Sunday Message: “What She Said”

So today is turning out not quite how I had in mind. I’ve finally ate breakfast yet it’s clearly late lunch time right now. I woke up with the worst headache. I haven’t had a migraine like this in quite awhile. I’ve noticed my hormone levels have been all over the place. Thankfully I have my first “yearly”check up since hysterectomy surgery, tomorrow.

I was looking at my Facebook memories and a picture came up that was so innocent but made me do a little thinking. I started thinking about my past dating life and being single in general. Let me pump all of your breaks now I am not wishing or hoping for any old thing! I am not taking applications, my home life is super secure. But I thought about the woman I was. I would say I was strong and confident. I did what I felt like I wanted to a point.

I was talking to a friend and she asked me at any time while dating did I feel like I had regret. I told her the truth overall no of course. However individual situations many times. I definitely struggled with wondering what everyone was saying or thinking of me. I’ve only come to the knowledge now that folks will say whatever about you or even make up what they want so you have to just live.

I remember one time when I was visiting some friends in Atlanta a man I had been romantically connected to wanted to rekindle but I was so caught up in what those who were with me thought I declined. He told me I would go back home and be “wifed up” and he was almost right to the point. I’m not saying anything would have come from that encounter but there’s no way of counting that out. Again I’m not in a what could have happened mode but as my friend and I talked there were other missed opportunities that I missed aligning my life with the crowd.

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I missed job opportunities too! I got a job offer in Omaha and didn’t take it because I was worried about leaving my family and feeling I would be isolated from friends. I wasn’t thinking about how much of a life I could have created. My dad was like girl get out and enjoy life. But nope I was like I’ll stay.

Listen, having people around is great. Creating a new life is scary. Taking a chance on love, can be nervous however don’t ever make a decision on the basis on what others would think. Whatever the “she” is speaking, saying, or thinking, it only affects them not you. I’ve missed on things because my inability to separate support from permission. I didn’t need permission but during that time I wasn’t able to distinguish the two and set boundaries.

Everyone is talking about “living their best lives.” I’m doing that now. I’ve wasted time and didn’t enjoy moments due to not being able to understand what that meant. I didn’t have the capacity to shut the naysayers out. I didn’t have the capacity to say regardless of what my entourage thinks, I’m making a decision on what I want.

Whatever the “she” may be whether a friend, a strong glare from a stranger, your church family, a boyfriend or even a potential dater, be sure to balance what they say to what you want and be able to live with yourself after the fact. Anything that may create a regret means don’t do it. I wouldn’t go back to that life now but I can learn and teach my girls and my son not to let other whispers stop you. You can’t live your best life under the guidance of hoping for acceptance from everyone around you! You may not get it. You better be sure you can accept you. You are okay with the outcomes. You are okay with walking away! What “she says” means nothing if it doesn’t align to what you say or what you want! Remember support isn’t permission. Give yourself permission to be happy! Define what that means to you!

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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.

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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Take it to the South…..

One of the best things I love about the holidays is getting together with family and friends. Nothing says holiday time then good food, great drinks, friends to laugh and shed a few tears with and today I was able to get my dose.

So when you live in a city like Philadelphia there are so many restaurants and events that’s it can be hard to keep up. I was wonderfully delighted to go to South Kitchen and Jazz Parlor. Now I had my kids with me for a few seconds waiting on their Dad, but as soon as we walked in the kids said ohhhhhh mommy I love this place. It had everything that I like, low beautiful lights, welcoming staff and visually stunning. My kids went with their dad and I was able to join the rest of the ladies.

Now let me say the drinks were so good. I love a great holiday drink. South Kitchen definitely made sure to make the drinks strong and hey for the price it should be. Some restaurants do try to water down drinks I can say not South Kitchen. From sip one I felt like I was going to have to slow walk this. Now I am an avid drinker so a strong drink usually isn’t intimidating but this one….

Some of the ladies ordered some wonderfully looking appetizers and from their empty plates I believe it was good. We got down to it and ordered our entrees. I ordered the oxtails with hopping Johns aka black eyed peas and collard greens. Now let me confess I’ve never eaten oxtails before but definitely wanted to give it a try. From the first bite, it was nothing less than amazing. I felt this was better than anything I have ever had. I am a little foodie and I swear it took everything not to order another to take home. The portion sizes were more than enough. Like I get why Uber Eats haven’t started delivering but I’m already working my brain on when I can get back there.

Now to my favorite part, the jazz! They had Roxy Coss a New York based saxophonist and composer. Her band was amazing. I’ve grown up with the influence of jazz my whole life and let me say my parents would have been in real musical heaven. One of the pieces, “Unwavering Optimism”, was inspired by Roxy’s Grandma who lived her life everyday as it was her best day ever. Think about that, although her grandma had passed the lesson of taking each day as your best was reached to each and every audience member. Life lessons can come in many forms! I downloaded her album Chasing the Unicorn before the end of the first song. It is that good!! You can get it on iTunes or anywhere you get digital music!

