By Amanda Rodarte
Speech instructor S. Stevie Johnson, released his first book “Convertible Chocolate.” A book reading was held March 23 at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.
His book “Convertible Chocolate” is a memoir of the author’s life and a source of therapy for Johnson. During his therapy, he found clarity and the true meaning of love.
Johnson said, “find the authenticity of your true love,” which means, love lies within ourselves.
People are always trying to find someone to complete them, but always fail to find love within themselves.
This book captures his journey to self discovery through countless of insignificant relationships, in which all taught him a valuable lessons.
During the book reading, he shared a story called “Calling Colleen.” The story embarked on his “significant girlfriend number 2,” and the horrendous heartbreak he endured.
The story starts with a small description of what his life, and personality was like when he was a teenager. He was often times rejected by girls because of his complexion. Being African American made him a victim to racial discrimination and pushed him further away from finding love.
Although many things did not appear to be in young Johnson’s favor, he always managed to keep a positive attitude on life. He used his humor and became involved in sports to rid himself of the negative energy.
Little did Johnson know, all of the hard work we’d put in to lift his spirits would soon be shattered. During his 10th grade year, he’d meet his “cosmic relationship.”
Colleen was a green eyed beauty who resembled Farrah Fawcett. She was athlete and opened minded and came from a non prejudiced family.
This was all so new to Johnson, a boy who was so use to having nothing but the odds against him. it was nice to feel welcomed and loved.
Everything was great except for one factor, Colleen was a smoker. Johnson did not tolerate smoking, but he thought she smoked due to her low self esteem. He deemed he would lift her spirits and after six months, she quit.
The relationship seemed to going amazing, they connected at every level and we in love. Until one day, when he came to visit her, she had yet to return from school so Colleen’s parent’s suggested he’d wait for her in her room. Once he stepped into her room, he smelled the aroma of smoke, and soon discovered 75 cigarette buds that Colleen had been hiding.
This lie caused a six month separation between the two, but the lovers would soon reunite. At the beginning of their newfound relationship, tragedy struck. Colleen’s mother was killed by pills. But with Johnson’s warmth and support, she recovered almost immediately and was not smoking.
Johnson remained by her side and the two continued their daily routine. He called her everyday and if he had free time, the two would go out.
One day, he called her as he always would and an unrecognizable voice picked up. He was sure that is was a mistake, until he called again and only confirmed that it was no mistake.
Colleen had another man over and Johnson was determined to put a stop to it. He headed over to Colleen’s.
She was outside and confessed to her infidelity. The conversation between the two was life changing for Johnson. He used the symbolism of a snake in his body making its way into his heart. With each of her passing words, the snake would get closer and closer to the heart, until the snake reached his heart and poisoned his soul.
The breakup casted a “new era on how he’d treat women”. He would never cry over a woman again. The boy who was eager to share his love, was long gone. Say hello to the player who would was eager to rip souls apart.
After the story, the audience were given the opportunity to ask questions. When asked if he would change anything about the breakup, he simply said, “I would of loved to erase all that heartache but, I wouldn’t be the person that i am today if I didn’t have this experience”.
When asked when he was able to rid himself of the venom Colleen had injected in him, he jokingly said,I’d say like last week, I finally got over it”. This statement lifted the crowd’s spirits after such a tremendously raw story.
Later when asked how long it took for him to get over the heartbreak, he confessed it took him 7 relationships before letting go and for him to be able to love himself.
The USC alumni expressed how healthy writing was for him, especially during serious break up from a 13 year relationship.
The book shares Johnson’s journey to love, and how it lies within ourselves and how we must always be honest with our souls. In the book, Johnson says, “love yourself and you heal the world, love the world, and you heal yourself”.
Johnson, along with two other authors also did some readings. The creator of the book “Garvanza Heights” , Neil S. Weikel and Doni Morrison writer of “The Master’s Diary: Musings and Conversations.”
After the readings, fans of Johnson’s work were able to join him and his crew at a local restaurant, redwhite+bluezz, to ask additional questions.