Mature Love

Let’s face it with the wave of reality television society obviously loves drama. We thrive on. We take it in.  We gravitate towards it. In the last 2 years I have taken on a journey to dismiss a lot of the drama in my life in the form of television and media. In addition to that in the last few years I have eliminated drama in my personal life and especially in marriage.

I think about the wonder years of college. Here I had come from this small town and I had recently been holding on to my high school sweetheart. I was so torn on keeping up this relationship but happy to start this new adult life. With limited time I ended one relationship and set out on a journey to find myself. In the midst of finding myself, I found a new relationship. In the beginning I kept telling myself to keep my options open but I fell hard and heavy with this tall glass of water who I later would end up marrying and having a family.  Oh the relationship goals I hear people speak of when I post my beautiful family is encouraging.  It encourages my husband and I to honor each other more and to be the example to ourselves and children.

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Let me dip my baby toe into the early years when we weren’t as gracious in relating to one another as we should. The drama and fights and break ups to make up were really out-of-pocket. My college years were filled with too much of it.  Our friends God bless their hearts had seen their fair share. From me moving off campus, to not being able to go down the street without a fight, goodness. Yes not anything physical but all that ratchet yelling could have made a lot of this reality television look like Elmo’s World. We were in love and I will speak for me unable to handle and know what adult love was supposed to look like. The cursing each other out, seeing or attempting to see other folks (depending on who you ask), acting a fool in public, breaking up and making up and not telling others, just exhausting to write let alone live. Back in the day it seemed like a whirlwind. It seemed normal. Everyone on campus knew we were toxic and out-of-pocket. Just a mess!

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Separating and allowing space and time and for me to honestly deal with some inner struggles led us back to each other. People think we just woke up one day and decided to give this thing called love a try. We were tested in that love several times almost ending our marriage. What turned things around from college and marriage was living and learning about myself. Finding out what worked for me. I found out my passions. I had learned to live with myself enough to not allow someone else to come into my space that wouldn’t allow me to be me. This allowance has come up several times in our current marriage. The ability to let your partner balance their lives with you is necessary. One day in our car we were at the point of divorce, he looked at me and said, “are we in or out?” He said if we are in lets stick together and make it and if we are out, lets find a way to be honorable with our children.  He looked me in my eyes and I knew he wasn’t playing.

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We at that moment lived by our mantra” us against the world.” We had stated that mantra in college but it solidified with me and him that day. That was at least 2 years into our marriage. There are no cute pictures you can take when two people have kids and are literally walking around like hateful roommates. What picture can you show when you are at the point of no return?  what picture can you show when you have enough and only doing the bare minimal?  So I always go back to the picture below.  When we were happy and made the decision to love each other forever. The time where we were so in love that nothing before that mattered and now nothing after should be to the point where we can’t work together.  We are willing to be with one another and this picture reminds me to take a mental break, wait for an answer, love despite of, and go back to the basics of what makes us, us!

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We don’t have the answers. We live each day but we know what works for us. We were friends first. We have “truth moments.” We give each safe space to be vulnerable.  We are learning to listen and talk to and not at each other. These are things that we learned in counseling the first months of our first year! I stepped out what we should be in our marriage and looked at the value of what we are able to make and hold on to when disaster hits. We are stronger together because we still want to be teammates in this thing called life.  As holidays like Valentine’s Day comes we love love or at least I who loves all holidays love these and any love related holidays, but to know that we are working through things and have matured beyond the college days is a miracle of staying the course! I want to leave a highlight with you, don’t think you have to struggle to get to this great point. If you can avoid it, please do so. Know yourself before you enter any relationship. The best thing is to work on you, get counseling before considering dating because uniting with a person can be a trigger in itself, and be clear about boundaries.  I am not glorifying bad behavior.  You can have healthy love. I am glad that we did the work to get to where we are. Nobody wants that perfect love story, but our love story is perfectly fitting for us!

