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.

By Natasha Foreman Bryant
 
 
 I admit that around 2006-2007 I watched the earlier seasons of the Bad Girls Club. I wanted to know what Oxygen was bringing to the table, so-to-speak, and what made these young females so “Bad”. I soon discovered that droves of females claiming to be real women, were lining up to join this show to prove how devious, violent, ruthless, and spiteful they were. They wanted to prove to themselves that they were the hottest, sexiest female on the show, and the one who could curse the most and the loudest, while pretending that they really wanted to fight one or more of the other cast members.
 
 Yeah I got bored of it quickly because I know that the women who aren’t to be messed with don’t go around advertising it for the world, or tooting their own horn. They just confidently sit back and relax.
 
 Little girls throw temper tantrums, play childish games, and do petty things. This is what I saw on the Bad Girls Club, and this is what I saw when I decided to check on the show the other day (now in it’s 11th season). It’s disappointing to see these girls, obviously in pain, obviously battling some childhood or early adulthood trauma, taking out their pain and frustration on others.
 
 Someone let them down early on in their life. Someone didn’t give them a healthy dose of love, attention, affection, and structure growing up. Someone didn’t teach them how to be ladies and mature women. Maybe there are daddy issues, mommy issues, or both. Whatever the problem it runs deep, and when not properly redirected, hurt people will ultimately hurt people.
 
 I always wonder if the cast members from all eleven seasons look back at the episodes they starred in and really reflect upon how they were portrayed, how they acted, and the image that they have left in the minds of their viewers—and the young girls that I’m sure tune in regularly.
 
 The episode that I have shared at the end of this post is a small reflection of what Bad Girls Club has recycled and evolved into after 11 seasons. I tell those so-called “bad girls” and those who walk around thinking they are “bad” to woman up! Your attitude and false image won’t get you far in life. The high you feel tearing others down will still leave you feeling lonely when the cameras aren’t on you, or when your entourage isn’t hanging around egging you on.
 
 [ http://www.hulu.com/watch/539096%5D
 
 
 Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
 
 

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I have had the opportunity recently to forgive some people in my life who wronged me over the years. I had forgiven them already, but I guess for them, it was necessary to ask…and in some cases, this was not the first request. In all relationships- business and personal I believe that when we part ways, even on bad terms, you should still forgive the person that you believe wronged you. It’s not so much for them as it is for you. This is your opportunity to leave the past in the past, release the weight you have been carrying around on your shoulders and in your heart, and free yourself from the venom inside that causes you to roll your eyes and suck your teeth every time you think of them.

So a few years ago I walked away from a personal relationship. I had forgiven that person for misleading me, betraying me, and mistreating me. I forgave that person for not treating me with the respect that I deserved- that I had given him. He thought money and gifts were good enough, and they would make me overlook his indiscretions in our relationship. He thought that material possessions and a ‘status’ and ‘title’ excused his behavior and treatment of me. He thought that telling me lies and misleading me were excusable offenses because he was, “a man” and “men will be men”, and some other nonsense.

He forgot he was playing games with a child of God. He also forgot my clear declaration that I shared with him, and every man before and after him…”Be honest and upfront. If you want to see other people then let’s just casually date, so we can both be free to date others” because “Once I’m through I’m through, there are no re-takes, breaks while we figure things out, or break-ups to make-ups…if you cheat I’m gone….”

But what was I thinking? Women didn’t leave him, he left them, so I was obviously delusional and way in over my head in his opinion.

It would appear that he was actually the delusional one. Once I walked away from the relationship there was no looking back, no holding on to memories and hopes for something more with him. No desire to punish him, get even, or parade around him and his friends as a reminder of what he had and lost. I was at peace. I had already moved on before I made the decision to say, “this isn’t working out.” But to have this overwhelming sense of peace and resolve it required me to forgive him, which I did.

Years have passed and it never crossed my mind that this individual would spend the time and resources to track me down to ask for forgiveness. But he did. So once again I forgave him. No emotion, no questions of why, how, and “what did I do to you to make you think I deserved this?” Instead, I calmly and rationally told him that I forgave him years ago, have no interest on rekindling flames or even being friends. I wished him well in life and said a quick prayer hoping he receives the life he has always wanted, and that it falls in line with what God believes he needs.

For him he felt he needed clarification; he needed to know how I knew he was cheating because he had been so careful; he needed to know if we could be friends (I guess he thought the first time I said “no” it was a typo), and if we could meet up from time to time. Quickly, clearly, and succinctly I explained the following…

I knew he was cheating because I pray throughout the day every day that God always reveals the truth to me and never allows me to be hidden from it or blind-sided by it; I told him that he should never attempt to mislead or battle with a ‘believer’ because no weapon formed against us shall ever prosper. I firmly yet respectfully told him again that he had no reason to contact me after that point, that if he has learned from his past and has no intention on repeating it then it’s time for him to move on and learn his next lesson.

Had I still been carrying around resentment, anger, desperation, or even a romantic-type of love for him, this moment would have been destroyed because I would have reacted and responded emotionally, and would have allowed myself to be engaged in a lengthy conversation. I would have allowed his need to feel like he closed the chapter on ‘us’ or manipulative desire to start a new one overwhelm me. Instead this dialogue lasted no more than 10 minutes (the time it took me to finish eating my sandwich, chips, and most of my drink).

Forgiving him once more was again for me.

I have learned over the years that I am quite capable of walking away, moving on, weeding out people who serve no purpose but to distract me, and doing so lovingly. My high self-esteem is an added benefit, because I know that no matter what I go through and who I go through it with, that there is always someone better out there for me; that God is there watching over me and setting things in motion where I eventfully (through obedience) afterwards end up with bigger, better, and more beautiful experiences each and every time…and this has happened after each and every ‘failed’ relationship- both in business and in my love life.

The only way to truly prepare for bigger, better, and more beautiful experiences and blessings is to unload the weight from anger, guilt, fear, and negativity. We have to drain the venom from our minds and bodies that poisons us and everyone in our path. We have to forgive those who wronged us past and present. If you haven’t done it, if you haven’t let go, release that weight and start living your life fully…today!

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

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