Ask Toi: How do I adjust my feelings over my sibling sharing his/her HIV status publicly?

The biggest way to adjust your feelings is to understand who’s issue it is. The sibling is the one carrying the biggest weight of her health status so it’s up to him/her if they want it to be shared. Often times people see HIV as a death sentence. Her ability to share that whether on social media, on YouTube, a blog, etc could be a place of peace and healing. Adjust ownership of where the pain of your sibling’s health issue is. People always say when others share things such as health issues that they are over sharing but people don’t realize the peace that comes from being authentic and open. To not give something that is deemed so negative space. To help another person make better decisions while listening to or watching you make mistakes and owning it and not allowing it to own you.

I’m not being insensitive that you will have people who do not understand your sibling or may even shy away from him/her and maybe you feel like you want to protect him/her. It isn’t your job to do so. Your job is to support and love.

Another way is to speak to your sibling about how you feel about the openness they are willing to share. Maybe releasing it will help you adjust. Be understanding when your sibling acknowledges your feelings and still decide to walk in their truth boldly. It is their right to do so!

I would also research ways you can assist. HIV just like with any other health scare has ups and downs. Find ways to support your sibling when the times get rough. Find ways you can be their peace instead of thinking of only how you may feel. Although technology is ever changing and cures are being found daily, this is a battle that needs to be fought daily! He or she will need to know that you have their back no matter what! Focus on that instead of the sting or stigma you think will follow.

I wish you well and I wish your sibling well!!

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Stay in Your Lane

Happy Monday! Today is going to be filled with highs and lows. Keep in mind that you have to go into any day knowing that. However one thing that can set your week apart is to have empathy for all but stay in your lane. Folks personal lane is just what it is-personal. I learned the hard way as a kid to stay in my own lane. I had to know the tea and my mom made sure to remind me and when I would get caught up in someone’s lane she would remind me- stay in your lane!

Lane as gifts/talents

We all have gifts whether we use them or not. Often times we try to use gifts that were not given to us to do things not gifted to us. This is when you find at times the road being super hard. You are already going to have challenges even in your gifting do not pick up things in other folks lanes. If you’re not a singer, don’t tell another singer how to run their show! If you’re not a baker stop baking stuff for the company potluck. Stay in the lane God gave you even if it’s picking up the utensils!

History repeats itself

I took a good run yesterday and during it my oldest was using her scooter. She was struggling not because she lacked scooter riding skills but because she wouldn’t stay in her lane, concentrate, and stay the course. I kept telling her to stay in her lane. This was for her safety. Other kids were doing the same thing and she needed to see them and be seen. Eventually she got the message and was fine. I laughed to myself repeating the same things I wouldn’t receive!! I’m just glad for now my daughter seems to be semi more receptive. Shout out to every mom who hears and sees them after the fact!

Staying in your own lane is for your own safety sometimes. As I see the many folks that jump into lanes not made for them and then get mad when nothing comes from it, drama is started or just the inability to sustain it and another lane not made for them it becomes super apparent that staying in your lane is a life skill. This is why regardless of what is shown on social media everything ain’t for me to respond to.

While you’re in your work place, stay in your lane. Work and do what you have to and sometimes that means moving in silence. Everybody don’t need to know your every move. You don’t have to combat it all! Stay in your lane. See other lanes and keep yourself intact. If you are finding yourself getting upset over something that is in another person’s lane and it doesn’t affect you, take stock!

No I’m not talking about the stories on the news, I’m talking about folks personal lanes. Stay out of them and stay in your own lane! Today as you truck along, spend some time finding ways in which you can make your personal journey that much better. For the last few years my journey has been more on watching my mouth, correcting wrongs and being a whole woman! What’s your journey?! Focus more on that and stay in your lane!

