Slow Down

I am meticulous about deadlines and schedules. It drives my husband nuts because he’s the type that goes with the flow! However today in my commute home I ran into an older woman who many passed by. She looked lost and asked me how to get to the train station. She said she was worried she has missed it.

Even though I left my office 10 minutes later than normal and normally I would have been hustling quick to get to the train station I let her know I would not only escort her to the train but I would make sure she got on the right one. As we began walking slowly she started to share her story with me. These last couple of days I’ve been thinking about my great grandparents and this women’s spirit reminded me of my great grandmother. I took her to make sure she got on her train and she had me call her family to let them know what time she would arrive. I enjoyed that slow down.

I wasn’t late after all. We both were able to get on the train to our destination. She said so many people walked past her that she was getting anxious about finding the train station in time. I was anxious about being on time but our time was perfectly matched. I’m a firm believer even with anxiety that we will be at the right place at the right time. Today was that reminder. She said I provided her with comfort and today she provided me with joy! I pray nothing but blessings into her life! Such a sweet woman!

It pays to slow down and realize that delays are sometimes super necessary. There’s someone who needed me but in essence I needed her love and warmth!!

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How to Start a Creative Outlet

I get asked how I started the blog. I have told you from day one it was started after I dealt with and got past my postpartum depression following the birth of my middle child. Having to find ways to put life in perspective for me opened up my creative flow. I researched blog sites on how to write one on a free site like WordPress and I started writing.

If you go back to my earlier blogs you can see the growth.  In the beginning I didn’t have a clue about how I wanted the blog to look.  Since then I have been able to have a graphic designer that I call on to help me with various projects such as logos and my newsletters.  I am more savvy about lighting in pictures recently being gifted the appropriate light to make things better and a few steps away from getting the camera that I want to really set things right. You take a vision and you just start.  When its your gift, working hard will bring people into your inner circle who will teach you the ropes. I have had amazing bloggers who gave  and still give me tips and while adopting them they do work.  I have been blessed to be able to make it happen.

Never be afraid to leap. I had no idea anyone would read my real life story. They have. That initial fear was real. I would love to say I just leaped and everything aligned. It didn’t. I first had to combat and set the stage for those in my inner circle to know that I wouldn’t blog them without permission. Also I had to let those in my inner circle know if I am inspired I will blog when necessary. I had folks say why would you tell people that? My answer is simple, it’s my life and my story to tell.  I get to be as intimate with the details as I want. In addition to that I have always been clear not to include anything about my kids or husband that would embarrass them in any way. My kids love that I blog and often ask for me to blog because they think I just post pictures. My husband is my number one supporter, reposting all articles without having to be asked. He loves that I have this creative outlet. I can now focus on it and it rounds out my life. Not once have we ever argued over a blog. I have shared some amazing deep issues and it’s not an issue. He respects my space and my blog. He’s quick to say, you better blog it!

black laptop computer

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I blog extremely consistent. This month, a new blog each day. Now that I have moved from the free WordPress to paying for it and owning the domain I can blog, set for it to hit and go live at a specific date and time. People think I live blog meaning I blog and then set it. Nope! My life is super busy. I blog and move on because I can control the time it goes live without sitting at my laptop to do it. I started blogging on my phone, moved over to a laptop and now can alternate between both.  I am grateful for all of the support I have gotten in these last 4 years. Recently I have been networking with other bloggers and we have a few things up our sleeve. If you noticed in the last year, I have been out and about a lot more often.  I have blogged many events that I am invited to and its been fun expanding.  These last few months have been amazing as I learn the who is who of Philly, find new spots to enjoy life, and just be as creative as I want to be.

Take the initial step. Know your audience. Be flexible to learn. Take criticism with strong skin. People will tear you down in this media world. They have an opinion of your opinion. Do not be afraid of the commenters. They mean well but sometimes people will say things behind a screen they would never say to your face. Be prepared if you speak about past pain that involves others. Never reveal who they are unless you can handle the offline pressure. However you still have a right to tell your story from your perspective. Be prepared for friends and family to be mad, jealous, envious and say mean things. It’s not always just an Internet Troll. It can be from the ones you love who think you aren’t an authority to speak on a topic. This is why I speak from my perspective and no one can take that from me.

Imagine a world where people want to shut a person down for their personal experiences. There are a lot of people who grow from reading blogs. They may be experiencing the same types of pain so never be afraid to talk about it. Blogging takes a little curve to learn how often you want to do it.  Write at your own pace. I started doing it 2 times a week sometimes only a few times a month. Then my mentor  told me I needed to step it up when I was ready and now its very few in-between where 3-4 blogs a week doesn’t happen.

