National Mental Health 2019

Today is National Mental Health Awareness day and I have been trying to gather my thoughts on what it means to me. Mental health means different things to different people, but we all are highly responsible for managing it.

For some its more than just simply taking a bubble bath and moving on from a bad day. Its the highs and lows of just being able to get through certain stressors and knowing what your triggers and stressors are. Having the mental fortitude to be able to in a moment’s notice handle our triggers while still proceeding with the demands of life. Some handle it well and some not as well as they should. Learning to dust yourself off when you have a less than stellar moment. Learning it’s okay to try again.
It would be great if those who suffer the most with the most triggers or issues would feel supported but the truth of the matter is that’s not always the case. The people who suffer feel isolated and alone. Even when folks say they support they run out of it leaving the sufferer feeling abandoned.
I would encourage those who feel as if something is wrong to seek help. For those who have sought help and found that they still aren’t where they want to be to continue to get what you need even if that means changing providers or doing a medicine check. Keep trucking even if you feel isolated and seek those who support you. You will find those who don’t and as bad as it feels you don’t need them in your inner circle. It’s going to hurt more when those who you feel should support don’t. Don’t let it stop you from pushing on. Push forward. Seek help. Pursue love within yourself. Know that you are still worthy of the life you want it just make take time to get it. Although we love fast and convenience some things are worth taking our time to get lasting achievements.
I wish I had a picture of how frazzled I looked on the outside.  My outward pictures were so pretty. I learned of my depression and anxiety shortly after the birth of my son.  I was a wreck in a new city away from my support system. I wished I had known like I know now that although I wanted my young family to look picture perfect that it was okay to say I wasn’t. I wish I had known it was okay to say the living arrangements I had wasn’t working and even if it felt like a quitter and it was okay. I wish I could have put into words what I felt.  I wish I had known that I was going to be okay.  You are going to be okay even in the messiness of your life. When the very bottom of your life drops you will still survive.  Now when I take pictures such as this one I see one that is learning not learned to be okay with myself. I lost weight, I lost friends, I lost a few family members and I lost the old me that needed to go. What remains is a new version of myself and in that a newer version will continue to immerge.  She’s okay with herself flaws and all. She’s dusting herself daily and trying her best!

Monday: Life Hits Hard

It’s been quite some time since I’ve had an issue with triggers or depression. I’ve been able to do whatever I’ve needed to do to push through. I’m grateful! But on Sunday I had a moment hit me before an event that made me have to reset a million and one times.

The reason for me speaking openly about it is because I know I’m not the only one. I have moments when something will remind me of something in my past, a frustrating moment and it’s debilitating. It stops me from being a doting mom and forget me being a wife in that moment. As supportive as my husband is the reality is that it’s a lonely experience. He’s never going to understand it. There isn’t enough love to love me out of it sometimes! It’s sounds harsh but it’s true! It’s not something that a cup of coffee or glass of wine will fix! I experience so many mixed emotions during a bad trigger and it makes me in the moment feel extremely weak. People think that if you’re a person who experiences these lows that you can just snap out of it and that’s not the case. I’ve had people see me in these moments who have sat and discussed it. I’ve had friends of my husband know more about it than I would ever have shared outside of the blog. I’ve isolated myself from my family and friends because it feels like the most horrible feeling of being someone who can see it creep up and not be able to pull back!

I’m not alone. Anxiety and depression has many people who recognizes it’s ugliness. You feel isolated because if and when you are in a trigger you can’t formulate what you feel to someone who isn’t trained. Most times it comes with ridicule and no answers. I had that moment. I know what works for me in those moments. Sometimes retreating helps. Even in those moments it’s lonely! It’s feels angry and uncomfortable and uncontrollable! I dislike it even though I’m in a better place to push myself out of it! I’ve coped with it and extremely honest these days about it!

As someone who is a creator my mind doesn’t work like most! My mind has a thousand one creative flows. It’s a blessing and a curse. This is what I do when I get in it!

