Love is…..First Take

Sooooo so much to unwrap. Let me say that I hate to be the one to ruin the first episode because maybe you wanted to watch it later. This show although you may read it on the blogs is worth your own watch. It can’t really be placed in a box although I will do my best to give you my first thoughts.

Messy

So my thoughts even though I watched the preview show is that it was messy but not in a ratchet way. No disrespect to any reality show. This was real but it wasn’t the man finds a woman, falls in love and then bam they run into issues, solve it and live-in bliss. This was based on two individuals, Nuri and Yasir who were already connected with other people and other energy coming together. Connected is code switch for they had other men and women they were already messing with!

A few nuggets Nuri, is connected to several men and at the same time. She is dating the way dating should be where you juggle but you don’t have to give up and the goods. This was super refreshing. Most times women are told that this is taboo but Nuri is doing what she wants. She has a mother who supports her and encourages her to do what she will until she is ready to settle down. Nuri’s mom walks in on Nuri while she’s laid up with one of her work boos. She’s better than me. Say what you will but as a grown woman I’m not about to be dry humping a man who I’m dating! This might be why I have 3 kids?! 🤷🏾‍♀️. Momma as encouraging as she was needed to have her key taken since she came in that house while Nuri was laid up and spills the tea and gets all in their sexual or lack of sexual relationship. The only issue I had was with Nuri wasn’t that she was messing with too many men but that some of them was one of her work buddies. Dating a man where you work can be an issue and super delicate. It’s not for everyone. I too dated a man at work back in the day and talk about super slippery slope?! Don’t do it!

Nuri meets Yasir while at a bookstore by Yasir’s friend who first found Nuri attractive. They go their separate ways until one year later they meet up at the exact bookstore. Timing is everything and the reality is that everything that Yasir is everything a mother would have taught her daughter not to fool with. Like my mom Yasir got too many “ain’t gots.” He is literally walking around in his drawls. He ain’t got nothing but a dream and most women aren’t willing to unpack that type of baggage. We are conditioned to keep it moving and avoid the Yasirs of the world. I think that is good advice except when the connections is this strong and you try to make it work. I want to see how this dynamic alone continues.

Nuri on the other hand seemingly has her stuff together. So how this breaks down will be interesting. Both Nuri and Yasir do have amazing mothers. I’ve already touched on Nuri’s mom but Yasir’s mom is equally a force to be reckoned with. Immediately I didn’t get mama’s boy vibes but the love that most mama’s boys are known to share she gives him that without overstepping. She lets Yasir know that he’s going to have to keep working hard and that she believes in him and his dreams.

Timing

As I stated above their timing couldn’t be more off but so magically right. Yasir is living with his live in girlfriend and baby mom Ruby. He gives Nuri his number to the house and this was before cell phones and even so if they had been out he was too broke to have one. Nuri calls the house. Wait!! What?! Yes. Listen please inject every black woman clap because no way you can call the house for someone’s man and then said man leaves the house and comes back home at 4am and live to tell your story! Not a one!!!! So I knew at that moment Yasir was going to be put out and that it would not end well.

There are a lot of deep things to unroll such as statements about light-skinned women and long hair and God forbid they cut it. Men and their standard of beauty. It is definitely brought up. This thought process of beauty and what is acceptable I will definitely unravel as time goes on.

Love is Highlights I Related to

  • The newness of love when you talk for hours and loss concept of time is so magical. Just that heightened sense of new love is nostalgic
  • Having conversations with your girlfriends trying to get clarification only to turn around and do what you want or feels is right for you is something most have been through
  • Trying to figure out dating and feeling lost in the sauce
  • Realizing in dating and in life that what you make time for is where you are
  • Love can be a saving grace

So this is legit a surface reaction to the new series Love is. As this series continues there will be many more moments. I will say that the story is relatable and has real moments that if you just live or have lived a little you can find yourself in.

Can we shout out the playlists and shout out to those 90 classics television shows and music?! Downloads will be up tonight! To help you here is the playlist to Love is on your favorite stream:

Love is weekly playlist

Also I said I would live tweet so to my surprise I would get a reply by Will Catlett who is none other than Yasir himself!! Night made!!

