Ask Toi: How do I handle my best friend who needed to stay with me but complains about my home?!

Welp if you are best friends people always assume that you should be able to freely speak on anything. To a certain degree that makes perfect sense but there are times that close friends will have to have difficult conversations. This is one of them.

If you’re not about that put your girl out life, you will need to take your friend out of the home and have a conversation. What I mean is find an environment outside of the home to talk to your girl about her insults. One thing you can’t or I’ll say is shouldn’t do is come into someone home and insult them. Insults can come from how that person does things, to what you may feel needs to be in or outside of the home, etc. Even if your friend is the keeping it real type we have to understand that mutual respect should always be your main goal. Keeping it real can go real wrong and we have to stop this narrative to allow people to be loud and cruel at your expense! Keeping it real means you won’t sugar coat it but even non sugar things can be good to you. Delivery is everything and it sounds like this real friend is being a real jerk!

I find that besties lose sight of what it means to never take respect out of the relationship and in your case she has disrespected you and your home. Speak candidly with examples about what is being said and how it made you feel. Be prepared for a few rebuttals:

  • It’s not that deep I was just telling you
  • I should be able to say whatever to you at this point
  • If you can’t handle my realness that’s not my problem
  • I can leave but don’t forget what I did for you….
  • You making a big deal over nothing

All of which are wrong because it doesn’t change the disrespect. Don’t back down when speaking. Let your friend and the rebuttals know that you gave your bestie the courtesy by not addressing her right away giving her time to adjust but since she won’t she needs to and that going forward that type of behavior will not be tolerated!

You have every right to be in your home without someone telling you what you should do or how you should be doing it. You simply saying that this has been going on for a little while let’s me know that the tension has been there long before she came to visit or stay!

Talk it out and depending on her responses will let you know if bestie needs to find new living arrangements or a hotel. Never let anyone in your home disrupt the flow of peace not even for a visit! Hotel chains are open 24 hours a day and you don’t deserve an hour of inconvenience.

Good luck!

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Monday Reset

Good Monday morning.  I know its hard to start your week off right on days when you don’t feel you are at your best.  Today is one of those super soaker rainy days when all you want to do is get in bed.  I right now want to be curled up in my bed with my laptop and a few magazines but life calls.

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I remember on days like today when I want to escape that Mondays are the beginning to the end of the week. I can’t get to Friday without starting my Monday off right.  I have a lot on my plate and that means that I need to push forward and pass how I feel.  I have to reset my thinking to crush these goals.  I still have to show up.  Above showing up on a Monday, I need to be clear.  As much technology that we have, I still thrive on to do lists.  I still thrive on writing down goals so when I complete them I can go to the next goal.  So with that being said, reset your thinking. I looked back at things that didn’t work last week and made changes according to what will set this week on fire. Is it getting up earlier and getting things done?  Is it preparing things differently?  Whatever that looks like for you, you have to do.  Your week and life depend on changed attitudes and mindsets.  So set yours on fire by shaking the Monday blues and getting clear on what you want to do and what it will take to get there!

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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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Ask Toi: My fiancé wants to invite a “friend” that she friend zoned in her past, how do I tell her no without looking jealous?

For those who don’t understand the concept of friend zone that is when someone male or female has pretty much politely rejected any advances that you give off. This is the polite way to keep the buddy and the booty separate so that lines don’t get crossed.

One tell her that if the shoe was on the other foot that would not be okay. I don’t know too many women who would want a friend zoned “friend” to be on deck when their saying their vows for their soon to be husband. If we want equal rights and disclosures then the answer is simple, the “friend” is a no go! It’s not a jealousy issue it’s a respect issue. To have been friend zoned often times there is an attraction and that friend has let you know it’s a no go. Other times you’re not attracted to your friend and that makes it easy to friend zone. For my readers this particular “friend” has professed his feelings for the fiancé and she classily rejected him.

This isn’t about being jealous. It’s about having those who share in your love and want the best for you two as a unit to be a witness. Not a man who may have jumped at the chance to be with your fiancé and got rejected, to witness. Don’t get me wrong there are some awesome men who are the most respectful and then there are some who if the mix was right would stir the juice and sip! And if your fiancé’s friend was honest he would understand.