I get quiet. I may even been irritable. People don’t understand that irritability is a sign of anxiety and depression! I also sometimes in an extreme flare may need to retreat. It’s uncommon for people who have a blog, 3 kids and other responsibilities to be able to retreat but without the ability to do it I can’t manage. In those quiet moments it’s probably the hardest. I feel like I should be in a better place to have to pull back! I should be able to act like I’m fine but nope it’s okay to not be okay. I find it disheartening to hear people talk about others fighting as if just because their fight is different it’s less honorable than them. We ALL got issues.

I showed up for myself regardless! It’s how I come out! I used to spend days inside of a trigger and now I can have it flare from a few minutes to a few hours. I do everything I can to come out! If music doesn’t work, podcasts might, prayer might, a good movie might, a nap might, writing why I’m grateful might! Whatever it takes reset yourself! Reset yourself even if you are feeling alone. Reset yourself even when it hurts! Reset yourself even when you don’t feel like you are going to come out because you will!

This Monday is dedicated to those who suffer in silence. It’s dedicated to those who suffer and are worried about the ones telling you to get over it and it may not be easy to do! It may hurt! It may be stressful! Whatever it is show up! Show up and do everything you can to reset! I promise you I understand and if I could would give you the biggest hug, high five, whatever it takes to let you know I don’t judge you! Take Monday and any day you have this feeling and shake it until it falls!

I’m grateful to push through!

Sunday Message: Controlling Your Triggers

We all have triggers.  Triggers are the things that we see, experience, or are around us that pushes an emotional response.  We all have to find a way to control them, handle them and most importantly address them.

Some people deal with them in healthy ways such as counseling, talking to a trusted associate or friend or acknowledge them.  The unhealthy way of dealing with triggers is hoping they will simply go away, drugs, sex, relationships, etc. I am aware of my triggers because I have had more times of not handling them right that I had no choice but address them.  I was tired of arguing, yelling, ready to fight, and being about drama to deflect what I hadn’t acknowledged.  It was too much to keep things going!  My tipping point came when I got into it with family and it spilled over into social media. I knew at that moment that I had to disengage, take a break, and handle the root of the issue. So instead of worrying who was wrong, I just dug deep into getting my life aligned. Now the issues that came up didn’t  disappear but with the help of my counselor I worked through!  Funny part I was in counseling and she told me that the situation was going to happen.  It was almost verbatim how she described it.  It’s funny now but then I was one split second from bail.

I have since seen a few family members since the whole breakdown and nothing on he inside of me moves. I hold no malice.  However there are other triggers that I still work through quite often.  For me they come out when I handle my children. My kids are good overall but they will every now and again make me tap into something and I find I have to work through some things. Parenthood in my opinion is sharpening me to be a better version of myself.  I owe it to my children to be the parent that they need and not the parent that is in constant fight or flight so that is why I have been in and out of therapy since I had my oldest and she will be 10 this year. I  have no embarrassment at all with saying that in order to control how I walk in this world is to have help. I want to spend my days being whole and not a whole mess.

How do you know that you are being triggered? Listen to yourself.  The things you speak about portray where you are.  If all you speak about is certain people or things that aren’t about building you to be your best, that issue you speak on still has life and you need to really deal with.  When I as having marital issues and not speaking and listening to my husband all I spoke about was negativity of our marriage.  I also would speak negatively about the imagery of other positive marriages. This is where the term hating does apply. I wanted my marriage to be a safe space.  I wanted it to be strong from the inside out and would take issue with others who appeared that way.  I wasn’t strong enough to be real about my part in my marriage. I never acknowledged how my triggers were not my husband’s to deal with.  I wanted him to be understanding and fix me while I acted a fool and hide behind “for better or for worse.”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are responsible for our own happiness. We want others to care about our triggers more than we are wiling to deal and handle them.  It’s not enough to be understanding as you watch a partner do nothing.  How about just regular folks watching you wallow in your triggers.  Are your friends supposed to carry your triggers and the bad behavior they often demonstrate?  They can love and be supportive but they are limited in making things okay. I blogged the other day about who my friends were present for my most colorful times with Marques in college. Looking back they should have raised the standard for our behavior in that if we wanted to hang the drama couldn’t come.  Triggers place distance between people.  Triggers is the cause of why hurt people hurt people.  It’s simply still not okay to contain hurting people and having expectations that your relationship, title, or age will grace you.

