How to Catch Creation

I had the honor of being invited to attend the opening show of How to Catch Creation. I actually withheld reading any reviews, or any the media write-up before hand because I love coming in without any thoughts of what to expect before hand. I was pleasantly surprised of this production. First of all the set was magnificent. I grew up in theatre so sets matter to me. Secondly the cast looked like me. I loved seeing all of the representation of pretty brown faces.  Third, the play captured my attention and gave me a whirlwind of surprises some subtle and some knocking me over.

Let me give honor to whom honor is due by saying that How to Catch Creation is coming off the acclaimed Kilroy’s list.  It’s a play about discovering legacy as well as what it means to create and how creation shifts during periods of life. Creation takes many forms from art, life, relationships, and how all of the loops come together. As a creator myself it definitely spoke to the hills and lows of life and watching my own work take dips according to what may or may not have taken off.

Christina Anderson, playwright, did an amazing job on capturing the experience of black queer feminist writer and how through her life, life has taken on turns that end up bringing the most unexpected people to unite. When you see the connection I found myself holding back in the audience try not to mess it up for someone who might not have. I laughed so hard during this play.  I loved at moments when the audience interacted right on cue without a notion. I also loved seeing Christina Anderson herself in the audience as well as the director, Nataki Garrett. Seeing them watch their work had to be amazing.

This play is for everyone. I do love how it highlights love and heartache for same-sex relationships.  To be honest sometimes society in my opinion forgets that they have an experience like everyone else. It’s not as easy even with society beginning to open up to what it means to be apart of the LGBTQ community and also be Black.  I enjoyed hearing prior to the show from Amber Hikes who is the Executive Director of LGBT Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. I didn’t even know there was a division first of all.  I also didn’t know that are only 3 other positions in the cities of the United States like it. There is definitely a need for all of us to be aware of what our city is offering. It was great knowing that the city of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s office is representing all walks of life.

So what were some of the themes presented:

Despair, from seeing Lindsay Smiling who played Griffin, try to work his way to normality after being wrongfully accused of a crime and incarcerated for 25 years. His struggle to want to have a child of his own as he learns about his mother and her past was incredible.

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Love, from Tiffani Barbour who play GK Marche a writer who falls in love with Natalie played by Shauna Miles and seeing who their love goes from incredible highs to the lows of breaking up and infidelity. Their love was priceless and unmatched until loneliness lead Natalie into the arms of another.

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Betrayal, Shayna Small plays Riley a young woman who has motivated her boyfriend, Stokes, played by Jonathan Bangs, who is losing his focus and rhythm.  Their beat is thrown off when Riley falls in love with Tami, played by Stephanie Weeks who is opening herself up to this forbidden love.  The beat is so off that now in order to get the rhythm back do they let go?  Do they go back to life before the betrayal? Can they co-exist?

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Explosive, fun, witty, and most importantly colorful are some of the best words to describe my experience. You are not going to want to miss out on this adventure. How to Catch Creation will be playing until April 14th. You can purchase tickets which range from $10-69 by clicking here

I would strongly encourage you to see the play and take some friends or family along as well. Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre Company for as always inviting me and treating me above well. Thank you to Kory Aversa and Aversa PR for these opportunities as well. Thank you to the amazing cast of How to Catch Creation for such a wonderful time.  You all were professional and most gracious as well after the show.  Thanks to my personal team for always helping me get to these shows and for being the best caretakers for my littles!

 

 

 

 

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Ask Toi: How do I know if I should Give an Ex another chance?

Hi Reader,

Any ex that you would even give 5 second of consideration should be held at a higher standard than anyone you date. You have history together. There is a reason they are an ex.  Remember that!!! For you to entertain them and cut off potential quality people for your future, that ex has to already demonstrate growth that isn’t connected to the potential of a relationship with you.

This means not lip-service of IF we get back together. It has to be an already they are already walking in the light. They should be walking in a certain higher level of growth that is catching your eye and not just them “old feelings” coming back. My husband is an ex, he demonstrated after some years apart that he was walking in growth that was not attached to the idea of us being an us. Can your ex or does your ex walk in growth that if you and him/her do not reconnect he or she will continue to walk in? If you are doubtful of that, the answer is move on. Thank God for the memories, remain cordial, but continue growing so you can walk and find the one whose growth is enough to speak to the growth that you are walking in.

Dating is hard. Going back to someone you once was with is easy but hard to separate the past.  It’s never good to not have a vision for what your life should be. Sometimes an ex doesn’t fit that. Let me give you an example. Before getting with my husband two ex tried to come back. One was married so you can tell the level of integrity that showed on my part to entertain it had I and his for pushing the issue. The other one was homelessexual meaning he had no place and needed resources. They both were great men back in the day for the period of my life I had entertained. They didn’t fit my life anymore. They have both last time I seen them are better or at least I hope they are. Not everyone on memories alone is suitable for your life. When I think about the hardships and the ways I have gotten through them with my husband there is no way it would have worked out with those other men. That’s not shade towards them at all. Do not go back to potential or to what could be. There’s many relationships that come together on what could be that end up in what the hell is….