This is something that can be made simple. Your new life together will encounter these bumps in the wedding planning phase. Have the conversation when both of you are relaxed and not super stressing or even take a night or two off from planning and come back to it. Weddings and stress seem to go hand and hand. I hope though you invest in some form of premarital counseling. It’s not a total fix of an impending marriage but it definitely will help to clarify the hard hitting questions that sometimes those lovey dovey feelings can miss.

Also FYI above the wedding this “friend” isn’t really a friend and not only should he not be invited to the wedding I would be questioning why he has such an active role in your fiancé’s life that she had to bring him up and add him to the list to begin with. Unless you had an all expense paid wedding and money was no object there has to be a real friend who doesn’t want the booty and the girl that she can add?!

This isn’t someone who she was good friends with that she’s had in her life for years! This is a man she has met in passing in the last 2 years before she met you who tried to push up and she said no. This man isn’t worth making an issue for a soon to be husband in my book! He also hasn’t been active in her life since she met the fiancé or has interacted with the bride and the groom as a unit. Focus on who matters. Just you and her! Everyone is negotiable and only those who really matter should even be considered!

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!

The Cold Weather Depression

Did you know that as it gets colder outside that people’s mood shifts?  This is super true and super real.  People start to go down and depression is at an all time high. It could be the weather, it could be the changes in the leaves and things slowly doing their dying/vegetation stage or the fact that as it gets colder the closer we get to the holidays.

I am generally a holiday person but I notice too that I have to be mindful of my moods more often during the colder months.  My kids are what balances me.  They don’t allow for me to have too much of a down time and that’s super great.  Although I know my husband and I are great parents and we push through, let’s get it real I get in the dumps often.  So what do I do during the months leading up to the holidays? I get aware like never before of my triggers.

My personal triggers:

  1. My mother in law being gone has been one.  The year is slowly approaching like in a few days, and that alone has me shifting as I watch my husband and kids shift.  I can see pain and I am dealing with my own.  For that reason, we have made sure to be careful of any extra drama into our home.  This means in conversations, deeds, petty arguments etc.  We are aware.
  2. Holiday commercials.  I think they are great. But the onset of them being super early even for me who is a planner gets to me.  I was in the store and I am still grabbing things for Halloween and I saw Christmas stuff and I am like are you serious?  The reason is it sets my anxiety and now I am trying to focus on meal planning for Thanksgiving and these stores and shoving Christmas at me and I can’t take it.
  3. Drama-Any onset of drama gets me.  To elevate that, I don’t allow it. This is major.  Had this been a few years especially before my kids were born, I would have popped popcorn, and starred in it.
  4. Cold gloomy days-rain is a mood downer on its own, but… cold rainy days or snowy days that don’t produce enough snow to get me or the kids a day off is a downer.  I do not like snow.  I do not like cold.  So I really make sure that I am upbeat, play different music, whatever it takes to get through.  Perception is always key to get through.
  5. Black or dark grey-it works great in the Winter to layer but I will intentionally add color even if it’s in scarf to avoid my mood shifting.
  6. Complaining-I could be a professional one however even I get sick of it.  So now instead of complaining or being around complainers, I just figure out what the core issue is and handle that.
  7. Lack of physical activity-take that how you like. I try to keep my workout strong because with all of the comfort foods you kind of have to.  I tell myself that working out allows me my wine moments.  When activities get low as snow piles up I get my wine in.  This is why babies are born conceived the most during the Winter months.  So be careful.
  8. Social events-I love the idea of dressing and getting ready to go somewhere until its time to go.  Days before my stomach starts to hurt.  The day of I start to get sick or my head starts to hurt. To push past that is simple as going, but pushing past my thoughts are harder to do than slipping on a pair of heels.

Whatever your personal triggers are, be aware.  Have a plan in site.  Speak to someone you trust.  The list of mine may seem trivial but if I let myself go, the outcome of that can be devastating to myself and my family. I know for a fact I am not the only one.  This is why you need to be connected to the right people who can recognize that you are spiraling or you are withdrawing too.

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Make sure that you find what makes you happy.  Get healthy.  The second I get sick, it doesn’t help my mood.  Not only am I focused on getting better but it takes me 3 times harder to get out if I am having a depression trigger right before I get sick.  Sometimes I can get sick, if I allow myself to get too boggled down.

