I Love You, Black Man

Already tired from a way-too-long day and not-enough-sleep night I rose to scroll social media and found that yet another black man has been robbed of his place and purpose on earth at the hands of the police, those who should protect and serve. I won’t go into that much because I’m simply exhausted about and by it all. I will and did reflect on a post  I wrote called What Are You Going to Do? (https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/what-are-you-going-to-do/) which was written in December 2014 following the events surrounding the murder of Eric Garner.

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A short while ago I had the privilege to visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. The walking, interactive tour through time took an unexpected turn for the worse as I exited the beautiful scenes from Africa where we had order, rules and regulations, commerce, products and produce, systems and structures, families and tribes. I hesitantly made my way through the horrendous upper deck of the slave ship where visual and verbal narratives scared the crap out of me as they detailed in real-size figures, artifacts and facts the “day in the life” of a captured African human being (who just so happened to be a man) on the upper deck (including the absurdly large slab of salt used to “preserve” us, ultimately leading to the high blood pressure we battle today). I was almost at my wits end on the upper deck, but then I was left to walk down a dark, dark set of stairs and turned the corner just below the lower deck of the shockingly real mock slave ship to see dozens and dozens of beautiful black, brown and bronze figures laying far too close together in the fetal position replicating the horrific passage of my forefathers. I was mortified to see the life-looking, lifeless figures lay there waiting for ‘Merica.

I didn’t think I could feel much worse as I did that day and through the journey we walked stoically and hesitantly through the museum’s trek of selling a man on a slab of brick for three cast iron pots, ripping him from his wife and children (who by the way would have cost less than three cast iron pots), picturesque, abusive cotton picking, the industrial era of literally building a nation with the brawn of their backs, tree-lynching, civil rights fights, the role of the church, music as a backdrop, owning businesses, achieving success and eventually running a country.

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I didn’t think I could feel as angry, helpless and pained for how they did you, and simultaneously as appreciative, hopeful and proud for how you have rose up and STOOD the test of time as I did after my visit to the museum June 28th. Until today. My head aches. My heart hurts. My soul pleads for peace and protection. I’m at a loss for words regarding where we are as a country right now. What I will say is that I love you, black man. I know those words won’t bring the dead to life, stop the senseless killings, dry any tears or recompense for wrong, but if no one tells you let me tell you! I love you, black man.

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Black man… you have been through hell and high waters from the time you were plucked and pillaged from our native land to the time you were shot then screenshot as you were ripped from your earthly home. I love you, black man. I know our Father didn’t send you here just to become a trending topic, roundtable debate, media fodder, fleeting cause and a freakin’ hashtag! #enoughofthat  You mean so much to me. You are my father, my brother, my companion, my best friend, my nephews, my cousins, my uncles, my co-workers, my college buddies, my world.

I love you, black man. For centuries, you’ve had our backs, at the cost of yours being literally branded, beaten, bruised, and broken. Now I have yours. Pardon the repetition, but I love you, black man. You matter.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Ladies, We Can’t Become That Girl

Hearing of a former spouse of a superstar who is now engaged to another superstar share a bit of “shade” regarding her exes engagement brought a point home. Breakups are hard. Ask me how I know. Seeing the one you broke up with or who broke up with you build a new relationship can be harder, especially if it’s public, even in our own little worlds. BUT, Ladies, we can’t be that girl. What girl you ask?

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We can’t become that girl who:

  • Talks about what happened ALL THE TIME.
  • Throws shade directly or indirectly at the ex boo, bae, husband or hunni.
  • Throws shade directly or indirectly at the next boo, bae, wife or hunni of our ex boo, bae, husband or hunni.
  • Loses our identity when we lose a relationship.
  • Gets consumed with the goings-on of a person who is gone.
  • Engages our friends in the tomfoolery that is our newfound passion for being a part-time, unpaid private eye.
  • Compares our ex relationship with his next relationship.
  • Compares our next relationship with our ex relationship.
  • Doesn’t believe that the BEST is still yet to come, regardless.

We can’t become that girl, but we can be a better woman.

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@AngelaMMoore316

I Owe You, Girl

A funny thing happened to my Hotmail account. It flashed back to 2008 and is permanently stuck there on my phone, totally disregarding all other correspondence from then until now. While deleting several dozen emails representing My Life: Phase 1 I found some old pictures from way back in the 90s.

