have you found your destiny, your meaning in life, the reason you feel you were meant to be here? does it occupy every thought, every motive, every waking moment? it brings your soul a contentment that i can’t quite explain, that is, without sounding a bit crazy or mystical. (i will explain more of this later)
lets go back a few years to 1014 east 6th ave tallahassee, florida. a small cottage in downtown tallahassee (a college city…football town — city to the florida state seminoles… (my beloved seminoles). walls that had been “lathed”…a lost trade, one my own father was known to be the very fastest and best at. (lathing was the sheetrock like material which was nailed on slats of wood to apply plaster over) as a little girl i would go to the job and spend the days playing and just being near him. we would break, then have our lunch on the tall piles of lath. i thought he was the most handsome, magnificent man to have ever lived. he also made me feel as though i ruled the world…along with my mother. there was nothing the three of us couldn’t do. he would have to wear stilts, these tall like leg extenders, to hang the large boards on the ceiling, he would dance and act as though he was falling, then scoop me up and we would dance together. singing in his best waylon jennings voice, he was bigger than life. he was just a kid himself, just 25 years old. how could a construction job bring such happines and contentement? it was the love my parents shared and the love they transferred to me, the love they shared when they created me, it was an overpowering love, a love that made a tatooed messed up boy, bow his heart to a timid southern girl. it was magnetism, it was felt by everyone around them, i lived in its covering. when she presented me to him, his heart had never felt such ownership of love, love that was uncomditional, untainted, completely free and open. i was the product of this love, i could feel it, i could live in it’s safety, i was privy to its strength, it was the one thing he had done right, so the moments spent on the jobs dad contracted were a playground for me. mom was stingy, selfish with our club, our love, she had something that was all her own, she had given him something of value that nothing could match. I remember standing with my arm around his neck, driving home and seeing my mother’s named inked on his tanned arm thinking i was the luckiest girl in the world. running my hand over her name being so proud that he loved her, and thinking how beautiful she was. he would tell me again, how he had loved her since she was in 5th grade, and he knew he would marry her. i had his feet and my mom’s freckles, and i was never far from his side. now, the home i would call mine (so many years later in Tallahassee) had the very lath that my own father had swung a hammer and hung so many years ago. i remember looking above the fireplace before they hung the tv and the lath was expose, as i ran my hand over it…..and as so many memories flooded my mind, it was as though i was running my hand over fine silk, priceless china, it touched places deep in my heart…so deep i physically hurt. so ironic i would wind up in a home that would, in a weird way, be the beginning and then the end of something. for those of you who don’t know i grew up with domestic violence. my father, who had suffered such immense abuse as a child turned out himself to abuse my mother. it would take her 30 years to free herself from this…..only after i was married and had my first child. our club, our kingdom, the love that was so powerful, so pure, would fail him, and the demons of abuse, would usurped his dignity, his self-worth, his ability to accept love, until the beautiful queen buried her love so deep it would never surface again. i would see the most powerful man be given over to a ravished mind of guilt and eventually insanity. the loss, the pain would be too great, for he had hurt the one that lived in every recess of his heart. he would end up a pauper.
we would move in, kenny would install the most beautiful crown molding, and i would choose the most perfect blue/gray white to paint the original hand plastered walls (to compliment the beautiful oak floors). i would choose every light fixture, every drapery and every linen, all while rasing my 4 babies. believer it or not, we only had one bathroom, but, it was blissfully beautiful. all white on white, with furniture slip covered in various grays. archway entries into every room, it had all the best of the 1950’s cottage style homes. one of the very first things i did when i stepped into my home, was dedicate it to the service of others. i would commit to hours of feeding and loving on people around our dining room table. i went, and due to my thrifting abilities, i bought the largest table i could find.. it had intricate details all around the legs and skirt and it would seat 12! black and distressed, just my style, God had smiled on me, so i would, at least once a week, sometimes twice a week, fix a home cooked meal and have folks over to eat with us. it might be our banker or it might be mr charlie the drunk i had known for years, who lived at the local lake. i met mr charlie when i would load my babies in their double stroller and walk the lake. he loved seeing my babies, they made him sohappy. eventually he would help me load my little caravan of small people, as i would begin my routine of visitng and enjoying the day. i was in bliss. cooking and having people in my home is my niche, my thing, i was perfectly happy.. i would use my denali as a taxi service for indigent people who needed rides to the doctor, or church or to go visit a loved one. i remember the first conversation of sorts, that things were getting really bad, contracts had stopped coming in, kenny had stopped getting bid offers…..nothing..it was dried up. kenny ran our business, we were in commercial construction. at this time, in 2008, we had been in business for 13 years. truth be known, work had always just presented itself, a natural flow. tallahassee is not a large city and we had done well, not rich, but comfortable. so now we would see nothing, no work, no work in the future, just nothing. it began to just really unravel. kenny began to teach his men, who had become like family to us, how to do other things, called around and helped them find employment, it was heartbreaking. we began to sell equipement, and things, in hopes that something surely would turn around and change. i remeber vividly the day i took my draperies down from my living room and i felt my knees buckle and my stomach turn. we had short sold our home. as i sat on those hard wood floors with those drapes in my lap, i looked down and saw the weights they sew in to weight the bottoms down, and i realized every part of that weight was entrapped, could not be released unless ripped out. and i felt God speak to my heart and say, when you are hemmed in i will come and free you, just like this weight…with no way out. i will be your refuge. let me tell you we had no way out, our resources had dried up, the economy was done, the housing market was at a low, we had lost our vehicles our life was hemmed in. 24 years married and we would face the darkest times of our life. 1014 E 6th ave would come to an end. as i walked out one last time, i looked back and thought “God nothing good can come out of this, we have lost everthing, humbled in our own home town, the home that had served others and been a haven for so many, now would be gone and my own family would be without a place to call its own. i closed the door and left.
