I Still Want to Be Married

Recently in an episode of the hit show Super Soul Sunday on OWN Oprah Winfrey sat down with Shonda Rhimes the topic of marriage surfaced, and has since surfaced a lot on the internet. Both successful women admitted they did not want to be married. I applaud them for that. In today’s society that’s a courageous statement to make and own.

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I have been single and satisfied, single and unhappy, married and in newlywed giddiness, married and miserable, divorced and devastated, and divorced and happy as a lark (as I am)…and I still want to be married.

With everything I’ve been through and everything I’ve put myself through, because there is a difference, I still want to be married, and the right way to the right man. I applaud myself for that. Nothing which has happened like pain, anger, mistakes and mistreatment, settling into Singleness: Part Deux , seeing I could start over while looking cute, keeping my sanity and sharing my joy, and discovering uncovered talents and strengths has changed my heart’s desire. No doubts of being too old, too late in the game, too “other things I shan’t say” or any other concerns sent straight from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks has altered my dreams. Not even having my own schedule and abundant amount of “do what I want-ness”, embracing who I’ve become, or enjoying time with loved ones has changed my mind about marriage. Nothing I believe will happen like an amazingly, rewarding new career with lots of influence, opportunities to help others, travel, rewarding purpose and M-O-N-E-Y has altered that. I just believe that whomever God is making ready for me (and enhancing me for) will be able to roll with it, as I roll with him.

Oprah and Shonda, if I may refer as if I know them, live professionally successful lives and didn’t attribute any catastrophic event as the catalyst for their declaration regarding not wanting to be married. It saddens me to see women and men who let life rob them of their God-given dreams and desires and settle for what is rather than believe and act on what still can be…regardless.

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I still hold to the hope of meeting someone new, going through that awkward stage of phone talking and new fangled courting, praying for clarity (with a lot of questions…that’s just how I am), and being challenged to stretch and grow even more by the mere presence of this new dude in my sphere. I look to the day of not initially knowing if he’s the one, surveying my girlfriends for their thoughts, not knowing why we’ve met, meeting his friends, and spiritually working through the grown-up challenges which come when more than one person is involved. I still hold to the hope of a real and appropriate proposal (that’s another story for another day), sweating my hair out at a reception with our favorite jams blasting, and embracing my new family of “in-loves” (not in-laws) to share memories with which last a lifetime. I still hold to the hope of cooking dinner or enjoying a cooked dinner, while gazing and giggling across the table, watching football (please, Jesus let him like my school), debuting my head scarf which I’ve had since I was a tiny teen at Ramsay High School, working through demanding schedules, traveling, supporting and being supported, growing spiritually and tackling life’s ups and downs together. Then, at the end of the day, I wait for the certainty decades later as we stroll or ride a scooter slowly through Publix hand-in-hand looking for LeSuere Very Young Small Sweet Peas and canned pears to help with our digestive system that it was all worth it. It was absolutely worth it. A slow-stroll, peas and pears? Yep, I still want to be married.

@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

Why Don’t You Have Kids?

“Why don’t you have kids, Sweet Tee?” those were the words blurted out by my five-year-old niece as she sat in the back of my car battling a stomach bug which would have given the grownest of grown-ups a run for their money. Riding along for what seemed like two hours instead of 30 minutes as she “released” things which obviously didn’t want to be in her body, and didn’t care that we were in an enclosed car on the interstate, it was as if each time she “released” a sweeter than normal spirit would come over her causing her to profess her resounding love for her little sister, gaze out of the window and declare how special rainbow-colored uniforms are or apologize profusely for the mess she was making. Just before we arrived on the long, winding road leading to my neighborhood she whispered barely above a whisper the words “Why don’t you have kids, Sweet Tee”?

I was about to answer her question when we had another bout with the bug which almost made me pull over even though I was just blocks from home. Instead I kept driving (and praying and silently pleading for no more), when, upon entering the garage she said, in an even softer, sweeter, almost angelic voice, “Oh, I know why you don’t have kids. So you can help take care of us.” Baby….the floodgates of my Wet and Wild mascara mixed with Maybelline eyes almost broke. I don’t know if it was because of her innocent revelation, because I was finally home to be able to clean her and my car up, or because of feeling like I’d received a personal confirmation from Heaven. Either way I was almost a goner.