 

Good luck and make some decisions not based on history or potential.

Ask Toi: When should you disclose your sexual status to someone?

I think the earliest that you can before any sexual lines are crossed. I know people have casual sex but if you do it’s still important to have that conversation with someone early. Never wait.

For anyone who takes on the responsibility of sex, condoms are number one. You must protect your own life at all times. Condoms are not 100% either. They break or can slip out-of-place, be vigilant. No one ever looks “dirty” as people used to call it. You must remember this is the age of information. It’s not dirty it’s about knowing your status and the status of your partner. If you are having casual sex you take on an incredible risk to yourself and someone’s life. Sex can kill you. You don’t have to be afraid but you do have to be vigilant. This is why I never tell married woman not to continue getting tested. I told my readers how a doctor told me that because I am married I carry a smaller risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. In theory he was right in real life I will never take that chance. Love and responsibility are two different things. My quality of life can easily be interrupted by one slip of myself or my mate. Protect yourself at all times.

Do not let the heated moment of sex ever put your life at risk. Not everything can be cured with a pill or a shot. Don’t play Russian Roulette with your life. Know your status, speak up early, and wrap it up and married or not always know your status and constantly get checked!

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!

 

Ask Toi: Valentine’s Day Edition: My wife states she doesn’t want a Valentine’s Day gift should I not get one?

Getting a gift for Valentine’s Day just because you are married is not mundane. I dislike people making the excuse that if your husband loves you he doesn’t have to show you love on Valentine’s Day. If your spouse loves you and wants to shower you with a gift on that day he can.  If you as a couple have come to the conclusion that you don’t exchange gifts that is fine too. Just be sure that when you state you don’t want a gift you are mature to make that decision and not give your spouse Hell come that day because you made a decision to be something you aren’t.  It’s okay to be married and exchange or not to. I encouraged that man to honor his wife’s words, by getting something and not giving to her that day but finding another day to give her a gift. This way if she by chance is one of these women who say things but don’t mean it he will still be covered and if she is standing by not wanting to exchange, he has a gift to give her as a thinking of you gift.

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Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Ladies, I want to encourage you if you can’t stand by your decision to not give gifts, do NOT ever tell a man something you can’t stand by 100%.  This is the same thing when you get into an argument and you tell that man to leave the house and you don’t want him to leave. Or you get mad and use the big “D” word out of anger. This is a larger principle of not saying things to either look like the “cool” wife or to say things out of anger that you can’t back up.  Out of all of the times that I have argued with my husband I have learned not to say what I don’t mean. If you want a gift, it’s perfectly ok to say you want to exchange on Valentine’s Day.  What’s not okay to do is to play games or say things you think they want to hear. This will disappoint you in the long run.  This you should have known mess that people pull in relationships shows lack of maturity. Relationships are about communication and saying or acting in one manner that isn’t who you are makes it hard for either one of you to walk in love because you spend more time recovering from idle messages!

 

Sunday Message: Controlling Your Triggers

We all have triggers.  Triggers are the things that we see, experience, or are around us that pushes an emotional response.  We all have to find a way to control them, handle them and most importantly address them.

Some people deal with them in healthy ways such as counseling, talking to a trusted associate or friend or acknowledge them.  The unhealthy way of dealing with triggers is hoping they will simply go away, drugs, sex, relationships, etc. I am aware of my triggers because I have had more times of not handling them right that I had no choice but address them.  I was tired of arguing, yelling, ready to fight, and being about drama to deflect what I hadn’t acknowledged.  It was too much to keep things going!  My tipping point came when I got into it with family and it spilled over into social media. I knew at that moment that I had to disengage, take a break, and handle the root of the issue. So instead of worrying who was wrong, I just dug deep into getting my life aligned. Now the issues that came up didn’t  disappear but with the help of my counselor I worked through!  Funny part I was in counseling and she told me that the situation was going to happen.  It was almost verbatim how she described it.  It’s funny now but then I was one split second from bail.

I have since seen a few family members since the whole breakdown and nothing on he inside of me moves. I hold no malice.  However there are other triggers that I still work through quite often.  For me they come out when I handle my children. My kids are good overall but they will every now and again make me tap into something and I find I have to work through some things. Parenthood in my opinion is sharpening me to be a better version of myself.  I owe it to my children to be the parent that they need and not the parent that is in constant fight or flight so that is why I have been in and out of therapy since I had my oldest and she will be 10 this year. I  have no embarrassment at all with saying that in order to control how I walk in this world is to have help. I want to spend my days being whole and not a whole mess.

