I’m Divorced: I’m Only Saying This Once , There Are No Re-Do’s 😉

I’ve been divorced for 9 months.

Most of you are shocked to read those words. But they are true no matter how many times you re-read them.

This message has been sitting as a draft on my phone for six months. I wasn’t ready to share this at that time. I thought I could three months ago, but I still wasn’t ready. I made the decision that I would share in December. Symbolic for many reasons. Year-end, holiday cheer, families together, and because I hoped that this December would feel and be better than last year.

So today I share the life-altering news with all of you—family, friends, associates, students, and strangers.

No, I will not share details.

I didn’t share intimate details of our courtship, engagement, wedding, and married life. I didn’t even rush to let people know I was dating, engaged, or married. That’s because I value and wanted privacy. I wanted to protect my man, my life, and what we had together. I didn’t want a bunch of folks all in our “mix” because I know that there are twice as many people hating on you than loving you. So I did my best to protect one of the most valuable relationships I had second to my relationship with God.

You got a highlight reel of my life. So guess what?

I won’t be sharing details about how we got to this point. Because plain and simply, it’s my life, and I value and want privacy.

No, I won’t feed your need to gossip at my expense. Even though some of you will most likely materialize your own content to feed upon. *smile*

We do like “tea” don’t we?

You can ponder and speculate but the end result will remain the same…

What once was is no longer.

I’m only making this statement because I’m frequently receiving emails and comments on my websites, messages through social media, and being approached in public by people who joyfully praise me, him, and us. People make comments about “#MarriageGoals” and I slightly cringe because they haven’t a clue.

Countless times this year I’ve spoken with people who have expressed a level of pride from looking at my marriage, the image that was publicly portrayed and lived, and seeing us over the years at various events. I’ve had people contact me to let me know that they pray for our marriage and the work that we do in the community. I couldn’t bring myself to tell these strangers, “thanks but he’s my ex husband now”. So I always find discreet ways to thank them for their kind and loving words and prayers, and then I leave the rest alone.

I’ve discreetly removed myself from so much but clearly it hasn’t been enough. My absence hasn’t made clear my current status, it’s only made me less visible. People assume they don’t see me somewhere because I’m busy.

There’s so much content of us online that all online searches express and imply the same “message”–that we’re still this visionary powerhouse couple. When the truth is, we used to be but now we are merely two visionary, powerhouse individuals focused on our own separate missions. We are on separate paths. We are no longer a couple. There is no “we”. We can’t erase or rewrite our past, and why would we? It was ours and we lived it boldly and I have no regrets. At the same time we must move forward to what is now the present.

I will not clarify what is most clear. The first sentence of this post can’t get any clearer.

Many who know us personally, professionally, or indirectly through our very public work are or will be shocked by this admission. But just as everything else in life, this too you will get over, get past, and it will soon become a distant memory that resurfaces in random moments and even more random online searches.

But your life will go on, move forward, unscathed, uninterrupted, unbothered—and for those and other more important reasons, I ask that you refrain from further inquiry. There’s no need to dig for what is already at surface level.

If you know me and didn’t already know this big shocker then you should be able to answer your own question as to why you didn’t know my reality months ago.

No offense. I’m good. Really I am. I’m strong. I’ve “got this”—well, God has this and I’m rolling with Him.

Thank you. I love you.

All I want and need right now is peace and the clear space to hear and act on what God is calling me to move forward on. I want to be free to embrace the opportunities that come my way. God has huge things planned for me and I can’t waste His time or mine, because He’s not giving me forever to get these things accomplished.

Please respect me, respect my former husband, respect what once was, and respect what God has planned for our individual and separate futures. Our union is no longer. A seven-year history has ended. Lessons learned, experiences shared, milestones reached, and excellence attained. We built some amazing ideas into real masterpieces.

I’m honored to have served in many roles through Operation HOPE. I’m proud of the work I accomplished, the tireless commitment and sacrifice to seeing an idea become a reality with HOPE Business In A Box, my 7 years as a HOPE Corp volunteer sharing Banking on Our Future with students all over, and my life will forever be changed by the lives that I encountered and embraced over 7 amazing years. Being away from both programs, away from the students and the pitch competitions feels awkward, abnormal, and like a huge void. But I will just have to find a new “home” to connect with, serve, and share my gifts.

