Everything Ain’t About You

Listen I know that there are times when you can have sensitive spirits.  It could be that you are going through a rough patch but please know that everything ain’t about you. There are times when you have to attempt to get your emotions together and place them in the right category.

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For instance this morning I am talking to a friend. She is going through. I am trying to listen to her, give her hugs, reassure her that things will fall into place when an associate comes and is like what are you talking about, me? Now I am looking puzzled and trying to find the right way to respond because my friend is normally outgoing and had she been in the right frame of mind she would have been the one to tell her to go and keep it moving.  I also didn’t want the friend who is going through to be so upset in her own emotions to lash. So I give the girl the “look.”  The look is girl you see she is upset, this ain’t your fight, relax.  So she gets it but it reminded me so many times we have whatever going on that we push those emotions through to others and there is no need. We were not having a conversation about the associate whatsoever.  She was thinking that because of whatever is on her mind and heart. No one wants to hear someone prejudge them when they haven’t even given thought to that person.  That comes from the person having something on their mind and heart and pushing that on to others.  As adults if you have an issue with someone speak up.  There isn’t a class on mind reading.  Discernment goes a long way.  Had the associate had some or just looked at body language she would have kept on moving.  My friend could care less at that moment what she thought.  Neither could I if I am honest and I am sure my face let her know that.  There is no need to take others who haven’t given you the green light to an issue through an emotional roller coaster.

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So today, if you have something tugging on you that makes you think something is happening that isn’t-ask.  Everything about you. People generally don’t wake up attempting to find out how to mess your day up.  How they are going to talk about you today.  The folks that do that have no life or for sure have a lot in their life that is out-of-order. Ignore the emotional pull of these people. Giving into them only fuels them.



The Gift of Friendship

When I was deep in my postpartum depression I would cut off my friends.  Right after the birth of my son after moving from Lancaster to Philadelphia I felt isolated.  I was isolated because in my mind I had told myself that this move was only less than 2 hours away and that it wouldnt’ change anything. I was wrong.  I was blinded by having my family under one roof that I didn’t consider a few things.

One of the biggest things was the lack of support. I had my immediate family and one of my best cousins and my friend that I didn’t think that would change. I thought I have a car I and I could get in it and see them anytime I wanted.  My oldest was super easy in how I traveled with her that I never took into account how much more harder it would be to travel with 2 kids would be.  For a day trip it took me the day before prep and an hour just to get them into the car with everything that was needed that often times I elected not to travel.  That in itself also made it hard on me because then I would be upset that I couldn’t travel as often.  So after getting past that blow I would get the kids together and go. Trust me the come back was harder.  I felt comfortable being in Lancaster and I would take a day or two to adjust to the pressures that I was under and having these little people who needed me.

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The other issue is that I didn’t have a network of my own friends in Philadelphia.  I love my husband’s friends but they were his not mine. I didn’t want to have them as my friends on the strength of them being nice to me because of him. He and his friends had history that I didn’t have.  I didn’t want to be the wife of his and they extend some type of olive branch because we were together. I am the type of person who has friends on mutual respect, great closeness and I no longer felt that way since my access to my network had changed. I pushed the long distance ones away too because it didn’t feel the same.  I learned through this season that this was the wrong way to approach things.  Not only that so was sitting in the house day in and day out wasn’t the best way to meet anyone. So I was stuck and miserable for years like this.

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Thank goodness my friends were forgiving and understanding as only one ever knew what was happening.  Only one of them had the sense to address me on it and call me out. I appreciate that.  That isn’t a dig to anyone so don’t take it as such.  Not many of them saw me when I would have outbursts. I did well in open environments and to this day this is one of the reason why I do NOT like pop ups.  I need to prepare for visits.  It’s not personal it’s that I know what I need and I make others respect it even if they don’t like it. I am not ashamed of that.

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I learned how to love myself, how to show love and most importantly how to let others in.  I learned that I didn’t have to carry everything alone and that support looks different when you don’t hold on to the ideologies of what its supposed to be.  Change is hard but in change you find that the ones who have your back won’t change.

Cherish your friendship.  As you progress through various stages of life, some friend will drop off.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  Show love and support no matter how far and near your friends are who have been in your corner through it all.  Know that disagreements and bumps in the road are to be expected.  Remain respectful at all times. If a friendship does end make sure you try to work it out.  Don’t throw a whole friendship over an emotional off the bat without calming down, talking it out, and attempting to make peace.

To all of my girlfriends who have nurtured me and have stood the test of time, I salute you!!!!! Thank you for being amazing women to me during these years.  I pray I can continue to sprinkle the same love your way for the years to come!

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Teach the Babies-You’re Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

So this week the recurring theme has been forgiveness.  This is a tough lesson for many adults let alone my own son. This week for both of my older kids the trying to teach them to understand that its okay to have a disagreement with a person, work things out or decide to work things out but be cordial and not be friends.

