Ask Toi: How Do you Tell your Friends to Watch their tone with you?

You have to just tell them.  This notion of allowing folks in the name of friendship speak to you anyway suggests that you are keeping them even in an unhealthy state just to keep them around.  That’s the same notion used in some romantic relationships just for the sake of not being alone. I know you want to preserve relationships and of course blowing up at everyone is frowned upon but real friends should be open enough to speak the truth in love.  I think sometimes we forget that keeping real can go left sometimes and you must have a little finesse when you deal with other humans.  People have things in their life and on their heart that not everyone needs the in your face approach or the let everything happen approach.  There is a balance but you are the ONLY one who control that.

From what I gather you have allowed a build up go on way too long and you need to address the relationship as a whole. It sounds more to do with if that friendship should stick than it does with tone.  As adults you aren’t going to necessarily get it right all the time, but friendships are a choice unlike family.  If you choose this relationship in more than one way, then you need to find out what attracted you to it in the first place.  Keep in mind that not everything can remain.  So that means that there are times when relationships can run its course.  You don’t sound as if you are just someone in a tiff with a friend but more you are recognizing the unhealthy part of the relationship.  You have two choices, keep some control of how you allow folks to speak to you, or let it continue while you get frustrated and mad that you didn’t speak up.  I would suggest you speak up when things are being said and if that doesn’t work, you may need to figure out the extent of the relationship and let it take its natural course.  Also you have to own some responsibility.  I have had friends who for various reasons have crossed lines, but it’s not the habitual line stepper that was the issue it was my issue for not making others respect me.

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One year down… weight loss-chronicles

Welp a year has come. I have managed to keep my weight off and in addition I’ve managed to fight through the ups and downs along the journey. I’ve lost around 70 pounds to date but it wasn’t easy having to turn my back on dairy or indulging in my favorite comfort food in excess.

When I first began to lose weight it was more about me attempting to grab my life back. Here I was almost 36, out of shape, miserable in my own skin, and most importantly unhealthy. I have a fluctuating body type. So this simply means that I can go up and down at any given time if I’m not careful even with working out and eating right. To combat that I used the techniques that I leaned in my Weight Watchers class to change my relationship with food.

Depression

It’s one of the worse cause of weight loss to me as it’s more than size, it’s more of a mental road block. It can allow you to have knowledge of what you should do or even should be but it is one of the hardest things to “shake.” Depression had set in quite a number of times and I wore it proudly everyday in each outfit and every look. I tried to over dress. So I wore clothes that were too big. In my mind I needed to cover up my body so no one would see it or see me.

Big isn’t Always Better

Watch out for the big girl is a bomb club mix. Watch out for the big girl

It’s also how I felt I was being viewed by others. There isn’t one thing wrong with big and sexy if done right. I’ve seen some of the most empowering heavy set women who own their sexiness better than a girl on the runaway. However when you aren’t meant to be a certain size your ability to hold on to a sense of sexiness goes out the door. I tried to own it but couldn’t. I wasn’t supposed to be the size that I had gotten. All I did was complain, compare, and fall deeper in the hold of depression. I was over 200 pounds and I wasn’t pregnant as I was being described. I had let myself go.

Lows

We all who have been on a weight loss journey remember the days of counting calories or points. In the beginning you are super excited and then it wears off as you try to re-enter a normal life with normal eating habits. At least that’s what I thought. When I had a high it made me excited but those lows, were a bit much. Feeling like I couldn’t get it together made my low days that much worse. I found myself justifying my emotions as excuses to eat what I knew I shouldn’t have to deal instead of staying the course. The only thing that kept me was learning not to let these moments keep me there and is I had a donut or something bad earlier in the day I didn’t have to wait until the next day to reset.