Stop Wasting Your Weekends

It’s the weekend!!! You can begin to let your hair down.  You need to be doing the most of the things you need.  As much as blogging has me on social media a lot sometimes I dedicate on the weekend for a little cut back.  I only watch those things that I feel build me up, make me laugh, make me smile, etc.  I honestly feel that as much as social media can be a blessing it can also be a curse.  What I take in matters.  I also do my beauty reviewing or turn my bathroom into my spa.  Whatever you choose to do, make your weekends count.

Do not waste time giving energy to people who do not matter. If you have a friend that you know is a great waster of time, pencil them into the work week.  Leave your weekends to those whose energy levels match.  I have several girlfriends and some who do not all have the same energy as I do. I got a few who are down for anything. I got some who I have to be a little more patient.  I got some who they are the types that love to brunch and some are chill.  Whatever the occasion I love that my friends can be an oasis and on the weekends hanging with a few is super restful.  It’s renewing.  Its refreshing.  Weekends with good girlfriends make the weekend that much better.

If you are the type that finds that you need to let the friends rest a bit, then maybe some personal me time is right up your alley.  Find ways to make that alone time.  Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Spa
  2. Bed and Breakfast
  3. Curling up To a Read a Thon
  4. Shopping Trip
  5. Reorganizing a room, apt, house
  6. Long Bath
  7. Pintrest a few things
  8. Hair appointment

The list can be endless and be frivolous or as glamorous as you would like.  The point is refuel. You can let your creativity carry you wherever you desire.  Come Monday, the words of I did nothing unless nothing is what you desired should have taken place.

For me as an on the go woman, mom, and wife sometimes movie time with my fam bam and not having a schedule is all I need.  I am always planning and now I plan days of nothing.  I also do stuff where only my family are invited.  I will do a full themed party for us 5 to celebrate anything. I do Winter Solstice parties, Fall Preview dinners, anything creative and just for those in our house.  I put energy into them.  I make the meals surround the theme, decorate, the whole nine yards.  These types of events make me ecstatic.  I used to tell folks but now part of self-care is learning that if I post it, you will know if not sorry Charlie! Less is best.  I stopped doing full albums into my life and now just do snippets.  I love renewing with my family and that renews me.

Booed up is always a great way to wind up and reconnect.  It’s easy to go with life and just exist with your loved on, so maybe take some time to find an outing you both enjoy.  Commit to your outing.  If you are supposed to be dressed up, dress well. If it’s a game and more relaxed, be comfortable and enjoy it.  Yes I know money is an issue and one of the number one reasons couples can’t get out.  When you have been with your boo for a minute do not feel pressed to spend all the coins.  There are some awesome date ideas for going out or staying in.  Be creative! The memories created will mean the most and will be what you can lean on during hard times.

Summer is for outings.  All year is but if you choose to be miserable in the Summer I have concluded you may have this experience all year round.  Get out.  Learn to enjoy.  You know life is for living. I get tired of those complainers who take the joy out of the weekend.  If someone is happy to not have to be at work, let them.  If someone is happy to be a brunch with friends, let them.  Let people live.  If you want a glass of wine, enjoy it.  Do not waste your entire weekend with energy suckers or doing the things that will get you grounded for the work week.

Take some time to renew spiritually too.  This s most important.  You need something you believe in that guides you.  You need an anchor that when you can’t get together with friends, your money is funny on hitting an outing, or you feel depleted and can’t tap into self-care you can renew and open your mind and heart in the right directions.

Enjoy the weekend, Mondays come quick.  Don’t let it come and you find you have done nothing you wanted, or had time to enjoy it!

The Complainer

Let me just say and acknowledge that I used to be the one that got on everyone’s nerves with complaining.  I mean as much as I blamed everyone else for the inability to deal with it, the truth of the matter I was the Debbie Downer that no one wanted to be around.  I used to sit around and say well if “they” can’t deal with me that’s on them, this is who I am.  Sound familiar?  You can’t blame folks for no longer wanting to be in your space when your space is dampened by negative vibes and foolery. It’s like hey, you don’t ever have a good day? What does it take for you to smile? Is your life hanging in the balance, no?  Are you ever going to be okay? I can only imagine the things my own husband thought even if he never said it. I get it when I hear others do it because I hear my old responses.