So if you haven’t watched it. Watch it! Let me know what you thought and of course stay with me as I will be live tweeting each episode! It’s that good so trust me you won’t be disappointed!!

Love is…..you fill in the blanks weekly by tuning into Own on Tuesdays at 10/9c

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Securing the Bag, Secure it All!

Ladies are securing bags everyday. The term securing the bag is in the context of getting your money or closing deals. I battle back and forth on using the term in the everyday life of just working since in my mind everyone is supposed to work, but again it’s my own personal thought. While your securing your bag be sure to secure your own emotions and definitely your body.  How many women worrying about securing the man, the job, the car, the section 8 payments sorry I had to go there because there are many who think that is life.  Ladies, being healthy, working out, eating right, drinking water, talking right to your kids, traveling, etc is a full-time job.  All of the things that we do to be secure in life comes at price points. What’s more pricey than you body and sexual health?  How many times does a woman have to lay down with a man thinking he is the bag.  He is not if you had a doubt.  He is not. What you secure on your own by hard work is but don’t in heat and not remember that.  Sex is great but its better in the right way.

Nothing in, Nothing Out

So back in the day the old mothers would tell you to save yourself for marriage. They meant it! Not the new way of saving yourself where you do everything but sex! If you don’t have nothing going in, won’t nothing come out. That’s a given. Now that goes for traditional virgins and born again virgins. If this non sex life is your life be sure that’s a decision you want. Don’t do it cause you are afraid of what someone will think. You’re the only one that has to combat them urges when they come. You can say what you will but you alone are in charge of that. Don’t let peer pressure to give it up or hold it move you one or the other. Sexual health is a personal decision-more on that later!

If you aren’t of that mindset then you better play by the rules of the land where you secure some birth control. The pull out method is one of the weakest methods. So don’t be found out here with a new boo telling you that it will work. Don’t even let the old boo tell you that mess either. It don’t work like you think. Many a baby has been made from that weak move.

We decided…

It’s so nice to have a partner that will agree or support your decisions. Please understand as a woman who you and you alone will have that child. All the support in the world hasn’t stopped women from having to take care of babies alone. Every woman didn’t lay down with a jerk or at least what they thought was one in the beginning. Some of these men have been Prince Charming!  Some have been husbands who have decided for whatever their reasons are, they don’t want to be apart anymore.  You the woman have to decide that if you aren’t ready to be a single mom at any given point in life, do not at that point or continue to have babies with any man.  Be careful.  This is a lifetime commitment that society has allowed men to be able to walk away from.  Note to my men this isn’t to bash you but to bring awareness.  This is the conversation that regardless of status you should be having.  Married women aren’t exempt.  My mom told me the realist message after I got engaged.  Marriage isn’t the end all be all.  You could be single at any moment.  The life you have built, can change and you better be sure that you are able and ready to take on that life by yourself should something change.

So yes go in with the we with the mindset of an I at any time am willing to bring this life on and take on all it takes on.  If you can’t say that with the partner you are with, then that’s your number one issue and your second issue is that if you say this will work, I can do this than be sure your anchor holds or you have the ability to mindset to push past any hindrances that may come.  Yes we know women are strong they can take it but the number one thing divorced women or women who partners have walked off or may have passed away say is that they never thought about this moment.  Life is beautiful but keep those moments in the back of your mind. Secure your future.  One more note, do NOT let a boyfriend or a fiance push you into any decision. This means no tubes tied, no having babies if that is not something YOU can live with.  Listen husbands don’t get a full pass. I know of many husbands who force their wives to continue in childbirth and at the end of the day those same men weren’t supportive after the baby is born.  It’s cute to have a baby with your husband until you’re in the house bare feet and pregnant with no job security, going through depression and can’t get that same husband to change one diaper.  Count up the cost.  Your mental piece is worth it.  Not to mention the physical needs…  The one thing I didn’t do was secure my own sexual health with my own husband. Gasp.  I alone should have taken my birth control, gotten my tubes tied before I did because that’s what I wanted to do and should have done.

