Monday Push Through

So this has been an interesting weekend to say the least. Today I wanted to talk about anxiety and how it works to hinder you but can be overcame.  I went to a funeral over the weekend by myself and before you even think NO I am not about to blog the funeral.  This is more about me getting through it.  No one likes funerals.  They aren’t designed to be liked.  However for me they are a place of extra anxiety.  I remember as a kid going to maybe 2 or 3 funerals.  I can tell you who they were and the relationships of the people.  My very first one I was an usher and I fell into some vomit and let’s just say I was super embarrassed.

The second one I got sick physically and I still do when I go.  To view a person’s body makes me sick thinking of it.  Even when my mother in law passed almost a year ago, the fear of the whole situation made me frozen.  I got through it because just like on Saturday, I had to.  My stomach was hurting. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom a thousand and one times.  My hands were sweating.  I was having several panic attacks.  I want to shout out my support system who talked me through it because had it not to be there for a good friend, I wouldn’t have gone or I would have gone, felt sick and left. I am super glad that I pushed past it.  See anxiety is an awful feeling. If you let it ride your life you will find that you miss out on so much. I know this to be true because I have missed so many social activities behind it.  I would agree to go to something, get anxious and then back out. I would never tell people why it was just too much of an overcoming feeling for me to deal with so I wouldn’t.

Then others would get tired of asking me to attend so they wouldn’t. I knew why so I never asked or even pushed the conversation.  Also some people would invite me to something never tell the dress code and here I am showing up to something under dressed and knowing all eyes were on me and making me feel like running or not going to the next event.  All of these can be debilitating.  They cause you to lose out on life.  I have been pushing myself in the last few months to push past it but I can’t say it has been easy.  It’s hard to go to things alone but its something that is necessary so I have been doing it.  I feel great and I feel like every time I do it, it makes me stronger for the next event.

So if you are dealing with anxiety, go in your time but push through. You will feel super sick, maybe feel like you are going to throw up, but its the best to accomplish the goal of attending whatever would have normally held you back.  So for your Monday motivation, acknowledge wherever you are feeling in adequate and take one step to beat it and you will amaze yourself at what you can do if you push through!

Painting with a Twist; Anxiety Buster! 

So tonight I pushed past my anxiety. Yes I deal with social anxiety at times and it’s annoying but it’s apart of my life for right now. I never went through this in college weird enough but a lot of that had to do with being a freshman and trying to do it all. You know that wild college student that would be on a table that was me.


Fast forward to after college Toi and now at times I find that meeting up with others is a chore. The kind of chore where I back out quickly and because I have kids sometimes it’s real and other times my kids are my get out of jail free card. My husband is the polar opposite. He’s always been super outgoing and still is. It’s crazy when we go to places. It seems that he’s more inclined to be in the front and I’m content with disappearing. So although I am not the wild child that I once was when I was trying to find myself in college, I’m still just as easy-going as I remember and I am finding that instead of allowing my anxiety to get the best of me, I’m pushing past it and getting out. Maybe not the type of college crazy but the essence of who I am is still there.


A bigger issue with getting out was adjusting to motherhood. My first daughter was a preemie and with asthma too. There were more hospital trips than anything. I kept to myself because no one seemed to understand how I balanced working full-time, being at the hospital all night and with literally no sleep pushing through. I learned how to keep my circle tight. Moving to Philadelphia like I’ve blogged about many times was overwhelming. I relied on my husband for everything. I didn’t even drive for the first months even though I had my own car.


Fast forward to my life now I’m pushing through. Losing weight, being a good mom, working full-time, blogging, and meeting new friends. Slowly but surely I’m getting out and enjoying life. Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up at Painting with a Twist with Mocha Moms. Mocha Moms is an organization that is a support for women of color who are mostly stay at home moms. Now you know that I work full-time and there are other moms who work as well. When I first moved to Philadelphia I wanted to join. I was a stay at home mom then but my anxiety kept me from being apart. Tonight I crushed that fear that I had almost 5 years ago.



Tonight’s meet and great while painting and sipping of course was everything. These women are like-minded, warm and I was myself from the beginning and didn’t feel the need to put on airs.  I’ve been in group situations and you find yourself in the back and connect with maybe one another person, but not this group of women.  Plus who can’t have a good time painting and sipping on wine?!

I am truly grateful for not backing out tonight. I’m super happy to have met these great women. As I drove him thinking of the night, a huge smile came on my face. I turned on my adult music, maybe I could let pre mom Toi out every now and again!! Just maybe!! Oh and who won a gift certificate for the next visit to Painting with a Twist?! Oh yeah!!