If you want to start a creative space of blogging, YouTube videos, etc do it!  You got it in you don’t waste it just because you don’t have all the tools. I started with a phone, no laptop, a free site, no camera, no lighting and just went for it. Research what you need. Amazon has been my friend.  I have found the items that I needed at a fraction of the price for equipment. As you grow, companies may want to help you expand and offer you items you need too. Do not ever be afraid to ask.  Friends and family may be willing to help too. I have had some great friends guide me to little shortcuts to achieving the same goals. As much as the hurdles came, it was in me to overcome it.  Now I expect to add more tools as I expand. Also ToiTime is registered and I am expecting to be able to be in full branding mode soon. One dream can turn into reality. I am walking proof that you got it in you and you can make it happen!

Start today. You can always correct what you don’t know but you can’t correct when you sit idle hoping to begin!

Monday Motivation: Take Care of You

Good morning. Whether you are off this President Day or working like me today’s motivation is about reminding you to take care of you.  I know you have a lot on your mind and heart.  I know you have a to do list that’s super long, but taking care of you while you accomplish these goals is extremely important.

People talk about not being selfish in life and that’s real.  However there are a few things that you must be selfish in and that’s taking care of you. Not worrying about everyone else around you and then setting you on the list last. I hear so many people say how much time they don’t have. Yet if you are sitting up at night stressing you have time to find ways of taking care of your needs. How can you use the time you think you don’t have?  Simple.  Learn to make a list.  Cross off things as you get them done and move on to the next thing. Make a list of health related items to get done. Did you get your teeth checked in last 6 months? If you are a woman have you had your gynecological exam and breast examined? Men if you are of age have you checked your prostate and have a physical?  I know you’re tough and are okay but a physical will lay it all on the table.  Start there. That’s checking your health.  What about mental health?  How are you REALLY doing?  Do you find yourself snapping out on others around you?  Could you benefit from therapy to attack some stressors and old pain that’s not healed. Healing will bring things to the surface for you to deal with and not ignore.

How about how you make a living or accomplish those goals?  Are you walking in your purpose?  Do you wake up every day dreading going into work because its simple just filling the time on Earth and paying your bills?  Have you considered using that job to reach your ultimate goal. This means sitting down and making a 1 month, 6 month, 1 year, etc plan.  Yes work in the day, and at night find a way to put aside money for your dream.  This changes how you wake up. Yes the folks on the job irritate you, but you aren’t working for a check anymore. You are now working towards a dream.  See how you can switch the perspective?

Get up and do one thing this morning that is about change. This morning I woke up with the world on my mind. I said Toi today is about how you can make a few things happen.  I looked at my vision board and said today I will attack one thing from each category to get to my vision.  A vision is simply the guideline but you have to put in the work to make it happen. Those cut outs are only helping you visually see the steps, so let’s get to the steps. Happy Monday and crush those goals. Trust me life is going to throw enough curve balls. You got to know when to let a few go past you, duck, and catch the ones that are for you. Today, its okay to focus on your goals. I would hate to see all that life inside of you diminish because your focus was fixing everyone else and not living your best life.

Sunday Message: Be your Own Party

There are so many times where we need the affirmation of those around us. Let’s be honest, people are attempting to push through their own stuff. As much as you should have people who celebrate you, don’t get discouraged when others can’t tap into you like you want!

So what happens when you have to turn things into a party of one?! You turn that celebration up! Yes you celebrate you like you want others to celebrate you! Your internal celebration dial sometimes has to be turned high. This means your word choices in how you describe yourself, how you treat you, and how you love on you matters. Stop negative self talk. It doesn’t help when your mind says one thing and then you allow your mind and thoughts to align together. Trust me it can be devastating to talk yourself out of a blessing or into some mess. Don’t you have a world doing it enough?! Don’t add to it! You may not have it altogether but good ma’am and sir you are still bomb! You are worthy! You are what the world needs. Smile, adjust your crown, shift your outfit and walk head high.

You can’t be mad at others who talk to you raggedly if you too join in on the fun! You are here for a purpose and while you find and begin walking in it, strut your stuff!

Party of one don’t have to be so bad! They are relaxing when you think about it. Party of one means you can shine your way without having to do it like the next! Celebrate you!

Today in the midst of a bad day or a bad moment, smile because you been down before and you know you will overcome! You know you will make it and you know you got this!

Anxiety, Balance, and Relationships

People always says that when you meet the right person you will be able to navigate anything with them.  There is a lot of truth to that statement.  However in life you may not have that someone in your life, you may really be struggling, or the person in your life struggles with understanding you in the way you need them to understand.  This blog will be super personal but not meant to paint the people in my life as horrible individuals.  However it is a reality that I know many lke me experience.