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Don’t look for the tea.  I am good.  There’s no of my goodness what if her kids read this and think they didn’t want them.  STAWP!!!!!!! That is nowhere near the case.  However as much as I loved my boyfriend who turned my fiance who turned my husband,  it wasn’t his decision to make on the continuance of childbirth.  When my second child came it was what it was.  I was in-between decisions and careless on making a decision for birth control when my 3rd came.  She wasn’t a mistake at ALL.  None of my kids were regardless of how much the church folks was whispering.  NONE of my kids were a mistake but I failed myself in how I secured my sexual health.  I love the family that my husband and I have built. I wouldn’t change it but I can help other women be wise. That’s about real as it can get. It is what it is.  Thankful to my husband who he was the one who made me see it that way.  Yes he had his part we both get that but if we can get the younger generation to see the big picture from this, then it was all worth it.  Secure your sexual health married, divorced, seeking, not in the sex game, don’t know where things stand, whomever you may be secure everything not just the bag.

 

Good Reports: My Hysterectomy Update

So I’ve blogged about having a full hysterectomy last year. Although it might be quite private for some, this was one of the best things that happened to me. It helped me to push my life in the right direction.

I’ve been super honest about the journey. I’ve talked about how I started to attempt to lose weight and then hit a wall. I found that I was getting a lot of the areas of my health in line and then bam I was sick, having horrible headaches, and my cycle was so off it made no sense.

After losing so much blood and my blood being so low and at the point of having a second dose of iron infusions, I decided to have a complete work up. I went to two specialists who worked together and came up with the plan and because of them and always God my life has improved tremendously. My hematologist walked me to my OBGYN specialist in person and we all sat down together and came up with a plan. They were hands on and made sure I didn’t feel stuck.

Yesterday I went to the doctors and was told that everything looked great. I had lost the weight and more, my body had healed, and that I was the model patient. I also had a note from the nurses who said I was a joy and made them laugh even though I was in so much pain. To be honest that had to be more pain medication induced than anything. I also was told that I would still need to come back to have my exam done but that I didn’t need to send off anything to a lab since go figure there is no uterus. Such a great turn from last year when I was at my wit’s end, sleeping all the time, etc.

Sleep Patterns

So let me tell you real of what I had to get used to while I healed. There are a lot of women who have had and will have a hysterectomy for various reasons. I personally had already had my tubes tied before the surgery and yet I felt a weird sense of lost after the surgery. I had various dreams of babies quite often and if you add that my body’s clock was off, the insomnia took over the first few weeks. I was sleeping like a baby. No not let men do (some) when a new baby comes home, the kind where day is night and night is day type of sleep. I didn’t regulate my sleep pattern until well over 2 months and I had been back to work by then. It may have been well into 3 months after the surgery.

Sex

Please like I’ve said if you’re coming to read this part to hear about my bedroom secrets let me stop you now! Sex does change after surgery. Some women experience dryness that makes sex super painful. Some have no drive. A lot of that depends on the healing process. Let me also note if your doctor hasn’t cleared you don’t try it. That means do NOT have any form of sex or place anything in your vaginal area. If you do you will regret it. Get a new hobby as you heal. Make your partner wait a minute too. It’s either that or find yourself back in the hospital or injured! It ain’t worth it! Sex was the last thing on my mind during healing. I was trying to master things like getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, and pain management! I had zero issues waiting. However my paranoia did creep in once I was cleared. I did have to find a good rhythm and relax. I was scared that there would be a lot of pain. My husband and I waited 1-2 more weeks after I was cleared.

Hair Growth/Hair Falling Out

My hair didn’t fall out. That is a blessing. I honestly thought it would since I had braids AND when I was postpartum with my kids my hair was falling out in clumps. I figured hey this surgery is sending me into menopause surely my hair is going to hit the floor! It did not!! However I found hair in other unwanted areas. It has leveled out and I personally think it had a lot to do with me being on hormone replacement therapy patches for a while. I got off of that soon after the hair discovery subsided and also it caused me to have heart palpitations. I thought there’s no way I’m going to look like a Chia Pet and feel like I’m having a heart attack too!