Pictures Please

I took and continue to take pictures even on the days when my stomach peeks through. Having kids allows them to be great props. However it’s just another mechanism to cope. It was either use the kids or be the photographer and not have to be in the pics. When I first started losing weight I got folks saying why are you taking so many pics. Imagine another grownup asking another grownup why something that didn’t take anything away from them a series of questions?! The pictures are now and was then a way for me to see my progress. I always check the neck and face. I’ve had days when people’s comments seemed to get under my skin and I had to remind myself why I was losing this weight. It wasn’t for likes but more for me to like myself when I had no clothes on. It’s easy to dress your body type and blend, but to like what you see, naked and vulnerable isn’t.

Wardrobe Change

When I first lost weight I was scared, judge-mental and excited to get new clothes. I’ve had to take quite a few outfits back for still buying the clothes that wasn’t my size. Losing weight is great until you can’t lose the weight in your mind. Thank goodness for friends who literally pushed me away from the old size and into my new size. I struggle every time still with clothes. I’m stuck in the middle of yes grab the smaller size to Girl don’t show too much!

So yes I’ve got all kind of tips to help with weight loss but….. the reality is that the journey is up and down and good and bath. The best part isn’t just the weight loss but the ability to be able to be healthy inside and out. For the first time in my life between Surgery and weight loss I’m not anemic. All of my tests are normal. I’m not ashamed to step on a scale and I feel great!

So if you’re struggling with seeing others lose weight and feel like you can’t commit you may be in a situation where you won’t have a choice. You will have to push past bad habits, denying yourself of your wants, feeling defeated to days where after all of your hard work the scale just looks at you and doesn’t move. Whatever your journey presents know that you can do it! You can fall several times throughout but I would rather fall then drop out of my own race!

Take each day and moment at a time. Reset many times! Don’t fall apart as you make change your bad isn’t your worst. Work on portion control and definitely work with your doctor to eliminate or add what you need for your health concerns. Don’t get caught up in diet fads. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. It will look different even if you follow the same rules.

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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I was therefore I am…own your …. edition

So we are in the New Year and so many of us are trying to be positive and make change. With that in mind we have to be honest about what we have done or do that contribute to some of the bad things in our own lives.

This isn’t the blog to make sure you slide this into the one who hurt you email. No this is a self-reflection blog to own your own crap. As much as others have been disrespectful I too have shown disrespect. Did you hear that? So not for nothing on some we all have mess either. I mean times when the things that I have done have contributed to mess at various points in my life. We like to talk about the glow up but don’t talk about the drama that had to unfold before we became the version of who we are.

I’ll use myself as an example since I’m best at talking about me. My mouth is sharp. I try to lay low but if stirred I can be a beast. It took a long time of learning how to speak up instead of holding things in. This holding things in have caused me to leash out and cut off various people. Now the verdict is still out on whether some of those relationships will be fixed or stay the way they are now but honestly I was a cause of the death of them or at least played a part in it. I won’t dismiss what was done to take all of the blame but will I will say is I was in control or not in control of myself and my responses.

I talked openly about a friend I had who called me one New Year’s Eve hollering at me about how much better I was and how she wanted my life. First of all I have a good life but nothing to be envious about. After her hollering phase oh which was so loud I had to place the phone down on my bed to even hear, I let her have it. And it’s like why give that energy?! End of day I saw things beforehand and never checked it. I could have ended things amicably. I could have hung up and not answer her and let it die naturally. I had to own that my personality struggles with having the last word. Once stirred I won’t back down.

Going into a new year one thing you have to acknowledge is if you were bad with money and planning then yes the reason you’re displaced has to do with that issue. We can’t keep blaming others for our issues. Sis, just say you are bad with finances and find ways to fix it. If you and your husband aren’t putting in the work to make a marriage that is healthy, full of life, good sex, and strong then don’t blame others when it goes flat. Own your part like you want him to own his part. If you date the same type of man don’t get mad at the man, own your crap on what you attract.

