Staying True to Yourself

“Do you know where you’re going to…do you like the things that life is showin’ you. Where are you going to…do you know?”

~ By Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser (performed by Diana Ross)

Michele MacShane, is an actress, singer and writer. She has been actively involved in the entertainment industry since the age of five. Proud member of SAG/AFTRA/ACTORS EQUITY/ASCAP

Hearing this Diana Ross song for the first time as a teenager, I just thought it was a nice tune to sing along with on the radio, and never realized that my life’s journey would continue to be repeated by these lyrics to this day.

I was born and raised in upstate Amsterdam, New York, surrounded by the beautiful Mohawk River, rich in history that was once inhabited by the Native American Metis and Mohawk Tribes. I was blessed to grow up in a very strong, theatrical and musical family. My father was not only the high school principal, but a successful, gifted actor and director in the region. My mother was a music teacher and an accomplished musician. Both of them instilled an immense work ethic in me while encouraging me to always follow my dream.

My passion was acting and singing in the theatre, where I couldn’t wait to accompany my father to rehearsals beginning at the age of four. I went on to perform in regional and off-Broadway productions in NYC throughout the years, as well as roles in TV, commercials and film, all while being married, working and raising two children.

When the empty nesting kicked in, I started to pursue my dream full-time, while continuing to work as a part-time substitute teacher in grades K-5 to help pay the bills. It hasn’t been an easy journey to say the least. There have been many ups and downs in the entertainment field as well as in my personal life, but I never gave up on what I was born to do. I am very proud of my latest accomplishment with my comedic character role Cuzzin Gertie Beard, who has a segment on The Critter Cuzzins Ozark Music & Comedy TV Show now streaming on ROKU TV.

My mother was a very loving, compassionate and caring soul. It was she who taught me what encouragement and supporting our SISTERS in life, is all about – despite jealousies, insecurities, or whatever it is they decide they don’t like about you at the time. That life goes on and we need to always stick together, and it is usually in tough times when we need our SISTERS the most.

I remember as a young girl it wasn’t always easy fitting in with the “clicks” at school. One minute you were their friend, and the next you were blowing in the wind. But then, I would think back to what my mother taught me, and it would put everything in perspective. I try to instill this in my daughter and middle school granddaughter, as well.

Sadly, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/Dementia which she suffered with for seven long years. Yet, despite all that she endured, her strength, love, and determination still shined through it all. I could see in her eyes that she always knew who I was, and when I would tell her about my latest projects, it always put a smile on her face. Losing my parents 20 days apart from each other in 2019, was the worst time of my life. I hit an all-time low (also lost my beloved dog, Polly, 5 months prior to my parents). It was at this time that I started writing music and lyrics, while teaching myself how to play the Ukulele. My father bought it for me on my birthday a few months before he journeyed on to Heaven. To say that songwriting and acting helped heal me is an understatement. I went on to write four songs that are centered around being thankful and never giving up in life no matter how hard things get.

Whether it is losing loved ones, long-time friends, failing health and other disappointments life has challenged you with, you must reach way down to your toes and slowly pull up the strength and determination we were all born with. Always be true to yourself. I have recently been blessed to meet some new and wonderful, creative SISTERS on this journey called life. Our purpose in this turbulent world is to completely be there for each other, despite our differences.

Know where you’re going!

Michele

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