Have you ever wanted to be like someone? I have. back when I was little I had the most amazing desire to be like Sonic the Hedgehog. He was confident where I was shy, he was approachable and exciting and I was silent and reserved. Sonic was my hero and I looked up to him. It's funny but I molded everything I did and said off of him. My favorite food for a season was his, chilidogs! I wanted desperately to be cool. I wanted to be accepted for me even if it meant losing myself trying to fit a persona that wasn't my own. This was middle school so cut me some slack but I genuinely wanted to be like him. I was already fast (still am) and athletic. I just couldn't bring myself to approach people with confidence. I didn't think I had anything personally interesting about myself that I didn't try to mimic.
I was known as a blacktop legend (basketball) at Silverbrook intermediate and Badger middle school. I ended up in the crowd with some other hoopers. I got into the crowd of kids I never thought would interact with me and poof my first thought was "now I have to play cool," by cool I meant to act like the jocks I saw on Disney Channel. I couldn't bring myself to A.) talk to girls and B.) act like a nut (I was weird enough already) but I could definitely act like I was above everyone that didn't do sports. How long did that last? Less than a year! I just wanted to be like the cool kids. I wanted the ladies to be interested in the Lil chocolate drop from West Bend. (that's a joke chill.) I wanted to be seen if anything. I began to follow a crowd that luckily enough God didn't allow me to get too deep into. The best part about it is that it was Sonic's fault. I made one new friend who changed my life and perception of what "cool" is.
Sonic the Hedgehog bought me back to reality. By God's grace, he found me just in time. I made probably the most convenient of friends in my entire life. it was another African American guy, in the same classes as I was, with the same interests (except basketball), and a wildly creative mind much like my own. we were almost instantly best friends. Our relationship took me out of the cool circle real fast but it taught me something. There are people out there who value who you are because you are you. These are people that will challenge and push you to grow and develop into the bigger better you of tomorrow. I will never forget how many challenges we faced off in. He was my best friend and my rival. In that season where I had someone constantly showing me, that it was okay to be the weird, energetic, intelligent, competitive, observant Emmanuel D. Wallace, It felt like everything made sense. I had a brother outside of blood. Then, he had to go. He moved back to Milwaukee, leaving me behind. He had a good cause (family stuff) but I felt abandoned. The relationship that started as a result of my first love (sonic) finally came to a close and looking back at it now I can clearly see what it taught me or should've taught me.
With him gone I struggled once again to find new people to hang out and talk to. I only made one new friend in the year he was gone. Then high school hit. Those were the roughest years of my life. it was at that time I got my first job and joined the Jv basketball team. I had a "friend" who was not a real friend and sadly it took me four years to realize it. He was popular with the girls but I wasn't really caring about that. Remember what I said in "It's a Decision part 2" this is one of the people I regret conforming to. I was basically his punching bag and I just rolled with the punches. Yeah, for four years. That taught me that if you don't value yourself, others will be quick to exploit that if you let them. Eventually, it stressed me out to the brink of depression. I was lucky enough to have a friend much like my friend from middle school who I had a lot in common with, we worked together. She once again was a really close friend almost like family. She pushed me to be better for a season, and she was actually the first person to encourage my writing venture. She inspired it. I had someone I could rely on or thought I could. I can't not be grateful but like most things eventually, that broke off and it devastated me for two whole years but I learned two valuable lessons from all of my encounters with the crowd, friends, and other outside variables. 1.) You can't get so attached to people to where you forget who you are. 2.) Don't let people walk all over you. step away and find yourself. focus on who you want to be. focus on who God is looking to transform you into. let me tell you from personal experience, that God's vision for you isn't so far separated from your dream that he won't elevate you or teach you something through your current pursuit.
Don't be so easily influenced by the crowd. Just because they say this is fun and that is great doesn't mean it's true. look at their lives. look at yours. where are you headed? what do you intend to accomplish and if you do have an idea of what that is, how is what they're doing going to affect you in the long run. sure a lot of things are fun in the moment but can be extremely dangerous along the road. Don't jump off a cliff that will kill you just because someone else does.
learn what matters to you. learn what about you matters. take the time to work on yourself because whether you accept it or not, it relies on you.
Have you ever been a Follower?
Season 1- It Relies on You
Emmanuel D. Wallace
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