Overcoming hurts and pains from the age of 12 to 30 years old, unloved, and unwanted in her intimate relationships with men, Michele decided to take a different approach to dating. She decided to no longer settle but gain a better understanding of her worth.
And so, she decided to become celibate. Throughout this journey, author Michele found a lot of wisdom, and while finding nuggets of wisdom, Michele was found by her husband, who respected her decision to wait before marriage.
We sat down with Michele to get to know her better. Find out what the author shared with us about her book and journey of celibacy.
We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did.
LB: What inspired you to write this book?
Michele: Honestly … anger, frustration, and a little bit of fear. I was so tired of being lied to, and my expectations completely unmet; beyond annoyed with feeling used for sex and getting nothing in return but loneliness; irritated with always feeling like I had to do more than I should have to just for them to stay. Fear crept in periodically whenever I would think about being celibate.
In my mind, clearly, I was doing something wrong. I was faithful in every relationship. I kept my house clean, washed their clothes, cooked, had sex when I didn’t feel like it, picked them up from the club (or wherever they were) in the middle of the night, and took them to work at 5 am on the other side of town because he didn’t drive. But no matter how much I did, when they were ready to move on, they did, and I was left holding my heart in my hands. Dripping with confused emotions, I would pull myself together, tell myself they weren’t worth my time, and I’m worthy of better.
I remember writing non-stop for a few days because I had so much to get out. But when I calmed down, I remembered the stories that other women shared with me. That’s when I realized that I was not the only woman going through this kind of thing with the men in our lives. Then I thought to myself, “why not share your story with others so they can know they’re not alone, but also to help them understand their worth?”
During this time, I wasn’t celibate. I was contemplating it ─ just not quite ready yet. But I believed fully that if I stopped having sex, my heart wouldn’t get hurt again. I wouldn’t feel so lonely, worthless, and unloved ever again. I decided I loved myself enough to at least try being celibate. Once I became committed to it, my life began to change. That’s when I knew I had to tell somebody… and that somebody is you!
LB: Can you explain the meaning behind your title Celibracy?
Michele: “Celibracy” is a combined word that means “celebrating celibacy.” Living a life of celibacy is something never talked about. We can talk about any and everything else but abstaining from sex is not a popular topic of discussion. So why would anyone want to CELEBRATE CELIBACY? I mean, we’ll celebrate a birthday, a graduation, a promotion or even a retirement. But celebrating NOT HAVING SEX ANYMORE UNTIL I’M MARRIED? “No thank you, ma’am. I’ll stop smoking or stop eating red meat before I give up sex” is the mentality of the average person, including me. But I wanted a life void of emotional distress, and celibacy was my choice. Turned out to be the best decision I ever made for my life. I celebrated celibacy for 7 years and I stopped celebrating it on my honeymoon in Aruba with Big Pep.
LB: In your book, you talk about feeling mistreated, unwanted and the hurts and pains you experienced from 12 to 30 years old; what’s one thing you’d say to the young lady who’s 12, 16, or 25 that’s experiencing some of the same things as you did, who’s reading this interview now?
Michele: Stop trying to be perfect to please him. Nobody is perfect, including him! Starting now, do not allow him to do anything to you or with you that makes you second guess who YOU are. You are beautiful and super sexy honey ─ believe that! Whether you’re a size 6 or 6x, you are all kinds of amazing, and you deserve the absolute best.
If you want to really learn who you are inside, keep your legs closed and get to know yourself better. Spend TIME with yourself, find out WHAT you like, then do the stuff that YOU like. Focus on you; work on those things that you know you need to work on; think about the kind of life you want for yourself and do what needs to be done to create that life.
Time waits for no one. If you continue giving your time to a man who’s not worthy of your time, then you don’t need to be with him. Period. No matter how young or old you are, put yourself first. Saving yourself for your husband will make you both very happy people.
Always remember, God knows you. He made you, and He knows what’s in your heart. Share your pain with Him. He wants to hear from you. Get to know Him, and I promise, your life will never be the same.
LB: Were you isolated by friends or mocked when they found out you were practicing celibacy?
Michele: Heck no! I didn’t broadcast it to the world, but when I was asked about dating, etc., I proudly replied, “Nah, I’m celibate! Loving and living my life while God works on my husband ─ whoever he is.” Both men and women applauded me for doing it as they admitted they never could. But I’d always encourage them to try it. After giving me the side-eye, the subject gently changed.
But I never took it personally because I know it’s a hard pill for most people to swallow. But after the first year, I got stronger and stronger and abstaining got easier and easier. By the third year, I almost forgot I was celibate.
LB: How long were celibate before meeting your husband?
Michele: Starting in the year 2001, I tried it off and on for one year, because I kept messing up. I would abstain for 4 weeks, then mess up. Abstain again for 3 months, then mess up. Abstain for 5 months, then mess up. In 2002, I was determined to get it right. By the time 2003 arrived, I had 12 months under my belt ─ couldn’t tell me nothing! I had a few challenging moments here and there, but I stuck to my guns. In 2007, I started dating Big Pep for the 3rdtime. I told him I was celibate, and he was all for it. After we got engaged in 2008, it got harder to abstain. I was closer to getting married, and he kept getting sexier and sexier to me, and it was hard. But he wouldn’t let me slip. When we got married in 2009, after 7 successful years of celibacy, we intimately blessed our union at our honeymoon in Aruba.
LB: Was the writing process of this book therapeutic?
Michele: Because it took 19 years to write it, it had moments of being therapeutic. But some moments were very emotional and hard to write. But even still, I’d do it again in a heartbeat if my story changes the trajectory of someone else’s life.
LB: What are some tips you suggest for the young woman who’s actively celibate? What should she be doing?
Michele: Aaah, yes! Good question. If you want to actively live a life of celibacy…find a church home and get involved. Learn what your spiritual gifts are and become involved in something using your gifts. If you’re serving the Lord and operating in your gifts while waiting on the promises of God, you won’t be distracted by sex. By default, your concern will be on the things of God and not on wondering why you’re not married yet.
If you’re not a believer, my prayer is that you come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. He will help you become committed to being celibate. If you are a believer and you’re living a life of celibacy, your focus must be on serving, not on waiting. In other words, you can’t just be celibate forever while sitting around doing nothing for the kingdom while you wait for your husband. Serve while you wait.
Let me tell you something, when I was celibate, I poured my heart into serving. I did outreach, prison ministry, monthly worship services at nursing homes, and fed the homeless on A REGULAR BASIS. When Big Pep came back into my life (the 3rdtime), I gently told him (in so many words) ─ “Bruh, I’m celibate and serving the Lord now. If you can’t get with it, then keep walking. No harm no foul. But I will not allow you to take me off my game. I’ve got 5 years of celibacy under my belt, so don’t come for me. If you’re interested in me, spend more time with the Lord and let’s see where we end up.” Obviously, he took me seriously and two years later, changed my name to Mrs. Rose