You need to speak for, handle, and show up for that inner pain and deal with it. You need to trust me it’s in your best interest.  Everyday I wake up even when the day before  might have allowed  a trigger to get the best of me and show up for myself.  It’s important for me to mirror wholeness to myself as well as my children. Also social media and triggers is real. I do not argue  with folks on social media. Debate is a thin line to fighting too.  I will debate you with maybe 2 exchanges and that’s it.  It also depends on the topic. The trolls will never engage me.  Also if its family or friends that I have personal numbers to, it’s a no automatically. First I don’t post too many subjective things and on top of that I think about whether or not its someone who has a front row or at least a few rows into my life for me to get hype and it has zero outcome.  Also don’t let what you think you see on Facebook. I knew of several males who made who dedications to their wives and was cheating the whole time using hashtags like couple goals.  Life is complicated and comparison will leave you  in self defeat! Don’t do it!

One last thing, in life we can’t always retreat but one of the things that can assist in healing is separation.  I was told when I stated I needed to separate from individuals that I was wrong.  I knew what I needed.  I knew I wasn’t going to be okay from years of mess by staying in the midst.  My counselor allowed me to see that the person needed me to stay and work things out because staying gave the other party to believe that things weren’t as bad as it was. I didn’t care if I was looked as wrong.  I no longer wanted to be right. I wanted to be free to live and love.  I needed healing from my triggers.  I needed to separate to walk in real wholeness and know right or wrong I was entitled to how I felt but not entitled to react negatively to it!  Working through triggers is a daily tussle.  However if you are overwhelmed or feel overtaken in your triggers, its time to acknowledge it and get help!

What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

Ask Toi: My Husband Says I Mother Him, How do I stop this behavior?

You will only stop what you accept is  bad behavior. Your husband can tell you that you are mothering him but if you make excuses, it won’t change. You are not his mother but is wife. You can’t expect this man to be a partner to you and “man” up if you are the one calling the shots.  What if he at the end of the day isn’t the man for you. Maybe you thought you could force him into what you wanted him to be. You know this happens the second you leave him, they find the one who has mastered their influence without calling the shots. Your man needs influence, not a parent.

Now from your email let’s dive into a few of your reasons for “mothering” your husband:

  • He doesn’t know how to do things
  • He’s always forgetful
  • He acts like a child
  • He needs me to tell him what to do

How did you knowing all of the above things marry this man and then expect him to all of a sudden be this man you needed him to be. Let’s break down each excuse for you.

  • He doesn’t know how to do things

This could be from running a home, to paying bills. This is called skill sets. The best way to empower your man is to encourage him to get the skill sets that he lacks. This doesn’t need to be in the form of like you said yelling at him, berating him, or telling him how he can’t do something. He is his mother’s child, not yours. You do not need to do any of that and expect him to respect you for not respecting him. All men don’t come with the same lessons learned in life. If you were honest with yourself this is more about you than him. It’s not your job to raise him. He is not a project. You should have encouraged him prior to marriage to get certain skills necessary for the home you wanted. If he wasn’t able to run a household, does he have uncles, or other male friends that can mentor him? Did you go to counseling where you could have respectfully spoken about these things you saw?  If so did you give him space to correct it? If space was given and you saw he wasn’t progressing why did you marry him?  The fact that he’s bringing up you mothering him is that he is tired of it.  No man wants to feel like his wife is raising him. He may know he lacks certain skills but he doesn’t want to be yelled at them for them. Either encourage him to obtain the skills or y’all need to have a conversation. Imma have to be real, there is a woman who can speak to these places that he lacks and will have him get it together that won’t include berating him, calling him stupid (as you have said you constantly do), or yelling. Ask a child who gets yelled at all the time, it doesn’t bring out the best in them. I know you thought love would make him change, but sis it ain’t and it won’t!

  • He’s always forgetful

Okay, so are a million other folks in the world. What he is going through isn’t uncommon. I am forgetful at times. It irritates my husband to no end.  He has never tried to be my father or disrespect me over this. I think to be honest that you have lost respect for him since its taking him to long to get it together and you need to be honest with yourself about it. I talked to several men before giving you this advice and none of them have thought that your behavior will trigger him to be more mindful.  They all along with me agreed it would make him do the opposite. I don’t care how long you have been together you both have to change or accept its no longer working for you both. He may not need to be in a marriage not just because you keep yelling or treating him like a child but because he may not need to be in a marriage until he figures out what he wants from life.