Owning your crap will make you solid. It will even if you can’t use damage control over the past will make you better for the future. Owning your crap is hard work. It hurts. Sometimes it’s lonely. I’ve been the bad friend who wanted to change and then got mad when others needed to see change longer to accept me. Yes if you’re owning your stuff not everyone will believe you. You will still be the messy chick (or man), liar, cheater etc that they think you are to them. You can’t say oh well I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Is your change for them? Maybe your relationships needed vamping. In the midst of that good came from that season.

You have to own it instead of pointing fingers out. Point in. Trust me when you do and after time when others still point it out just shake your head like you’re right that WAS me. I don’t believe that I have a right to say how long it will take others to “believe me,” but I won’t sit around waiting on the blessing of approval. Plain and simple you can be better and walk away.

So this year don’t cut people off to get them to approve your life. Cut them off cause the relationship no longer is positive. Be open for conversation. I think and believe that there will be dialogue this year. I’ve already had one person reach out and I have chosen to let them know I wish them peace but that doesn’t mean I will be open to a relationship. Being cordial costs me nothing but restoring it back to what it once was can’t happen because I’m no longer that person.

Own your crap. Own your bad decisions. Own that you got work to do. In addition to owning it, keep working even when you get no apology. Keep working even on days you’re lonely and feel isolated. Keep working on you even when it sees you are being punished. Heal. Healing is one of those things that no one can take from you. When you see them and nothing moves you. Healing when you see them and you’re not defensive. Healing when the past isn’t the only conversation you have. What still has you, you talk often on. Don’t give others that power. Shift that power and be better.

Also be okay with silence. Be okay with the deadness when relationships shift. I think that’s hard we all want to be connected. I found that I had to see connections differently. In this last year I’ve grown some amazing relationships. Often times they didn’t mirror what I initially had in my mind it would look like.

Also while owning your crap, drop the charges. This doesn’t mean don’t remember them. It just means in comparison to the world around leave it be. Walk away if you choose to and be solid in your decision.

Own your crap this year, do the work to be better, stop giving negative people your energy, find ways to fix the underlying problem, and be solid as you transition from the old you to the new you!

Lastly make this year your best year! You are in control and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want and you don’t need approval. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Send peace even to relationships that may never mend. Keep pushing even when you feel alone or isolated or punished. Own your stuff!!

If it ain’t funny, ain’t no LOL!!

So let’s dive right in. Sometimes you are stuck between being yourself which may include being vocal or direct and then when you’re working on yourself to be a better person you second guess yourself. Something so simple can make you think or watch that you’re doing more than you need. Balance is key but folks are going to deal with their stuff!

I saw a meme about putting lol on the end of your statements. It made me seriously think about it. LOL is supposed to be laugh out loud but I too have been guilty of using it after statements to come off less direct mostly due to not wanting to be perceived as having an attitude etc. The only time in life I feel that I watch my tone is when I’m at work or when I’m talking to my Mom or Dad. One they taught me to be direct but I know my place. Outside of that I don’t mince my words. So ever since I started seeing that meme as we got closer to the end of the year in 2017, I’ve taken notice to my LOL.

Let me help you out. If I’m online and I read a story about something instead of just making a statement I find myself using LOL to soften the blow. Why? That was the inner conversation I’ve been having with myself. So I’ve stopped that mess quick. I don’t use it as much in text unless something actually made me laugh. I’m checking my own passive aggressive behavior with it. LOL is a way to deflect. It’s not necessary!

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and they “tell you off” but to soften the blow they hit you with I was just playing but they meant that ish. That is the same type of reasoning I had to evaluate with my use of LOL. For instance I had a few packages that didn’t make it to me during the holidays. Some I’m sadly still dealing with. The one company I publicly let them have it. I didn’t think about their feelings, their online identity nothing. However I started to feel bad for the seller on Etsy who screwed me over. I gave a review that said she messed up but tried to be “nice” about it. I ended up going back and taking the LOL out of it and gave a real to the point review. Why am I less direct with the seller from Etsy then I was with the more well known company? I didn’t need to feel sorry for either one. Had it been me that messed up no F’s would have been given. So half review to spare her feelings. No mincing my words. No LOL girl you tried. If you make something it should be what you said it would be. If there is a delay I should be notified by you not me chasing you down. No I shouldn’t have to be nice to you to make you feel okay about yourself. No sis I’m not LOL, I meant what I said-deal with it!!

