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.

watchyourmouth2

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.

my-thoughts-are-not-your-thoughts

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

I Said “I Do” (to doing nothing)

I woke early this morning from a refreshing night’s sleep with a list of things I wanted to do, needed to do and planned to do on this chilly, Alabama Saturday. With full intent on accomplishing those things something happened mid-way between me adding an extra coat of barely black polish to my nails, enjoying my two slices of honey wheat toast and jam and where I am now which is snuggled up in my California King bed popping black, seedless grapes, sipping Publix purified water and blog posting while listening to the serenade of raindrops against the fallen autumn leaves and Tyrese from an available Spotify account. Something happened and that something just so happened to be nothing.

nothing-sign-graphic

I put it off long enough, but today I decided to say “I Do” to a do-nothing day. This day has been chasing me, seeking me, and courting me like a gentleman one day soon worthy of my heart. Its pursuit has been relentless, teasing me with days which start off slow and speed up or tempting me with days which are busy in the beginning then wane in the end, but not in a very long time have I accepted the request of good sense to do nothing. That was until today.

6a81db5fb2d4e4921350a11f21f3e8bb

My standard, chill day red Polo shirt with the permanent stain making its presence known just below the V-neck and grey leopard print tights will likely be the in-house attire of the day, all day. The pile of floral fresh clothes I washed Wednesday night and dried Thursday morning will remain on my taupe colored couch possibly until I feel like folding them next week (Shhhhh…don’t tell Angie (my Mama) that I’m leaving unfolded clothes out without a care.) The three light bulbs which need replacing over various parts of my house will remain dim. The luggage for a coming trip will remain empty at least for today. The clothes for the week will stay wrinkled until I iron them at another time. The $10 today only ponchos from Old Navy that I truly need will remain a need. The crumbled remnants of leaves on the carpet left by my last visitor will remain unvacuumed. The list of so many other things will remain a list. And I’m okay with that.

177

I’ve known the other side of busy where, because of life’s challenges, I’ve been bound to the bed, or unable to do what I wanted to, when I wanted to or how I wanted to. That was not a good look for your girl, but I learned so much from it about myself and others. I wholeheartedly believe that time of involuntary do-nothingness has been the fuel to my inner fire within the last several years to stay active and on the go because I’m simply grateful to be able to. BUT…now, I’m grateful also to be able to choose to do nothing free of guilt, free of worry, free of feeling/appearing lazy or even free of concern of how all my “it” will get done. As a single woman I’ve learned that “it” always happens and “it” always gets done. Somehow it just does. In the midst of all my “it”, taking time to rest, revive, pop grapes, peruse social media, talk on the phone like a teenager from the 80s, nap off and on like a newborn and swirl around my house singing my heart out to tracks number 4-5, 7-9, 12-14 on Tyrese’s Black Rose is about as productive as any day can be.

@AngelaMMoore316

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.

Roll-of-money

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!)

483fc419eb4e9dd7ac2e9fb3547709ad

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.

a6a5452657ccdebbd1226ee61749462a

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.

thGLC6NHZU

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.) 

steve-urkel-did-i-do-that-676x540

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.

photo

@AngelaMMoore316

 

Life Has Left Me a Hustler

Hold up. Wait a minute. Before you read more into this blog post title allow me to clarify myself. I said “hustler”, not “hustla”. Despite how “interesting” times might have become since “I do” turned into “I don’t” or since career adjustments, unmet financial obligations from others, life’s surprises and the likes have come I’m still a lady so “hustler” it is. Even as I type, however, a popular rap song of some years ago comes to mind that definitely doesn’t apply to what I intend to express. (I can hear that flirty little melody in my mind…Get outta my head why don’t ya!) When I say “hustler” I mean one who is an enterprising or aggressive person determined to succeed. Yup, that’s me!

Personal-Success

Now, with that cleared up I shall proceed…

Within the last five or more years I’ve discovered strengths, skills, techniques, creativity, chutzpah and gumption within me that I didn’t even know I had. Let’s be honest. I didn’t even want to have them! I guess I never knew I had it because at the time I didn’t need it. The Lord had my hustle on hold. He’s so sweet! Sure, I’ve been somewhat frugal some of my life. Certainly, I could find, fix or remix that which was old and make you believe it was new. Yes, I’ve been awakened too many nights to recall just to hear God tell me ideas and thoughts which were beneficial to whatever person, cause or job I was working on behalf of at the time. True, I’ve always been a very hard worker and organized trying to stay on top of my business and often helping others do the same. Yep, I’m a believer in the “early bird catches the blessings” so I rise at “o-dark thirty” and stay or stay up as late as I need to get things done. But of late, I’ve had a super-natural, God-given ability to pull some rabbits out of some proverbial hats I didn’t even know I had. And to top it off, God has gifted me with the most amazing support system of friends of old who are now new, friends who are new and are needed now, and family and loved ones who have been there for this adventure. And while many of them are too faced with what some might consider impossible obstacles, they bring with them a hustle that would make Memphis’ own Djay smile. My squad (I feel so urban saying that) can grind with the best of them in the best possible way!

th

So here I am embracing the newness of me and my hustle. The knock downs, nos and blows have turned out to be like a thirst-quenching fuel to my inner fire. In as much as I could do without them they light me up! And let me tell you, with the ferociousness in which those knock downs, nos and blows are coming just consider me lit! The most amazing part in all of that is that, while it appears that my strengths, skills, techniques, creativity, chutzpah and gumption are in vain, this newly revealed, daily remembered and nightly revved up hustler in me gets back up, buffs off her high heels, freshens her face, swoops her hair, lifts up her posse’, shouts out her Daddy (God) and gets back at it, again, and again, and again.