Let me just say, the Lord has a sense of humor. The few pictures which stuck out most were ones of me at some of my career highs and personal lows in My Life: Phase 1. I looked at them with an equal amount of overwhelming proudness from the woman I saw, as if she wasn’t me. I looked at them also as a reminder of who I really am, what I’m made of, from where I’ve come and Who’s in control. (Not to mention I LOVE the spark of sass I saw even through the grainy-ness of those forgotten photos.)

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To the high heels everyday, blue suit and fierce, precision, layered red hair wearing go-getter, who would get up at 3:30am drive to one part-time job clear across town from her Highway 280 apartment, then burn rubber in her champagne gold Nissan Maxima to her head her full-time news gig at 9am, work until the news demanded no more, and still make time to take time for herself, her friends, a bustling social life, lots of community service, active work in the church and of course, time for family I say, “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.

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To the naïve, young woman full of hopes and dreams and love and expectations at her engagement party beaming on the stairwell with thoughts of what God desires for her and of her, excitedly posing at the exact place which would ultimately end up being her place of employment after the elaborate engagement party hosted for the wonderful wedding which led to a short-lived marriage ending in divorce (and the desperate need for employment in My Life: Phase 2) I say “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.

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To the woman who endured the PAINFUL, experimental, super long steroid shots in the eye covered by an itchy, irritating as the dickens patch to keep her eye from popping out, taking 17 pills a day, who gained 50 pounds in one month after a fight with Graves Disease and Thyroid Storm tried to send her home to sweet Jesus, but couldn’t (BOOM!), yet still monitors and deals with it to this day I say, “thank you for reminding me of what’s in me.” I owe you, girl.

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Here’s what I know. Nothing happens without reason. Today, for some reason, as I sat in delightful solitude at home enjoying my peace and quiet God wanted me to take a look back knowing it was what I needed to help propel me forward. I know he knew that not only could I handle those TONS of emails and pictures representing My Life: Phase 1 without a smidgen of anger, sadness or regret, but that I would view them with lots of smiles and giggles. And, because I know He knows His daughter, I know He knew I needed to be reminded, even through a grainy old photo, of how fly I looked nestled up on that television production board like a boss, so that I could prepare to be one in whatever new and blog-worthy ways He desires in My Life: Phase 2. So to those three versions of me in My Life: Phase 1, I say I owe you, girl. Your struggle, sass and sense of survival was not in vain. I hope to make you proud.

@AngelaMMoore316

 

Who Were You Before Hurt Happened?

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Have you ever wondered who you were before whatever happened happened that hurt you enough to change who you were? A recent conversation with a friend prompted that thought as I saw how this person clawed through the damages of the tragedies of past hurts to try to cling for dear life to the progress she’d made in an effort to hold on to that progress rather than revert back to her natural response from the past. We talked about her fears of facing the person responsible for that pain and how much that one single individual’s presence had alter her life in a way no man or woman deserved. We also talked about how we wondered what must have happened to the person who hurt her to allow that person to be so hurt that transferring hurt was the solution. We talked and talked and talked. I wondered aloud and internally. Who was my friend before this happened? How could she have been had this not happened? And more importantly we talked candidly about who she could STILL be in spite of what happened and because of what happened so she would be in a position to help others.

I don’t know what you’ve been through. I’ve been through a few things in my young age of 43. Just read a few of my blog posts to find out about my unwanted trysts with sickness, death of loved ones, divorce, loss of opportunity, betrayal and all that not-so-good stuff. Sharing that time of talk with my friend made me wonder how much of the sting of those things I’d carried, and for how long, and didn’t even know it was along for the ride of my life shaping me into some simulation of who I once was, but robbing me of the beauty of who I should have been had I not received the bad brunt of its unwelcomed delivery. I wondered if I am carrying any of it remotely still allowing it to alter things like my subtle response to situations, my trust of others, or my apprehension moving forward in circumstances similar to those which might have caught me off guard or got me caught up.

