Men are the Breadwinners

That’s the emerging theme I heard when I posed this question on Facebook last week:

Hey FB family:

I asked this question in a group and wanted your opinion.

I have a friend who is 48 and makes above $80k annually. When we were talking about joint accounts he said that he doesn’t believe in them because then someone would see how much you make. I explained to him that if you’re getting married your potential spouse should already know. He said, “Well, I’ve been burned before and I usually meet women who make substantially less than me. Between $20,000 and $40,000 less.”

I explained to him that at his age he’s closer to retirement than just entering the workforce and he shouldn’t be dating women who make less than $80,000 a year. What are your thoughts?

So, I get that my question was a fire starter in some instances. It brought all kinds of comments. Many of which I don’t think people answered and just wanted to comment. LOL!

I get it. But, the interesting thing is that women felt that the above man shouldn’t date if he’s worried about a woman’s salary because men are supposed to be the breadwinner. As a strong advocate for equality among the genders I disagree with this premise.

Why?

Because if the roles were reversed and I was making $80,000 or above I would not date anyone making substantially less than me. The response is…you shouldn’t. So, why is it that a man can date a woman who makes a lot less than him and it be okay or if he doesn’t he’s considered being pompous or too selective?

Women were responding that money shouldn’t matter because they make less than their spouse and it’s fine. Point of clarification…it’s your spouse. What married people decide is between them. I’m talking strictly dating.

My reason for giving the gentleman that advice was because he was closer to retirement than just entering the workforce and if he’s dating for a purpose he may want to consider someone who is his financial equal. You don’t want another dependent. However, even that was considered too harsh.

My own mother responded and said:

Let’s distinguish the levels here. If you are dating, no disclosure required. But, don’t be fooled, most people can figure out what you make, if they try hard enough. However, once you put a ring on it AND set a date, I think it is time for full disclosure on BOTH sides! After all, you can make $85K and be $65K in debt! Likewise, you could make $40K and have no debt! Full disclosure after engagement! That is my two cents!

Yes, my mom is on Facebook. She’s only 19 years older than me. But, I called her and told her that I disagreed because as I spoke about earlier this week with financial intimacy, would she want me to date someone who makes substantially less than me knowing I have a child. Her response, “No, I wouldn’t.” See. I told you.

I think we need to change our mindset and not be afraid to discuss money if we are dating with a purpose. You don’t have to give an exact figure of your income, but most people can guess based on what you do and where you work. It’s hard to date someone if you’re in your 40’s, living in this area (DC, Maryland and Virginia), have dependents and make less than $80,000. I’m not making excuses, I’m being real about the situation.

Which is why many women are running into men that want to pay for the first date and then chill or hang out at your house for the next. That’s crazy. We don’t know each other. You shouldn’t want me to know where you live and trust and believe that I won’t tell you where I live. So, how do we get to know each other?

Phone conversations? Yes. Text Messages? Sure. Email? Perhaps. Those are all great methods for communicating but you need to engage in the old-fashioned face to face communication. We need to hang out doing things. I’m not necessarily speaking on things that are costly, but you have to be willing to invest both time and money when dating someone.

Realistically speaking isn’t that what matchmakers do? Match you with someone who they believe would be a good fit. Who wants to get matched with a gorgeous man who makes an annual salary of $40,000? Not at 40.

Now, before you get your panties in a bunch and say, “T, money isn’t everything.” I know it’s not everything. I agree with that. If you’re a man who meets a woman who makes less than you I’m not suggesting you dump her and move along especially if there is chemistry. What I’m suggesting is that you observe her lifestyle and with communication find out if she can make sound financial decisions and practice sound judgement calls when it comes to wants and needs.

Again, it is my belief that the older you get you should look for financial compatibility as well as compatibility in other areas.  Dating with a purpose if you are closer to retirement with your financial equal is of utmost importance, not just for women but for men too. You don’t want to be a victim of someone’s financial irresponsibility.