Weight Gain

After I had lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery I was paranoid that I would look pregnant as I recovered. I had a plan! I ate what I wanted for the first few weeks and by few I really mean 2! Uber Eats got all my money after my husband went back to work. Standing to prep food or cook was team too much! However I could use my strength to track those deliveries answer make my way to the door. After that food fun was over I stuck to the portion size and types of food for the remainder of the time since working out was out of the question.

Do I still get hot flashes? Yes. I think they honestly started back up in the last month. I had several months where it didn’t happen at all. I do think with the start of the new job and adjusting is contributing to the increase of the flashes. I am confident I will level out soon!

Overall I would do it again. I had 3 c-section with my 3 kids and I felt like I was prepared for the surgery and knew what to expect. Thankfully due to a little prep I had everything ready after I came home too. Shout out to Dr. M for all that he has done. I’m glad of the support of my family and friends during the journey. Now I’m just glad to be able to live a true healthy life! I’m glad that unlike many women who find themselves having to have a hysterectomy that I have my 3 kids. Not every women will experience childbirth and I’m grateful. Again I encourage all to be on top of their health. If something isn’t right or doesn’t feel right then speak up. I don’t even want to think would could have been had I not put myself first!

Sunday Message:When to Move on

I love what I do. I love blogging and giving advice or for me sharing what works for me. I believe there are a lot of people who benefit from hearing about the common things that we all go through and finding hope in knowing they are not alone. My intentions are never to be who you look up to. I think we all can find a balance in looking inward and not outward.

With that in mind there is always a time when you have to know that when you’re on someone’s page, following them, etc when enough is enough. So yesterday I was on a fellow bloggers’ page. Usually they have some great insight but….the past few weeks you could tell the blogger was going a bit left for my taste. Then they started making statements that to ME came off as super judgmental, harsh, rude and it became clear that the blogger no longer fit what I wanted to partake in. So I simply stopped following them. Why as a blogger, would I talk about not following someone, because in life you’re taste will change. That’s life!

You have to understand that in every area of your life you should be changing. You shouldn’t be the same person from years ago. You should be willing to let go of anyone or anything that no longer serves your well being. The part that hurts is when you have an emotional attachment. Although hard if whatever you don’t want to walk away but should takes over your mental and emotional well being then you must do what you must to remove it. It will not kill you but it will kill the parts in you that needed to die.

Not following someone is easy in social media world but the same way I hit the button is the same way you need to hit the button mentally and emotionally and stop giving access to drama and foolishness in real life. Once you do you will see how beneficial it was to let it go. Walk away when you’re done. Just because you go to a buffet doesn’t mean you have to try every piece of food there. Only take what you need at first and then add a few wants and step away. That principle alone will serve your purpose in every area. You can’t take on everything and everyone! You have to walk away to preserve your essence!

I get a lot of folks asking me why do I talk about myself or getting Folks on board to looking within? Simple, everyone always logging in, looking, worrying and being consumed about what the next person is doing and not enough on self preservation. It’s like being on a plane and seeing the plane crashing but walking up the aisle making sure everyone is okay. That is so noble to worry about others but even worse when you realize that your nosiness or curiousness has allowed everyone to move on while you have invested very little in the things that concern you. No one will watch out for you like you should! Stop aspiring to be like, look like, or be caught up in everyone’s tea but can’t brew a hot pot of life for your own!!

Ask Toi: How do I encourage the love of my life to do the old things they once did?

This is a very sensitive subject.  Often times women and men can lose their way when it comes to keeping the spark lit.  One of the things to keep in mind is to look at what may have happened that has your baby not being what you want them or expected them to be.  Has there been a lost of any sort?  What about changes in atmosphere?  These are things to consider.

One thing to do is communicate.  Long gone are the days when a mate, a boo thing, your love, your bae is supposed to just know.  That isn’t fair. Things change and if you are in the middle of a miscommunication the best way is to get on track with realistic expectations.  This means what do you want?  Be clear but also be prepared to give. You may find that you have stopped in an area(s) as well.  While you are focusing on what you aren’t being given it may be that you too got some giving to do as well.