My son who is 6 is having the hardest time which is to be expected.  I do not expect him to understand adult like themes and to me forgiveness will come to him as he grows and matures.  So the issue is allowing my kids to find out whom feels safe to them.  I even teach my kids even those closest to them can give bad vibes, you have the right to retreat.  I do not make them give hugs or be around ANYONE who makes them uncomfortable.  This means that if you come to my child and my child rejects you for whatever reason, there’s no make them give into your insecurity of showing you love they don’t feel is genuine to give. We stress to kids to be aware but then judge them for feeling ill feelings.  My husband and I don’t.  We try to help them work through these feelings.

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For my daughter she has been going to the same school for years and most of the kids she has known since Kindergarten.  At this point she is well aware of certain people’s triggers, how they act, and what they do when the teachers and principals aren’t watching.  I am not one  of those parents that push my kids into certain friendships.  If there are mean girls in her school and she identifies that is who they are, I trust that I have raised her well to this point to know who they are and if she chooses not to embrace them outside of a school setting that is fine. We really can’t push the all the kids are angels routine.  I am all for her or my son working it out but its one thing to work it out and it’s another thing to have a blind eye to a problematic child and act as if that child isn’t an issue.

So this week my son has been having an issue with one child in particular.  He has tried being nice.  He has tried having meetings with the kid etc. However to no avail.  This kid is problematic.  My advice to my son was be cordial.  Work together when you have to in the classroom because in life you can’t always disengage with someone just because you don’t care for them.  However at recess is your time to play.  You shouldn’t have to spend your time in recess trying to push back negativity from one child.  Some days he gets the message other days he doesn’t.  The days he doesn’t its a hard conversation to have.

Yes we are all for kids getting along.  Yes we are well aware that at this age kids go back and forth and are learning how to socialize. The same rules that apply to me with other adults do NOT work for kids.  However let’s also keep it real and stop acting like some of these kids already come in the door with whatever they have at home and spew the most hate, the most vile words on other kids and in the name of letting kids be kids we give these kids many chances in hopes they will fare better.  They don’t always fair well.  So we can’t just act like it’s not the case.  As a parent I would love to tell my kids that the world is awesome all the time and that they won’t have issues with other kids or other people but that is not the case.

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My conversation with my son is about helping him weed out those he thinks are bad news for him and show him how to make healthy relationships with those who want the same in return.  He needs to be cordial meaning just because there is friction, school work still needs to be done.  If his teacher assigns him to the student that he is having issues with then he needs to buckle down and get things done.

Parenting is hard and I am sure there will be someone who disagrees with my conversation but the beautiful thing about parenting is that it is an individual pathway per parent and its a collective pathways for the parents involved.  My only hope is that my kids get to the point where they don’t waste energy on those who don’t mean them well.  They learn to keep their peace with them and not get entangled with those kids who have ill intentions.  That’s my hope for adults too.  Stop giving your energy to the bad person in your life regardless of relationship.  If it doesn’t serve you, leaves you feeling less about yourself, etc then the point is moot, leave them alone and allow the right folks to come in your life. These are life lessons.  They should be taught early.  I want my kids to grow into confident human beings that know what they want, who they want, and to go where they are celebrated not where they are tolerated.  These lessons aren’t to wait to be learned.  These lessons are taught early on.

Martin Luther King Jr. would be Disappointed

So today is MLK day. The day we remember the teachings and words that Dr. King’s legacy was supposed to enlighten us to do. Dr. King faced adversity and his message was clear that we change how we interact with others for the chance for us all to live a life of equality.

On paper it’s the best message that we ever could have. The problem with Dr. King’s message is that it with all of its national and worldwide playback the message can only go so far if we don’t just recite them on today. There will be people who recite it just for the moment but don’t apply his words and how he lived each and every day to their every day life.

Another issue that we have to talk about is racism. The ability to hate and show hate to a group of people who do not look like, nor do they align with your personal measurement of acceptance based on race. So yes even those who state they have a black friend how can they be racist, yes you too can be racist. Having acceptable Blacks but hating the other Blacks isn’t about preference. This is hatred and this is racism. That acceptable black person you have welcomed into your fold still has to deal with the same overt racist actions that others like them have to face. Black folks don’t get to claim they have an acceptable white friend and dodge racist reactions.

Dr. King didn’t want us to have the Travon Martins of our time. He simply wanted any child and adult to be judged on character and not color of skin first while their character was used to later justify the hate. He didn’t want our young black men or women to be assaulted before they could even be determined to have been a criminal first or not. You do realize no one has made signs that our black men or women can carry that identifies whether or not they are good or bad when approached by cops.

I think about my own son. He’s 6 years old and is taller than most kids his age. Hopefully he will make good choices, but even if he does the way the world is set, what makes him so different that he won’t face racism?! I was called a Nigger by a child in elementary school and was told that I wouldn’t be anything even though I had maintained a 4.0 from practically 2nd grade.

Dr. King’s message of acceptance and equality is necessary. We need to hear it and live it. We have come far but the way history shows itself it’s definitely repeating. That makes me scared. My great grandmother before she passed away was able to live to see a Black president. That is hope and dope at the same time. (Dope means awesome FYI!) However we need more hope in order to raise our kids and the kids that come behind them to do more then repeat Dr. King’s speech. We need the Dream to be our reality and we need it now. The increase in race based deaths and hate speech is no longer secluded events. They are no longer happening to a select few. It’s common place. As much as we don’t watch the news with our kids to control a little bit of what they take in, they still are getting the negative messages. We as parents are still having to have more adult conversation due to questions surrounding inequality.

