!
Continuing to become and evolve doesn’t come easy, you gotta push out the darkness and fight to stand in the light!