As 2009 begins and I'm now beginning to hit my mid-30's in stride,I've had some bumps in the road along with many successes and I believe that I'm a pretty well rounded person. I began to think this evening about the many people who have had a great influence in my life the past years. I've been many places and met a lot of people. I've picked up something from most everyone be it good or bad. My family above all has shaped who I am but there have been some others people who have taught me invaluable lessons that I will take with me forever. In no particular order I give you my 5 most influential non-family members:
1. S. Diane Adamz-Bogus (aka Dr. Bogus) - Dr. Bogus was my English Professor at De Anza College. I've always loved English. It wasn't hard to enjoy this class but she took it to another level. She taught English while also teaching her class about the 7 major Chakras. Although my father, the pastor would be quite dismayed at my being in touch with the new age, I was at peace through the use of chakras while my life was in chaos. I was a new, 20 year old unmarried mother of twins trying to attend school with no money, a car that picked the days it wanted to run and everything in my life falling apart. In Dr. Bogus's class none of that mattered. She was able to teach English in a whole new way and look at you as if she truly knew you. She was able to walk by and touch your shoulder before class started and say "let that go, breath deep, center yourself and let's get to work" I earned at A that year and hated to give up her class.
2. Maya Carter - My own personal little savior in the 9th grade. I was a military brat who had just changed schools for the 3-4 time and appeared at a new school Hawaii in the middle of the year. I had no friends most of the year but a few acquaintances here and there. Just as I felt I'd never have another friend my entire high school career in popped Maya. A military transfer who had attended school in Hawaii in elementary school. Her mom had been transferred back east but then was moved back to Hawaii during Maya's 9th grade year and guess what? Maya knew EVERYONE! Of all the friends she knew she decided to extend a hand to a new friend and she and I were joined at the hip until my father's retirement during my senior year of high school (that's a whole other story). No matter what Maya has remained a true and lifelong bud and shown true friendship in every way.she's been honest whether I liked it or not and has continued to remain true blue.
3. Alicia Due - Another long life friend who has taught me so very much. Through her I have learned what it means to be a good wife, mother, christian and friend. Alicia is one of those people who walks into a room and there is a little glow behind her that could possibly be her little halo and wings. I love the fact that no matter how long it takes me to get back to her church they always welcome me with open arms. She always seems to call me just in time to give me the very best advice and a word of wisdom. The thing is I have very few friends who have known me since childhood and know how TRULY far I've come. "Cousin" Alicia is one of the friends that I wanted to emulate in every way. I couldn't wait to have her be my Maid of Honor at my wedding or the godmother to my children. She is the little angel that sits on my shoulder and I continue to try and make her proud.
4. Leonard Dodd -like Dr. Bogus this is someone who'll never realize that a gesture "mattered". Mr. Dodd is the father of my high school sweetheart and upon my first time meeting him he was very cordial but later in the evening following dinner he pulled me aside to sit me down and tell me that although he thought I was a nice person, I would stay in his good graces by always making sure to treat his son well. He said that his son was very important to him and under no circumstances was he to be hurt. I guess a little earlier into my immature teen years I may have taken this wrong but for some reason the stern voice didn't rattle me at all. Instead it let me know that he loved his son and wanted the best for him. I took it as a challenge after that to be his sons' best girlfriend ever, and I was too, until he eventually moved. Somehow those words from Leonard Dodd have remained with me throughout the years. I think ALL parents should have this same talk with anyone their child, boy or girl take seriously. If people know that you love your child and think they are special they will too and may think differently before treating them badly. I can't wait to have the first little chickenhead walk through the door so I can sit her down (smile)
5. Pastors Willie and Roxanne Harper - Funny how people can effect you in such a way and never even know it because it's just "what they do". This couple has the ability to make you feel as if everytime they see you, they haven't seen you in years. Not only are they always feeled with beautiful spirits of love but they also seem to have that little glow that follows behind their heads as well. As a little girl I watched Sister Harper during church with her long hair flowing all the way down her back and her perfect clothes and when she opened her mouth it was always to offer a kind word of praise. Pastor Harper seemed to always deliver a message that was exactly what I needed at that moment. As a young woman Sister Harper shared some things with me that made me rethink some of the choices I was making in life and how important the next few years would be to myself as well as my children. Now as an adult my children attend school with their youngest son and as I see them in passing at games and sometimes sit with them, they have not changed. They still light up a room as they entire and have that same twinkle in their eyes. I can only hope to touch lives here and there as I grow older and wiser.
I have many more important friends, family members and acquaintances along the way. These are only a few who have shaped a small portion of who Nesha has been, is and is becoming. Please don't be offended if you didn't make this "list". I take something from everyone I come in contact with throughout life. I am blessed to know many and can only hope that one day I'll be in someone else's top 5. Blessing...Nesha