My life is not what I thought it would be.
At first I was going to be married to Michael Jackson. My childhood friends would be in our bedroom in Fort Wayne, IN dreaming of our marriage to the various members of the Jackson 5. Shari Jones was going to be married to Jermain, and Mitzi Hearn was married to Marlon. I never did understand why no one ever wanted to be married to Tito. We would listen to “ABC” and “I’ll be There” on the 45 record player, swaying our little hips back and forth. Marriage to MJ included having two children, a boy and a girl, in that order, living in a big house in California, a place I had never been, but since he was there so was I.
As I got older, and reality set in, the dream of marrying Michael became just that, a dream. But what would my ideal future look like? I dreamed of a husband. A strong He-Man sort of man. One with muscles, and broad chest, not too much hair, and whew Jesus a set of thighs that could….let me stop and compose myself. An honest man, who could take care of me and provide for the wonderful family that we would have together. He would be a business man or a minister who was respected in our community. We would be active with the Urban League, the NAACP and of course church. The mayor of the city we lived in would call him for major policy making decisions about race relations and economic opportunities. Balls and social galas were in our future, sitting and hobnobbing with those who needed to be hobnobbed with.
I would be a teacher, so that I can have summers off to be with the children, and we could have amazing summer vacations. We would be active participants in the PTA, Girl and/or Boy Scouts, and wear all the soccer, basketball, football Mom shirts at every game home or away. Our children would be angels. They would never be in trouble, were always polite with impeccable manners. They never got their clothes dirty, and had wonderful brown eyes and curly locs of black hair. Of course they were straight A students. President and Vice President of the Student Council, captain of the debate and football teams, head cheerleader and starting point guard on the basketball team. (They both run track)
As a family we would travel all over the world. Africa, Europe, Australia, all places where we would take pictures, send post cards, buy tacky knick-knacks and wish that everyone was here with us. We would travel to all the Disney’s and Six Flags over all the Americas. Our children would continue their excellence through their college experience, one at a HBCU and another at an SEC school to play football for the best conference in the nation.
And when our children have left the house, and have successful lives of their own, we will retire to the house on the lake, sit on the front porch, watching the sun set with our teeth soaking in the same glass.
Well, that is not quite what turned out to be my reality…and I am OK with that.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I still wish that I had the husband and the children. I see my friends celebrating the births of their grandchildren and it tugs at my heart a bit that it is not me. I envy my friends that go through the struggles it takes to reach the milestone of 25 years of marriage. Yet, my life is not all bad. In fact it is not bad at all.
I have loved and lost, and that is fine. I have traveled to places I have not been before and tasted delights that I never knew I wanted. I have more “children” than I can ever imagine giving birth too, and new ones pop on the scene every day. My job as an educator led me down a path to the career I have in the non-profit industry and the business I have in the area of philanthropy. I am involved in civic causes and share my time and money with those that are dear to my being.
I have lived in varied places, some of which I never thought I would visit, let alone stay. I have discovered parts of me that I never would have never known if my life had been different. I discovered my true strength and divine power, my soft spots and deep convictions. In my life I have learned from the horrific pain, extreme anger, tragic losses, epic gains, bountiful blessings, and the insane happiness that I have live through, and they have made me the person that I am today. In my life I have found that joy is truly internal and eternal, and when I have nothing , I still have that.
This life I have, had not been a crystal staircase or a slice of heaven, but it has been my life. It has been the life that I have been prepared to live since the day I was born. It is the life that stands on the foundation given to me by Wendell and Maurice who taught me to always know who I am, never let someone tell me I am not qualified, and to always put my problems on His alter and leave them there. This life has created the essence of who and whose I am. It breathes life into my soul. It gives me the energy to get-up-and-go to the next adventure, the next chapter in the book, the next leg of the journey. This life I have is the life I have. It is filled with zest and zing, full of enthusiasm and spirit.
The life I dreamed of I have not lived, but the life I have, I live to completeness each and every day.