You know something that is always so exciting? When you finish reading a book and it was so good that you cannot wait to rave about it! That’s how I feel after reading “second nature”. I just love reading books like this. Getting a personal look into the people we watch perform every week. Exactly as the title says, this book was such an incredible insight into the legacy of Ric Flair and the rise of Charlotte.
I’ve always loved the image of Ric Flair. I didn’t grow up watching him, and his retirement match occurred two years before I even started watching WWE or wrestling at all. But in my early years of watching pro wrestling I was almost obsessed with buying and watching dvd’s and videos of all the guys and gals that people would constantly be talking about. Of course Ric Flair was the center of that kind of conversation. I can’t honestly say I’ve seen every one of his matches back but I can say that his match with Shawn Michaels at WM 24 is one of my top favorite matches ever. There were so many wonderful things about the wrestling character of Ric Flair that it was incredibly cool to get to read the personal side of Ric Fliehr, the ups, the downs, the good and the bad.
The main reason I just HAD to have this book? His daughter. Ashley Fliehr, aka, Charlotte. I was always really invested in womens wrestling, even when WWE wasn’t. When NXT became it’s own brand, and it was showcased weekly, via the WWE Network or elsewhere, I was instantly hooked. I loved seeing the younger talent come into their own, and someone I instantly liked was charlotte. I knew she was Ric Flairs daughter but that matter a whole lot less to me than the fact that she was really coming together in the ring and as a character. Some might not enjoy the Charlotte Flair character that they are graced with on TV, but personally for me? I love it. I think she plays it fantastic. By reading this book it is cool to know that in real life, she’s basically the exact opposite.
Watching Charlotte progress through the years of early NXT to now, it is seriously awesome to see how far someone can come when they are dedicated with hard work and determination. By reading this book, it is clear that hard work and dedication run through Charlottes veins and it shows in her work. Every time I hear Charlotte talk about her brother Reid, I get choked up. I’m an emotional person in general but I could never imagine losing my brother, I can’t even think of it. I get choked up listening to her talk about Reid because of that, but also because I get it. I didn’t lose my brother but I lost my grandpa a few years ago, he was the most important person in the world to me, as Charlotte explains in this book that Reid was that to her. When Charlotte talks about getting the urge to text him, or call him, I do too. When she mentions in the end about sometimes her mind tricks her into thinking he’s just on vacation and he’ll be back soon, I found myself doing that constantly in the beginning too. I understand the feeling of having loss be a driving force within you. I understand the feeling that she must of felt in her relationship with Rikki. Feeling stuck and lost and scared. Our situations were very different, I was much younger, too young honestly, but I found myself in a relationship I had no business being in. Feeling scared and stuck. Not knowing how to get out, but being too ashamed and afraid to ask for help, because asking for help meant people knowing about the abuse, about the relationship itself, it meant people knowing what I had gotten myself into. Because of another instance growing up, I understand what Charlotte meant when she said she constantly had to walk on eggshells, how she began to believe it was her fault. How she felt lost, and afraid. I also understood how she felt a sense of freedom and relief when it was finally over, whens she finally got out, when she finally got away from it all. I would never say I understand exactly how she could have felt, no one could, no matter how similar something is, the pain is always a little different, but what I can say is, I get it. I can also say how proud I am of her, and myself for coming out the other side, and being stronger because of it. If I hadn’t already adored the character that is Charlotte Flair my opinion certainly would have changed after reading this book. I realized that maybe the reason why I connected to Charlotte so quickly was because, although I obviously had no idea at the time but we had felt the same pain. Totally and completely different circumstances, but still relatively the same.
I agreed with so many things Charlotte talks about in her story. How Emma and Paige kicked off this divas revolution, that basically ever lady in WWE was ready for change. It didn’t really matter to me if they were called Divas or superstars, what mattered to me was that they were given the same opportunities and respect as the men. They earned it, they deserved it and it made me so incredibly happy to see them get it. Nattie vs Charlotte at Takeover is one of my favorite matches. Nattie is one of my favorite lady wrestlers of all time and after that match it was clear that Charlotte was going to be added to that list. Charlottes matches with Sasha never fail to give me goosebumps. Watching Sasha vs Charlotte vs Becky at wrestlemania had me beaming with pride, both as a fan as as a woman myself. I could never do what these women do, but I couldn’t be more proud of them, I couldn’t be more of an advocate for them, and they make it so easy.
“Second nature” is such a well written book, I’ve read books before that have two different stories in them and sometimes they don’t’ work. But this one was able to talk about both Ric and Charlotte separately AND successfully bring it all together in a way that wasn’t a mess.
It is so easy for fans, even today, to forget that these characters on TV are REAL people. They may or may not be anything like the person they portray on TV. Even with the up roar of social media, people still seem to forget that. Books like this one, I think, are a good reminder of that. So if you’re a fan of reading wrestler written books, I highly recommend this one. If you’re itching to learn more about these characters you’ve loved watching unfold on TV, I recommend this book to get a deeper look inside. Second nature to me ultimately is a book about they’re careers, they’re ups and downs. There struggles and hardships. The best days of their lives, and some of the worst. They’re upbringing and they’re life changes. It reminds you that even if your last name is flair, you still struggle, but you ALWAYS get back up and keep strutting’ and I think we all could use that kind of reminder sometimes.