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One Month Down

I think ever since I was a kid I struggled with the idea of being a perfectionist. It plagued me my whole life. I figured since I was good at being a student this was what I had to do. That is a blessing and a curse. Often times people with that type of personality trait often find themselves being people pleasers. That is not the way to live. So since becoming a parent and really alduting in this world, I am not as concerned with being perfect as I am with balance. With that being said let’s recap the month and try to make sure we keep things in perspective.

Vision Board

I usually try to complete it the first week of January. I actually completed it on Sunday January 27! Yep like a few days ago. So instead of giving myself a hard time about not completing it at the beginning I celebrate it framing the rest of my 11 months. I have said before there is at least one thing in each category that you can do every day to push you to success.  So that means the grind don’t stop.  Keep pushing and take some breaks in between too. Balance will take you place that over killing your mind and body can any day.

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Blog Goals

I completed 25 new blogs this month and this one makes it 26.  That is amazing. So if you missed any of them you know what to do.  Log on and catch up at ToiTime

I went to 2 blog events and conducted one interview this month. That’s on top of working, being a wife and a mother, attempting to drink my water, eat right, work out and schedule me time while being an Uber parent on the weekends. It can be done. So we will be hitting the ground running for February. Since February is love month as well as Black History month we got a lot of awesome blogs. My goal is to have a new blog a day for the month of February especially since it’s a short month at that! So stay tuned! Also if you are following me on Facebook  you know I have started my weekly challenge of making one video post a week. Being on video is hard for me but I am working through it. Expanding my reach and pushing me past my comfort zone at the same time!  Also I post Throw back blogs and blogs for special days too so follow me so that you aren’t missing them!

Workout and Life Goals

So the one thing I haven’t done was added more of my weekend runs. Its been a little hard due to my kids schedules. They are super busy and I love being on the go with them but I plan to increase my runs to prepare for my Spring races. My first race is in April so I really got to use these next months as time to push. I have worked out 3 times a week at home and sometimes more days when I can. So that is saving me. Now with my schedule being so tight, I make working out mandatory on whatever days I set them. Why? I can’t afford to get back to my prework out weight. By Spring and Summer I will be shutting thangs down! Trust me. Plus if you don’t move it, you lose it. I don’t want to have to start all over.

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So let’s say you aren’t having as a productive month.  Do not fret, reset. Reset your goals. Reset your vision for your life. Do not let another month go past and wait to get it together. January is over as of today but February is a shorter month with even bigger promises. How you start it will be up to you. Do not let this new month come and go in vain. Take charge of the vision that you set out for yourself. Reset!

National Spouse Day

Today is national spouse day! A day to acknowledge your spouse. Everyone needs and wants to be acknowledged for their wonderful accomplishments and that includes being a great spouse.

I love shouting out my spouse even when he irks my last nerve. The reality that some people say that the only time people shout out their spouse is usually in response to something that they have done wrong is craziness. You shouldn’t be married to someone who you are not proud to do the work in the background and show the world how amazing they are. The concept of treating them like crap in the background and then shouting them out openly when you want to save your marriage is not good. My husband and I are working towards private love that keeps us both grounded and secured so that when we have public displays of affection, there aren’t people like “I know the truth” moments.

 

I have shouted out my spouse even in the midst of turmoil and the reason is simple, better or worse! The worse moments are real. They are not the best of times but the commitment and friendship that I share with him overshadows the bad. Working through the bad and using the tools that he and I got from when we went to couple’s counseling helps. We are not ashamed that we did the work those first years that have saved us from calling it quits. Taking a few minutes to listen to each other matter. Sometimes we talk over our spouse and that is never good. No one wins when the family feuds. Also not embarrassing each other by talking down to, treating each other like kids, or just plain old respect helps too.

What I will say about my spouse, Marques, is that he is moving from husband to partner. I know that sounds weird but the moment he did I saw a change in how we interact. It’s cute to say your husband or husbae as I call him sometimes does what needs to be done. As a partner I notice that instead of the mundane tasks, we actually are at a point where we are flipping hats and giving each other what we need and not what we think each other needs. This comes from a LOT of communication. We talk to and try to not talk at. This doesn’t mean we don’t have fights because we have arguments but they aren’t as bad and we aren’t somewhere sulking and taking forever to recover.

