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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

While I was busy thinking, they did that...

                                                      Women, the Fabric of Our Lives

March has been more of an "in like a lamb and out like a lion" kind of month for me. I meant to write posts throughout the month that feature just a few of the women (because there are many) who inspire me everyday by showing you how their stories are woven into the fabric of my life in honor of Women's History Month. I chose to do this because too many times do I think to myself about how the women in my life inspire me, but rarely do I get the chance to tell any of them. Well today I am going to tell you about 3 amazing women who have shown me what it looks like to be fearless, focused, and faithful. They are Carla, Theresa, and Vickie. 

While I was busy thinking Carla did that…
Carla and her husband Greg

Urban dictionary defines ride or die (I’m assuming it’s an adjective) as the person(s) in your life who is there through thick and thin. “They'll do what it do” to make it through with you. They are the ones who will stick with you til the end.

Now, I know that I have friends, people who are in my life because they truly know me, and have chosen to love me anyway, and I thank them for that because I am not always the easiest person to love. I’m moody, sassy, and honest to a fault, and that’s who I am seven days a week. But if you really look at what lies beneath, you get to truly know me. There are a few who have taken the time to get to know me, and those are my ride or die friends. And those friends, I can count on one hand. They are my go-to people, the people who tell me the truth when no one else will, the people who challenge me to be a better me. These people love me even when everyone else has abandoned me. Carla is one of those people.

When Carla and I met in 2006, we were both about to embark on a new voyage; we had been hired to open a new school in Cary, NC, and even though we were anxious, we were ready for something new. Immediately, I knew Carla was different from anyone I’d met. She was intent, she was focused, she moved with a purpose. At the time, I didn't know if I should in awe of her or intimidated by her, so naturally, I was both. That was 9 years ago and today, I find her to be loving and caring, not at all intimidating, but I am still in awe of her. She is the most fearless woman I know. She lifts weights, runs marathons, teaches today's youth, and she is a cancer survivor. I am amazed by how she does everything with the grace and beauty of a true woman. She gives me strength, and by her actions, I am inspired. She is the epitome of class and grace, she is my modern-day Audrey Hepburn, and she is my friend.

While I was busy thinking Theresa did that...

Theresa and her husband Tony
I started teaching in August of 2000, and needless to say, like most first years, it was a tumultuous year, filled with plenty of ups and downs. However, it was a good year for many reasons, and one of those reasons was this cute little 9th grader, Jamiyan. Jamiyan was absolutely adorable, and it didn't take me long to acquire a favorite student, even though teachers shouldn't have a favorite. Jamiyan was respectful, eager to learn; he was just overall sweet. I found myself wishing I could clone him. A year later, I taught Jamiyan 10th grade English, and the next year, I taught him 11th grade English. He followed me for 3 years, and each year it became more apparent that he was my favorite. Well, it was during Jamiyan's 11th grade year that I also became cheer coach, and met his sister, Chermia. Chermia was one of my cheerleaders, and I quickly fell in love with her too. It was at this time that I also met their mother Theresa. Upon meeting Theresa, I knew right away why both Jamiyan and Chermia were as beautiful on the inside as they were outside. Theresa and I became fast friends, and 13 years later, we still are. 

Now, it is not everyday that you meet someone as faithful and as loving as Theresa. She is the mother of 5, 4 of which are college graduates from NC State, NC A&T, UNC- Chapel, and ECU, and the youngest one, a 5th grader, is well on his way to greatness. Theresa has dedicated herself to her family, and she has been more than willing to do so. Well, last year, Theresa graduated from ECU. It was finally her turn. I have to say that Theresa's sacrifice as a mother is a testament to her faithfulness to God and her family. For me, Theresa is a confidante and a safe place free of judgment and full of love. It is no wonder that her children filled my life with love. I now know it is because she poured her love into them.  She is the epitome of love, and she is my friend.

While I was busy thinking Vickie did that...

Vickie and her husband Antwane
It was when my first born was three years old, that I went back to ECU to finish my degree. I was a full-time student and a full-time worker at US Cellular. I went to class from 8am-1pm, and I worked from 2-pm 7pm. For these 11-12 hours daily, my daughter was in daycare. It was hard. I'm not exactly sure how I made it, and I wouldn't have, if it had not been for my sorority sisters and friends in Greenville. 

It was while I was working at US Cellular that Vickie, one of my sorority sisters, and I became close. We had always known each other, but we hadn't really had the opportunity to spend time together. Right away, I sensed that Vickie possessed a spirit of resilience, and it was contagious. Vickie walked with a purpose, verbalized her vision, and dressed for success. I mean she was always "dressed to the nines"; high fashion from head to toe-perfection. And while it might have been her flair for style that caught my attention, it was her humble demeanor, her steadfastness, and her apparent love for her mother that held it. She inspired me, and I knew then that she was going to make her vision a reality because she had a way of making a person feel like he or she was the most important person in the room, and her smile sealed the deal. That was 16 yrs ago. 

Today, Vickie is more beautiful than ever. She and her husband are the proud parents of 2 beautiful boys, and the owners of a lucrative family business. When I got the chance to ask Vickie a few questions about her success, still full of humility, she attributed all of her blessings and inspiration to God and her family. I also asked her what one piece of advice she would offer to someone looking to advance him/herself today? This is what she had to say, "Listen to that inner voice...it is God telling us exactly what to do or when to do it. Being obedient and patient is definitely a virtue. If you stick with doing what you are anointed or gifted to do you won't fail. It is when folks do things that are outside of their anointing that they experience a bumpy road." Spoken like a focused, faithful, and fearless woman. She is the epitome of class and grace. She is my sister.

The women featured here inspired me then, and they continue to inspire me now. I cannot say how I came to cross paths with any of them accept that God placed them along my journey. And for that, I am thankful. 


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