  • He acts like a child

I don’t know what will make him be more of a man but I am sure he was like this prior to marriage. I am quite sure you thought you could fix it and it’s not being fixed. The main things is does he take care of his home.? Does he work and contribute to the bills? Does he take care of you? If his childish ways which could be about him just being more relaxed than you in your high-strung (your words not mine) behavior is that you may not be equally yoked. You may be too serious to match his ways of enjoying life. Or maybe he’s more childish than you wanted and end of the day if he’s not changing, mothering him won’t change him into what you wanted him to be. How can you think negative reinforcements will make him more positive?

  • He needs me to tell him what to do

Does he really? Or has he gotten used to you telling him what to do?  This matters. I can’t tell you how your relationship should progress but I can tell you that what you are doing he’s not liking it. If he was writing me I would tell him to talk to you about it and if you don’t change and counseling won’t work so he can tell you to stop in a forum where you won’t get offended, then he needs to decide if he can stay with you AND like this for the rest of your marriage. I am telling you the same. You have the power to change your approach. You have to ask yourself if he never changes his ways, and you don’t, do you think that both of you can walk in marriage and be joyful with it the way you coexist now? Can he if he’s already said he doesn’t like how you treat him walk in the love and honor of you for the rest of the marriage? We are talking to death do you both part? Can he be with someone who constantly puts him down forever? To keep it real, he shouldn’t. I know you didn’t want that answer but its true. Can you be with someone you have to mother forever? Nope and you shouldn’t have to.  Somebody has to put it on the table. You change and he changes and you can meet. Or find out neither one of you can change and won’t change and go your separate ways.

If you both can’t take the time to work on yourselves together and apart than you can’t stay like this. Think about if this was your friend who said her husband was feeling this way, would you encourage her to stop? I would hope you would. If she said but….you know right well it can’t continue like this. NO ONE wants to be in the situation you both have made. You both had made excuses as to why it needs to be this way but you both forget one important part:

Marriage should be a contract that both parties are getting their needs met. No marriage should feel like they aren’t being supported or feel loved. No one can feel loved where on party is controlling. I know you were saying that you feel like you do control. This whole happy wife, happy life doesn’t mean the wife can say or do and make commands and if that husband wants to be happy he should go along with whatever you say or do. Happy wife, happy life should start with a wife that comes in the situation already happy. She should be happy in her own skin. You have said you aren’t. Maybe you are taking on your husband as a project because you need to find something fulfilling for yourself. If you aren’t getting from him the things that should be making you better, you both are already losing. Relationships and power couples isn’t about money. It’s about having a partner that makes you find the joy in life. He makes you want to achieve more in life and vice versa. If he’s being beat at home mentally and emotionally and vice versa since in essence you are beating yourself trying to whip him in line too, this is a sure way to lose. You both need to count up the cost. Do you want to be in a marriage together? Marriage is about partnership not dictatorship. If his momma couldn’t raise him, neither will you.

I am never stating a couple should break up. I am saying you both need a reality check. There is no way love can grow in a hostile environment. Being yelled at and treated like a child is not good to foster this manhood you want from him. I actually am glad you don’t have kids. If this is how you would treat a child, you will need parenting classes too. No child would want to feel loved just for the sake of you yelling. You wouldn’t speak to kids this way but yet you do it your husband and expect a change? Speak to him better or realize you can’t due to his lack and do something about you. You are only responsible for your actions. If you spent more time on what you needed to do instead of his lack you might find your answers. If he is left alone and things fall, let it be because he allowed them to fall. It’s not your job to catch him in all things. Some of this manhood walk you want him to walk in will happen when things slip. Even as a parent some things I allow my kids to fall in with my guidance so they can learn.  It’s not my job to make them perfect. It’s not your job to make your husband perfect.