Talk about it.  Tell them what you need.  Don’t use words like you fell off, you aint, you suck, I can’t stand… This should be understood but trust me when I say that there are folks doing the most and it’s so super true.  Be careful what you say and how you say it.  Then get to the root of the problem.  If your bae is really a good bae and you approach it right you both can come from this with a sense of renewed love.  Love is beautiful and it can give those lovey dovey feelings that everyone has told themselves is supposed to happen but if you aren’t careful you will forget how much work it takes to get the light of love burning.

So whatever you were doing for your bae, keep doing.  Dinners, do them. Flowers, do them.  Date night monthly, do it.  Also be the change you want to see.  Encourage your partner to be the best version of themselves by you doing the same.  A solid individual that feels like they got their act together personally can contribute to the “we” part of their life too.  So get back on track by using tact and work through together.  Also be sure that you and your bae physical, emotional and especially mental needs are being met.  This doesn’t mean that they need to be met by you.  The idea that we need to put on or perform for our mate has to be dispelled. I read a comment where a young lady asked for others to pray for her that her boyfriend will keep liking her and accept her.  Although I believe in the power of prayer, your boo to continue liking you is a bit much. Relationships do change.  However someone having to be prayed to accept is not the will.  Acceptance should be how you and your bae got together.  This is why I never encourage men or women to change themselves for their mate.  This will create something for your loved one that isn’t going to be kept up because it may go against the very core of who you are.  It’s like wearing heels everyday trying to kill yourself when you are a real sneaker girl is crazy. However sliding your pretty feet in a pair of heels every now and again and especially on date nights is a better compromise.

Check Your Own Body

I have so many tips for doing different work outs but I am not a professional so I really have what works for me.  I don’t even act like my fail proof plan is a Godsend for all, however there comes a time when you have to be on top of things because let’s face it, who else will?  I remember a reader asking an Ask Toi about gynecological exams and if they should continue to have them done after they were married. My answer then and now is an absolute YES!

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Marriage doesn’t mean you sexual health is perfect. You as a woman need to be aware that now that you got the ring and are one, you can still be one at risk woman.  I always wish happiness and great sex for married couples but if anything you should know right now, everyone ain’t on the up and up.  Not only that outside of getting an unwanted and unexpected non gift from a mate, is the risk of ovarian cancer. It is your job to do all you can to live a happy and healthy life.  Part of living a healthy life is to be about your health and sexual health is important.  No ring or marriage certificate will keep you safe.  So my advice is simple, get checked.  I’ve told the story before how when I was pregnant with my youngest, my OBGYN asked me if I wanted to get the STD panel done.  My answer was hell yes. Her response is well you’re married and you have kids.  I asked her who licensed her again because if you are giving me of sound mind this advice what in the holy hell was she telling other women.  Ladies get checked regardless of your status even my born again virgins that ain’t had none since Jesus was a baby, you need to get things checked too.

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No married woman should be told, you good and that’s it. Again the amount of women who die from ovarian cancer is enough for me to check.  Also like I said I do not subscribe that my husband is so perfect that there is a chance that I am going to be okay. I do trust my husband but how many women rely on trust alone and find out after it’s too late that there husband was on the “down low” and they have contracted something that a pill or a shot can’t cure.  I have told my husband plenty of times that I love me and my kids enough and I get that sometimes men take chances on getting some new %ussy but I refuse to live my life where I just throw caution to the wind. One of us has to love themselves enough to get things checked out.  So far after 5 years there hasn’t need to put the “man” between us.  I do not live my life on the edge.  If something is wrong I want to know, get a plan and keep it moving. This is why I encourage my ladies and my men to know what is going on with your health.  Avoidance is a sure fail way to not live your best life.  In order to have a good life you need to be here.

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So find what works for you in general.  I would also encourage all to see your doctor as well as a nutritionist.  These two are key to getting your health on track.  What you eat is literally a large component to how healthy your life is.  Eating the wrong things can contribute to high cholesterol, weight issues, etc.  Overall health seems so overwhelming. I think when I am trying to drink enough water, exercise, take care of my kids, go to work, have a good sex life, be good to my husband, and anything else life throws how much it takes to be on point in each other.  This is why I believe in balance.  However when it comes to my health, I believe in going in, getting things checked and then attacking each area.

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The Cold Weather Depression

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

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

My personal triggers:

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

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

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

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

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Things you can do to get ahead of it:

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

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