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Sunday Message: Get What You Need 

So it’s no secret that I don’t always make it to church. I would love to be there every week and do make an effort, but life happens and sometimes we miss the mark. Today I was able to get into the building. Today was the 100 year celebration of the church and school. It was a lot of people today.  Standing room only type of crowd.

What I noticed most was this woman to my left who inspite of what everyone else was doing was tapping in for what she needed. Growing up I was always taught that if you can’t hear from the preacher, then maybe the choir will move you. If the choir won’t move you then maybe a greeting or hug will. I’ve been that woman in church today where life is going on but with tears streaming down my face I needed something more.  I don’t pretend to know what that woman was praying, crying, or seeking for what I do know is I get it.

In the world of wants there will come a time where you will have a need.  We all have had those times. You are no longer worried about the things that don’t matter as your mind and heart is bogged down that you shift your thoughts to only what you need. While you are in this mindset, you could care less who’s talking and why, who don’t like you or agree with you-you just have a need. Life has a way of humbling everyone to this place.  Like that woman, you get quiet, and the issues of your heart start to overflow.

Learn to tap into what you need more often. We are taught to be not be selfish but you will have to learn to have selfish moments. This is why women and mothers struggle with the balance of giving and pulling back. The struggle of the word no is important. Doing more for others who need to do for themselves, being a support to someone when you need support, giving your last and never being able to receive in your time of need are all examples of times when we have to learn to not always give in but find what we actually need.

Today you need a nap-take it. Today you need a break-take it. You need a bill paid and no money in sight but you can shift some things around and be a better steward of your finances. You need companionship but you really need to find out who you are, what you need and that will guide what you want. 

Like that woman who tuned the service out; tune out negative vibes, negative folks, even negativity that you bring to the table and focus!! This is why self-care and self-love is super important. Practicing this daily helps for when life knocks you down. You’re better equipped to be able to tap into your needs. When you’re off balance you have to be reminded of what’s important than if you had actually only focusing on the necessary things in life. 

Keep it Clean

The last several weeks I have been cleaning.  No I don’t mean just cleaning my natural house either.   I have been cleaning up my social media and what like in entertainment and who I choose to entertain.

I have been slowly pulling away from reality television to start with.  There are series that I watch that I have been deciding not to watch anymore.  That doesn’t mean I have sworn all of it off, but slowly but surely I will get there.  At this point it’s not that entertainment can’t be fun, but it can also be draining.  I am on a new wave as I conclude this year to find other ways of entertaining myself.  To be sure that I don’t, I make sure I don’t record it.  Do you know how much room my DVR has now?  Lots of space for me to record documentaries, movies, or things for my kids and I to watch together as a family.

Another thing I have been doing is cleaning out my social media.  Now let me be honest, I have an impressive block list. This is simply out of respect that my rule is I block in real life than I block in social media and not the other way around.  I do not block on social media just because I am temporarily mad over an issue.  We use the block feature so loosely that it really doesn’t have meaning.  I block after I have come to the decision that I do not want to interact with a person or group of persons in real life.  I am not a social media thug.  So no posting about what is wrong, posting petty memes.  I live in real-time.  So no you do not need to see pictures of my kids, what I am doing, who I am with, etc.  That privilege is lost.  Check out the features you have on your social media.  You can really control who the audience of your page goes to and who you allow to sit under as well.

One last thing about cleaning out my social media is my children.  Social media was developed to bring people together.  My children are the best parts of me.  I have friends and some family all over the world.  I am not going to be able to see them as often as I would like. Allowing them on my social media is a great way for them to see my kids grow.  With that in mind, we have closed up how we post on social media where they are concerned.  We don’t post them in real-time.  We do not allow anything identifying where they live, go to school, etc This prevents as much as we can, from others being able to go online and getting a social print of them.  I am not saying this is super fool-proof because it’s not but it at least allows me to put forth an effort.  Those who need to know the intrigue details know from my husband and I communicating those details.  Another app I use now is BlurPhoto for Apple Phones. (Android Phones Blue Photo) It is used to blur out anything that you don’t want shared.  I use this to block out names, other kids, and anything damaging to my kids’ identity.  Please get the app and use it.  It is free by the way.

One last thing, do not let anyone on your social media you don’t want on there.  You get tired of seeing their post than delete them. Don’t want them to know you deleted them then limit their access to you and your access to them.  Anything that makes you upset over social media can be tweaked in a way to keep your sanity.  There is an over indulgence in what we look at, what we take in, who we take in, etc  You have always had the power.  Clean it up and create places of peace.  All of those groups you are in, get out of them.  I was in a several marriage groups and they were places of nothing but contention and arguing and trying to show what you know.  I got to the point where I don’t need support for my marriage outside of the actual marriage.  In real life I wouldn’t consort with such a large group of people so why do it now.  Having a person or a few folks you can confide is one thing, but opening up Pandora’s box is unhealthy.