Expectations vs. Reality

Expectations tell you that if your partner loved you they would know how you feel as your anxiety mounts.  Reality says no matter how much empathy they might have, they aren’t going to understand if they don’t go through it themselves.  This is why you in reality need someone who has a high level of empathy while you in return are going to have to do active self-care.

Expectations says that if you have a partner they will have a higher level of understanding to help see you through. Not always true. There are movements when you find that your partner misses the mark. What they see as ungrateful, anger, fear, is masked as anxiety. When you have anxiety often times you have a thousand questions, you don’t deal with unknowns or you may not be able to express yourself correctly. These feelings are complex.

Let me give you an example. In college freshman year I was learning myself. I came in the door strong willed and able to articulate myself extremely well. Over the course of those first years through fault of my own, I was made fun of, talked about, and had to withdraw from many social circles. On top of that I already lacked social skills even though I had great academic skills. I found myself not able to be bubbly and I felt alone. I started to figure out once around certain people what I should or shouldn’t say. As the years went on I became more and more reserved that once I graduated although I was happy to be away from some of the dismissive crowds I had managed to just tolerate; I greatly couldn’t navigate even in my small town outside of my set crew. This is when my anxiety took off.

In college my coping mechanism was to be loud or angry just so it would make more sense that if someone didn’t want to be around me I would already have an outlet. I started being only around my 4 friends for the most part but even with the them I felt I had lost a little respect.

I’m learning how to get back to myself. When I had my kids and moved to Philadelphia which made sense it still mentally stripped me of a lot of independence. I had already moved from my apartment to my parents home. The only reason that wasn’t a total bummer was because they wasn’t there and I was living in the home with my siblings. Being able to secure my own bag, right or wrong pay my bills, and live on my own terms always made me feel stronger. Moving to Philadelphia didn’t make me feel secure on my terms. Everyone told me how great it was to have my needs met by someone else but by then my episodic anxiety had already kicked in. I moved away from what I knew and only expressed it outside of fights with those around me. See how that anger as a coping mechanism was the band aid that didn’t help me in the long run? Once again I was around people who were smiling in my face, talking behind my back, but wanted to have a private relationship while publicly bashing me felt like college all over again.

It’s funny how that type of mess didn’t bother me in high school because I was too focused on my academics. Now my focus was on my kids but without outlets I was feeling alone. I’ve called alone stuck many years because I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t stuck it was feeling alone and honestly let’s call a spade a spade; I was. I didn’t understand my anxiety and by this point I hadn’t been seen by a counselor. I moved away from familiarity, and I couldn’t articulate what I was going through but that didn’t stop the talking. It didn’t stop my anxiety either.

Let’s flash back to now, anxiety is better managed but it doesn’t change how I am perceived. If I’m having a hard time and stay to myself I’m perceived in my mind and by the things or situations as ungrateful. If I express myself, I’m angry. Now this is why having anxiety is hard. That line between real and expectations slide into one other. Have I been told I’m ungrateful-at times yes. I have to be đź’Ż. I’ve walked in on conversations that my husband has had about me and my anxiety with his friends that made me not want to be around the same friends he spoke ill about me too. Some to this day I speak but mentally side eye. Having anxiety has stripped me of the ability to have peace while I actively take ownership of it. I had to talk to my counselor many times and her advice I took but not all of it. As I work through that why not, I’ll reveal it at a later time.

When I blogged about going to counseling I was told by some how brave it was to speak openly but often times people I wouldn’t have told were told anyway. I grew up in a home that if others were going to speak about something about me; let me tell it in my own words. Again this isn’t to throw anyone under the bus. These are real situations that have happened and I have to work through those scars and how anxiety has robbed me at moments to control who I allow into my inner circle and who doesn’t. People make it seem like it’s not a big deal but if you’re left vulnerable, having someone not want to talk to you because you’re getting on their nerves or not wanting to go out because you feel like people are whispering about you because they know things that you would never tell them is debilitating.

I’ve missed cues on friendships because of my own anxiety. However because I was used to certain people and their antics I allowed disrespectful behavior too. How I was able to figure things out was to go to therapy to find out who was who and what people’s words, actions and behavior means to me. A lot of that is to speak truthfully about where I am. So when you see a personal blog and I’m writing it comes from a very real place.

How you perceive how people treat you can very much be clouded by anxiety. However you have to know yourself and trust your instinct. As much as I wanted to carry the anger of my husband’s friends the reality my issue was with him and not them. How I felt they were responding was based on my anxiety. And it was up to me to work through that.

I can’t say that I’ve conquered my anxiety. I have and do manage it better. I struggle with perception because when actions say someone would rather not be around me and I know I’m super dope individual, I know it has to be a few reasons, they really don’t like me or my anxiety has me perceiving the situation one way.