So fast forward to these last few years, I have one, gut bunched myself.  I checked me.  My mom always taught me everyone ain’t telling the same lie.  They may variations but when you hear the same exact thing, there’s truth in that story.  So instead of dragging those around me with misery I checked myself and quick. I one went to counseling to deal with those underlying issues we think is dormant until they aren’t.  Secondly I looked at life from a different perspective.  There are a thousand and one things that can go wrong in your life, but my responses was the only thing that mattered.  So the blame game stopped. I took stock even in the worst of an argument, I took stock.  What did I do?  How could I change me instead of having a laundry list of the things the other person could have done?  For the record this is years of change, not last week.

I got happy or should I say I found real joy in life.  How can I be the best mother and wife if I am consistently draining those in my own home first?  A good gut check will align you in the way you should go.  So now it’s humbling and annoying at the same time when I hear people complain.  I get real quiet and begin to make space.  I can’t entertain those negative people.  In the last few months I have had one friend that I have hung around that has even challenged my interactions with friends.  I can’t do the friends that have a negative response to the most mundane thing.  For instance I sent a friend a card, they were like why did you send it to me.  I had already made it personal with lovely encouraging words, etc but instead of just reading it, they got it, didn’t open it and was like why this and why that.  I immediately took a mental note.  Listen, my friend I’ll call her K has shown me that friendships should be light.  You should be able to send messages back and forth and enjoy the company.  You should be generally happy instead of the “I wonder what issue this person will bring,” type of relationship.

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So I want to first thank my husband who brought up my negative talk to me.  Our mates know us.  When your mate says your annoying, a complainer, a nagger, you can be mad all you want the truth is in the message, learn to receive it.  I took the message and instead of getting mad, and complained some more I got it together.  There is more laughter in our home than disagreements.  Even disagreements don’t last that long. Trust me even I am have taken notice to it.  Also there is a lightness that makes things flow better even in the most difficult situations we have faced.  People think that trouble doesn’t come to us but that’s the furthest from the truth, we are just handling it better. Secondly I want to think K who has been so refreshing and not just K but a lot of my friends I wasn’t able to receive real love back and forth the way I needed to because of my own hindrances.  I feel like my relationships have gotten better for those who are on the same wave length and the others need work.  Some of that work may be from me and some from the other side as well.  We shall see.

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The time you spend complaining and living in a complaining state takes too much time off of your life.  I think to be honest is where I started doing the daily days that I post on my personal Facebook page.  There is something to be grateful for, something to celebrate, something to be better for.  Learn to tap into that.  I now have to be sure my kids don’t take on any of negative behaviors. I make sure to call it out and show them rather than tell them what gratefulness looks like.  I think our home has been in a better place.  As a wife and mom it’s up to me to set a tone as a covering over negativity in it. I hope that my own blunders will help a person to be the best version of themselves.  I know that negativity is a learned behavior and you are ultimately responsible for what comes out of your mouth.  People do NOT want to be in your presence when you are a cess pool of complaining.  Life and death are in the tongue and even the death of the closeness a relationship can be is in your tongue.  FYI just because someone has been around you for so long, is not a good enough reason to continue in your ways.