I’m glad that my advice and suggestions have led to the start of other programs, technologies, organizational practices, social groups, and organizations over the past few years. No one and nothing can change that. It was, it is, and it forever will be a part of my legacy and the legacy of this great organization and those affiliates that have launched in the past two years. May they all thrive and be successful. I’ve done what I was supposed to and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

If you’re a supporter of the work then increase your level of support, there’s a global mission to fulfill. If you’re not a supporter then consider being one. Support their efforts—or support another organization’s efforts, just do something. Don’t just be a spectator, be a positive change agent.

My job there is done. Sooner than I thought. I wanted to do so much more. But that’s an “oh well”. The season is over and it’s time to move forward.

Now it’s time to end one chapter and begin a new one. Well I’ve already started on my new chapter, I’m just telling you so that you can catch up (*smile*). You can’t keep holding on to the page of this book trying to re-read the sentences, and I won’t entertain you as you attempt to stall. The story doesn’t just pause or remain in your fragmented happy-limbo state simply because you don’t move forward. It’s time to turn the page….

As the saying goes, “people are in your life for a reason, a season, and a lifetime” and the latter just wasn’t in the cards for us. The “reason” for me was and is clear—to see and feel the possibility of giving, sharing, supporting, and believing in someone else as much and in many ways more than myself. I supported the man and his mission while focused on my own. I made it “look easy” (as some have said) because it wasn’t “work” in my mind, for me I was doing my part as a partner, I was doing what it took to help a man fulfill his mission.

Was I perfect and flawless? Heck no. I’m imperfect and have numerous flaws. I did the best I could with the resources that I had. Could’ve done more. Could’ve said more. But coulda, shoulda, woulda doesn’t matter.

For seven years I loved and sacrificed for a man, and I have absolutely no regrets. I was blessed to love so deeply and for as long as I did. If I couldn’t say that, then I would have to question a great deal about myself and my relationship. I put my trust in God and He never fails me. My hurt and disappointment will be temporary because what I have with God is eternal. I keep my eyes, ears, and heart tuned into His station.

For me, my marriage was the commitment to be selfless and to dive in with both feet, dedicated to fulfilling my vows in all ways. I’ve grown tremendously, learned a great deal, and seen (and felt) the joy of giving myself to another while pushing and praying for that person so that they might reach every goal and overcome every obstacle. I did all that I could to protect him, the organization, and the mission.

Marriage is a wonderful union and commitment. I will always honor what it means to be married and to be a wife—both in the spiritual and literal sense.

My ex-husband taught me a lot about life, business, entrepreneurship, perseverance, overcoming adversity, facing fears, the value of building relationships not just networking, having the courage to try anything at least once and to ask for what you want in business—as he always says, “you walked in with a “no” it’s your goal to turn that “no” to a “yes”, if you don’t then it doesn’t matter, you had “no” coming in….”. Those are wise words that I recite when I need a pep talk.

I will take some of the lessons that I learned from observing, listening, and being guided by him, and I will build upon them as I climb to goals yet achieved. I will reattempt things that I failed at, like scuba diving (my deep sea experience was too much for a beginner) and getting back on a scooter (after falling and getting second degree burns from the motor—two weeks before our wedding).

I’m focused on being a better person, servant, woman, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, educator, and entrepreneur. I’m focused on preparing myself as a mother and maybe one day, even a wife again—well, the latter isn’t my focus, but as the saying goes, “never say never” and since I’ve been wrong about my “never’s” before, I will let God guide me.

Let me stop you now—no, I’m not in a relationship. I’m taking this time to focus on healing, praying, and getting stronger spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It would be unfair of me to subject a new person to my post-divorce life. I still have “muscle memory” of living with and sharing life with one man for seven years. I can’t just abruptly jump into a new relationship as though I’m healed, good, and ready to move into something with a new person. That would mean that I didn’t value my marriage and my role in it. That would mean that I had and have no feelings for him and for what we shared and built together. That would be a lie.

It would be cruel and disrespectful to subject someone to that space in my life, when I need to be open and free to give myself without reservations. I’ve grown accustomed to a routine with one person for seven years. That’s not easy to unwind and realign. I’m in no rush.

I need to feel and experience all that God needs me to realize, so that I can embrace, learn, and grow into the well-rounded woman He needs me to be. I can’t be the woman that a new man needs if I’m still wired to what my last man needed. And a new man shouldn’t be compared and contrasted to my last one. I need time and space for a clean slate—or as clean as can be expected.

I’ve spent this year working on me and learning what I want and don’t want, and what I need and don’t need in both my personal and professional lives. I have to work through and push past some fears and doubts. I have to walk the walk as it relates to my faith in God. If I say I know He has me, then I have to walk with my head up and eyes focused with the confidence in knowing that God has already taken care of my needs—He’s just waiting on me to catch up.

