Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Derek Williamson: Part 1 - First Impressions

This paper is from a little experiment among the Thrive college group where we all went around and anonymously answered what we thought of each other's personalities and talents and also our first impressions of one another. These are the answers I received. Apparently shy and quiet are the top words to describe me when I first meet someone.

I don't think those words could ever be used to accurately describe my first impression of Derek Williamson.

Now I have to admit the circumstances were very unfair for Derek considering I had already heard so many stories about him before ever even meeting him. In little old Enid there's just not enough room for the rumors surrounding a personality as big as his.

From the stories alone I gathered a few loose ideas about Derek. He was (very) gay. A bit of a diva. An internet celebrity. A provocative dancer. A beauty school dropout. A high school pimp.

And then there were the videos. The infamous videos circulating Youtube where I heard Derek could be seen gyrating his hips or laying on his bed taking off his shirt. I have to admit, the videos made me just a little worried about ever actually meeting and interacting with him. How exactly does someone have a casual conversation with someone after first watching them dance to the Black Eyed Peas' "Imma Be" while shirtless?

So I would ask around a little more to find out about Derek. It didn't take a lot. In fact, a lot of my friends knew him. Some knew of him.  All of them had opinions. It took some effort but I really wanted to hold off on allowing others to color my perception of Derek. It's not an easy task with anyone. Unless you're meeting a perfect stranger there is a very good chance that you've already been told the good, the bad, or the ugly and you've even probably been told whether or not you should like that person.

It's unfair. It's character assassination. And it can make you miss out on the opportunity to make a really great friend. It's often worth the effort to give a person a chance. Occasionally it proves otherwise but it's always worth the risk. You might be accused of hanging with bad company but I heard Jesus Christ was accused of the same. And I'm not trying to make it a "churchy" thing either because it should be just plain obvious that people are valuable and they deserve a chance to prove their worth. That's just a decent human thing to do and I happen to try to do it more because I'm trying to see and understand the value God places on people's lives.

I've finally had the chance to meet and hang out with Derek a few times. In a small enough town it's just bound to happen and circumstances eventually gave way to us having the chance to hang out. He's proven himself to be a lot of fun and a social, carefree person willing to hang out pretty much anytime. He has a little bit of a mean streak but I'm pretty certain that's just toward me and we're already working through that. But he's so far busted a lot of the myths surrounding him. Some might still turn out to be true but that's for another blog...

Here are some places to find Derek online:


Raquel Carlson said...

Wow. That was really cool :) I really liked reading this!

Anonymous said...

eric, it's Lindsey. i think you did a good job on your blog about derek. I am very happy that you decided to get to know him and form your own opinion about him as opposed to just trusting rumors. he is a really great guy. okay hooray for the blog!!!!! : )

jessrenae said...

I love this. I think too many times people judge someone before they know them or judge them by who their family is. Whatever the reason,people are prejudice more often than not and its refreshing to see someone who is not. awesome eric.

Eric Castillo said...

thanks for the comments guys :-)