If you’re reading this blog today, make a declaration to do better. Please treat yourself and others around you with dignity and respect. Respect the differences of those around you and embrace people’s uniqueness. Spread love but make each other respect one another. This is a unified message. If not the very pain that our ancestors was killed for and shed blood for will continue to spill today.

Dr. King didn’t just give you a day off. His message was greater then just an awesome African American lesson. This lesson is and should be the very spirit of our own lives. We are connected regardless of how much we want to fight it! Don’t let Dr. King be disappointed that he may if he was here think his fight was in vain. Don’t let his good work be taken advantage of. The times his wife and kids didn’t know if he would return home, or the times all of their lives was questioned for nothing! We are the Dr. Kings of our time! Let’s do our best to spread love! Lets also continue to call those out who spread hate. Why? The ones who hate but are undercover are more dangerous then the evil you know, acknowledge and are prepared for.

So do community service today and everyday. Get out and learn about others history. Get out and extend your services without discrimination to all regardless of race, sexual preference, etc.

Don’t snub your nose at people because you had one bad experience with one person. Allow a sea of different people into your neighborhood without them fearing retaliation on the back end. Let your children play with one another without fear. For those in high power jobs and responsibilities, do your job without these prejudices making your judgement a top priority over your oath of office.

Let’s remember Dr. King everyday!

Ask Toi: Can I monitor his weight as his wife?

No. In my mind when I hear you say monitor especially with everything else you have said in your letter you come off as motherly. Your job is to influence and encourage not to mother. When you use words like he’s too stupid, he’s too childish your role doesn’t need to be wife you are acting as if you’re his mother.

If you wouldn’t allow him to speak to you the way you describe yourself as speaking to him than you are out of line and out of order. If he’s so stupid doesn’t speak on his intelligence that speaks volumes on your character. You sound as if you chose him on the basis of control. There’s a part of him that likes your motherly ways. But all good things come to an end. He’s going to realize that the way you’re treating him is wrong and when he does and has enough strength to leave he will.

Monitoring his weight should be his desire. If you think he’s overweight than be the change you want to see. Do you eat right? Even if you’re small and in shape you still need to make sure their are ample healthy choices for both him and you. If you prepare the food are they healthy? Even beyond that you can’t portion control him he needs to do that. Do you work out and offer to work out with him without judgement and name calling? In the letter you have used far more names to describe the man you chose to marry that are negative and condemning. If you are doing this with me who you don’t know then what are you saying to him or your friends?! If you can’t not seriously answer these question he’s not the one with the weight issue, you are. So what is your real issue? He could lose the weight but you are the one with the issues.

No husband needs another mother. Even if you think his mom did the worst job ever, it’s not your job or place to re-raise him. One thing is people don’t even respect the wife that belittles her husband. They can see you ain’t all that you portray. The women who do that usually have some internal issues that need to be worked out. I would suggest you influence your husband and while you’re doing that be sure you find ways to love your husband, love yourself, and return your husband son so one day he can just be your husband only.

Ask Toi: You Got Questions….

Is not inviting someone with kids an acceptable reason for disincluding someone in your wedding?!

No. Bottom line is if you’re being told this the kicker is they didn’t want to invite you. Your kids was the easy get out of jail card and they used it. Anyone with kids knows that if you want to be somewhere even if it’s an adult only invite you will make a way.  So by virtue that you were told the lack of invite is because you have kids I would understand one underlining fact, your friendship isn’t as tight as you would like or thought it was.  Weddings are expensive so I get that brides have a hard time cutting the list but good friends don’t make excuses. They reach out and say hey I need to make some cuts and we are friends but I won’t be able to invite you. The issue is that some brides want to make things right after the fact but sometimes it could be a little too late. I actually had a friend who invited me to their shower but not the wedding for a gift and although I applauded her honesty I sent no gift nor did I attend the shower. If you want to keep the relationship have a conversation if not let it ride and let the natural process of elmination take over.

How do you eliminate group vacation drama??

Be super clear with every detail especially when it comes to money. Prior to paying in be clear who you are inviting. Not everyone that you like is the proper get together group. Too many times do people want their other friends to get along. Keep in mind you need more than one person to cross over the lines of friendship. Once your girl power group is assembled split things properly. When my girls and I went to Chicago we had the accounting friend calculate hotel costs according to the days that everyone was staying. We sent emails out and had everyone confirm that they understood. I made the arrangements and we had everyone pay ahead. It was none of that I got you business. To be ahead of the game, just speak up and keep one thing in mind, do not overbook every minute. Let there be a few group activities and leave space for some in the moment adventures too.  Enjoy, take great pictures and limit social media time and reconnect.

If while there something comes up, speak up and separate drinking arguments from real legit arguments and you should be fine. 

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!!