Someone you want to brag about. Or someone who just has a good life story.
For my third, #BlackGirlMagic feature, I am introducing you to one of my best friend’s, Tierra. We call her Tee.
Like most of us, she has had a roller coaster ride in life. From being laid off twice, move from city to city to find her way and not to mention horrid dating stories. I’ve included two.
Do you remember my Swipe to Love post? Well, Tee was one of the 4 brides that I featured. She met her husband on Tinder. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you do after you finish this.
Jemia Young: Hello Mrs. Tierra Harris. So glad that you are here to share your story with the DV community. Let’s begin with a quick intro.
Tierra Harris: Hi Jemia! I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I lived in the inner city for awhile but eventually ended up on the outskirts in the predominantly white suburbs before moving to the DMV area in the late 90’s. Culture Shock.
After HS I made my way to NC for college at East Carolina University. Go PIRATES!
As a adult I have I lived in Raleigh, Charlotte (twice), Maryland, and Durham. Now I live in Jacksonville, Florida with my husband. I had a goal to live near a beach one day and in September 2016 we made that move. Needless to say I’m extremely well rounded from living in all of these different areas.
JY: A lot of moving around. What prompted that?
TH: Post college I guess you can say I needed to find my way. Some of the moves were by choice and others I’d say were situational due to corporate consolidation. Layoffs during the recession.
By the time I graduated college my family had relocated from MD to Raleigh, NC so I figured I’d give Raleigh a try. Not my speed.
In 2007 a light bulb clicked. Raleigh wasn’t cutting it as a 22 single young black professional. So I quit my job as a Program Supervisor. Took out a few personal loans and moved to Charlotte.
I thought I had it all figured out. Found a job, even a part-time gig, had a circle of friends and was going to networking events. I was determined to make things work.
But after 8 months my company closed down. I was forced to make a tough decision to move back to Maryland.
This was tough for me because Charlotte is where I declared my independence. I knew I couldn’t go back to Raleigh, because I just left there. So the only other viable and reasonable option was to go back to the DMV.
And that ended up in a disaster. Meaning I ate way too much food, didn’t have a social life and hated my job.
Needless to say I ended up back in Charlotte.
JY: Talk about adversity. So let’s transition to your personal life. You met your husband on Tinder. Tell us about your experience on the app.
TH: Ahhhhh yes Tinder worked for me. I certainly didn’t have high expectations because of so many bad online dating experiences with other websites.
Remember when I was getting to know what turned out to be my cousin on Match.com. And we can’t forget the creep who worked in IT at with my cell phone provider. He hacked into my iPad after I said I was no longer interested in getting to know him. Cyber stalker!
JY: Oh girl. I remember both of those situations. The cousin thing was hilarious. I probably laughed for weeks. Even though it wasn’t really funny, but it was. And yea the IT guy was a psycho.
TH: Thank goodness me and my “cousin” never met up. That would have been strange and uncomfortable.
With Tinder I had a bit of comfort knowing that your connections had to have a Facebook account. Back then the pics pulled from the Facebook profile. Not sure what it is now, but I am sure it is different.
I ended up matching with my husband when I was visiting family in Raleigh. We were 2.5 hours long distance for about a year and a half.
JY: What about his profile made you want to inquire more?
TH: One word…Shoulders. Forget the all the words underneath, it was his stance in the photo.
JY: Ahhhh shoulders. I remember this nickname! That was his name for a long time in the group chat!
TH: Yes! He had a sexy candid photo of him gazing off to the side. I wanted to be where he was looking. I think he later told me he was at some bird conservatory or something.
His profile was short and to the point. He ended it with a line saying ‘free-spirit and could really enjoy a nice cold one after typing all of this up!’. So the sense of humor was evident.
After I hit like, it said “it’s a match”. I woke up to a message from him the next morning. We talked everyday for a month and a half until we met face to face and decided to delete Tinder. Together.
I actually still have a screenshot of the profile.
JY: I love hearing you describe Darryl. I can tell that he was different. What made you realize this was it?
TH: It felt like my first adult relationship. We were both equally and genuinely on the same course, looking for the same things at the SAME TIME.
After a year together I had accepted a new Senior Management position. He planned to move to Charlotte find a job. We had a great plan. He was coming to my happy place, Charlotte.
3 months into my new shiny job I was miserable. It was the worst clean up situation ever. Like EVER. I felt like I was being set up for failure. We talked about my frustrations together as a couple and decided together that I should quit my job. So I did.
I sublet my apartment, put my possessions in storage and moved to Durham. Me and Miss Ivy, my dog child, lived with him in his 1 bedroom apartment. Oh for context, I was living in a 2 bedroom and I had to now live in a one bedroom with another adult. Talk about learning experience.
I knew he was it when I told him I could move back in with my family. They only lived 30 minutes from him. He said “No I would want you here with me, we’ll make it work.”
JY: Ok Darryl! I did not know that. He wanted his girl with him. No questions asked.
TH: He sure did. Not to mention, he is a gentleman like I never experienced before. Attentive. And he appeased some of the things I love that was out of his comfort zone or of non interest.
When we moved into our apartment in Florida, still boyfriend/girlfriend, one day he looked at me. I had my early morning face. Messy hair and wrinkled pjs. He looked at me and said, “you know what I was thinking, wow she’s even beautiful when she wakes up in the morning not all made up”. No one has ever made me feel this amazing.
Take me to the altar now is what I thought!