We have known each other for 20 years this year. We split up and obviously kept in contact but we will be celebrating 7 years of marriage this year. Whew! That is grace. Being friends first there are times when we have our “truth moments.” It doesn’t mean we lie to each other outside of those moments. It’s a moment of vulnerability that neither one of us are allowed to judge each other. It may mean we listen and take a break from coming up with an answer or solution.  Marques you are an amazing father and we would say openly how he was working on being a great husband. I would like to say you moved right on up to awesome husband and partner. So today I shout you out and say I wouldn’t want to navigate the hard time with anyone else. You get me in all of my quirky ways and you allow me to be me. Now if we could get you to enjoy eating outside with me this would tip the scale! In the meantime, you just let me enjoy that outside eating with my girls and I love you for compromising in the places that needed it and being firm when it was necessary. Our son has an amazing example and our daughters can’t bring home nothing but excellence when the time comes for them to look for a great man in their lives in the future! I love you!

Ask Toi: Hump Day Edition

The question is how does our reader communicate to her boyfriend that he needs to stop promising the world to her during sex…

Well this is a good problem to have. In one sense know that during sex a man would just about empty out there account to you if it meant getting more. However it can be off-putting to hear it every time you have sex. I would just mention it obviously when you’re not in the moment. You have to bring it up so that it doesn’t mess up your head and then no one is having a good time.

Also know too if you leave it alone and don’t mention it at all it really could just be how things happen. Meaning men say dumb things at the point of climax. Most men barely follow through. Men make a lot of promises during sex. If he is saying weird things he wants to give you that you really wanted or needed and then falling by the way side with the come up, there’s a problem. If he is making promises on dumb and unattainable things then understand the other “head” is doing the talking. So if he promises you marriage or brings it up during sex but outside of the bedroom hes mute and you want to be married, let him know it’s not ok and that it has to stop.  If he does tell him how disheartening it is to have these conversations with him when he is doing it for the wrong reasons.  Climax produces a lot of amazing feelings but playing with your emotions isn’t one.

If it makes you uncomfortable or makes you want to stop having sex with him its worth a conversation.  However this is why women hold an amazing power.  We have the ability to really take a man down with that power. Speak up and find other ways to have some sexy talk during your sex sessions.

Side note for men: don’t tell a woman you gonna give her anything you can’t really give her once you wash up and leave. Talk that talk that can be backed up and not when we backing it up…..

 

Ask Toi: What do I do with an ex that won’t stop contacting me?

Ex boyfriend and ex girlfriends can vary from easy-going to super annoying. I would suggest if the communication is unwanted tell him/her.  Direct communication from your part in order to get direct no contact should work. However if your ex is the type that doesn’t take no for an answer, than block them. I think adults should be able to say hey I moved on and so should you, but if that doesn’t work you can’t stop them from calling but you can control what you answer.

One you block an ex, leave them blocked. It doesn’t always work out.  My husband was an ex at one point but I wouldn’t suggest people going to their ex just because it happened to work out for me. There was space and time between us to work ourselves out. However the mere fact that you don’t want contact means you need to close the door altogether.  If for some strange reason, you find your ex, blocking their number to contact you, or making a page on social media to follow you, please note that you may need to reinforce the I am not interested in anything anymore. If need be for safety reasons, police contact. It would be nice to think that just like back in the day where you could break up, be mad, call your girls for a night of fun, or call your boys for a night out and move on. There have been a lot of violence towards men and women during the break up phase. It doesn’t mean it will happen every time, but you have to be able to make safety your number on goal. Be an adult!