You can stop by:

  • When you feel yourself about to yell, walk away. Be quiet. This is going to be hard but you can do it
  • Only interject if he comes to you-again hard but you have to do it
  • Talk to him and not at him-you can better results from a sweet answer than a bitter one
  • Let him fall a few times. Protect the things that are yours alone but let him slip up a few times and he will get it
  • Encourage him when he does great things. Turn this negative talk into positive ones
  • Find ways to be a couple again. I would do a few things he likes to do in return he will want to do some of the things you want
  • Find your internal happiness
  • Find your passion. Passions in life brings out the best in all of us. When I was a stay at home mom, complaining about every little thing, I eventually found my passions. I didn’t have time to worry about another adult
  • Keep in mind he’s your husband and not your child. With another adult you speak twice. Tell him how you feel, if he disregards it twice, do what you need for you. Don’t tell him what to do. If he can’t be led by you speaking to him in love, that’s more of the issue than him simply not doing whatever it is you want him to do
  • Personal counseling for you. You need someone to speak to you about healthy boundaries. You have none right now. Even if you think it’s for his good. Your power stops at the end of your nose. You have to be willing to understand that and stop trying to fix him. Healthy boundaries and healthy conversations.

Just because you both have created this environment doesn’t make it right. I know plenty of counselors that could tell you the next level of steps. When that man gets sick and tired of you he will show you. However you been sick and tired of his ways too. Either find a way to respectfully bring out of him what you need and vice versa or what is the point? Why lay down to the person you low-key don’t even like or respect?  Respect isn’t about doing what’s right for the other person alone. It’s about looking at my partner even on the days they get on your last nerves and saying I want what’s best. What’s best for my partner isn’t even what I want for them but what they need from you. We can’t keep loving others our way. They need what they need and how they need it. You may need to find that out. Can you both love and give love the way you both need it and lay down this pretense of what you are going to give. Love is about give and take without compromising yourselves. You both have a lot of areas to grow. Its going to take active work. Oh and I know some folks once their partner tells them they don’t like something go into the “oh he don’t want me to talk to him like this, I’m not going to say anything at all to him.” This is wrong. This is passive aggressive.

LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.
LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.
LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.
LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.

Fusing Friendships

One of the biggest challenges when I moved to Philly years ago was leaving what I was comfortable being around. I was used to my set of friends. I was used to my town. I knew how to get everywhere. Lancaster was small enough for me to navigate my life and it was fine. Fast forward to getting engaged to my husband and I knew that I would have to move. In the beginning I was excited to start this new life but I didn’t think about the challenges.  The biggest challenge was friends and wanting to have my own sense of community like I had in Lancaster. As much as people want to leave Lancaster, one of the biggest things about leaving that you can’t deny is community.

Friend Factor

Being that I was comfortable with my friends, I never thought about what would happen when I moved. I didn’t invite anyone to visit me in Philadelphia. I always just went back to Lancaster. Lancaster is home. It feels right. I can go back today and fit right in with zero issues. Friendships matter to me. Having a core set of friends even if they aren’t from Lancaster has always been my saving grace. When I was single and not attached I could take a trip and have girl time with any of them. My biggest hurdle was being pregnant with a toddler in a city I had NO friends in.  At first I focused on making sure my toddler was secure. I made that my number one priority. Then making sure the new baby I was carrying was safe and healthy.  Then I would go back and forth traveling either pregnant, or with a toddler and newborn baby.  When I think about it now there needed to be balance in that. No way should I have made that into one sided trips. Anyone who follows my blogs know the reason I kept going to Lancaster was my refusal to be in Philadelphia and attempt to make things happen.

Fusing Friends

The issue I have less now of but definitely more when I first moved was when my husband wanted me to fuse relationships with his friends. He never asked me to but he would tell me to be open to relationships. My response was so super negative and I wasn’t able to take his advice at face value. Even now some of his friends wives who I think are completely awesome I don’t see myself getting as close to. I never wanted to have my friends to only be an extension of him. Meaning I didn’t want to get in a situation where his friends or their significant others felt obligated to be nice to me out of respect for him. I don’t keep friends like that. I only and always ask for respect and I give it.  I do not expect people to extend themselves to me to save face.  So even know I have met a great level of friends through him but I refuse to force myself on any of them. It’s hard for me at times to push past anxiety.