To those who suffer with anxiety that has caused break ups, lost of jobs, or feeling alone know that I understand. All I can offer is understanding as you work through it! Don’t give up on yourself! Don’t think you’re alone. Don’t think you aren’t worthy of finding love that will help you in getting towards your goal of controlling your anxiety. It will get better!!

Weekly Recap: Friday February 15, 2019

Blog Life

What a busy week it has been.  2019 is showing of and showing out. I have been doing some crazy networking so look for some new collborations up the pike.  This week has been a theatre week.  Last Friday I attended the showing of Box Clever.  You can catch up on it if you missed it.  Wednesday I attended the Bridges of Madison County.  It’s been a great week of activities. In between these 2 events this week there has been a new blog everyday.

Don’t forget my time at Be Free II! We been out and about!!

I also have to shout out to my husband for gifting me the portable lighting that I needed as well as a new tripod.   I will release the information on the podcasts I will be doing a bi weekly features.

Also if you will be in the Lancaster area on February 23rd you can join me and the rest of TCP personalities, bloggers, and podcasters as we give and host people in the community to find community outreach projects.

Fit Life

Spring is around the corner.  With that in mind so will all my Spring races.  Shout out to my friends who have been pushing me in our step competition. I have been over hitting my daily step goal. Getting my breathing and stamina is important. I have been working out 4 days of work out so far this week. I plan to get at least one more day in.

Also I tried some of these amazing healthy snacks from Rhythm Super Foods! I mean if you have to eat your veggies you might as well eat them in a chip right?!

Kid Life

These kids have enjoyed their delays and their one day off this week. I remember these great days growing up. The focus this week is on my youngest who will be 5! She’s super excited to do whatever (in reason) on her special day. She also reminds me that she will no longer be a baby! I always tell her I’m aware. She’s such an amazing child. She’s definitely a firecracker. I love watching her grow and speak up for herself!

Personal Life

This week has been interesting. I’ve been trying to manage myself and my emotions. I definitely feel like I am in control. Also the more my calendar fills up I have been attempting to stay balanced. It’s a lot to manage the kids, the house, the blog, work, workout and drink my water, but I’m getting it done!!

I hope you all who celebrate had a great Valentine’s Day! I tell people all the time if Valentine’s Day is everyday there’s no reason not to be able to add this day in the mix! If you weren’t celebrated as you wanted, celebrate yourself!! Self love is important. It won’t stop you from feeling a void, but it can help ease it. Being whole includes emotional healing as well.

Philadelphia Theatre Company Presents Bridges of Madison County

I had a wonderful time at the opening night of Bridges of Madison County.  This musical was not only engaging, it also hit on some questions in life.  The story involves an Italian woman named Francesca Johnson who married an American solider to flee the war in Italy. The story also surrounds Francesca family as they head off to the state fair without her. Who she encounters while they were gone, sets the many questions of what would you do.

What would you do if you found yourself in the company of a handsome stranger who woos you? In crossing the line you are left with the questions in your heart and mind of staying with the man you have built a family but not necessarily having the fire in your soul for or the man who with whom you just met who makes you feel alive?  How deep is your loyalty?  I attended this musical with my husband and it made for one great date night and an interesting conversation for the journey home. We talk in our society of men cheating but this woman clearly cheated on her husband and fell hard in love. Could she in the 1960’s just leave?  Could you in an unhappy relationship leave your mate now?  I think about all of the social and economic structure of that time and think about how staying definitely was more of a stable decision. To leave stability and your children is not only now but then unheard of. So of course my husband and I are talking about how life is different for women in a lot of ways with advancement in careers, etc but there are still women who are housewives who feel stuck in their current state. Now I am not condoning cheating in any way. Matter of fact, although stuck Francesca was actually quite wrong to cross the line with the photographer even if I understand it!

Did I mention that it’s a musical? I love musicals. Bridges of Madison County kept my attention and the front seats were probably the best part. I would highly suggest you getting to this show, opting for VIP seats if you can and by the way you can because there are many options to make it affordable.  This musical has romance, its funny, the music is A1, and it has drama and will have you talking well after you have left. If that isn’t the making of a good time?  I am enclosing the link for deals, like reduced tickets 3 hours before show time, ticket discounts if you are a SNAP recipient, group tickets, etc.  Tickets for all budgets and the ability to have one star-studded night.  So affordability for all is important and trust me when I say you are going to want to get out and not miss this masterpiece.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre for a magical night. Thank you to the amazing cast you were above and beyond talented. Each of you have such a great gift. Thank you to Aversa PR for the invite.  Thank you to everyone who were involved in the reception afterwards for the reception. The brisket was divine! I felt like a celebrity with all of the star treatment.

Everyone get out and support Bridges of Madison County.  The show is located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 215 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19107; 215-985-1400.  The show runs from February 8 to March 3, 2019!