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I pray I’ve been able to successfully heal from the pains of the past, not forgetting them, but certainly no longer feeling them or forcing them on others. My chat with my friend made me more reflective, doing a self-check, to see if my prayer had been answered. I even asked another friend to check me, boo. This person did. I’m glad. I’m no where near perfect but I’m bound to not be bound by my past. Regardless of where we are in life, and what has happened, we all have the God-given ability to be who we were meant to be. It won’t be easy. It won’t be pretty. It won’t be fast, but it will be worth it. So I ask. Who were you before hurt happened, and what are you willing to do to be that person and better? You owe it to yourself and the world awaiting your life as a beautiful testimony.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Are You My Now or My Later?

I’m a bit misty-eyed this morning after an exchange with a college friend who expressed regret for not appreciating an association in his life. After the brief conversation I was reminded, as I reminded him, that there should be no regret. All things happen for a reason, especially in our teens, 20s, 30s or whatever years come before our maturation does (let’s just be real.) I was able to share with him that God doesn’t waste His investment in us. He’s not going to allow any good seeds deposited into His good (flaws and all) children to go bad, even if it takes a while to see the fruit. His goal is life more abundantly and He never fails, even when we feel we have. His goal is to strategically use people, places and things to help get us what we need to get us to where we were meant to be, even if it seems like it’s taking us forever to get there, or even if we feel we’re okay where we are. Plain and simple, He knows what He’s doing especially when we don’t.

I was asked in an interview recently what my biggest regret was. Without hesitation I blurted out “not making the most of my relationships”. For a good little while I lived with the “I wish I would have” notion. I’ve learned to be grateful for who I am and where I am, but my mind would flirt with thoughts like “I wish I would have kept in touch with that person”, “I wish I would have joined that group”, “I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time with those individuals”,  “I wish I would have taken that job, or never left this job”, “I wish I would have listened to my daddy’s advice about spare tires and football players in college”, “I wish I would have gotten to know him/her”, “I wish I would have followed up on that offer”, “I wish I would have been more sociable” and so on. My I wish list was as long as a premium bundle of Indi Remi found in your finest neighborhood hair shop. But why? What present or future purpose was wishing from the past producing for me? None.

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Life is like a pack of candy, Now and Laters to be exact. I remember growing up enjoying those bite-sized pieces of “tear the silver filling out of your teeth” taffy goodness, and treasuring how long they lasted in chew and in leftover flavor. I guess that’s where the whole notion of eat some now, save some for later derived. Such is so with people. Some people are sent to impart and impact during the here and NOW. Their purpose for our lives is urgent and immediate and felt instantly like that first burst of sweet, fruity flavor once we broke through that thin paper wrapper which often sticks to portions of the taffy treat. Other people, by God’s great design, have an impact so lasting that their goodness is meant to be savored and seen LATER like that wee bit of sticky leftover candy often found stuck to said fillings later on in the day after ones Mama has yelled from the front porch to come home because the street lights are coming on. Both, as in all things in our lives, serve a purpose when needed. It doesn’t matter when, whether now or later. What matters most is that we become who we were created to be all along thanks to the help of the rich and colorful array of sweet people placed in our lives.

@AngelaMMoore316

It’s Okay to Say You’re Not Okay

It’s okay to say you’re not okay. Yep, it’s true. Despite how society or our sanity might encourage us to think otherwise, not being “okay” is a fact of life we all have to face, embrace and express in order to really, truly be “okay”.

How many times has someone asked “how are you” and your response was “I’m great”, I’m good”, “I’m fine”, or “I’m okay” when deep down (possibly not too deep actually) you were anything but?

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Why is it that the need to show strength in times of weakness is a need, when in our times of weakness we most need to show that we’re weak so we can be strengthened? (Repeat that sentence aloud five times. I dare you.) Now, I’m a proponent of faith, hope and positivity. I believe the Bible to be true and that we should speak those things that are not as though they are. I look for the brighter side of life in most things, and try really, really hard to see it in those things not so easily seen. In fact, I’m certain that behind my back a few people call me Polly Positive and other cute alliterative phrases that I appreciate. But I’m human. We’re all human, and by that mere fact alone that means that at times we’re not going to be okay.

