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The Sound of A Great Mentor

posted Oct 3, 2013, 6:47 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Oct 3, 2013, 7:02 AM ]
On my upcoming radio show, I will be interviewing Deanna Cofield Hamilton, author of The Great Mentor:  The Story of Ruth and Naomi.  Caused me to start thinking about the great mentors in my life.  There are some that stand out more than others.  Some with fondness.  Some with disdain.  Nevertheless, if everything that happens in life is a lesson, then every teacher was a great mentor.
I'm certain that this blog does not represent Deanna's book in any way.  I actually haven't read it yet.  It's the title alone that is causing my reflection.  Who was a great mentor in my life?  Um, I'd have to say books.  Just like a first kiss, I'll never forget the first book that changed the trajectory of my life.  It was Love Is A Choice.  Before that book, the only book that was the end-all, be-all was the Bible.  Sure, there were text books in school and novels and the like from English classes, but I hated reading.  I honestly did.  I did love Greek mythology though.  I think that was the only exception, quite honestly.   
It was a pivotal moment in my life when I saw the book laying on my sister's bed in our two story townhome.  The title itself was the answer to my struggle with feelings for a man that I could not shake for 12 years.  Despite me and the fella never even kissing, I was  stuck in a fantasy of him.  I was in such denial.  I had convinced myself that his every word, his every action, his every thought was about me.  I had convinced myself that he secretly was in love with me.  So miring was this belief that I brought him into every interaction with men.  I was either talking about him excessively or trying to run away from my feelings for him.   
I wish I could send this book to all the entertainers who write songs full of woeful I-can-help-myself feelings that make women and men feel like this out of controlness is Love.  It ain't!  To all the tortured souls who eat Häagen-Dazs ice cream while listening to "you don't know my name," it ain't love.  My mentor taught me that when you lose your sensibilities so badly that you allow someone who doesn't give you the time of day to be the focus of everything you do, it is not love.  I was watching an episode of Tyler Perry's "For Better or For Worse."  One of the main characters was justifying her undisclosed past relationship to her fiancé, saying that her previous man--whom she had been in a relationship with for four years and who she had just broken up with 3 months prior and who, by the way, she had not disclosed the depth of that relationship to her fiancé--didn't want her.  His response was sobering.  "If he doesn't want you then why do you still want him?" 
Love is not longing for someone who doesn't want you, my mentor taught me.  Love is not being so emotionally enmeshed that you subject yourself to that.  Love is not codependent.  Love is not two people dependent on the dysfunction of the other to feel needed in a relationship.  There's something wrong when you can't let go.  There is something wrong when you need for a person to be broken so you can fix them.  Love is not wanting to commit suicide if he leaves you. Love is not wanting to kill her if you can't have her.  The image of the woman being dragged across the floor because she's holding on to a man's pant leg as he is trying to walk out is not love.  You might argue that you would never stoop so low, but emotionally, that's you.  In the words of Iyanla Vanzant, "that's you, Boo."  My mentor would nod in agreement.  If you can't move on from a relationship that is no longer healthy for you, then that is so you.  Lest I should leave men out of my mentor's lesson, love is not continuing to allow bad treatment just because the woman is drop-dead gorgeous or is a rock star in the bedroom.  Feeling unsafe emotionally, sexually, mentally, socially or any other -ally is not a byproduct of Love.  Love has nothing to do with that!  What a liberating lesson for me. 
Love Is A Choice cleared the fog that soap operas and Cinderella dreams distorted by a severely neglected childhood had created.  Somehow my young mind believed that my ticket to "happily ever after" was tied to the images I saw.  My mentor disrupted the pull of neediness.  It challenged my obsessive compulsiveness.   No more a willing hostage.  Unavailable man after unavailable man.  Break up after break up.  Dramatic, chaotic, it's complicated elixirs that were my constant IV Drip.  No more bonding sessions with men and women who were my cell mates.  Thank God, they allowed books in my prison!  Books opened my eyes.  Books showed me the shackles on my mind and heart.  Books unlocked those shackles and showed me the way out.  Books have been my Great Mentors.