Trust me this will help you weed out real life friendships too.  As you change you don’t engage as much in real life to those things that are no longer serving your bottom line-get there!  Again as I always say this is what works for me  There is something that works for you but we all can use a little back up from social media and the headache that we not social media bring into our own lives.

Also on your phone too, you can mute group messages,.  Those messages will be there when you decide to unmute them.  I refuse to be a prisoner to my phone, social media, and anything else that do not matter in the long run.  This is coming from someone who loves social media.  Step back, try it out for a little while, I promise you its super fulfilling.

Support

Happy Monday to you.  I’ve been missing in action and I stated that I would be. I’ll give all of the updates from my trip later this week. However I am back and back in the blog flow. I wanted to talk about this Monday is about support.

Support is the act of being there for a person. Support is supposed to be unconditional. If you have the right people in your life that show love without question it is an amazing feeling. Everyone in their own way wants to feel supported. Keep in mind that support in numbers may be super small. Support isn’t about a number but about quality of the support received.  

For me support looks different now that I have changed my perspective of what I thought it was supposed to look like. It’s no surprise that when I moved from my family, I wanted support to mimic what I had left.  Now on the real the man power of people I had readily available was scarce however I had to get to the point of learning that I could accomplish anything on my own. I felt after I learned that lesson slowly but surely my support system shifted.

I am not interested in people who just want to be a spectator in my life. The world can do that from a safe distance.  However to give someone a front row seat in my life who didn’t earn it makes no sense. I had to learn that through break ups with people, getting hurt, and disputes. I had to get to the point of realizing those who support you don’t mimic that negative behavior. So now although my circle is super small it’s occupied by the right people who have been tried and true and that I give the same level of support in return.  I couldn’t be a bad friend and expect to get superior friendship in return. Also with family yes they are supposed to be there no matter what but that’s not always the case either. Sometimes you have to love family from a far as well. I feel too with family you can’t take people for granted.  Treat people well. I can say that I haven’t treated people well, in return have lost friendships and relationships with family. If you have ever found yourself in this situation the best way is to change. You may not get the relationships back but if you treat others right you can find others to replace what you lost. A lost isn’t truly a lost unless you don’t learn from the situation. 

So to the group of folks who feel like there isn’t anyone in your corner, don’t wallow in what you don’t have. Do for you and in time those who are supposed to be there will be. Be honest about your mistakes. Learn from them and focus on what you need to do. I honestly know that the way life is set up if you try to drink water, workout, get healthy, be kick assed in your relationships, find your passion, and try to be your best version of yourself you won’t have time to do the extra things that don’t produce greatness. Stop wasting your time and energy into the things that will not get you to your next level.  People are always talking about a glow up but won’t grow up and be their best selves. 

Support real people. Be there like you want those to support you. Admit where you fall short. Be okay with making amends for where amends need to be made. Drink water, eat right, raise good kids, be a blessing instead of a headache and you will continue to grow!  

Ask Toi: Your blogs are overwhelming with too much positivity, are you like this daily?!

Yes and no. I am human. I have bad days and good days. I can be up emotionally up and ready to take on the world one minute and having to be put on the prayer list to get out of the bed the next. 

Positivity is overwhelming when you only focus on the low moment. I have so many goals that I’m working on that even in the busy days I get extremely overwhelmed myself. My husband is probably the only one who sees my lowest moments. They can be small to severe. He’s a trooper. We’ve been together and as a team he knows what to say to snap me back. I also push to be positive. The world has enough negativity that I try not to add more to it. 

I also have expressed that I’ve suffered from depression. I have been in my past on medication during post partum and I’ve gone to professional counseling. I was taught the tools to come out of a negative jam. Also honesty is the best policy. See the way my life is set up I don’t have time to wallow.  But I get how you would be overwhelmed. You are looking through the lens of your own life and try to measure. Don’t do that. We have different paths. You have no idea what things I’ve been through to get to where I am. Never compare what you think you see. I’ve learned this the hard way. You will be super disappointed if you do. 

This is why I blog. So you can change the lens and direct it from the inside out and not the other way around. Try writing what it is about your life that you don’t like. Put it on paper than write what your grateful for. Then make a plan for each thing that you are struggling with and then work your plan. In doing this alone you won’t have time to focus on others. People including me will be in your rearview mirrow instead of in front of your windshield. Change your perspective!!! 

It’s a good thing to be overwhelming positive if I could describe what my life was like years ago, it might scare you!! 