Also there has been times when I have had to get a male family member or friend to step in to assist. Whatever you do be sure to close the door. IF you really are done, be consistent in ignoring messages. Do not play the games when your mouth says you’re not, but your actions say something different. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s never a good thing to have to end it, and even in times when you feel like you have to be with this person, do what’s best for you. End it if you are done, and make an attempt to work it out if you can. Note that not all situations will be saved. You may always have much love for an ex but your lives just aren’t meant to be. That is okay. Speak authentically to your previous partner and voice your desires, to be left alone. If you find yourself and you are reading this to be on the other side where your previous partner has asked for space or has told you they aren’t interested, leave them alone.  Ain’t nobody got time to convince you to respect folks’ space.

 

How Long Should You Continue to Make Excuses for Adults?

I saw this question posed and it intrigued me. So examples of excuses for adults could be that family member that is always in and out of jail. The notion to say well they had a rough up bringing so that is why they are like “that.” I do agree your childhood and upbringing if left not dealt with will constantly come back to your memory and life. Butttttt when is enough, enough? When is that family or friend held responsible for their actions? Does everyone have to make excuses to soften the blow of the act committed? I would say no. I would say adults should be held accountable for thier actions and if you choose to make excuses due to your heart strings being attached that is fine. Please don’t make that a matter of fact for others to follow suit.

So let me dip into myself because its safer to speak on me than for me to give examples of others. If I have been dealing with issues in life and continue to make excuses and rebuttals for bad behavior, eventually the man-made grace that we extend to those around us will run out. This simply means that my friends and family will to a certain degree get tired of the mess that I continue to implode on others. As an adult I can have validity in my past as reasons to go back and mark a yes check mark on my actions. However as an adult it is also my personal responsibility to deal with myself so that what is going on inside of my life doesn’t spill out to others.

Many people believe that their issues are contained and it doesn’t spill out to others. This is false. Often times whatever you have on your heart will always spill out. This is why I personally take accountability now regarding what I say and do. I try to teach my kids the same. Instead of saying I didn’t mean it say I meant what I said and I apologize that I haven’t dealt with my issues. Everyone I know literally hates when you don’t take responsibility for mean things said. I think its insulting to others not to. So adults if you can read this we ALL have things that we need to deal with. Its our responsibility to deal with them. You can not continue to walk in absurdity and make everyone the scape goat for your issues and problems.

How long do you give an adult accountability for their problems? Immediately. How long do you make excuses for them is your heart issue. Sometimes you defend out of love and embarrassment. You can make that decision for how long you want to give, but the world is giving age to adulthood for understanding of right and wrong. I read a story of the daycare worker who smothered a baby and killed the baby because she was frustrated and didn’t have help that day. She can be forgiven I am sure. We all want and need it in some form, but she forever changed a family and an innocent child is no longer here. She is responsible for her actions. How the family chooses to forgive her is their right to take. However she bears the responsibility for that precious life that she took. So if you heart chooses to give your family and friends many excuses but after a while the reality is we can’t expect those around us to be willing to accept excuses just because another adult choose to give the “that’s just how they are excuse.”

It is imperative that you have to be able to understand that the stand you take with other adults in what they do may not be the same stand that others will support you on.  If i have hurt a friend and that friend chooses to forgive me and another one doesn’t, its their right. I can move in forgiveness and show a turned life by actions. My actions require me to accept responsibility because there was a part of me that in whatever was done I knew better. We teach kids to say sorry for wrongs. We then wait for them to be adults and then think now we have to atone for them. We don’t. It takes a lot to forgive and we should be working towards forgiveness. However you can forgive and not make excuses for the behavior too. Forgiveness may not always mean reconciliation. It may mean peace to live without staying in an offended state.

Lastly whether we want to admit to it or not, we all have the ability to make the necessary changes that we need. We all have the same 24 hours in a day to choose to walk in negativity, positivity, old habits, or make new choices. We all have the ability to know that we are wrong and make right living solutions. So when you see someone wasting them, know too that is also their choice. Know that you can cover them in grace but you don’t have to a blind eye to their mess. I think that’s the biggest thing you can do is be honest with yourself even if you choose to not openly tell others that they were right about their choices. A few years ago I came to grips with myself in so many forms. I had to take responsibility for my actions and in addition to that I had to be willing to change. Even if I never personally thank the people, places and things that were used to hold that mirror of reality up to me, I know that it exists and I choose to take actions daily to support a better mental, emotional, and physical way of being better in my own skin.

