No Disrespect

I recently finished Sister Souljah's No Disrespect. It is an interesting book, full of knowledge that makes you think on a spiritual, emotional and political level. I admire her for acknowledging her (mis) education about life. You can tell she's smart, but like most of us she is still human. She is still a woman who longs to be loved, appreciated, and accepted. She wrote about 7 influential people in her life, 3 women (including her mother), and 4 men. These people shaped her destiny and caused her to make and break some of her beliefs. While reading the book I began thinking who would I choose if I wrote a book like this. Who are the people that have made the biggest impact in my life...and why? Did they educate or miseducate me?

These people all have some amazing stories behind them and maybe one day I might share, but for now I'll reminisce rather vaguely about lessons learned. :)

Joy - When I was young I would have given anything to be smaller, lighter, cuter...so imagine my envy when I met someone who was all those things. She was my neighbor and classmate. I imagined if I looked like her my life would rid itself of it's problems in the near and even distant future. I imagined how much more I would be liked and how much better I would be treated. In middle school on the way to high school this was more important than one might think. But I remember thinking how perfect she was, and if only I could be that perfect. Being a plump little kid (pre-teen or teen) never had any advantages. I was either getting picked on or picked over. However, it was getting to know her that I soon realized looks don't hide the pain nor do they mask what is really inside. She was a tortured soul much like me. Longing for some of the very things I took for granted. During her reason in my life I realized things are rarely what they seem and sometimes beauty is only be in the eye of the beholder.

Tasha - I thank her now because she taught me more than she'll ever know even though I spent most of the beginning our 'relationship' hating her. My disdain for Tasha lasted for a couple months, but eventually faded once I saw past what others missed. My anger towards her stemmed from a guy that we both liked. In the end she won, couldn't say I blamed him since folks likened her to a Halle Berry look-a-like. And I myself couldn't deny her beauty. However, what most people missed with the pain and anguish she had. I hated her over a guy, when I should have treated her more like a friend. She was known around school and our small community as just another pretty face, destined to fall short because of her circumstances. However, what most people missed was her determination, her drive, her will to defy the odds and prove the nay-sayers wrong, and after I looked past my disdain I was able to see; she was more than a pretty face, more than her circumstances, that beneath it all she wanted more, and rather than hate her I needed to support and love her. I needed to uplift her, she had enough people to discourage her and put her down. Sometimes your enemies aren't really the enemies you thought they were.

Chris - The day I met Chris and his dimples is the day I realized sometimes looks do matter. I knew from the moment that I saw Chris, he was out of my league, but it was meeting Chris that helped me defy my own interpretations of what that league truly was. The more I hung around him the more I felt connected to him. His genuine need to be my friend, his general concern for me...his need for me. No Chris was not a saint, not by any means, but he was a huge restorer of my faith in friendships. His general concern and care helped me make it through a difficult time. Chris came at a time when I needed him the most. Leaving him to go to college was harder than I thought it would be. I'm sure Chris never knew what he did for me when he walked into my life, but he really changed it and me for the better. He helped me see that my own perception was messed up, and I had made it that way. Chris' friendship made me look beyond my stereotypes, and find what was really in front of me.

Warfield - Ever have fantasy so vivid in your mind, it was hard to tell yourself it wasn't real? That was my vision of grandeur I had with Warfield. It was a pure and innocent feeling of a new beginning. He was a couple years my senior, an eloquent speaker, and a truly dynamic person. Every time I got the chance to be around him, I was enamored. He was all that I thought I wanted. The problem with most fantasies is sooner or later they soon must collide with reality. This collision quickly creates a paradox of whether or not you continue with the fantasy or give way to reality and its harshness. When my fantasy of Warfield met with the reality of Warfield, it took a only a short while to pick up my shattered rose-colored glasses, and realize that in the end we are all human prone to human tendencies. The defining moment came when my outlook on human emotional interaction was bleak. It made the end bittersweet, but the life lesson that much more ingrained.

Matthew - There's a moment in time, that most people wait for with every relationship, when things must come full circle. When you completely and fully realize the reason and season for that person's existence in your life. When the boomerang effect causes what seemed so far out of your reach to come back and almost fall in your lap. I believe Matt was an answer to prayer in my early-teens, but I would not know exactly how much until early-twenties. Life has a funny way of making the word never disappear from your vocabulary with the tricks it can play on you. Many say chivalry and love is dead, but for me it was resurrected through Matt. He was the gentleman I wanted my future husband to be. He was the man that many believed was rare and almost extinct. He was the complete package for me. I had learned enough through the years to know that good things come to those that wait and some opportunities only come once in a lifetime. Though we had a bumpy road it only taught me to hold on and love him more. He was my first in the complete sense of the word, and I was his. The lessons we have taught each other will only continue to help us increase our love.

Reaching contentment comes only when you acknowledge lessons learned, and the people who assisted in providing those lessons.
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