Louisville, KY native – Lanisha Porter – is a 20 year-old college student at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY as well as the author of a women’s self empowerment book entitled Things I Never Talk About.
Porter is the product of Louisville’s impoverished West End and was raised with her four brothers in a single-parent household headed by her father. Her mother lives in Louisiana so her father inherited the task of preparing her for womanhood. Being a middle school employee, her father began instilling solid core values into her life at a very young age.
“MY FATHER WORKS AT A MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HE’S ALWAYS SAID, ‘LANISHA PORTER, DO NOT GET YOUR NAME WRITTEN ON A BATHROOM STALL’ AND I KNEW WHAT THAT MEANT. THAT MEANS DON’T DO ANYTHING DEGRADING BECAUSE AS A YOUNG WOMAN – YOUR NAME IS YOUR TICKET. THAT’S YOUR REPUTATION AND YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITH THAT. THERE IS NO WIPING IT CLEAN. THERE IS NO CLOROX FOR THAT. YOUR NAME IS YOUR NAME AND YOU KEEP IT CLEAN.” – LANISHA PORTER
Entering high school Porter had set goals of graduating as the class valedictorian. She fell short of her goal by seven spots but the hard work allowed her to graduate from Central High School with a 4.0 gpa. She used the barriers that existed in her West Louisville neighborhood as fuel to overcome any and all obstacles. However – an unexpected hurdle was thrown her way at the last-minute.
It had been a longtime dream of Porter’s to attend the University of Louisville (UofL). In high school she enrolled in a dual-credit course which allowed her to take the class at UofL and receive college credit. She completed the course with an “A” but following graduation – UofL denied her enrollment application. Despite her 4.0 gpa – her low ACT score was the disqualifying factor.
Porter feels that most high schools don’t educate students properly about how to take exams like the ACT and SAT. She emphasizes that many students aren’t aware that they shouldn’t spend 10 minutes on a particular question because it won’t allow them to complete all the answers in the allotted amount of time. She also feels that parts of the tests are culturally biased and a lot of the jargon is unfamiliar to students from Urban communities. She would later discuss this topic in her book.
Frustrated with being rejected by UofL – Porter began looking at other schools outside of the state of Kentucky. At the time her interest was in entertainment law so she accepted an invitation from Manhattanville College based on its liberal arts curriculum and close proximity to New York City. Her father’s focus on education, goals and morals would be the template that mold her thoughts and actions throughout her college career.
“MY FATHER WAS VERY BIG ON ENCOURAGING ME TO DEVELOP MYSELF SO I DIDN’T DATE FOR A LONG TIME. I’M VERY INTO MY BOOKS – MY MOTTO IS: ‘BOOKS OVER BOYS ANY DAY’. MY FATHER WOULD ALWAYS TELL ME THAT IF I WANT TO CHANGE SOMETHING THEN I HAVE TO START WITH MYSELF. YOU CAN’T SAY THAT YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND YOUR BEHAVIORS AND YOUR PRACTICES DON’T ALIGN WITH THAT – SO I ALIGNED MYSELF.” – LANISHA PORTER
Porter hit the books hard and during her sophomore year she decided to write a book that she had been working on since high school. The book is entitled “Things I Never Talk About” and was inspired by her Facebook status updates. She would often post motivational passages on her Facebook page and her friends inspired her to write a book based on her natural ability to empower others.
“AROUND MY SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY, I REMEMBER BREAKING DOWN ALL THE THINGS THAT I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT AND THOSE BECAME THE CHAPTERS AND THEN THROUGHOUT THE YEARS I WOULD JUST GO AND WRITE WHAT I FELT. SO THERE’S A ‘BOYS & RELATIONSHIPS IN LOVE’ CHAPTER… THERE’S A ‘CHILDHOOD’ CHAPTER… THERE’S A ‘SELF ESTEEM’ CHAPTER AND MANY MORE.” – LANISHA PORTER
The book is meant to empower women that come from at-risk-communities such as she did. Although the book is targeted to women – Porter says that several men have said they relate to the book as well. The content is based on her experiences growing up in an impoverished community without the guidance of her mother and also the experiences of those around her. Porter offers advice on how to avoid the pitfalls associated with poverty and how to maintain healthy relationships.
“I’M A VERY OBSERVANT PERSON SO ALTHOUGH I’VE NEVER HAD A SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH GUYS – I’VE BEEN ABLE TO LOOK AT THINGS IN HOW OTHER WOMEN’S RELATIONSHIPS HAVE PLAYED OUT AND I CAN DETERMINE WHAT A HEALTHY AND UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP LOOKS LIKE” – LANISHA PORTER
“Things I Never Talk About” has been used as an educational tool at several institutions. A program called Urban Girls Rock at St. Stephen’s Baptist Church in Louisville, KY meets twice a week and each week they focus on a different core value which is derived from the book.
“THERE IS A MINISTRY IN TEXAS THAT WORKS WITH AT-RISK-YOUTH AND THAT MINISTRY ADOPTED MY BOOK. MY BOOK HAS ALSO BEEN ADOPTED BY ST. STEPHEN’S SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE AS A PREREQUISITE SO IF PEOPLE ARE SIGNING UP FOR A SCHOLARSHIP – THEY HAVE TO READ THE BOOK AND DO AN ESSAY ON THAT.” – LANISHA PORTER
Porter has also become involved in motivational speaking at different venues throughout the city of Louisville. Her focus is with at-risk-youth but she has also spoken to groups at psychiatric facilities and churches. He message to the world is all about positivity and self empowerment.
“OUR YOUTH HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY MATTER AND THAT THEY ARE IMPORTANT. THEY HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR LIFE IS GOING TO INFLUENCE SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE. THERE WAS THIS 15 YEAR-OLD GIRL DOWN THE STREET FROM ME GROWING UP AND SHE PROBABLY NEVER KNEW IT – BUT I USED TO LOOK UP TO HER. HOW SHE CONDUCTED HERSELF SOMEHOW HAD AN EFFECT ON ME. I DON’T KNOW IF SHE LOOKED AT HERSELF AS THOUGH SHE MATTERED BUT WHETHER YOU BELIEVE YOU MATTER OR NOT – YOUR EXAMPLE MATTERS TO SOMEONE ELSE.” – LANISHA PORTER
“Things I Never Talk About” can be purchased on Amazon, on the College Boy Publishing website and at LanishaPorter.com. The book is also available to check out at the Central High School Library in Louisville, KY.