Although the meme may have meant to be funny the reality is that when it comes to life you have to tone it down when you have to but never tone it down so much that the essence of the message is watered down. If something that is being done or said is funny then LOL but if you are placing a LOL when someone owes you money and you’re asking for it back, just simply ask. What the person gon do? Get mad? They wasn’t mad when they asked for it nor was they mad when they was stunting on the Gram knowing they owed you with their new purchase either.

Check your LOL. Check if you are watering down your message to appease someone else’s ego. It’s no different then being in a relationship. The man or woman you’re with is being all kinds of disrespectful but in order to tone down your tone and your message you water yourself to save the relationship. You are supposed to be in a relationship with an adult and adults should be able to handle the truth both ways. This is not the green light to be ignorant and say mean things to cut. However you have to be true to yourself at all times.

So no more LOL for stuff that ain’t one bit funny. Say what you mean. Be clear when you say it. And know when you say it that whatever weight it needed to be said without it being disrespectful, you are more than capable of holding the weight of your words. They and you will be fine!! Save your LOL for real comedic relief instead of emotional relief for others!

Christmas with Elmo at Sesame Place

The holidays brings on so many options in how families and friends choose to celebrate. This is the first year that we have been able to take our kids to a winter outside celebration of any sort that wasn’t indoors. The reason is that two of my children have asthma and in the winter we spend more time in and out of the hospital. The last two years we have been able to things and have a bit more fun.

This year since I am a member of Mocha Moms Philadelphia chapter we decided attend the Christmas with Elmo. It was a great gathering for the moms and their families. Being I am the biggest kid this was a no brainer!! I’ve been looking forward to this since they announced it!

We met at the Elmo’s musical which was a Christmas musical. I love Elmo but it’s like can you not?! Every kid has seen Elmo in some form since birth. Every year we used to get one of the Elmo dancing toys. Luckily our oldest are getting older and my youngest isn’t as into Elmo at this point. However when his voice start going, kids and adults alike can’t help but be happy!!

During the show one of my favorites Grover came out and I almost lost my mind. If I didn’t have kids I would still be at these type of shows. I love kid activities sometimes more than adult only ones. Well when I saw Grover it was a thing for me, I was louder than my own kids!! Screaming and waving!! Love you Grover!!

The show itself was super cute with Elmo asking the audience to find out what the holidays were about which weren’t about presents but being with friends and family!

All of us went to Cookie Monsters Cafe. Shout out to one of the moms who has season passes so we were able to use that 30% discount. It’s not cheap at these type of places. Although we got in for discount you could easily spend more money in food then you do in getting in and for a family of 5 my husband and I only heard dollars signs!! Yes dollars signs makes sound when you have to spend them. Trust me when you have a wife like me that wants to do everything and kids who want to do the same, my couponing all year long pays off!!

Then it was the time we all were waiting on and that’s the parade! You see all of the characters dancing and singing! Some of them coming into the crowd! I’m always aware of holes in crowds. These holes are the best place to catch a glimpse of everyone’s favorites! My son lost it cause the characters came and shook his hand.

Overall the experience and fun was well worth it cold and all. I would suggest that if you are attending any outside event to dress accordingly! We had layers, hand warmers, and practical shoes. I had to remind my 8 year old that we need to be warm not cute. I hope our family attends this and makes it a yearly event. I’m grateful for healthy kids that were able to attend. I don’t take their health for granted!!

Christmas with Elmo is a solid good time and the fact that it snowed the day before added another level of holidays that were nothing but magical!

My Snapchat is booming with fun!!

Oh with all the walking, two out of the 3 kids were knocked out cold! For a Mom moment that is a win!!