Let me leave you with 5 examples and if you meet these 5; do some inside work:

Example #1:

You get a text, do you just go with the flow or question why a message was sent without checking the message first? (reading is fundamental, question what needs questioned but you don’t have to question the sender on every thing it could be just informational)

Example #2:

You get invited to a dinner, instead of going with the flow you make comments on restaurant selection, talk about yourself the whole time, etc (PS you could have stayed home and not come)

Example #3

You are in a group text, you make the church announcement that you don’t do group text and that you are tired of being in them but you get mad when you are no longer invited to the next group text or no longer privy to the information in it (you could have muted the conversation to check back later)

Example 4

You get a gift with no card, your first response is “no card” instead of saying thank you and then the next response is “why would you come with no card” (the card could have gotten lost in transit, or the gift may have not needed one)

Example 5

You are getting a group gift and instead of stating how much you wanted from others, you offer to them for them to give what they can.  Your friend gives 10 your response is “I seen how you been spending lately, this is all you have? (you can’t clock other folks money and what they should or shouldn’t be doing with it)

 

These types of responses over time will not get you invited to the next function.  You can’t get mad when you are constantly left out after the continual rude, insensitive, negative vibes are being given.  FYI outside of the gift one I have used these responses in the past in one shape or form.  This way no one will get in their feelings of you used what I did or said.  However if the shoe fits, please wear them and adjust.  No one and I repeat NO ONE has time for any of the above mess.  No one wants to be drained of negative space when around you.

Be better not to save a relationship but because deep down even you get sick of you.   Continue reading The Complainer

Love Is: To Concert or Not…

Lawd love is complicated. Love is super confusing and overwhelming. So in this episode there is a lot to talk about. I am not going to recap but I will talk about a few things that touched me.

Homeless and Trying

Men, don’t let Yasir and his homeless self out do you. I know you want to hit but on the surface nobody is above a do better. How is this homeless man with absolutely no resources out here finessing someone better than you?! Simple. He is focused and sincere. I used to have the mindset of not wanting to save a man. I dated a man who was a lot like Yasir. But I was too much a mix of Angela and not enough Nuri. I wasn’t committed to love or of loving him even though our moments of connections was semi intoxicating.

No Excuses

Depending on where you are in your relationship will determine where Yasir plays for you. For folks in the Ruby stage you may have done all you can and more only to keep coming up with nothing and finding yourself consumed with frustration. If your Nuri you may be enjoying the newness and finding that you’re not as adapt to the red flags.

Nuri has no idea the lengths to which Yasir is attempting to make a connection with her. He does all he can to establish it. For Ruby the excuses, the disconnect and lastly the point of no return are too much. Ruby knows she’s lost Yasir when not even her body is enough to sustain him. FYI that’s a word!! Hips and things can only hold a man but so long. So far Ruby isn’t fighting the disconnect too much longer. The operative word is so far….

When Real Goes too Far

You have to respect a friend who is honest. We need those friends in our lives to keep us grounded. Both Yasir and Nuri have good friends. I need to remind the keeping it real friend, the Angelas of the world to remember to keep it real but walk in discretion. You don’t have to play dumb for your friend but you can remember to be a friend that can be counted on and not as judgmental. Angela is trying to support Nuri and not jump the gun. She is practical and doesn’t bite her tongue but knows when to support. Nuri needed Angela not just to cover her for a night but to cover her with love and understanding.

Faith

I am not a Muslim. However I do respect that the show highlights his commitment to his faith in a positive light. Between that and this new budding love it’s the two things guiding him. I can’t wait to see how the two faith and love continues to merge.

Love and Work

Its a slippery slope to love or like where you work. I worked with a man and dated him and unlike Nuri it was intoxicating as grown people should be. Nuri has been leading this fake Netflix and Chill man astray. Falling in love where you work is not ideal. Love may not necessarily find you. So don’t cross that path if you aren’t willing to have one or the other compromised. Some people make it work but often times it doesn’t. Unlike Nuri and her fake work boo, Will working and love can not only go against company policy but can make interactions go left especially if “cookies” are even being negotiated.

So you go from Rubi and Yasir emotionally cutting it off to them also ending it physically to Yasir losing it all while figuring out if Nuri is everything he could ever imagine. Two worlds fusing together!