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When to Introduce

I was reading a couple of weeks ago about how the rapper, Future, was upset that his ex-fiancee, Ciara, had their son around her new man (also famous – an athlete). His response to Russell Wilson (the new man) pushing his son in his stroller:

“If I was a kid, and my mama had some dude pushing me, I would’ve jumped out the stroller and slapped the s–t out of him. You never do that in our community; you’ve only known this dude for a few months and bring him around your son, who does that?” Future asked.

Now, let me say this…you do what you want to do when you are co-parenting. Bam! There it is! We have to learn to check our emotions at the door if it is something we disagree with as long as it doesn’t harm our child. That’s it and that’s all. Why the fuss Future?

I mean, for you to insist that we never do that in our community insinuates that men (black) don’t do that on a regular now. A lot of black men (in our community) don’t see anything wrong with introducing their children to their new girlfriend. It doesn’t make them a bad person. Their choice and right as a parent. The problem isn’t the new man pushing your son around the problem is that your feelings are hurt. I get it. I’ve been there. But, I have no say and neither do you.

My son has never met someone that I was romantically involved with. I’m not even there yet. I wasn’t raised like that, but I don’t judge anyone who does. Your choice when you are parenting your children. I have the luxury of having a week off to date, but other men and women may not be as lucky. They may be full-time parents and therefore where they go their children go. No shade. Your choice.

So, can we please all take a seat and make sure that we stop trying to step on our ex’s happiness? If she’s a good mother or he’s a good father, then let it go. Move on Martha move on!

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Dating Chronicles: Dang Stalkers

I haven’t written one of these “Dating Chronicles” in a while, but I couldn’t help myself and had to share what the heck happened to me on Sunday. So, you remember my post where I went out and got “turnt up” the week before? Well, the gentleman that I went out with was someone who I had met and known for a little over a year.

We met on-line and he then tells me he has a girlfriend. Umm, really boo? I stopped him dead in his tracks and explained that I don’t date another woman’s man so he could lose my number. He said, “I’m just trying to be your friend.” “Okay” I thought. I reiterated that “I don’t do that to other women and that friendship is all that we will ever be.” “Okay” he replied.

We went out a total of 6 times over the last year. We took turns paying for outings because I didn’t want to confuse him or give him reason to think he was dating me. We were hanging out in my opinion. All said outings occurred prior to 6 pm. Well, he broke up with his girlfriend in February and called to tell me.

I sympathized and told him to take his time to get his mind right because he had been in a long-term relationship (over 2 years) and needed to heal. Well, life got in the way and we hadn’t spoken in over the 3 months. He was on my mind so I sent him a text a to check-in and see how he was doing. He said he was good. He told me that he had met someone at his job and they were dating and trying to figure things out. “That’s good” I told him. He asked “When can I take you out?” I responded, “Umm, well I don’t have any plans tonight and my girlfriend wants me to come out to her bar where she is working.”

He responded, “I don’t have any money” today so maybe next week. I told him, “It’s cool. I got it.” He agreed to go. He told me that we could take one car and so I met him at the metro station and parked my car. He drove us to the bar which was 10 minutes away. It was like old times. We settled into the familiar and ordered bar food and drinks and caught up.

We had a good time and he drove me back to my car. We gave each other a hug and I told him that I would text him when I got in the house. I did. Went to sleep. Hungover for the next couple of days. Got busy. He sent a text. I responded. He called a few times, I didn’t call back. He then sends me the following text messages:

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I was livid. How could someone call themselves a friend and then feel used when they didn’t even pay for said outing? I apparently was under the impression that this guy could be happy with just being friends. Apparently not. He wanted more. Much more. I’m just hurt that I wasn’t able to see that.

I’ve blocked his number. Blocked him from Facebook and Google circles. Thankfully, he doesn’t know where I live. Why? Because as I told you that I don’t allow randoms to know where I lay my head. Friend or not. No way.

I have to be honest though….I felt stupid. I was really wondering how I couldn’t see this man’s chemical imbalance for what it was worth. How could I not recognize that this guy was lying and biding his time until he could someday get lucky? How sick is that? How long would this act continue? He thanked me that night for being a friend which was a lie because he was never my friend. He was a perpetrating loser.