Do I have any kids is a question I hear a lot. I’m sure it’s normal for people to ask as an icebreaker or get-to-know-you go-to, especially for people like me who are in their 40s or who are or have been married. It doesn’t bother me at all to answer no, or say I have no biological children. But I recently read about entertainers like Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen and Aisha Tyler who’ve shared their heartfelt bouts with infertility, choice of career over children or difficulty conceiving and their perspectives challenged me to share my story.  Word from the wise: Take a moment to think about questions you ask of others, especially those who are unmarried or without children. You never know their story and what your questions might be stirring up.  Please be mindful.

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I think back to being in my upper teens, lying in a hospital bed and being diagnosed with endometriosis. Foggy, due to the anesthesia, I recall the doctor saying, “she probably won’t be able to conceive”, or something of the sort. As a teen, who barely had a stable boyfriend that hit me like a ton of bricks. I held on to that bedside burden and readily shared my accepted fate with those soon-to-come boyfriends as if it were some sort of scarlet letter of which they needed to know even though, in my late teens and 20’s children should have been the furthest thing in my mind. About a decade after my diagnosis, the Lord would silence the implanted doubt in my mind and prove that I could conceive, but ultimately show that His plans were bigger, greater and better. Go God!

While married, my ex-husband and I spent many grueling months (maybe years, I can’t remember) and lots of money on infertility treatment to find out what was the cause of not being able to have children when there were no known natural barriers to conception. I was jabbed in the stomach, stuck in the arm, pricked in the finger, dosed with pills, operated on, hooked up to machines, advised, consulted and consoled more times than I can remember with “no known reason” being the answer. My ex-husband was a man of faith so he proudly, publicly proclaimed what he believed God was going to do for us. I joined others and him in making preparations, choosing names, buying gifts and all that good stuff for the children which were sure to come. They didn’t. I bore the physical pain, doubt, internal fear and self-inflicted embarrassment when each “no” didn’t match up with what I believed God had said “yes” to.  Within a year of that time period my marriage ended. Again, God was showing His plans were bigger, greater and better. There wasn’t a medical reason for lack of conception, but a spiritual one. Go God! (Because He knew my reaction, response and bounce back would have taken a completely different route if children were involved in my divorce.)

Anywho, here I am a 43-year-old, footloose (not really) and child-free woman, who, admittedly ponders how much different my life would have been with my own seed. Truthfully, from time-to-time I wonder who will feed me Honeycrisp apples, drive me to Publix or take care of me when I’m old, especially because I’m currently not married, but I’m seeing all the more that that’s not my business. I’m God’s responsibility and if I’ve learned anything it’s that He knows what He’s doing and it’s always good! I never thought my life would turn out as it has. I thought I was born to be a mother and I am, just in a Heaven-made kind of way. Just ask Isaiah.

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So now I look back and forward in appreciation for the born of my heart, not of my body godchildren, relatives and others I’m blessed to know and love. I also look from side-to-side at my other sisters in this journey of biological childlessness hoping to remind them of the extra-special, set aside gift they are to so many. And for that, and them I am eternally grateful, even if I needed a car-ride reminder during a child’s helpless battle with regurgitation to be so.

@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.

@AngelaMichele316

Don’t Ask Me for Money

Don’t ask me for money. That’s a hard statement to make, but a necessary one indeed. At this juncture in life, an abundance of money is something that is slowly (but surely) making its way to me. It’s coming. I believe. But it appears to be on lay-away. As my moola takes the scenic route to reach me, the ability to give to others financially above the above and beyond I’m already doing for those things important to me, required of me or related to me (not in terms of family) simply doesn’t often exist.

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I’m a single woman, who works for a small non-profit, who is divorced, who had to spend her savings and a settlement during and after that divorce, who still has major financial battles related to the remaining and ongoing parts of that divorce, who is in the midst of a life/financial/stewardship make-over (Go, Jesus!), who loves to give. However in terms of coins, cash, dinero, nickels, cabbage, C-notes, cheese, guap, juice, banknotes, dough, duckies, dead pres’, paper, long greens, stacks, racks, cheddar, loot, ends and Benjamins, I simply don’t have it like I want it right now. I know the Ross Dress for Less jumpsuits, the dresses from My Sister’s Closet at the YWCA Central Alabama and my real sister’s closet in Maylene, Alabama may fool you, but that’s not through big funds. That’s favor, and often FREE. I know the presentation, posts and pictures of the fabulous life I recognize I’m blessed to live might paint a pretty picture, and believe me it is (beauty for ashes, baby, beauty for ashes), but again, my checkbook register can tell the tale of how a little looks like a whole, heckofa lot! (Go, Jesus! Go Jesus! GO!)