 

Operating In Offense

So today I was reminded of what it looks like to operate in offense. Operating in offense is when you are so offended by someone or something that you can’t hear what others are saying to you. You are snippy, rude, loud and angry. Not one thing is heard from that moment. You aren’t willing to see someone else because you have taken the focus off of the issue and made it about self.  This is a self-righteous stance. There is nothing that will be gained walking in offense.  The world is really walking in offense. A lot of it is real and some of it comes from a deep seeded place that needs to be healed.

Now I wasn’t the person operating in offense today but I was able to see the old me through the eyes of the other person’s offense. Like many who have attempted to speak to me in moments of rage, anger, etc. in the past,  I saw what its like talking to a wounded person. You can’t heal that situation or person until you deal with their pain. Period. I don’t care how many cute quotes, speeches, etc. you give, they aren’t going to listen. I think about some of my past hurt prior to counseling and I seen how extremely closed off I was. Not willing to hear a person because all I kept focusing on  was myself.  Today I was hit with that same reality. I was humbled and blessed to see that for one I had real growth. The old me would have dipped into offense and gave folks a run for their money. My mouth is for sure a sword. I know this about me and with that mindset I do all I can to check myself first before handing out a 2 piece!  I listened to them and saw them for their pain and gifted them grace.  Isn’t it funny how you will confront yourself in another form down the line?

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Photo by Demeter Attila on Pexels.com

I gave the person the grace that wasn’t extended to me. This is probably the part that I struggle with the most. Not giving of grace, because my life is a grace walk, but knowing that lack of maturity didn’t allow or wont allow people to see my past issues as simply me walking in offense. My ability to see myself works wonders for me NOW.  My biggest challenge is feeling like I have to apologize a thousand times and do emotional backflips for folks to see growth. I have now come or am coming to peace with the notion that after you take a step back some folks won’t see you for your growth because they never wanted to see you grow in the first place. They saw the offense and used it to get off their chest what they had in them the whole time.  As I watched the situation unfold this morning and while I stayed calm I just said let me gift this grace. Let me not get offended at their offense. Let me let time, maturity, and step back. It will be fixed eventually. We all have to check ourselves and walk without sometimes getting the apology that we think we need or want. I couldn’t get through to the person this morning.  I probably wont for some time. I can’t do anything past their offense. That is a hard pill to swallow but such is life.  Eventually I pray they have their moment like I had to have mine. Hurt people or offended people can’t operate with your best interest in mind until they deal with their issues.  It doesn’t matter how old or young, how smart, etc. We all have a responsibility to do our daily work and check ourselves.

My message for anyone  who is  walking in offense, you will not grow and heal until you deal with you. I could give you a virtual high-five over your offense. You could be like YASSSS SIS I was right to be offended. I did that to and justified my responses, but the truth is that the offense was there to help you grow. It wasn’t so you could prove anything. It was there to make you whole. Once you tap into that you really will have deep seeded change.

 

I know this sounds super deep on Wednesday when you were just grateful for simply surviving your week but it is a necessary nugget. Sometime you are fighting a person and its like punching air. You are attempting to get through to someone who isn’t ready to receive because they cant get past their offense or even their general disdain of you to keep it real. This is across ALL relationships. Even romantic ones. If you and your boo is always up in arms its because instead of hearing you are defending your offense. You are coming to the table of communication with your guard up so high nothing is reaching past this imaginary wall of offense. That’s what happened today. (FYI I am not talking about my husband) That wall was so high it would have taken Olympic size strides to overpower it.

Today was interesting to say the least especially since it’s not even noon but remember when you head is on right, your at peace in your life, its not just so you can be in a peace bubble.  You will see you and either be grateful for change or have to say ouch and be the change. To the person I encountered today that was and is walking in offense, I pray that you have your moment of inner clarity. I wish you the best as my peace remains!