R-E-S-P-E-C-T Traveling with Forrest Gump

RESPECT

Songwriter: Otis Redding

Made into a single in 1967

Recorded by Aretha Franklin in 1967

What you want
Baby, I got it
What you need
Do you know I got it?
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect

I was born in 1949, a time when all female children were supposed to be “good” little girls. This expectation defined me for a long time. I worked hard to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good student, and a good citizen. As I got older, the demands grew as I tried to try to be a good wife, a good Catholic, a good mother, good looking, a good worker, a good teacher, a good housewife, a good friend, on and on. In trying to be good at it all, I failed a lot. Like many women, I felt fragmented, not knowing what I was suppose to be.

I believe in personal evolution, the ability of person to become better. For me it was a slow process. Shame and guilt were a big part of my childhood and my early life. But I am proud to say I’m whole now, no longer torn apart by the demands of other people or society.

I have learned to chart my own course, to assess the noise of the outside world and navigate through it all with courage, not worrying about the opinions of others. In the tradition of the Stoic thinkers, I now know I can’t change the things that are out of my control. I can only change myself and this realization has freed me.

I get tired (just a little bit)
Keep on tryin’ (just a little bit)
You’re runnin’ out of fools (just a little bit)
And I ain’t lyin’ (just a little bit)

I speak up now, no longer silent. I simply tell people how I feel and if they can’t respect that, I won’t dislike them or gossip about them or seek revenge, I merely walk away and let them go.

“When you come home,
Respect
Or you might walk in
And find out I’m gone”

I have saved the “good” little girl who was once me. I have finally set her free to be who she really is.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me”

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