Listen when people say what they need.
Today, I had the honor of watching a film entitled “Respect”- A movie documenting Aretha Franklin’s life- Her Career, Her Journey through her spirit and through relationships. People say that Aretha is the Queen of Soul, I now know why.
Any time I had ever listened to Aretha Franklin, I had always felt moved. I know she would say its the holy spirit- Or god. Considering I’m not a particularly religious person, I’ll just say its definitely something that moves you when you hear her sing. Aretha Franklin had something that a lot of people lack, She was able to project not just her voice, Not just her emotions, But soul.
So, This movie has me thinking..This film has me remembering things better left forgotten. In the words of the Queen herself, Let me take you back, Way back when.
Ironically, I also couldn’t have been more than ten when this story emerged. I would go to my Elementary school every day in a fit, I never liked the New Jersey School system and I probably never will- However back then I would just beg the universe for an assembly day- Because by the time the assembly was over, We would have lunch, Recess, and there was no reason for anyone to yell at me or try to shove math down my throat.
On one fine day, We had an assembly about ‘Respect’, They sat us all down on the gym floor and lectured us for a good hour and a half about treating others, and our teachers with the respect they deserve.
However, I’m not an idiot and I never will be- The very man standing before me and telling me to respect others..He didn’t, In reality the whole faculty didn’t. The same people who played the Queen of Soul in front of me were taking away my very right to a normal childhood and education.
As someone who just spent four hours watching Aretha struggle, I know for a fact that you shouldn’t be playing “Respect” to a bunch of children you disrespect on a daily basis. If you think you can preach something without practicing it and you genuinely believe someone out there won't call you out- You’re wrong.
I may be years late, But I will always say my peace.
Elementary school was meant to teach me many things- But it never really fulfilled its purpose. Fun fact for you, I can tell you that elementary school hot dogs will bounce on certain surfaces, But I still have to practice multiplication with my hands.
During my elementary years, I was known as a slow kid to my teachers but a genius to my peers. It wasn’t that I happened to be slow or unintelligent- I just had simple anxiety. They would publicly humiliate me by (for lack of a better term) drag me out of class and bring me to a “Smaller” class room for math and expect us to not be shamed when we came back to rejoin our “Normal” class.
While the school would tell our parents it was good for us, Most of the time we bonded from the same trauma or we absolutely hated and resented not only each other but our “teacher”.
Its worse because when you vocalize things that make you uncomfortable and things that you don’t want to happen to you- And they get ignored. You are no longer being treated like an average student and you lack one vital common decency- Respect.
The teachers told my mother I did things on “Kellie time”- But did I, Or did I not, get things done? I did, Maybe it was late, But the work was above average and done on my own. So I’d like someone to tell me why, I- A human being express my discomfort with a random woman standing over my shoulder (Literally) every day, second guessing me and rechecking my work, telling me what to do.
Do you know what I’m describing? I’m describing a paraprofessional, And if I am competent enough to say I do not want one, I can tell you I don’t need one. The lack of respect for others when it comes to a younger generation is appalling- Especially in the school system.
When I was still in middle school, My school nurses called me their “Frequent flyer” and made fun of me to my face. I could literally be on the floor wailing in pain and they would tell me to go back to class. The largest problem is when they start lying to your parents as well.
I’ve been diagnosed with Chronic migraines, Something that can be so bad I can’t do anything by lay down in my pitch black basement- Something both nurses know and yet they would call my mother and stand in front of me not letting me have the phone, To tell her i'm fine.
Only for me to text her to let her know they were both lying and that I needed to go home.
I’m genuinely tired of being handled, My first day of highschool I found out the classes I had been working myself to the bone for the last three years to earn I was no longer in and I happened to be rightfully upset, Only for my ‘Guidance counselor’ to tell me I needed to calm down because I was being disrespectful.
The problem isn’t when someone of a younger age raises their voice, gives a tone or their own opinion. The problem is expressing your needs over and over again and being blatantly ignored until you’ve had enough.
Aretha Franklin didn’t go through all this for a stuffy white man to use her songs to discipline children.
Stop ignoring others when they tell you what they need- Especially when they cant help themselves.
-And stop treating women like they’re crazy because they speak their mind.