45846418338372701544120071f06610

@AngelaMMoore316

My Bra Hurts

Recently I was lamenting to my sister about the status of my half bra. It hurts. I mean it Hurts with a capital “H”! In 2011 I was diagnosed with Lymphedema, the buildup of fluid called lymph in the tissues under your skin when something blocks its normal flow. This causes swelling, most commonly in an arm or leg. My Lymphedema just so happens to have happened in my right arm. (Check me out posing in the ATL a few years ago with my funky-fresh compression sleeve on and my badge of honor (that scar under my arm) of what I’ve endured.)

553906_351938694857370_1941230159_n (1)

Since going through treatments, therapies, fads and new-fangled products I’ve been mostly healed of the disease. I manage it daily myself, and usually don’t have problems unless I’m flying or exercising (I have to wear a compression garment), when the seasons change, if I lift something too heavy, when I get extremely hot and when I wear that daggum half bra.

yeah_it_hurts-346211

That bra, that beloved half bra, has seen me through cute times too many to recall. But it hurts. It hurts so very badly. So when I told my sister about the bra hurting me she said through her matter-of-fact face, “Well, just get yourself another one.” “I can’t,” I said. “It’s too expensive,” I complained. “It’s too hard to find my size,” I whined. Then again, in a matter-of-fact face which has only been intensified since she entered the world of motherhood she turned to me and said, “Oh well. Just keep on hurting then.” Boom! Just like that she shut me up, shut me down and reflected an attitude many of us take on in life.

Why was I willing to allow something to keep hurting me when I didn’t have to, especially when I was in control? All I had to do was buy a new bra. Simple. And plain. Why did I find every excuse possible to keep wearing the bra rather than just toss it and buy a new one. Sure, it’s going to be expensive. But so is physical therapy when my Lymphedema flares up. Sure, my “special” size is hard to find, but so are a lot of other things I might have scoured the internet, shopping malls and specialty stores for in the past. Sure, I don’t even wear that half bra that often but when I do I want to pull my weaved hair out strand by strand and that makes no sense. Sure I could just settle for what used to work, but it doesn’t work for me anymore so that settles it.

Bras and I have had an interesting relationship through the years. Because of my generationally transferred upper physique they’re one of those things simply not on the top of my “must have the fanciest and frilliest” list. I never really cared to know much about the importance of bras, especially as they are so instrumental in providing foundation and support. Much like my life, I’ve also had the tendency to invest more in things related to others than me, being a foundation or support, but not always investing in building my very own foundation and support.  I’d like to blame that one on genes too. (I hope they’re reading this…LOL!) That’s all changing now, thanks to the fluff and stuff under my right arm compliments of Lymphedema. I’m about to step my bra game and life game up. Just watch me…well, not really, but you get my drift.

@AngelaMMoore316

But Why Does She Live Alone?

“But why does she live alone?” That was the question my then four-year-old niece sleepily asked my sister after it dawned on her one evening that I, unlike most she’d come to know in her few years on this earth, live alone. She must have thought of this thought very thoughtfully because she also asked “if I had any family”, and “if it would help if they stayed with me more often”.

thCAIFS7MK

I giggled upon first hearing my sister recount the story of my niece’s sleep-ushered concern about my living arrangements. After thinking about it further, as I often do with most things, I felt a sense of proudness. NEVER in my wildest dreams could you have paid me to believe that I would be alone at this juncture in life. I was born and bred to be a Mrs. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’d gone from living in my parent’s house, to a colorful array of roommates (and boyfriends) in college, to roommates (and boyfriends) after college, to back to my parent’s house, to married, to married with a goddaughter living with us, to divorced with a goddaughter living with me…and into the mix of all of that was a smattering of a few more boyfriends and the aforementioned ex-husband. With that said, again I’ll say that never in my wildest dreams could you have paid me to believe I would be alone at this juncture in life…and never in my wildest, wild dreams could you have paid me to believe I would actually enjoy it. Shocking. I know!

thCAZ27G7M

Prior to my niece’s questions I’d actually begun to relish in the fact that I live alone. I actually really like this life. I’ve been in the season of solo before, but this season feels different. I’ve crossed the bridge of personal maturity to the land of alone, but not lonely, and have grown to appreciate my solitude, the remote control, rising as early as I want to, turning down the thermostat, having girlfriend gatherings, coming and going at will, even deciding when I want to take out the trash or if I want to roll it out to the curb at all. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan to stay in the season forever, and there are surely things about being a spouse that I desire from and with the right man, but while I’m here I’m growing to enjoy this space and my place for as long as I can, until the marvelous surprise that is my future reveals itself.

thCAVBF5UC

@AngelaMichele316

You’re Not the First, But You Can Be the Last

thCAI1JOYW 

Newsflash…what you’re going through is nothing new. You’re not special when it comes to the trials of life.

 th

So here’s the skinny…

  • Your money is not the only money which acts as if it’s forgotten your checking account number.
  • Your ex is not the first ex to do something to make him or her an ex.
  • Your children are not the first children to forget your rules or how they were raised.
  • Your job is not the first job to fail to value you in pay or praise.
  • Your friends are not the first friends to disappoint their friends.
  • Your family member is not the first family member to abandon, under-appreciate or fail to support a family member.
  • Your dreams are not the first dreams to take the long, long, long route to arrival.

The fact of the matter is you’re not the first to go through anything you’ve gone through. However, you can be the last to allow it to define you, permanently damage you, hinder you or steal your joy.

thCA31TP30

@AngelaMMoore316