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Telling our story

August 09, 2023 - 00:00
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So far in this opinion column, I have sat down and interviewed four people who are fairly new to Navasota. I thought now would be a good time to write some thoughts on some things I’ve learned so far.

As I’ve talked to the four people for the first time, I’m surprised by how humble everyone has been. As we began talking and I began questioning them, I am fairly certain that both sides of the table were a bit nervous each time, but once we got going, it was actually easy, comfortable and felt natural to talk about their lives. One of the things that has surprised me the most is that not everyone has felt worthy of an article spotlighting them. Why is that? Why do so many of us feel “less important” or “insignificant”? Why don’t we see the value in our story and realize it should be told and that it could possibly benefit someone else? Telling our story to others is how we make connections and build on our resources. One thing that we are fortunate to have in a small town such as Navasota is the ability to network with one another, which can serve us in numerous ways.

Since I began writing, I have started to look at almost everyone a bit differently. Most times I look at them and wonder where they are from, what their story is, and what brought them to Navasota.Are they just stopping by for a short time as they head to bigger places and adventures? Did they stop by and fall in love with the city or someone in it and decide to stay a while…. possibly forever? Will they leave and come back soon or never return? The possibilities are endless!

I have always been a people watcher. My daughter Kimberly and I could literally sit for hours just watching individuals. I remember years ago sitting on a bench in the middle of Post Oak Mall in College Station and watching people walk by - some walked quickly - appearing to be on a mission. Some walked slowly and appeared to be in bad health or even lazy at times. Some looked unhappy or sad like the weight of the world was on their shoulders, while others looked like they were on top of the world. My husband and I used to play a little game making up stories about their lives as they passed by. We would laugh as we imagined what their names were, where they were from, what their job may be, what they were buying, and what conversations they were having with the people they were with. You can tell a lot by just observing facial expressions and body language.

Most of us have gone through some type of tough time in our lives. Some of us are more fortunate than others and have had minimal struggles. Some of us have no idea of a struggle or fortune that lies near.You never know how much you may help others by just telling your story - ALL your story - the good, the bad and the ugly. My daughter cuts hair in College Station and the number one thing she enjoys about her job is meeting people - having them sit in her chair and tell their stories. We truly learn so much from others. Many times their stories make us rethink some things in our own lives, while also making us realize how fortunate we are.

I have learned that you honestly CANNOT judge a book by its cover. If we assume certain things by simply looking at someone, we are destined to be wrong about them. Most times we hide our hurts and experiences really well, so what you see on the outside isn’t the entire story. I have learned that once people open up about their life, it is freeing and almost therapeutic. Too bad we don’t walk around with a summary of our life on the back of our shirts for all to see, similar to the back covers of books.

Having said all that - there are also those who are willing to tell their story to anyone, if we just take the time to listen. I love hearing about what fuels people. Some people are young and just beginning the journey of life, while others are middle-aged and have already lived the majority of theirs. I am finding that as much as I love to watch people, I actually enjoy listening to them even more. I can’t wait to continue with more interviews and learn more about our Navasota neighbor stories!

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Jennifer Ramirez. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Jennifer is a lifelong resident of Navasota. She is passionate about her community and supports all things local.