The first time I heard the term ‘unplanned mentor’ was actually just a couple years ago. Strange, but true.
At the time, it was Imani Duncan Price who was articulating her mentorship relationship with Omar Davies, and the impact it had on her professional development.
I didn’t ever have mentors – planned or unplanned. I did have a few folks on whom I relied for professional advice of sorts, people whom I admired because of their work and professional ethic, but never had I ever had mentors.
I began to engage and claim Taitu Heron and Nadeen Spence as my own.
I met Taitu Heron in a job interview in 2013 (though I didn’t remember her name until after I engaged her as part of a documentary project later that year).
I knew (of) Nadeen for some time, several years actually. I engaged her for the first time in a professional capacity in 2014.
As time progressed, these women became important to me and begun to impact my professional life.
But it wasn’t until late 2015 that I started to claim them as (unplanned) mentors – Taitu at first and later, Nadeen.
In 2016 we got even closer and their impact began to transcend the professional; it became personal too.
I love them dearly, not just in the way I love people because they are human beings, but in a way that a niece loves her favourite aunt, or a daughter loves her mom, or a girl loves her best friend, or a Latoya loves her Note4.
And they love me too, I have no doubt.
They see the beauty and beast in me and they nurture the beauty and tame the beast when it’s not appropriate for me to be beast-like.
They are my guiding light, and the three of us make one lovely family.
We do have conflicts from time-to-time, and I will occasionally (or more than that these days) tell them two bloodcarts, but that changes nothing. I’m not even sure our conflicts can last more than an hour – our spirits and our energies just won’t allow it.
We never hold grudges or keep record of wrongs. We just live and fuck shit up!
I love you Tai. And I love you Nadz. And I will be eternally grateful for the bosom of your love, the illumination of your guidance, and the safety of your homes.