When I was a kid, I did not stop moving. There was too much to see and do in my corner of Indianapolis. My mother, between one of her two jobs, would watch me cartwheel across the grass and shake her head.
“Now, that one there of mine, oh, she’s busy,” Everlyena Fox would say. “She always busy.”
I’m still always on the move. It’s rare for me to have a day where I am not working or traveling. I am constantly doing the math of time zones and scheduling cars to and from airports. I’m an expert packer, and I can lock eyes with a skycap in a crowd like nobody’s business. I am writing this to you from a hotel room in Chicago, a quick in-and-out trip for work.
The downside of all that work travel is that even if you do get some free time in a place, you’re often alone, wishing you had someone to enjoy that place with. Two years ago, just before Christmas, I spent a week on a shoot in Cape Town. I had been invited to film a sequel for the Bring It On franchise, to play the character of Cheer Goddess, a legend in the cheerleading world. I thought back to my time on the field at Arlington High in Indianapolis, cheering on our Golden Knights, and I said yes.
On my last day in Cape Town, I unexpectedly found myself with a few free hours before my late-afternoon flight. Hollywood’s holiday slowdown was already setting in, and besides, 9 a.m. in South Africa is 11 p.m. in LA. It’s hard to justify calling someone to give notes on a script at that hour.
All alone, 10,000 miles from home, I went down to breakfast in my hotel and sat by a window with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic waterfront. I was dressed for downtime: clean hair pulled back in a baseball cap, no makeup. I sipped my morning coffee and looked out on the ocean. There was a huge Ferris wheel right by the water, and I found myself watching it go round and round. I couldn’t help but think it’d be nice to have someone with me, especially since I was newly single, having recently resolved to give up my habit of falling in love with a six pack and a smile.
Then I realized, I can do it by myself.
I walked down the waterfront to the Ferris wheel. It was a beautiful morning, and even after a week, a December summer below the equator still felt new—my bonus summer after a year of hard work.
I stood in line surrounded by families and couples, all looking up at the tall wheel and the 30 glass capsules gleaming in the sun. When it was my turn, I got in the capsule alone. It was big, with room for four people. As I moved higher and higher into the sky, the view of the water and city only got more breathtaking.
Nearer, my God, to thee, I thought. I said a quick prayer of gratitude, which I do more and more often these days. I was so grateful that I had left the hotel and explored the city on my own. How many cities had I been to where the only thing I saw was a film set? Heck, I had gone across the world to Beijing for Kill Bill. Did I see the Great Wall? All I saw were the walls of a martial arts training studio. I spent so many years working without a break and feeling like I had to be in a relationship to be fulfilled. Here I was spending time with just myself, and I was truly happy.
I decided to take a selfie. Now, I love to have my picture taken, don’t get me wrong, but I am not really a selfie-taking kind of babe. Still, I needed to commemorate this moment of pure joy, because I knew it was the start of a new chapter for me. After all my years of flying solo, I’ve decided I’m good company for myself. Would I like someone to join me on the ride? Sure. But, finally, I love me some me.
Actress and producer Vivica A. Fox is the author of Every Day I’m Hustling, due out from St. Martin’s Press on April 3.