So we had such a great time filled with laughs, a few tears, and some amazing food but most importantly a great time. Although I wanted to say no I did have the apple pear cobbler with ice-cream. Lawd I was willing to have a set back on my fitness but luckily I didn’t have to. All of the ladies helped me partake!

So let me tell you my take from this experience, one friendship. It’s been a long road to establish myself here in Philadelphia. I’ve blogged about it often but I feel like I’m finally settling in after almost 6 years. Yeah I take a minute to warm up but the truth is I’ve been pregnant since forever since I moved here. It was a challenge for me to open up and be a consistent friend to others.

Another take is when I look back on how I was a few years ago with anxiety getting out and pushing myself has been helpful. I’m finally enjoying myself. College was so amazing and not having anxiety was a blessing. Gaining social anxiety afterwards was heartbreaking. Learning myself over again and trusting the process has shaped me to be able to not say no to invites. I would want to go but as the event got closer I would clam up and say no. Every lady brought in good vibes. Every lady, was warm and welcoming. Good times were had by all!

One of the ladies I’ll call her MJ since that name is one of my favorites since it’s what we call my son and that’s her initials surprised each lady with a gift bag. I love trinkets and this bag was so sweet! Thanks MJ!!!

All in all it was a great evening! So if you’re ever in Philadelphia area venture into South Kitchen Jazz Parlor. When I say you will be most pleased I mean it!! Come with your coins though. It ain’t cheap. It isn’t somewhere you would want to take the kids unless it’s a special occasion but it is worth the price for quality food, quality time, and a real great experience.

I Will Now….

I have unfortunately been around a lot of people who have had life changing occurrences in their lives. It could be that they are sick, they were at the brink of death, or sadly have lost their life.  The one thing that resonates with all of them that NOW is the time to live.  They want to live their best life because their life is in a balance.  The time to live is everyday you wake up.

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No life isn’t perfect.  It’s not supposed to be but if you have a bucket list, don’t wait until your moments away from kicking the bucket to live. Live on purpose now.  What are you waiting for?  If there is a trip you want to take, start actively saving. How much will it cost?  Research all aspects of the trip.  What can you cut to get you there?  Is it a few Starbucks trips, or maybe it’s spending less on others.  Whatever it is, be active towards those goals.  Wake up every day with purpose.  Wake up with direction and desire to be better than the day before. Today is the best motivation you can get, start now to do what you need for you.

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You have life.  You are here for a purpose.  Don’t sit idle waiting for greatness to drop out of a sky, take control and crush your goal list!

 

 

The Catch Up: November 14, 2017

I haven’t given a weekly update since October 30th.  Life has been happening and I am enjoying every minute of it. If you have been following me on Facebook than you know that I work hard to bring you the national days as many as I can.  With the holidays fast approaching like next week is Thanksgiving I have arranged that all posts have been set so I can enjoy some much-needed family time. I have taken a few days off from work as well so me and my little family can zone out with each other, wear Thanksgiving gear, and just eat and be merry.  I will still be posting blogs.  I will not be taking a total break.  We are going to finish the year strong. In the meantime, what has been going on?

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I have been hitting the social scene pretty hard. I have been balancing that with my family, work, and my work out schedule. I think my planners are burning at this point. As the end of the year approaches there has already been an increase of more social events to attend. If there is anyone who like me deals with social anxiety this time of the year can be a huge issue for you. I understand. I try to get there on time because for me getting there late makes me feel like the spotlight is on me. Take deep breaths and play some calming or feel good music on the way.  I also try to make sure that I connect with at least one person and make that my go to person as I travel the room and greet others. I also make sure that I have an exit plan in place in case I get too overwhelmed. For the most part unless it’s a show or something I have to be at for the whole event.

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So far since the last update I have attended a yoga class, went to see Bad moms, attended my son’s soccer, went out for Halloween, and attended the Janet Jackson concert.  Holy get out of the house.  This doesn’t include my meet-ups for working out with friends so this girl is finally breaking out of her shell.

I can’t wait to enjoy some much-needed family time and I hope that you do the same with your families.

My job is doing a maintain challenge. The goal is to keep maintain where you are but if you go over 2 pounds you are disqualified.  This has helped me since I have changed my schedule to include 5 days at the gym, with 3 of those days being in the am.  So whatever you need to do so you can still eat them pies, cookies, and cakes I suggest you do. I am going to keep going but I will still enjoy some of the great holiday food!

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We have been on the move. I have answered a slew of Ask Toi. I will continue to push those out as I am a bit behind.  If you have been asking why there are so many the holidays always brings stress.  As soon as that stress hits people need to vent. I am here. Ask your questions by sending an email to toitimeblog@gmail.com

If you have missed any blogs check them out ToiTimeblog

We have done over 10 or more blogs as I am averaging out to at least 4 or more blogs a week. A girl is feeling pretty good these blogging days! Thank you to all who have wished me a happy anniversary.  It’s still November. My social media pages will all be getting revamped.

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I have made changes to the blog itself. By Thanksgiving I will have changes to Instagram 

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Snapchat as Toitimeblog

Have a great one and remember to be kind!

 

 

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.