JY: *feels* Let’s fast forward to the day of your engagement. Did you have any idea he was going to ask you on that particular day?
TH: I had a thought, but only because I went to the nail salon that week and I said I was deciding between black and red. He responded and said red. It was odd because anytime I tell him about my options for a nail color, he’ll say whatever you like, you’re the one that has to wear it not me. But this time he actually picked a color. Second possible sign.
First possible sign was, it was my birthday weekend.
So we are in Charlotte and I knew my sister and her husband were going to come in town to hang out. I’m thinking okay if he was going to propose it’s going to be Saturday night because that’s when they will be there.
I was completely wrong. It happened on a Thursday. We were at a restaurant in a reserved area, as he would say. Lol. We were sitting on the second floor and he made sure my back was to the rest of the restaurant.
When it was time for dessert, my immediate family came up the steps singing Happy Birthday with bread pudding that was candlelit. Behind them was one of my best friends, her husband and my 3 yr old Goddaughter dressed in a chef’s costume. She was holding a black box on a silver platter…it was PERFECT.
JY: I was so bummed I missed it. But, being another one of your best friends I will tell you. I was about to hunt him down if it didn’t happen by Valentine’s Day 2018. So he just made my cut off.
TH: Hahaha! Thanks for having my back bestie. I had to stop getting my hopes up, as females we can drive ourselves crazy with the anticipation. Learning not to be fixated on “your timeline” is hard. I knew we would eventually get married. We would talk about our fictitious children and ideal home-style.
It was to the point that every time we would go on a trip my nails had to be done. Christmas Night 2015 we were in NYC, gazing at the tree in Rockefeller Center and I thought it was going to happen then…boy was I wrong. But It was totally worth the wait. It was perfect.
JY: You got engaged on January 18, 2018 and you were married on July 14, 2018! What made you two decide to get married in less than 6 months?
TH: Seeing that we were together coming up on 4 yrs and both in our 30’s…wait for what?!
JY: I know that’s right.
TH: I knew 2018 was going to be my year. You ever just have that feeling?
At first I said I wanted to get married on Cinco de Mayo and we almost went with that. But we discovered we had a significant date in July. And it was on a Saturday – 7/14/18. Our original dating anniversary was in July (7), his Birthday lands on the 14th of a month and mine on the 18th. Some may consider it corny but I see it as sentimental.
JY: I love that. It has significance besides just being your wedding date. What was the hardest part in planning your wedding?
TH: The most difficult part of planning the wedding for me was the financials. Weddings are expensive! Traditionally the bride’s family pays for the wedding. But coming from a middle class blended family with multiple children, it wasn’t realistic. I’m grateful to my family because they did help out as much as possible. But we were on our own.
We decided on Vegas for our destination. We thought it would have been a cheaper option, for us, than having a local wedding in Jacksonville. But we were wrong. We ended up over our budget. We wanted to make sure we that our guests felt like they were getting their money’s worth. But I wouldn’t change a thing. I am glad #DAndTeeTakesLV happened.
JY: Ok. Serious question here. The guest list. How do you manage that? That is my one pain point at the moment. Decided who is attending and who isn’t. Any advice for me or even others?
TH: “It’s not personal, it’s OUR wedding.” That was my motto and response to people.
Would I have loved to invite everyone? Yes. But was it practical? No. My family is huge, much larger than my husbands. But I knew I had to be fair in the guest list. He deserved an equal number of invites. I couldn’t take over.
What was hard for me is that I have friends who are closer to me than some family members. In some instances I had to choose best friend over a half sibling or cousin I’m not that close to.
It all boiled down to who is adding value to my current life and vice versa. If people are truly your friend, they understand weddings are costly they will not take it personal.
JY: Good wisdom. I might be calling on you to help me with some decisions soon.
You have been married a little over 6 months now. What has been the highlight?
TH: Yes, we just hit 6 months this week! Woot Woot. It’s still surreal.
Every time I say “my husband’, out loud in conversation I feel giddy. When I hear him refer to me as his wife, I light up inside.
The idea of Us, Ours and We is now a reality more than it ever was before. But the biggest highlight is that now we are valid in the eyes of God.
JY: Amen sista. What about the most challenging?
TH:I have some Alpha characteristics. I learned while we were dating that me “telling” him what WE are going to do was not going to fly. So now being married we are understanding more and more that compromise is the key to our relationship. And really any relationship.
It’s OK when things don’t go “my way”. That is something I will always have to work at.
One thing we agreed upon was to not use the word divorce in our household. No matter how heated a situation gets.
I am not sure if you watch Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk. She said that sometimes it’s okay to walk away and discuss later. Take a moment to reflect before saying something you might later regret.
I always heard the “don’t go to bed mad” rule. Well that doesn’t always work. People need a clear head space to tackle whatever the problem was sometimes.
JY: That was good Mrs. Harris. Thank you for being vulnerable and spending some time with me today. I appreciate what you have given my readers and thank you for being a DV fan.
TH: Jemia, I am honored to have the opportunity to chat with you on my whirlwind experiences and my no-I-am-not-pregnant shotgun wedding.
It wouldn’t have been a dream brought to reality without my family and bestest friends like you. You all helped make it magical and absolutely perfect. Having awesome dependable people in your corner is essential in life!
JY: Thank you girl! *hugs*
What did you think DV? Leave me a comment. Have a question for Tierra? Leave it below. She will respond!