Do they go to the concert and start this dance full-time?! Catch it for yourself…

National Day of Forgiveness

This is a topic a lot of people like to avoid. It makes people extremely uncomfortable. No one wants to extend grace to a person who doesn’t deserve it. None of us really has earned grace. We are all messed up and flawed but when someone does something that personally is off-putting the first response isn’t to move on and act like nothing happened.

Forgiveness like I’m sure you have heard is for you. It does more for you then it will ever do for the other person. It releases the sting of the offense. It frees you. But why if it’s so good for you is it so hard to do? Hurt feelings is like a knife. It will continue to cut if you allow it. So although the person may never give you an apology or even admits that what they did hurt you, just know that the journey towards forgiveness is healing and healing can be messy.

Let me not paint a picture that you get hurt and immediately have the mindset to just say it’s ok forgive and walk away. I would be lying. I think it’s the biggest lesson to date for me live out each day. You can be hurt, upset, and angry and sometimes all at the same time. Pain sucks! It should also be known that it’s a reminder too. Sometimes the ones I didn’t want to let go has caused me the hardest pain so I knew better than to go back and set myself up again.

I don’t have a magical list of how to get over it! I know that even if I did and you followed that list you still may find yourself struggling to forgive. I’ve said it before sometimes you have band-aids on and when something happens it opens the scar right back up. This is why for me it takes a minute to even have the conversation of forgiveness let alone do it. I’m super petty and will be the first to admit it. As I’ve gotten older I’ve finally realized that I can just forgive for real and not allow people in my space and it’s okay to do so.

Having the offender in your circle doesn’t give you a sense that you are fine no more than walking away and closing the door. It’s usually someone who has offended a person that says we should be able to sit amongst each other. They are both right and wrong. You can be in someone’s presence if you had to but you can also choose who has a seat of your life. The person who was offended makes the call not the offender who wants you in their circle so it erases the sting they caused.

I had a friend I cut off a few years ago reach out and wanted to know if we could just pick up like we had before. I had to let them know no and that I’m not the same person I was years ago. I asked them for forgiveness for what I had caused them, wished them well and re-shut the door. Do I believe people can change? Yes. I feel like I’ve changed. However she had to understand that I wasn’t going back to make her feel better about what was done no more than the many people I’ve pissed off that won’t do the same for me. You see how that works?! I too have done, said, and acted and there are folks out there even with my blog that wouldn’t spit on my me if I was on fire. If I had an opportunity to say sorry or for the ones I have, I do understand that relationships may never be like it was. I am okay with that and continue to live my life the best I know how.

Forgiveness is a gift that makes you whole. I do not expect people to run to me and apologize. People are people. Just like I am a person who probably has things I need to square away. Some opportunities may not happen because mutually it’s understood and neither party is in distress. Value in relationships matter and the ones you value you work harder to mend.

I hope that you take stock on your own life. Hurt and pain can mess a person up. Forgiveness is hard but necessary. Every sorry isn’t heartfelt. Every sorry will not mend a relationship. Forgiveness is a journey but see the value in what it releases in your life even if the value in whom you are up against seems less worthy!!

Monday Motivation

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I had a good weekend if you haven’t read up on my run, you should. But today I rode the train thinking of what I wanted to accomplish this week.  Some general themes of self-care came up as well as making work deadlines, but then I thought about ways I could be specific and get my intentions across.  I broke out my journal and began to write my goals down. I wanted to be clear as I started this Monday of my intentions.  So I encourage you to do the same.  Be clear on what you want to get accomplished this week.  Also write down how you plan to get done what you need to get done this week. Don’t just let the week happen.  Don’t let Monday come and you simply exist.  Be apart of your own story and stop allowing things to happen to you.  Yes, life is hard and comes with unexpected issues we can’t avoid, but there are a lot of things we can control and sometimes we just simply look at things as they hit. Be active in your goals, your life, and the lives of those around you.  Have a good week and a good day on purpose by starting your days with purpose.