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No to bemoan the point of the temporary place I’m in, while I realize the reality of my skrilla right now, (Did I just say skrilla? I’m so #35211), I also realize the reality of my seed. No, I don’t have as much money as I want to have and give right now, but I do have valuable things with which I have been blessed that I am obligated to give until and after I get what I really want to give. We all have something to give no matter where life has taken us and how long we’ve been there.

So no, please don’t ask me for money because the answer can likely be “I wish I had it to give.” But I can offer my unconventional wisdom, my physical presence and support, my joy in connecting people who need to know each other, my wealth of community resources (some of them are indeed wealthy), my insight on finding and keeping a job, my expertise in events, communications, professional development, conflict resolution and getting and keeping media attention. Until my bread is ready I’ll freely share my testimony of healing, my unapologetic perspective from the Bible, my prayers, my home for football and festivities, my social calendar, my written and spoken word for motivation, my compliments, my genuine love of mankind, my family with those who are without, my hidden nuggets of found or forgotten clothing, never used wedding presents, extra furniture and fixtures, and the likes with those in want and in need. And as I wait for my wads I will cheerfully give my ever-evolving view of life with the fact that through the grace of God life gets better.

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It took a while for me to come to the view of focusing more on what I do have while longing for what I wanted, and seeing the value of giving what was in my hand until I had what’s in my heart. I now know my benevolence is not dictated by my bucks. Have you reached that point? It’s such a refreshing point of arrival, and I’m just willing to believe that it’s more valuable than a bunch of dubs, big bucks, lettuce or ducats. (I just adore the urban vernacular. I truly do.)

@AngelaMMoore316

Thanks, Dudes!

Here’s a growth moment for you…

I was sitting on the phone chatting with a dear friend, something I rarely do, and that friend mentioned a hang out in Atlanta I used to frequent with an “ex-of-old.” Boy, oh boy, did we use to have a ball at this Georgia establishment, especially if it involved him riding off on his motorcycle looking all Larenz Tate-ish from Love Jones with the Fugees blasting from the nearby Saturn, Eclipse or 300ZX. (Notice I said, “him riding”, your girl was a chicken and would follow or meet him there in my champagne gold Maxima.) Bless my heart. Anywho, I digress.

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In remembering those fun days, the sting of whatever separated us was nowhere to be found. The “oh-my-goodness” my world is over (or so I thought) that I probably thought at the end of the association didn’t cross my mind.  The antics I ensued in in my humble form of “revenge” was now reduced to a mere giggle (or gut buster depending on who I was recalling the memory of the immature things I’ve done in the past).  And let me just be real, because that’s what a blog is for after all, I am super sorry for all the get backs I tried to give. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do anything remotely worthy of LMN (Lifetime Movie Network) because remember, I’m a chicken, but I could come up with some mischievousness so quickly it would even shock me. Don’t believe me? Then don’t dare ask my sister about how I messed up her first acrylic nail appointment with my 20-something tomfoolery. And don’t dare talk to my old friend who was like a brother in and shortly after college or my bestie since kindergarten. LOL!!!! (Bless my heart and my quick thinking mind.) 

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I racked my brain following that conversation about that Atlanta hot spot. I starting scanning my “relationship” file and realized that flaws and all on both sides of the coin, circa the late 90s, I was blessed to closely know and grow from some really cool dudes who have all grown into some really great husbands, fathers, businessmen, leaders and the likes. Some I would even comfortably call my friend with no ungodly thoughts attached one way or the other. Whodathunkit?!?!?

I realized that, while none of my past relationships of long ago were forever (thankfully) they all left me with some great memories, needed growth and some pretty swell guys who are etched in my life’s story, forever, whether they knew it or not. What they didn’t leave me with are any scars, damage, regret or remorse which we often believe we must carry through life like some badge or “been there, done that” honor. That’s a blessing and the beauty of choosing to grow. God will grant us the ability to see and settle on the good in others because that’s exactly what He does for us. The good is all I see, because at one point they were good enough for me. (And I think I’m pretty grand, which means they must be too.) So thanks, dudes. I would shout you out or tag you by name, but that wouldn’t be wise. You know who you are.

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@AngelaMMoore316