All that I want for Christmas is to be surrounded by my family and the peace that comes from knowing “all will be well because I walk with the Lord”. I asked my family for onesie pajamas and a $40 Atari classic game set. I’ve never been about the big, pricey gifts. I’m sentimental, so what is “small” to you is huge to me.

Some of you may be shocked to read this. Shouldn’t I be bitter and enraged? No, not at all. God is constantly blessing me and how ungrateful would I be to wallow in anger and misery when He has blessed me even through this transition. I’m saddened to see a relationship that I valued greatly come to an end—I planned to grow old with this man, and die loving and committed to him— but I know that God has other plans and He has never left or forsaken me. I’m not being punished. I’m being molded, strengthened, focused, and prepared by God. I accept what has happened because I know that if God intended for it to be it would still be.

So although I’m no longer married I am not broken. I am not alone or lonely. God has me in His Hands. I’m surrounded by family and my true friends. My cup runneth over. That brings me absolute joy!

It’s difficult to balance a private-public life and I’ve done a pretty good job with it for several years. I yearn to continue maintaining a semblance of privacy as I look forward on the path God has placed before me. It’s already difficult to remain focused with life’s distractions, I don’t need anything extra coming my way through rumors, declarations, or inquiries. Of course you will see my highlight reels, but the full and complete story of my life is reserved exclusively for me.

Just consider if you were me–try walking in my shoes for a moment and consider how you would want to be treated, and then please try your best to walk, act, and speak accordingly.

Please don’t attempt to be a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys new-age sleuth intrigued by missing puzzle pieces. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out the how, who, when, why, and where. You won’t have time to focus on your own life. Just let us move on with dignity. Please.

Thank you to those of you who have prayed with and for me, been supportive, a shoulder and a sounding board, wiping my tears and holding my hand, and never wavering a moment as my truest of friends. Thank you for never altering your relationship with me, but remaining the same as you have always been. Solid and true to your word. I love, value, and respect you.

Now let’s all get up, get out, and do what God has called us to do!

May He bless each of us abundantly and I pray that we are prepared and ready to embrace those blessings. May your year end better than it started, and may your New Year be better than this year. I know mine will be!

Warmest wishes and deepest respect,

Natasha

Copyright 2017. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Natasha’s Thought of the Day 12.20.11

Life is like giving birth. We sometimes have the most excruciating pain that we could ever imagine, and we’re not sure if we will make it through– but then after it’s done we have peace, joy, and a gift–whether it be wisdom or something tangible, or both. We must remember that even the worst experiences are only temporal. So take life head on, face your fears, and fight your best fight ever!     – Natasha L. Foreman                                              

 

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved

“Frankie Leg”: A Fun Image of Grandmothers Shedding their Frail Stereotype, or is this Adding to a More Negative One?

 

I’m really not sure what to say about this video, its message, and the impact (if any). I also am not sure what it says overall about the people it will ultimately reflect upon and clump together into one classification. Is this a fun and possibly healthy image of grandmothers and grandfathers shedding and shaking away the frail stereotype normally associated with getting older? Or is this somehow only adding to the negative stereotypes about Black people?

I start thinking of the buffoonery we once used to fight so hard against, and I wonder if we really have gone full-circle and found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of where we once were; if we have grown to accept not only other nationalities laughing and mocking us, but also embracing it as a reality for ourselves–so we too take part in this…we too find it acceptable; so we laugh, dance, smile, shuck and jive, and roll around comfortably in mediocrity.

Are we really in that much pain that we would rather entertain ourselves in this manner than uplift ourselves out of our pit of shame and despair? What message are our children really getting? Where is our dignity? When is enough truly enough? I believe that music and dance is healthy, healing, and cleansing–but does the “Frankie Leg” fall into those categories?

I am still letting all of this soak into my mind (which may be dangerous). But let’s have a healthy conversation about it shall we?

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. The Paradigm Life. Paradigm Life. Rights Reserved.
Video provided by YouTube

Natasha’s Thought of the Day: My Definition of a Coward

A coward is a hilarious yet pitiful sight to see and experience. A coward hides behind aliases, anonymity, avatars, masks, lies, and other people. A coward yells loudly behind mommy’s dress and daddy’s coat, but never stands out and speaks up for the world to see. A coward spits venom like a serpent but is too scared to face those they attack. A coward has little to no self-esteem, self-worth, dignity, or grace, so lacking a spine they sneak around trying to drag others to their level. A coward will hide behind a title but never live up to it. A coward is never dependable, reliable, or consistent…except in their cowardice. They simply exist, but never live, and even in their existence they don’t leave much of an impression.

