Are you happy at the moment?
Yes, very much so. I’m a full-time writer, my son is old enough to cook for himself and I live in Hawaii. I spent a lot of years worrying about what’s coming next and living under a “worst case scenario” cloud and this is the year that I feel the cloud lifting.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
You don’t know everything, so shut up and listen when people are trying to help you. Just because he looks like Jon B. doesn’t mean he’s boyfriend material- or even sane. Embrace your shape because this is about as good as it’s gonna get. Learn to cook.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I’m learning this year that nothing is promised. As I wrote this, news of Michael Clark Duncan’s death was blowing up my Twitter timeline. None of us knows when we’re going to go, so stop spending time of triviality. Nowadays when I think of shelving a project until tomorrow (or the next day, or the next…), I remind myself that it’s later than I think and tomorrow may never come.
I’m also learning to not take things so seriously. Just because my kid eats chicken nuggets and non-organic fruit doesn’t mean I’m a horrible mother. Same with him missing the odd school assignment. Not everything is a reflection of some glaring personal deficiency of mine. Sometimes, it just is what it is.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
In the next 12 months, I’ll be working on my bucket list in earnest. I’m finally signing up for swim lessons and booking the family trip to Scotland. Professionally, I want to finish writing my second short story collection and just enjoy each day as it comes.
What’s your secret to happiness?
I love to keep it light. I laugh everyday. My YouTube is full of bookmarked comedy clips; Mike Epps stand-up, Three Stooges slapfests, foolish amateur videos. My inner child and I have an awesome relationship. I love to rollerskate. I still double-dutch and play with my dollhouses. Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Talking to God keeps me grounded. The day I realized that God could hear me even without the confessional was life changing. Since then, I talk to Him almost daily. Sometimes, I just “check in” to say thank you because even as my most scandalous and disobedient self, He never turned his back.
What’s your biggest regret?
I regret wasting so much of my life living in fear of what others might think. I spent so many years listening to that nasty little voice that said, “You’re a stupid, ugly throwaway.” I was even afraid of tweeting GEM about participating in Life Lessons. I kept thinking, “Who am I to speak up? What if I’m truly not good enough?” As silly as it may sound, the day Michael Jackson died was when it finally hit me; no matter how high or how far we get on Earth, we’re only blessed with one life and when it’s over, it’s over. No do-overs, no take-backs.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
Self confidence. My son’s is through the roof. It’s because we celebrate individuality in our home. When I was growing up, I caught plenty of side-eyes for being “that black girl who likes Guns N Roses”. It didn’t necessarily hurt when it came from my schoolmates, but it stung like the dickens when the whispers came from my own family. I vowed that if I ever had a child, I would make sure he felt comfortable enough in his own skin to express himself.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I’m full of frenetic energy. Back in the day, doctors weren’t handing out ADHD diagnoses like they are now, so any coping skills I’ve learned, I had to learn on the fly. Sometimes the energy is a positive; I’m a great multi-tasker and don’t spend enough time on any one thing to over-analyze it. Other times, it’s not so positive. Although I tend to thrive in organized chaos, it’s too easy for that delicate balance to tip from “organized” to “chaos”. I’ll find that happy medium one day.
Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I’m proud that I am steadily overcoming my fears. Earlier this year, I attended a writer’s conference in Los Angeles. I walked into that room of hip, self-confident writers and my heart sank. I just knew I was going to open my mouth and somehow show myself unworthy of their company. I almost walked out of the conference, but at the last minute, I decided to stay. I’m glad I did because I ended up learning so much and meeting the most talented ladies who I’m now proud to call friends. As an added bonus, I got to meet my TV writing idol, Bentley Kyle Evans.
When were you happiest?
Every trip I take to Disney World is the happiest time. I grew up in Germany and part of a fairly large family, so a family trip to Disney wasn’t happening. But as an adult, I’ve made up for lost time. I’ve taken pictures with my favorite Power Rangers and even danced with the High School Musical kids. I was the only person over thirty in the lineup, but I held my own! There’s something about that Disney wonder and fantasy that just gets in my blood.
What ten words best describe you?
Maybe 4: Driven, creative, daydreamer, and hopeful.
Kay Poiro is a screenwriter and internationally produced playwright. While serving as an Army Intelligence officer, Kay finished graduate school then went to work as an adolescent substance abuse counselor. She’s recently self-published her first collection of short stories called “Detours”. Next month, her screenplay “The Ridgeway Mystery Club” competes for Best Screenplay at the L.A. Femme Festival in Hollywood. She’s been married to the military for thirteen years, is mother to a twelve year old son and makes time every day for prayer and The Golden Girls.