the journey from 2008 to the present is far to extensive to put in one post, but i had to give some background to tell you how i found myself where i am today, with the blog instagram and thrifting.
in the middle of all this it had gotten so bad, i would have to apply for my children to receive services from this great country. what a great system that allows its people such things. i was so very thankful to get them, but nonetheless, as thrilled as i was, i was equally shamed and sick about it. you tell yourself “i’ve paid into the system, i’ve always had medical insurance, i was a productive member of society”, again, “i paid into the system” bla bla bla , i deserve it right? all that changed nothing about how i felt. i have always loved clothes, and decorating and putting things together. i have always been one that i am either in cut offs and a beannie or full on stilettos and skirts and dresses, no in between with me. my philosophy, always look like you’re going somewhere! my normal routine is, the night before an appointment, i pick out my clothes, shoes and bag. lay them out and then i am ready for the next day. honestly, i get excited standing in my cloet deciding what to put together for the next day. its thrilling to me. even if i’m just at home, i love dressing up. ok, back to my apppointmnet, i go in to get my things ready for the next day, and it is as though lightening strikes me. defineltly one of those ephianies. i am living in my parent’s (mom’s) home, driving her car, separated by almost 700 miles from my husband of 26 yrs and applying for services from my government and i am picking out my clothes as if my life was not in total chaos. i put my jammies on and crawl into bed, pull my legs to my chest and weep from places i didn’t know existed. at this time kenny had not joined us (we had moved to north carolina…western where my mom lied) i woke up about 3:00 and began to question my very existence and my own faith, feeling abandoned, torn and so alone. i felt that small voice began to remind me of the things, if asked, i would say are the most importat things about myself. if you asked me, “angie what do you want your kids to see from you in the middle of this chaos? this mess you feel your life has become.” i thought, i want my kids to see transparency, authenticity, strength of will, and i want them to see me stand true for what i believe in, in the hard times just as i would in the good times. i dont want them see a poser, an imposter, someone faking it, i want them to continue to see their mother…the one they know. so i had 2 choices, i could go in to that appointment tomorrow haggarded and disheveled or i could go in there tomorrow as myself, tell what had happened to us and leave the rest up to God. decision made. i have never wanted to be anything different, i am no different now than i was living on 6th ave., and to go in any different than i am, is hypocrisy, a fraud…not the example i want my kids to see from me. i got up, pressed my clothes, got my matching shoes and handbag, went into my appointment and began to share what had happened to us. just let me say, i got not one dirty look, not a glance of judgemnet, i got only kindness and empathy from everyone there. the supervisor even came in and gave me more resources to look into. i remained friends with one of those ladies to this very day. being someone other than yourself, even in the hard situations, never pays off. its so easy to hide, when you are wounded by life and feel humiliated and beaten down, but at all cost, don’t let that define you. so after that moment of enlightenment, i began to blog about my journey, and through this process i saw a great need to help women, women who hadn’t the means to afford beautiful things, find great clothes at cheap prices. i would go into salvation army or goodwill, pick out a great outfit, try it on and then take a snap shot and send it to them. in return they would take the photos with them and shop. i was in heaven! so that is how whatasoutherngirlwants came about, and then i moved into instagram, not because i like taking selfies and pictures of myself, its a much larger thing than that, the pictures you see are clothes that have been thrifted…some as cheap as 2.00. they are to be an encouragement to the ladies, who have had to move to a shelter, a single mom, or ladies returning to the work force with no spouse. at this time, i had just gotten an email, and i found myself taking and posting pictures. even sending them! that was high tech for me! i had not been exposed to any technology outside of texting, and i would find myself writing a blog. i hadn’t even been to a blog, before a family member helped me open mine. i was in complete unchartered territory. i certainly hope i’m not rambling, so back to 1014 e 6th ave, what began in my home…serving, loving clothes…now has lead me to my destiny, my calling. it has come full circle. i think i can close, truly close, the door on 6th ave because it led me to where i was meant to be. the journey back angelam321.blogspot.com went to 10,000 readers in months angiedyer.com is at 5,000….so, honesty and brokenness is resonating with someone. that home was key to where i am today, and what i was born to do. i will very soon start a non profit that will clothe women of all walks of life who have been broken and find themselves with no means to dress for life, i will encourage them to stay true to themselves, tell them they can hold their heads high, have character in really bad situations…when they are hemmed in, rescue will come. i will share my story with them, my life, honor them for a moment with my journey as they face some dark moment in theirs. even if its just to completely expose myself, my pain and my triumphs, so they’ll be encouraged to press on and have faith that they are not alone. i know myself, i had enough waste in my own closet to share with someone in need. we just have to find a way to join together. this is my dream, my calling, my destiny and i am confident God will will give me the courage and the means to fulfill it.