Welcome to our segment of the “Think Tank” where we send out a Q&A to the people, to keep building and exploring “Food For Thought” for the people. Each and every moment someone’s story is unfolding and I feel each and every one of us is significant. Together, we make TODAY better than YESTERDAY.
This story is one of great strength, of courage and resilience. In her willingness to share so openly she continues to create significant change towards betterment in many lives and it was an honor to have Amber W. be a part of the Lone Doctrine.
1. Where you’re from, what you do, etc?
I, Amber, was born and raised in Sacramento, CA. I was raised very poor until the age of 6. My older brother and I shared clothes. They were always too big on me and too small on him. My father was a heroine addict and my mom left him when I was four. She then married my stepfather when I was six. It was rags to riches overnight, or at least the illusion of riches. From 6-16 we lived in a very nice part of town called the "Fab 40's". I never felt like I belonged there. We were the 3rd family to my stepfather and he was 26 years older than my mom. We belonged to two country clubs. People would look at us funny, always, especially the women closer to my step fathers age that were now watching the "Next" family come through. It was very bizarre and unsettling. My step dad wanted me to go to the all girls, private school. I absolutely refused. I wanted to go to Sac High which was in Oak Park and that was considered,"The Ghetto." They had a Visual and Preforming Arts Program and thats what I wanted to be a part of. My step dad told me that if I got good grades that he would send me to Juilliard. I dropped out of high school my sophomore year. There went the college education!
I am a survivor of molest, rape, drug and alcohol addiction. Despite having only a 10th grade education, I went on to run 6, multimillion dollar companies from the age of 21-36. At 39, I started my own production company. I always wanted to be an actor, but I didn't have the guts, so I became a dancer. I danced up until I left high school and then started dancing again in my 30's, most recently, pole dancing, of which I have proudly preformed many times. When I was 28, I moved from Sacramento to Maui. It was there that I read a book by Julia Cameron called, The Artists Way. It's a work book. I worked at a lingerie store on the beach and I read that book and did the homework like my life depended on it. And it did. When I completed the book, I was down to my last couple hundred dollars. I bought a one way ticket to LA. I was going to be an actor! Three weeks after I landed on LA, I met my husband. He was going through a nasty divorce and had four children ages 9-16. He came with everything I didn't think I was looking for. But, almost 14 years later, he's still the one! BUT, because there was so much instability in the kids lives, it didn't make sense for me to be taking on the crazy life of an unestablished actor, so, I went back to work.
I opened the first SusieCakes Bakery in Brentwood, CA. When I left the company, almost seven years later, there were 8 locations. My career looked good, but my soul was slowly dying. I was, toward the end, drinking one to two bottles of wine a night. So, I got on my knees, asked for help, I put the bottle down and picked the acting up. Our youngest was getting ready to leave for college, I was 36 and it was my turn. I left my job, went to every acting class in LA, and learned as much about the business as I could. I have worked background, then stand in and slowly started getting more principal work. I opened the production company, Magic Arrow Films, with a business partner so that I had the ability to create my own content. And...the rest is history.
2. What are some your top values in life and, why?
A) Be Kind... Always (life is too short)
B) Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood (have compassion)
C) Believe - (100% is possible 100% of the time)
D) All You Need Is Love (love is our purest form)
E) Always Forgive (resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die)
F) Don't Take Everything So Damn Personal -(99% Of The Time, It's Not Even About You)
G) SMILE! (Sometimes it's the best gift you can give)
H) Become Your Dream! (We are all unique and have been given amazing gifts. I think it's our lives purpose to use them)
I) Give Back (Volunteer your time to those in need)J) Your Past Doesn't Define Your Future (You can start again at ANY MOMENT)
3. In your work and personal/home life what are some of the ways you stay motivated?
I am able to stay motivated because I have such a burning desire inside of me to create miracles. I don't always even know what that is, but I do know that this life is such a gift and it's so precious and so temporary and I REFUSE to give my middle finger to the universe and be complacent. I wake up every morning and say, THANK YOU! Not for anything specific that I have been granted, but just for another day here on earth. That is a gift!
4. We speak of “Food For Thought” that provides a means of making TODAY better than YESTERDAY. What do you do or do you have a daily routine to keep your mind on the right track?
Well, I guess I sort of answered that one in the last question. But, I have a daily mantra, and it has gotten longer through the years. I say it every time I see flowers, so let me tell ya, I say it a lot! If I don't have time to say it all the way through, I simply say, thank you. So, I say thank you a lot too!
5. What are your top three favorite books, movies, or shows and, why?
Anything Oprah!!! I watch all of Oprah's Master Classes. I read her magazines. My DREAM is to one day work with Oprah! As far as books, one of my favorite books is by Dan Millman, Way Of The Peaceful Warrior. I also love Conversations With God from Neale Donald Walsch. I am a big autobiography fan. I recently read Katey Segals, Amy Poehler and Diane Keaton's.
1) Breakfast At Tiffany's
2) Pretty Woman
3) Shawshank Redemption
4) Good Will Hunting
6. If you could chose a superpower or spirit animal what would it be and, why?
I wish I had the super power to end world hunger. I would also wish I could wave a magic want and have our healthcare system be about healing the sick not keeping them ill. My spirit animal is the owl for sure! The owl encourages you to look beyond deceiving appearances into the true reality of a situation or a person's motives.
7. If you could call your younger self, what sort of advice would you offer?
I would assure my younger self that she is going to be just fine. In fact, she will thrive! Feel the pain, don't numb the pain. Look fear in the eye and walk right through it with your head held high. Oh, and this is the big one... NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE YOU... AND THAT'S OK!!! Set Boundaries. And, last but not least, what other people think of you is none of your damn business!
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