5 Favorite People of 2010

Dear People of 2010,

I resisted all day making a list of 2010 things. This is the time of year when you can find a list of just about anything that has happened in 2010. CNN has a list of 10 most intriguing people and put Antoine Dodson right up there with President Obama. Jillian Michaels has a list of Biggest Losers that have lost the most weight over 2010 and is encouraging you to take her challenge for 2011. There’s a list of the Top New Years’ Resolutions of 2011, the number one resolution being to stop smoking. On almost every blog I’ve visited today there’s a list of the Top 10 Blogs of 2010 and I just didn’t think I wanted to be a lister on this last day of the year. Then as the day has worn on it’s been in the back of my mind that I do have a list to make and me being me it hit me the list that of course I want to make.

This is a list of the Top 5 Favorite people of my life in 2010. I am only as big as my smallest community and each of the people in my life are so important to me. I’m getting to a point in life where most of the people in my life are the same people they’ve always been so that’s why it’s easy to keep this list at 5, 5 people who have come into my life this year and have made the kind of impact that lets me know they’ll be there from now until forever.

1. J-Harris AKA Joey Fleming: He knows this story but this seems like such an appropriate time to share it with the rest of the world. Lydia Caesar invited me to one of her shows right at the end of the summer. I’d just come back into town after spending the summer in California and had missed a couple of Lydia’s shows so I was anxious to get back and see her perform Masterpiece for the first time. I headed to Greenhouse NYC one warm evening in August and just as so many ventures I’ve gone through for the first time in New York City I jumped into line having no idea what to expect other than knowing I would be seeing Lydia that night and that would be enough for me. Much to my amazement and pleasant surprise the venue quickly filled up and it wasn’t long before I was swept off my feet and into the abyss known as Love Jones NYC. It was love at first sight. The next month I showed up again for the event and when I went to introduce myself to J-Harris at the end of the night he reached out with the warmest hug and embraced me in a way that made it seem like he’d known me for years. In an instant I knew I would never again be just a fan, just an observer or just a guest of Love Jones NYC. It was a part of me and J-Harris and his family welcomed me into the Love Jones NYC family much the same way as my parents have been accepting people to family dinner for my entire life.

2. My Students in the class of 2010-2011: This is the most incredible group of students I have ever taught and I’m saying that in my eighth year of teaching so I don’t say that lightly. Every single day I wake up and look forward to going to school and teaching this group of future leaders. They are incredible and as a group they are incredible. They have been one of the best parts of 2010.

3. Kel Spencer, Lance Bennett and Mom Bennett: Relax! I already see you with the gauntlet ready to take my head off and stone me because this is not a new connection that has emerged in 2010. This I know but the reason I feel confident in highlighting this family in my list of favorite people of 2010 is because my relationship with each of them individually and as a family has been completely transformed. Mom and I took the most amazing trip to Las Vegas and we enjoyed every moment of it but what was even more special, and this extends to Kel and Dr. B, is the way they know me as one of their own. I love watching Criminal Minds, if you call it an addiction I will give you the evil eye, and one of the relationships I love most on there is the relationship between Derrick Morgan and Penelope Garcia. I love the way he loves her but even more than that is the way he knows her and knows exactly how to make her feel loved and special. That’s what I get from the Bennett family, each in their own way and always collectively.

4. Margie and James: With almost a year of friendship behind us we are able to laugh at the unlikely way we came to be friends but we are also able to cherish the unique way we came together more than ever. February 28, 2010 we sat in the basement of 317A W. 33rd St. on the first morning of our Landmark Forum and we stared wearily at one another. Each more convinced than the next there was nothing wrong and we were just here in order to humor the person who so convincingly got us to be here. It was the February snowstorm of 2010 and we all had our stories for why we were here, not looking for friendship at all yet friendship is exactly what we walked away from that weekend with and we have grown stronger as a team ever since. James thought Margie was the angry Black woman and Margie thought James was the cocky jock. I fielded them both somewhere in the middle, just pouring out my love for them and as they broke down their misinterpretations for one another our team was welded until it has become as strong as it is  today. I look forward for the mighty team we will make in 2010 coaching for the Self Expression and Leadership Program for Landmark Education.

5. Adunni and Lishel, my Naturalists: You’ve read about my hair journey and the huge step I took in 2010 to cut off all my processed hair and begin with a TWA and Lishel and Adunni were the people behind the courage that I mustered up to take that step. I’ll never forget the first time I stepped off the plane in LA with my natural hair and just repeating Adunni’s encouragement in my head the entire time. No longer was every hair in place, perfectly pressed and perfectly styled. Every day varied just a little and some days the look was achieved with success, other days the look…was just…well… achieved. An entire Saturday those two sat with me preparing me to take my natural hair into the world and it has been the most liberating experience I’ve ever achieved. When it was time to Winterize Adunni has been right there with tutorials on how to wear scarves, Lishel has been by my side with the products and instructions I need to wear my hair in twists. They have not only given me the strength to go natural but shared with me the encouragement I needed to love my natural.

I know that people come and go throughout life and this list is definitely not comprehensive. I could definitely continue listing the people, places and journeys that have occurred in 2010 that have changed my life forever but this list is important because it only started in 2010 but each are relationships sure to last forever.

Love Always, Sunny

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