As a survivor of sexual assault and abuse I have to admit that his psychotic outburst had me scared. Had me thinking that had he not played his hand he would have actually forced himself on me someday. It scared me to think that I had actually befriended this man. That I believed he was a decent human being. What was I thinking?

 

Financial Intimacy

I fell in love the first time. I’m walking the next time. – A.W.

Heard the above quote on Monday and I was like “Yes”. That’s what I’ve been trying to say. So, here’s the background…

Mr. K and I were talking last week about what I call financial intimacy. I was stressing the importance of financial intimacy when he was discussing the issues in his first marriage. I explained that we had similar stories and that is why I believe in financial intimacy.  I explained the concept to him.

Financial intimacy occurs when you and your partner have reached a point in your relationship where you decide to take it to the next level. Whatever that level may be for you. You sit down and provide your full financial picture: i.e. current credit reports, any loans you owe (mortgage, car, student), credit cards, etc. You produce a full financial picture with your partner to share before you take that next step. In my case, it would be engagement, because I’m not shacking up. (Thankfully, he doesn’t either)

What I’m saying is that before you get engaged you need to be intimate financially with each other. You should make sure that you and your partner are aware of the back story before getting engaged. Don’t waste time or money on an engagement ring if you don’t know everything about your partner. It could make for a costly situation.

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Call it years of knowledge, or trial by fire, but many people who’ve gone through a marriage and a divorce that cost them financially will agree that you want to walk into any other situation with your eyes wide open. Not falling with your eyes wide shut.

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Can you imagine marrying your soul mate only to find out that they are $250,000 in debt? Nope. But, it is real. It happens all the time. But, let me tell you one of the top reasons for divorce….money.

Yep, you know it. Why? Because before we get engaged, we don’t do pre-engagement counseling to determine whether or not we are compatible. It’s counseling before you get engaged. I heard this from a classmate who did it and started researching it. I was like…Yep! This is what everyone needs to do.

I wish I had known about it before I took the plunge. Heck, I’m sure he wished he knew about it too. Once we got engaged and the ring sat on my finger, it seemed that problems were not always handled effectively. One of us was compromising to the point we were dismissing potential landmines so that we could get married. It was about the wedding and getting through to that day so we could live blissfully ever after.

That didn’t work. I don’t remember the financial piece in our pre-marital counseling, but I’m telling you that it in no way prepared us for living, working and paying bills together. We had one philosophy…separate accounts. We tried the first year of marriage to have joint accounts but we had different philosophies on spending that contributed to the stress in our relationship. We loved each other so we didn’t want to argue over money. We thought by keeping separate accounts we could live in bliss. However, after year 10 he wanted to try joint accounts again. I was determined not too. Too many issues already. It became worse.

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I’ve learned some things since I last said I do and that is the importance of financial intimacy. No secrets. No hesitation. No regrets. No entering into a situation where I wish I had been prepared. I don’t want a debt that WE didn’t create. You can love all you want with your heart, but you don’t want to pay in the end with your pockets. It can cause resentment.

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Until next time!

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Too Strong

Sometimes I feel that I can’t win for losing. I’m either told that I’m too strong, too independent or too ambitious for some men. Do you know how frustrating that can be for women? A feminist? You don’t?

It goes like this: we want a man who values our independence, sees our strength and appreciates the core of who we are. But, are we turning men off?

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My mother never taught me how to be a wife. She taught me how to be self-sufficient because that is what she had to do. She had to raise three children on her own. She taught me how to be strong. It was then (at an early age) that I realized that I would have my own before I became a unit.

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I worked hard in college by working two and three jobs and carrying a full class load. I never dated a dope boy or traded my sanity for anything illegal or immoral. I was too strong and independent for that.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do at first, but I realized that I had to pay my bills in the interim. I had to figure out how to survive on my own. Being strong was both scary and powerful.

hqdefaultBut it came at a cost in some situations. My independent attitude scared some men away. I didn’t care because I wasn’t going to change, but I wondered would I find someone who would see me as smart and sexy and know that even though I didn’t need him that I would want him.

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Some did know. Others didn’t because I’m kind of guarded. I say that chivalry was dead until I met him. Mr. K says that it is a man’s ego whereby he can’t see where he fits into the life of a smart and strong woman. He wants to be the man. He said chivalry isn’t dead, just men not knowing how to handle the strong and independent woman.