When I do often times I find folks aren’t as receptive.  Let me give an example. I reached out to one via text. I still have yet to hear back. Like not for nothing I’m in a better place. Petty Toi would be super stank when I see her in the future but why?! Now when I see the same person (s), it’s always hey let’s get together. To my husband he thinks they are being nice. To what actually happens is after a few text messages, the real of let’s get together to be nice in public and the real of let’s get together in real life don’t match. I am the person that will take you at what your action says over what you say to save face.  This isn’t to say they are fake or they don’t like me. It’s the fact that this is the real of what happens when you come into someone else’s circle. It takes time to build a relationship or if you are honest, as a wife no one is obligated to be friends with me just because they are friends with him.  Having my husband be the only thing in common isn’t enough to fuse a relationship. This thought process takes growth.

So anyone who has ever dealt with social anxiety knows it takes a large level of bravery to put yourself out to others. The Toi that I was when I first moved here was a lot more cut throat than I am now. I have completely softened but not to the point of stupidity. Back in the day when I needed to feel apart I was more hurt and out of that hurt I would cut a person off. Now I don’t worry about vibes that don’t return to me. I get that I am coming into already long lasting relationships and for that I don’t get moved as much.  I don’t over extend myself to people. There is a fine line between hey girl, and feeling like after 4-5 attempts and not getting the message. We all have lives. I am married. I have 3 kids. I blog. I work a full and a part time job. I am not looking for someone to be an instant bestie.

Here are my tips when you struggle to make new friends in an established group:

  • Be yourself
  • Always be cordial
  • Attempt to make yourself a friend
  • Don’t get caught up when the friendly relationship is only when you see certain folks
  • Look to find your own friends by getting out in social events
  • Do not feel obligated to overextend yourself to others if they show you who they are-believe them
  • Don’t take things personal
  • Work on you this will bring others that are supposed to be around you
  • Remember you are awesome

Be gentle with yourself as you fuse into a new life, new city, etc

It’s hard to figure out the life balance. You don’t have to have all of the answers.

Know that you will get better as you practice self care, take risks, put yourself out to be a friend, etc

It’s not the number of friends you have but the ones who are super solid! They outweigh having large entourages any day.

Shout out to my friends new and old who are all around awesome!! You have made this transition in your own way, better.

Monday Motivation: Mario Kart Life

Today is a day like any day to make the best out of our situations. Let’s not front and act as if everyone woke up with their affairs in order. You might have gotten up this morning with stress on your heart and feeling overwhelmed. I sympathize with you. I want you to know that no matter what’s going on in your life, mind, or heart we have to press through. There may not be someone to come and save you but don’t have to let your situation overtake you.

I know you’re saying that it may be easy for me to say but it’s not. Most days lately have been pure crazy. If I could touch on the things you would be like wow. I know that life happens to all of us. I know that even with crazy life circumstances, what will pull me through is resetting myself daily. It’s going to take me being in charge of what I entertain in my mind and who I allow around me. Your thoughts matter. It’s the first line of defense in how you continue in your day. If all you speak is negativity and worry that’s all you look to see. Even in bad situations I’m like what’s the lesson and where is the good that can come out of this. I know I’ve been in worst situations and I know some how I’ve come out. That’s the reassurance that motivates me to wake up and intentionally push.

Some mornings especially in this holiday season I can feel grieve and sadness around me. So I do what I need to do for me to push out of it. Prayer is how I start, music and speaking to my children is also how I push through. Sometimes journaling. Whatever you need, grab it while your situations work themselves out. Take care of you while life happens. The worst thing you can do is fall apart and while life is happening to you. The stress of life is going to be there. Losing your mind or losing yourself is not worth it.

man climbing on gray concrete peak at daytime

Photo by Rodrigo on Pexels.com

Take Monday by the horns and have a great day on purpose. You ever play Mario Kart?  In the game all kinds of objects are being thrown. The objective is to dodge the objectives and keep going. Sometimes life is like that. I think about that when I am driving in Philly and trying to avoid the potholes. Life is like that sometimes. You have everything being thrown to you at one time only to find that some you miss and others you don’t. The objective is to keep going and win. It didn’t say it would be easy. It didn’t say it would work out, life is about not quitting. Usually regardless of skill set, resources, and help the person who wins in life is the one who doesn’t give up. They are the ones that push through.  How about you?