How do you know that you are being triggered? Listen to yourself.  The things you speak about portray where you are.  If all you speak about is certain people or things that aren’t about building you to be your best, that issue you speak on still has life and you need to really deal with.  When I as having marital issues and not speaking and listening to my husband all I spoke about was negativity of our marriage.  I also would speak negatively about the imagery of other positive marriages. This is where the term hating does apply. I wanted my marriage to be a safe space.  I wanted it to be strong from the inside out and would take issue with others who appeared that way.  I wasn’t strong enough to be real about my part in my marriage. I never acknowledged how my triggers were not my husband’s to deal with.  I wanted him to be understanding and fix me while I acted a fool and hide behind “for better or for worse.”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are responsible for our own happiness. We want others to care about our triggers more than we are wiling to deal and handle them.  It’s not enough to be understanding as you watch a partner do nothing.  How about just regular folks watching you wallow in your triggers.  Are your friends supposed to carry your triggers and the bad behavior they often demonstrate?  They can love and be supportive but they are limited in making things okay. I blogged the other day about who my friends were present for my most colorful times with Marques in college. Looking back they should have raised the standard for our behavior in that if we wanted to hang the drama couldn’t come.  Triggers place distance between people.  Triggers is the cause of why hurt people hurt people.  It’s simply still not okay to contain hurting people and having expectations that your relationship, title, or age will grace you.

You need to speak for, handle, and show up for that inner pain and deal with it. You need to trust me it’s in your best interest.  Everyday I wake up even when the day before  might have allowed  a trigger to get the best of me and show up for myself.  It’s important for me to mirror wholeness to myself as well as my children. Also social media and triggers is real. I do not argue  with folks on social media. Debate is a thin line to fighting too.  I will debate you with maybe 2 exchanges and that’s it.  It also depends on the topic. The trolls will never engage me.  Also if its family or friends that I have personal numbers to, it’s a no automatically. First I don’t post too many subjective things and on top of that I think about whether or not its someone who has a front row or at least a few rows into my life for me to get hype and it has zero outcome.  Also don’t let what you think you see on Facebook. I knew of several males who made who dedications to their wives and was cheating the whole time using hashtags like couple goals.  Life is complicated and comparison will leave you  in self defeat! Don’t do it!

One last thing, in life we can’t always retreat but one of the things that can assist in healing is separation.  I was told when I stated I needed to separate from individuals that I was wrong.  I knew what I needed.  I knew I wasn’t going to be okay from years of mess by staying in the midst.  My counselor allowed me to see that the person needed me to stay and work things out because staying gave the other party to believe that things weren’t as bad as it was. I didn’t care if I was looked as wrong.  I no longer wanted to be right. I wanted to be free to live and love.  I needed healing from my triggers.  I needed to separate to walk in real wholeness and know right or wrong I was entitled to how I felt but not entitled to react negatively to it!  Working through triggers is a daily tussle.  However if you are overwhelmed or feel overtaken in your triggers, its time to acknowledge it and get help!

National Spouse Day

Today is national spouse day! A day to acknowledge your spouse. Everyone needs and wants to be acknowledged for their wonderful accomplishments and that includes being a great spouse.

I love shouting out my spouse even when he irks my last nerve. The reality that some people say that the only time people shout out their spouse is usually in response to something that they have done wrong is craziness. You shouldn’t be married to someone who you are not proud to do the work in the background and show the world how amazing they are. The concept of treating them like crap in the background and then shouting them out openly when you want to save your marriage is not good. My husband and I are working towards private love that keeps us both grounded and secured so that when we have public displays of affection, there aren’t people like “I know the truth” moments.

 

I have shouted out my spouse even in the midst of turmoil and the reason is simple, better or worse! The worse moments are real. They are not the best of times but the commitment and friendship that I share with him overshadows the bad. Working through the bad and using the tools that he and I got from when we went to couple’s counseling helps. We are not ashamed that we did the work those first years that have saved us from calling it quits. Taking a few minutes to listen to each other matter. Sometimes we talk over our spouse and that is never good. No one wins when the family feuds. Also not embarrassing each other by talking down to, treating each other like kids, or just plain old respect helps too.

What I will say about my spouse, Marques, is that he is moving from husband to partner. I know that sounds weird but the moment he did I saw a change in how we interact. It’s cute to say your husband or husbae as I call him sometimes does what needs to be done. As a partner I notice that instead of the mundane tasks, we actually are at a point where we are flipping hats and giving each other what we need and not what we think each other needs. This comes from a LOT of communication. We talk to and try to not talk at. This doesn’t mean we don’t have fights because we have arguments but they aren’t as bad and we aren’t somewhere sulking and taking forever to recover.

We have known each other for 20 years this year. We split up and obviously kept in contact but we will be celebrating 7 years of marriage this year. Whew! That is grace. Being friends first there are times when we have our “truth moments.” It doesn’t mean we lie to each other outside of those moments. It’s a moment of vulnerability that neither one of us are allowed to judge each other. It may mean we listen and take a break from coming up with an answer or solution.  Marques you are an amazing father and we would say openly how he was working on being a great husband. I would like to say you moved right on up to awesome husband and partner. So today I shout you out and say I wouldn’t want to navigate the hard time with anyone else. You get me in all of my quirky ways and you allow me to be me. Now if we could get you to enjoy eating outside with me this would tip the scale! In the meantime, you just let me enjoy that outside eating with my girls and I love you for compromising in the places that needed it and being firm when it was necessary. Our son has an amazing example and our daughters can’t bring home nothing but excellence when the time comes for them to look for a great man in their lives in the future! I love you!