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I sit back and think about what he said and wonder why then do so many men want an independent woman and then criticize her once he gets her for being too independent. Is there really such a thing? LOL. Is she really trying to be the man or do you not have the depth of communication and intelligence to reach her? Maybe a little bit of both? I don’t know. I don’t understand how if we’re both successful then why do some men feel threatened?

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So, where do some strong and independent women end up? Alone. One is a lonely number. But, it is also the first number. The beginning. The chance to define ourselves. Independent, strong and fearless women should be applauded. There is nothing wrong with us. We are who we are meant to be.

Too much for some men. But, not for the real men.

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Until next time!

 

I’m Too Old for This

Yep, I’m saying it. I may not look like I’m 40, but I am. I am too old to be turning it up like I’m 21. I can’t handle the turn up.

Verb:1) Getting loose, being wild and potentially engaging in sexual activity with members of the opposite gender (or the same gender if that’s what you’re in to)
2) Acting crazy due to consumption of large amounts of alcohol, marijuana, molly or other drugs

It can be used as a noun where it is spelled “turnt up” instead of “turned up” as grammatical conventions would suggest.Turnt up isused to described the state of being wild and crazy like someone would be at a party.It is not to be confused with the vegetable, the turnip, to which it shares some phonic similarities but is otherwise entirely unrelated

Example:  We’re gonna turn up tonight at John’s party.
– Urban Dictionary

Point of clarification. There was no sexual behavior or drugs involved in my turn up story. Only a large consumption of alcohol.

So, what happened was….

My girlfriend is a bartender and invited me out to her bar last Saturday night. I was upset about something and she said you need to get out. Come out and hang with me. We’re going to drink and smoke hookah. Umm, sure why not.

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Disclaimer: She’s 32. I’m 40. Stuff starts to go after 40. LOL! She hasn’t learned that yet.

I didn’t want to look desperate hanging out at a bar alone so I invited a friend to come with me and hang out. Strictly friendship. Weird, but I trusted that he would have my back in case I got twisted also known as drunk.

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We arrived about 9 pm and got bar food and drinks. The music was soo good. Especially when the band got there and started playing. Live music, hookah and drinks. It got no better. After 5 drinks that she was just mixing up and has now named “Grape Kool-Aid” she cut me off and served me water.

Nope. I want more Kool-Aid. Another drink bartender. I was getting a little tipsy. I was tired of drinking water but the vibe in the bar was so energetic.

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The next thing I remember is that they were cutting on the lights and it was time to go home. It was 2 am. I had actually stayed in a bar for 5 hours. Where did the time go? Thankfully, I wasn’t the designated driver. I arrived home safely and I paid for my night of fun the next two days. Ugh! I was hungover.

I went out to dinner with a friend Sunday night and I thought I would die. I was turning green at the dinner table. He asked, “Are you okay?” “No” I yelled and raced to the bathroom. I started crying and holding back the vomit and begged for sweet baby Jesus to please heal me. Water wasn’t helping. The room was spinning.

I didn’t throw up but asked him to take me home. He said “Okay” and drove me back home. I crawled back in bed, took 3 aspirin, drank water and prayed that I would be well enough to go to work the next day. I realized that I’m too old to be having a hangover and swore that I would never drink this much again.

Lesson learned!

 

I Care

I care for Sandra Bland. I care what happened to her. I want to know what happened to this young woman. I want to know if she did in fact take her own life or was she murdered. The questions are many and the answers are few, but if it was your child, your sister, your mother, your wife or your friend wouldn’t you want to know? Wouldn’t you want to know the truth?

Yes, you would. I’m no expert on jail house protocol, but I thought that jails have procedures in place to prevent people from hanging themselves? With a plastic bag too? I’m not saying that it’s not possible, but I think a full investigation of her death is warranted. Too many questionable acts of violence against my black brothers and sisters. We can’t take no more.