Adult Not Grown

I finally get it.  Shout out to my parents, Charles and Rhonda but I finally get it.  All the times I was yelling out how “grown” I was and my parents would come behind my rant, and burst my bubble, I would feel some type of way, I was wrong and they were totally right.  But the reality is they were teaching me an invaluable lesson.  A lesson I need to share with some of my adults who have yet to walk in what it is to be a grown man or woman.

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As an adult its easy to think you have arrived when reality you have not.  You think that age has finally granted you the right to speak up and do whatever it is you want until life hits you and find out real quick the difference between grown and an adult. After many conversations with other adults let me help some of you fake grown adults out a bit.

An adult by definition according to the law is anyone who is 18 years and up.  How many 18 year olders are supporting themselves?  Not many.  However when they get in their feelings and want to talk they throw grown around and quite frankly not living up to it.  There are 50 year olds that are doing the same.  Your age doesn’t make you grown, its how you live your life that makes you grown. Just like when I was in college with a car but had a scholarship I was feeling myself except that my parents were still insuring my car.  See if I really wanted to be grown I should have been fitting ALL of my bills.  Yes I had two jobs and taking 19 credits and doing well, but the reality is I would have been financially supporting myself without their help then I could have hollered I was grown. My parents would have respected it.  Trust and believe they awaited the day for me to be grown.  All I had to do was use the energy of wanting to say I was grown and really be grown to get there.

Grown is when you can finance and deal with the repercussions of ALL of your actions. So if you fake grown and are pregnant with a baby that others will have to help you to support you just made an adult decision but ain’t grown enough to handle it.  See now I can say I am grown.  No one can say that they had to support me.  When I had my kids, my parents didn’t shell out money for my children.  They could just be grandparents and not feel like they were second parents in command.  As much as anyone could have had so much to say at the end of the day, no one had to support me financially.  I made a grown and an adult decision and still do this day.

See adulting will have you thinking the best of yourself when you aren’t in that place.  Grown people do grown things.  They can handle rejection, they can handle fall out from their decisions, they can stand on their own.  You can’t call yourself grown when at the very sign of pain or hurt, you fall apart.  You are just an adult that can’t take things. Grown folks are just grown and handle life has it comes.  Now that isn’t to say that things won’t knock you down, but there are childish adults that whine and die if any one thing happens.  Please understand where you are.

Here are examples of you being an adult but not grown:

  1. Someone having to pay your rent for you.  Grown people provide for their housing.  So if you are in the category of having to borrow money ALL the time you are an adult you are not grown. Grown people make an assessment of where they are financially and get their finances in order.  If that means cutting back, not spending on things they don’t need, etc.
  2. If you always have to call someone else to fight your battles. Why can’t you hold an argument or disagreement? If you find that you always need someone to speak for you, or you only say what you need to say when your support system is there, you are not grown you are an adult.  Grown people do as Kevin Hart, they “say it with their chest” and move on.
  3. If you have credit issues but refuse to deal with it, be grown open them past due bills and handle it.  You may take forever and a day to get it together but you do it because you are grown and have to face the music.
  4. If you have offended someone, apologize.  Yes this is hard to do but as an adult and one who wants to be grown be humble in my Kendrick Lamar voice.
  5. You lack accountability. Yes you are an adult.  Yes you can do certain things, but accountability leaves from parent to child so you can become stable.  The fact that you think of yourself as an island just because “nobody can tell you what to do” shows your lack of maturity.  Handle your business but have the maturity to know when to let others into your space and when to let them go.
  6. Skipping responsibilities such as fathering a child you had, being a good mother, skipping work, not paying bills, etc this is an adult who isn’t grown.  We ALL have been an adult that may have been messy in one or more of these areas, but when you are grown you are constantly trying to improve.  Not going to work is not being an adult, that’s stupid.  Yes stupid.  If you don’t work you don’t eat.  Stop relying on others to bail you out until you get your check next week because you don’t want to work and do what you need to do.

So to all of my adults that haven’t started walking in grown up things, get there.  It’s going to take discipline.  No one should have to carry another adult’s load.  Things happen in life, that someone will have to help others but when this is your everyday life than you need to accept that although you are by age an adult,  you are not a full-grown woman or man.  Get there!  Thanks to my mom and dad for busting my chops many a day.  Especially when I wanted to make decisions that they would have had to deal with the fall out.  I teach this lesson to my own kids.  We can be friends when you can pay these bills is not just a thing that parents say but its a way of life.  You can’t keep talking the talk but not walking the walk.  You really have to be able to handle YOUR decisions.  If YOUR decisions become a community response and it’s not just because you got sick, or unable to work, maybe you need less “grown” talk and more “grown” actions.

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