I’m not too sure if I should feel sorry for the cowards of the world, sympathy, or nothing at all. They are a sad group of people. They can never stand on their own, they can never fight their own battles, they can never truly lead, they always make excuses for their inadequacies, and blame others for their shortcomings. Cowards are always the victim, always the damsel in distress, always the ones needing saving, always the ones complaining about what’s wrong and why they can’t do something. The words, ‘can’t’ and ‘impossible’ begin and end their sentences, and sometimes their days.

Cowards live for revenge, wanting to pay back those who hurt them, but they don’t have the courage to actually face this person head on. Cowards like to pick fights, but never stick around for combat, or they find a way for others to join the fight so their weaknesses are never revealed. They are the ones who spread rumors and cause drama, but in a sneaky, cleaver kind of way–that always make them look innocent. They pretend to be someone they aren’t because they don’t have the courage to be who they were created to be. They are weak-minded, weak physically, weak morally, and weak spiritually. They live in constant darkness; for only in light can one find true strength. It’s no wonder why cowards always prefer playing devil’s advocate, because for them it is too great a mountain to climb reaching up towards hope, possibility, and excellence, when they can use less effort kneeling down towards mediocrity.

I have encountered many cowards in my time, some as recently as today, and I am amazed at how much time they have on their hands to focus their energy on doing absolutely nothing of relevance in our world–except in their minds. It is pitiful that these insecure people spend so many hours of their day thinking about me, plotting and planning against me, and envious of what I have that they wish they had. We all have had our run-ins with cowards like this. See, cowards have plenty of time and energy to spread lies and hate, try to destroy other people’s reputations, families and businesses,  yet they don’t invest the time and energy to bring goodness and love into our world. They don’t have the time and energy to make a positive contribution to society, yet they can waste all of their resources trying to drain someone else and destroy their dreams. They don’t have the time and energy to build, create, innovate, inspire, embrace, uplift, and shine. Yet they have the time and energy to tear things apart, destroy, manipulate, deceive, and play childish games. They have time to send stupid messages and make phone calls to others hoping to make them feel as miserable as they do; post idiotic things on the Internet for even the tiniest bit of attention; make claims without supporting evidence; and just take up much-needed space in the world. They eventually leave this world as they entered it and lived it…clueless!

I have more respect for the person who tries and fails, than the one who never tries. I have more respect for the person with bumps, bruises, cuts and burns from falling down in life, because in their walk I see that they found a way to get back up. I have more respect for the person who comes to me directly, without masks, anonymity and code names, and just speaks their mind. I have more respect for the person who comes right out and confronts me with the goal to fight, than sucker-punch me in the dark. I have no respect for a person who isn’t brave enough to stand up and speak their mind. I say what I want to say, and clearly say my name when I’m speaking. I don’t post to my blogs or anywhere else as “anonymous” or with some made up alias, or using a picture not mine, because I have the courage to speak up, speak out, and back up what I say. My parents didn’t raise a punk, so I don’t cower over like one. I’m no bully and I won’t be bullied–never have and never will!

So I have one last thing to say to the cowards of the world…you can say what you want and do what you want, because just like your anonymity, you really don’t exist!

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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>I Rocked Those Red Pumps for HIV/AIDS Awareness

>By Natasha L.Foreman

Yesterday I rocked the mess out of my red pumps as I honored and brought awareness to National Women and Girl’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Although my feet were screaming in pain after more than 10 hours of walking around on those narrow but beautiful 4 inch heels; it was important that each person who paid a compliment or questioned why I had on heels understood that it wasn’t to heighten my vanity but to bring awareness to an important cause.

I never wear heels while traveling, but there I was at the airport braving those floors, escalators, and the train as I proudly walked to my gate to board the plane. Then I made it through an intensive two-hour  PhD residency session followed by a reception in our honor. I probably should have had someone take my picture earlier in the day before the day caught up to me and my feet…but I didn’t hesitate to ask a colleague to take my picture so that I could share it on this blog.


After a LONG day I was still smiling and rocking those red pumps!

I want to thank the Red Pump Project for engaging bloggers for this national day of awareness- it was an honor to participate in this great cause. I would like to thank them for highlighting and educating people about the need for women and girls to get tested; and for collaborating with The Red Tie Project (forming The Red Project Collective) that encourages and educates men on the need to get tested for HIV/AIDS.

Remember, we all must make an effort to get tested and stay protected…our lives and our loved ones depend on it!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Righs Reserved. paradigmlife.blogspot.com