We do know that the FBI has joined the Texas Rangers in investigating the circumstances surrounding her death and that the arresting officer violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy. He’s on administrative leave. According to the officer she was charged with assaulting an officer when she became argumentative and uncooperative. Umm, I would too if I was asked to get out of my car because I didn’t want to put out my cigarette. It’s not against the law.

Here is a clip of the video from the arresting officer’s dashboard camera:

Here is the video that a good Samaritan shot of the arrest:

The official video from the trooper’s dash camera leaves more questioning. No editing was ever mentioned and it appears to have been edited. How can people trust those in charge when there seems to be a cover-up? What happened to Sandra Bland? The LA Times author, Ryan Parker, discusses some of these seen anomalies by stating that:

In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots in which cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the Public Safety Department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.

One of the more conspicuous anomalies comes 25 minutes and five seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming. – Ryan Parker

Was she argumentative? Yes, as the video clearly shows. But, is that against the law? Is there a crime to be argumentative with an officer? No. However, did she deserved to be slammed to the ground? Did she deserve to hear the officers tell her “good” and “I don’t care” when she told them that she had a medical condition – epilepsy. No.

Here is a photo of Sandra Bland. She was 28. Let’s remember her. Let’s not forget that we need answers to her death. We need to know that there was no heinous and illegal acts of violence that were committed. I am my sister’s keeper and I am saying…we need justice.

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Until next time loves!

Three Types of People

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my girlfriend about Mr. K. I was telling her what a gentleman he was and how I really liked that he was raised right. I told her that he was a good guy and just normal. I told her that I never had normal. I told her how I’m just enjoying the normal. He’s not perfect. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone has something, but he’s just a good person.

She asked me what if we got into a serious relationship, would I stop the weekly dinners at his parents? Nope. She said, “No, I mean you both are serious and in a committed relationship. You would let him go?” “Yes” I replied. It is their tradition. I told her that I would never interfere with family tradition and I like that they do that. She smiled and told me that she thought it was weird that he has dinner with his parents weekly. I smiled at her sincerely and said, “No, it’s not weird.” She asked, “It’s not?” “Nope” I told her. “It’s normal. We’re broken so normal things seem abnormal to the broken.” She asked, “So, that’s what it is?” “Yeah” I sighed.

I then went on to explain that there are three types of people in the world: broken, broken and healed and never been broken. I told her that Mr. K has never been broken so his being and doing normal things seem weird to those that have been broken.  Let me break it down further:

  1. Broken People – People that have suffered a traumatic life altering experience whether through health crisis, death or violence. They were fundamentally changed by that experience in some way, shape or form. The memories are still there. The pain is still evident. The scars can be seen by everyone. They will either be aggressive and have anger management issues or they could be hiding behind the pain with numbing items such as drugs (prescription or non-prescription) or alcohol. They are still bound by the chains of pain.
  2. Broken and Healed People – These are broken people (see definition above) that have received helped from the pain and are healed. The scars have healed and they are able to cope and deal with their brokenness. They’ve sought counseling and grown in their faith. The combination of therapy and their faith has allowed them to look at the pain as traumatic but they’ve learned how to cope and not let their past darken their future. They’ve broken the chains of their painful experiences.
  3. Never Been Broken People – These are people who have never experienced a traumatic event that shaped their world view or experiences. They have problems like everyone else, but thankfully they have never been broken.

There you have it. I am in Category #2 and thankfully I am healed from my pain and can talk about it without shame. Without feeling like I’m being judged or looked at awkwardly. I hold my head high because my faith and therapy have allowed me to get past the sexual assaults. I have a voice that I want to utilize to educate young men and women that these experiences are horrific but they will not define the whole of who you are. Only you can do that. Only you can want to heal. It takes time and it will get easier. Just know that I know and I will be here.

I’m thankful that I’m in category #2 and Mr. K is in category #3. It means that I can value and appreciate the normalcy of us. I can sense his uneasiness when I discuss the sexual violence of my past. I can sense his concern when my eyes tear up as I discuss the prison pipeline that we are creating for our young girls that are also suffering violence. I can sense his admiration when he says to me “I’m happy you shared your story with me. You are the most brilliant woman I know.” I smile.