Even after you notice your triggers and work really hard not to allow them to get to you, it still may.  Knowing what you like that can get you out before you get in is key. Not everyone is the same.  Sometimes music does it.  Sometimes being outside helps.  You may need to get counseling during the Winter months.  Whatever it is, get it and make sure you are clear on what that looks like and get it.

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Things you can do to get ahead of it:

  1. Write and keep a gratitude journal
  2. Buy flowers for yourself
  3. Meet up with a special friend once a month
  4. Purchase a special drink
  5. Have a certain go to song
  6. Do something for others
  7. Wear a color that reminds you to stay focused
  8. Bright Nail colors or color art
  9. Keep healthy
  10. Eat right
  11. Do not-self medicate
  12. Talk to someone
  13. Reach out to one person
  14. Check in on others

IF you experience at any time not just when the Winter months come a slight or even worse case of suicidal thoughts please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline

 

Wait Your Turn

I have been in this mindset of making people wait.  Everyone knows what I mean by that.  The person or persons in your life that need what they need right this second and think that the sun rises and sets on them.  Or a coworker that as soon as you enter the door has to be on extra and won’t give you the courtesy of at least taking off your coat.  These are the emotional blood suckers that zap your energy and life because at the end of the day they have no life of their own.

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If you allow people to not wait when they don’t have a priority in your life, you will be the one frustrated. I had to put this nugget to use in my own life first.  These last few weeks my life has been super busy.  I have been going to more events this year than ever before.  With that in mind, I am super organized.  My kids don’t miss a beat. My husband and I don’t miss it either.  In order to get things done, I plan ahead.  A large greatness to planning ahead is being prepared and knowing when I can take on more, when to say no, and when to make people wait.  A lot of times people live in this McDonald’s now mentality.  Everything can’t be instant.  Sometimes they want your attention because they are lacking in other places.  Sometimes they want your money and ain’t worked for it, or will go above and beyond to get it as hard as they in your face grabbing it from you. Sometimes they feel like “it’s always” been a certain way and when you detach you are the one that is wrong.

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Making people wait allows you to think.  It cuts you from making rush decisions which happens if you don’t first get in control of your own emotions when dealing with others. If you allow others to tell you how to run your own life, next thing you know, you are the one full of anger and resentment for allowing others power over you.  Waiting also allows you to determine what is beneficial and what needs to prioritized or not. So take your time on a few things.  It can wait.  People can wait. If someone wants to use your resources, they too can wait.  You don’t have to stop the world and get it for them at a drop of a dime.  Consider, if you were in the same position would the same courtesy be shown?  It’s not about tit for tat its about principle of allowing the same people to be takers and you are the one that has to allot for their lives.  This isn’t just about money but about emotional, mental, and spiritual robbers that come in and out of your life.  Be careful.  Learn how to weed them out.  Find them and make every effort to put stops and checks in place to guard from this type of behavior.

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I use a step in making decisions if I should rush into things or not:

  1. Is it necessary for basic survival?  Ie. living expenses such as utility bills not including cable or phones.  Those are nice but fully necessary.  If someone wants to borrow money or resources that’s not about keeping basic needs met, the answer is no or make them wait
  2. Is what the person or person want about fulfilling some long-term emotional baggage?  They can wait.  The girlfriend who doesn’t have a man so she wants to monopolize your time can wait.  You just hung out with her last week, but because she can’t get other friends to bend she needs you to stop what you’re doing. She guilt trips you and you cave, no make her wait.  You have other areas of your life to attend to and her need to find fulfillment in you needs to wait or be channelled.
  3. Are you the only source? Some will come to you because you make it too easy. Like a yes man, you give them what they need and you never check or ask anyone or have anyone else.  There’s a reason.  It’s not just because they love you so much either.  It has more to do with you being the source, them not handling their business correctly, and burning bridges with others.

Be careful.  Anything no matter what its is for that makes you mad that you helped, makes you upset to the point where you lose faith in yourself or humanity, is it really worth it?  Most likely not. You are in control make others respect you, and if they can’t sometimes a time out is necessary.  Do not feel cornered to do for others what they won’t do for themselves.

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