Carlette Norwood has been searching for a positive male role model since she was a child. Now, as a grown woman, she found one.
I haven’t had many positive male role models in my life. My parents were divorced when I was two years old and my father, because of his drinking problem and other reasons, never stepped up to the plate to forge a relationship with me. I grew up pining and longing for that daddy/daughter bonding that would, up until his death, never come.
Several months ago, one of my listeners suggested I interview an actor named Paul Sampson. I’d never heard of him but after checking out some of his work, I decided to go for it. During our initial conversations via email, I was intrigued by the passion Paul displayed about his work, even just writing about it. His persona, strength and confidence leaped off the screen as I read his correspondences.
By the time we conducted the live, on-air interview, I felt like I was talking to an old and dear friend. The chemistry was amazing and even my listeners picked up on it, sending me messages after the show. Since then, the journey with Sampson has been nothing short of a whirlwind.
Some things come easy for some people while others have to struggle for everything we get. One minute we’re riding high and the next minute our world is crashing down around us. While I believe Sampson is truly blessed, he has seen more tragedy, sadness and adversity than I can possibly imagine.
Paul tragically lost his father, brother and youngest sister early in his life and in 2005 his mother passed away unexpectedly. Such major losses would have crippled even the strongest of us. When I think about losing those closest and dearest to me, my own head starts to spin; a person could get lost in emotion after those losses. How do you bounce back? I don’t know, honestly, but somehow, Sampson made it through and to talk to him today, you would never know how much he must have suffered.
I once told him that he is the strongest man I know and I think we even chuckled about it. He had no idea just how much I meant what I said and from how deep in my heart it came. You see, at the time, he was a foreign entity to me – something strange and curious. He was a…a positive male role model!
Roughly six years ago Paul got the idea to write a movie. In my interview with him, he talked about how, once the script was written, he went about the task of finding actors for his project. His movie would be a one of a kind, medieval/modern day, cult classic independent film – something that had never, ever been done before. When all was said and done, Sampson raised closed to a million dollars for his film (again, an independent movie with no backing from Hollywood). With his buddy Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead and David Carradine, in what would turn out to be his last performance, Paul began production. On my show, he told me how he passed out from exhaustion and lack of sleep, how he had to hammer the shields himself, when money ran out, for authenticity and how he spent countless and endless days and hours editing and tweaking the final product before release. In all, it took five years of his life to complete.
But he never gave up.
The movie, Night of the Templar, has many, many layers to it. One could watch it a dozen times yet still find something new and different on the thirteenth viewing. What strikes me the most, after having seen the movie many, many times, is the underlying love, respect, trust and devotion between the lead character and his best soldier. It is a story of loyalty between brothers – a bond that not even death can break. It is a story about a bond that flips its finger at death – a bond so tight that neither time nor space can eliminate.
I’ve never known anyone with more drive and determination and I’m so very proud to be Sampson’s friend. I relish and honor his trust, respect and confidence in me as a professional and the friendship we have formed that I know for a fact, without doubt, will last a lifetime. When we talk– conversations that usually last for hours – we fuss, we brainstorm, we debate, we tease, we share secrets – but most importantly, we laugh and laugh and laugh. He has seen me at my strongest and he’s seen me at possibly at my most vulnerable. But Paul always treated me the same and no matter what he’s going through (I’m sure none us will never know for sure), he always finds something to laugh about it.
I have finally found my positive male role model. Paul Sampson is wise, he is strong and he is resilient. I don’t know why life has dealt him such mighty blows but perhaps without them he wouldn’t be the person he is today, or maybe our paths might not have crossed. Who knows what further challenges he may have to face, but now he has something that didn’t have before – me.
I’ll end on one of Paul’s memorable quotes:
“Some call it perseverance, others say it’s survival. Call it what you want, it’s all semantics. if you want something you have to go get it. Just try not to hurt anyone along the way…especially yourself.”
Carlette’s campaign to hire a P.R. firm for Paul.
–Photo: Mara ~earth light~/Flickr