I tell him that all I do is advocate for those who feel they have no voice. I am healed by the grace of God, but I will always remember being broken. I pray continually for everyone and especially those who are broken that they find the peace that they are looking for. Our world would definitely be a better place as a result of it.

Until next time loves!

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My Life Could Be a Meme

Many of you know what memes are. For those that don’t memes are humorous images, videos, a piece of text, etc. that is copied and altered to make them funny and relevant. They are then shared over the various social media platforms. It’s how jokes are told in an instant age.

Here are some funny memes:

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Well, I’m sad to say that my life was like a meme at one point. I was dating this guy and  we were in a “pseudo relationship”. You know the relationship that exists in your head and not in reality? Where he’s looking at me with the side eye when I say…

9d0b186e70125d1f0cf3b8519046a9cd0cdfb64c3868c69349e684e09a5f9fa0Funny, right? But it’s true. I kept looking for the silver lining. You know seeing the best in him and the situation, knowing and believing that he would want more. More from me. Me being the operative word in my last sentence. Not the others.

But, it was wishful thinking. I was and will always be just a random.

If you so choose, each day can be filled with even more joy than the one before. If you so choose, even the most seemingly random events can work in your favor. – Ralph Marston

I also said I was wasting my time. He probably thought…

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He’d be right. We weren’t in a relationship. I didn’t want randomness. I wanted to be specific. But it wasn’t in the plans. I hurt. I cried. I lived. I loved. It ended as many things do. I went from being this person:

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To reminding myself of this:

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And sometimes you have to do that. So, if your relationship can be summed up in a meme, don’t despair. Find or make a funny one and show the world that you’re still standing. We make choices and some work out and some don’t. Look at the whole picture and say, “I’ve learned something.”

Ah, the joys of relationships!

Sweat, Hair and Love

On Friday, July 3rd, I attended the nuptials of my good friend in Delaware. What a beautiful wedding! However, let me back it up and tell you how it started for me at the hair salon that morning. I was going in to get my hair done and feeling kind of melancholy because of the co-parenting issues and frustrations I’ve been feeling. I’m usually a strong person, but some days I just can’t seem to keep the dam of my emotions from bursting. That morning at the salon, it burst.

I was talking to some of the women in the salon about my issues and they were so encouraging and supportive that I instantly felt better. I’ve told you before that I love sisterhood right? It’s like the best feeling in the world when a woman who has walked in similar situations can encourage you to keep on and know that trouble don’t last all ways. That’s what I got. An extra dose of love and friendship at the hair salon.

That put me in a great mood to hop in the car and drive to Delaware and witness my girl’s marriage. I was actually concerned that I would be late because it was a holiday weekend and I thought beach traffic would delay me so I left a little earlier. I arrived at 4:15 for a 5 pm outdoor wedding. Woo hoo! I was on time.

I had never been to an outdoor wedding so I was super excited. My phone’s battery was less than 10% because the car charger didn’t charge at all and I needed to make sure I could navigate my happy tail home. So, I didn’t really take ceremony photos. However, some of my friends did which I will share later.

The ceremony was wonderful. Quick (thankfully) and beautiful. The bride was a vision in white being escorted by her dad. The groom had a smile that could melt butter as he looked at his fiance with such love. Aww, I was getting sentimental. I was holding out tears until the mother of the bride started to cry. Why? I looked away quickly.

Guests were asked to pick up our chairs and take them into the tent where the reception will be held. The cocktail hour started and the DJ got the party going. The win for me was a bourbon tasting on the other side of the mansion. It was so good. I found two new Bourbons that I like.

The reception was a full-on party and I was trying not to sweat out my hair. Because you know as a black woman who spent 4 hours in the hair salon that morning. But, the day had no humidity and the rain held out. It was an old school party and I took part in the photo booth, enjoyed the red velvet cup cakes and danced until my feet hurt.

I love love and I am ecstatic that I got to witness the nuptials of the Godettes. They are a couple that met years ago and developed a friendship. Life had different paths, challenges and adventures that they had to experience alone, but ultimately they ended up where they are supposed to be. Together.

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. – Ann Landers

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Ah, wedded bliss!