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We all need people who can be trusted to hear the words, “I’m not okay.” Before I go any further, this post is not particular to me. While this hasn’t always been my life’s story, at this juncture I absolutely am okay. I’m better than okay. I’m good. My times of me not being “okay” left me with no other choice than to know that God would do a Romans 8:28 on my “not okay” making it and me all good. I’m so grateful to God for the ability to rise above any attempts to attack my “all good”.

Now where was I? Oh yeah…We all need people who can be trusted to hear the words “I’m not okay.” I know I would not have made it to now without the support of those I desperately (I mean desperately) needed back then when I wasn’t okay. We owe it to ourselves to have healthy, loving, and supportive outlets to go to in times where okay seems like a joke, yet we still desire healing as our final destination.

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I’ve grown to know that it takes more courage to say “ouch” than to pretend that we’re not in pain. So if that’s you, and you know that you know that you’re not (yet) okay, say so. There are people who’ve been where you are. There are people with listening ears, and leanable shoulders. There are people who love and care for you. There are people who believe in the power of prayer with proof as an accompanier. There are people who can make you laugh if nothing more than to provide a brief reprieve from pain. There are people who can help cook, clean, keep the kids, pull you out bed, let some light in figuratively and literally if needed, lend a few dollars, review a resume, put in a call, offer some wisdom, take you to church, pray for that stubborn spouse, cover that child, sit in the hospital, direct you in love and redirect you with purpose, dry your tears, silence your screams, share their testimony, share their mistakes, or simply offer an escape for you as you work your way to better than okay. But you have to say so so they can do so. Okay? Okay.

@AngelaMMoore316

Forgiveness 101: We Have Beef and I Have Sodas

I had the weirdest dream, you guys. I was at work working, and oddly enough, a not yet favorite person of mine for lack of a better phrase was in my office which is also odd because this person does not work with or near me, and is on a short list of last people on earth likely to visit me. Just as clearly as the words I’m typing, this said person was sitting just to the right of my leather office chair as my caramel-colored desk was covered with bags of food and several cups of soda random people were bringing in during the sequence of the dream.

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This “push me closer to Jesus” person was thirsty for something to drink and did not hesitate to let me know so. There was a sense of beggi-ness, or possibly humility that I’d not ever seen. Even through my dream, I could feel the story of Joseph and his brothers unfolding (Google it, or even better, read this awesome treasure of truth called the Bible), but then something happened that scared the hebedegeezes out of me. When “prayer pusher”, as I will from hence forth refer to this lovely human being, asked me for something to drink I didn’t do what I thought I would do. I didn’t offer one tiny sip of soda, or drinks for the road from my overflow. Instead, I started gulping those drinks down like a fish out of water who’d finally been cast back into the sea. I was so very disappointed in myself that I literally made myself wake up. Hopefully I was playing a mean, mean prank and was only going to drink a few sodas for GP (general principle) then gladly share what was left with “prayer pusher”, but it surely didn’t start out that way and I wasn’t going to sleep on to find out that it didn’t end up that way.

When I shared my dream with a certain loved one she said, “Girl, you should have swallowed ‘them’ sodas up like nobody’s business.” I was tickled because I know part of her was playing and the other part was slightly serious. However, I wanted to be like Joseph and be able to extend help to one who hurt me when most needed. More importantly I wanted to be like Jesus.

Now that I’ve somewhat digested the dream I see that there is still forgiveness left to offer from me. One thing I know about forgiving is that it’s like a delicate onion and often comes in layers, especially when the person is a repeat offender as people often are (because that’s just what we, as flawed people, do). Sure, there’s so much I’ve long ago let go of because those battles are over. That’s easy. But I will admit, I need to forgive “prayer pusher” and anyone else for things even as they ensue. That means as they happen I need to readily forgive. Why? Because God says so. (Don’t believe me…check out that Bible again.)

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Now, I’m not saying “prayer pusher” will ever be in a place of needing something desperately of me, and I certainly do not wish or want that, but I need to be ready to release whatever is needed should that need arises. In the meantime, I accept that I still have work to do internally because I don’t want anything or anyone holding me back from being who and how I’m supposed to be, even in my dreams. After all, in the words of Ms. Lauryn Hill, “How you gonna win when you ain’t right within?” And I will win… “prayer pusher” pushing me and all.

So yes, “prayer pusher”, we have beef and I have sodas…to share.

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@AngelaMMoore316