Valentine’s Day Message

I would like to say Happy Valentine’ Day to all who celebrate this holiday. Sending you love and peace today and everyday.

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To my husband, I love you! Another year of love to push through this life with! To want to still wake up and pray with you and push you to being your best self as you do the same! To wake up feeling safe in body and mind-I don’t take that for granted. To know you are being honorable in a world of Futures……….thank you!

To my children, mommy absolutely adores you! Y’all turn up to that candy so y’all can turn down at bedtime so mommy and daddy can drink our wine and fall asleep on the couch!

To my friends and family, have a loving day!  Some of my best points in waking up to text messages of encouragement from dope friends who are out here trying to be whole and happy is the best!

To my readers, I send you abundant love!

To my single readers and friends-I know today is hard. You question your when.  It hurts and its okay to say it hurts. People will tell you how you should feel and how to process today. I say process it in a healthy way.  Process it in your way! I get it. I used to wake up and decorate my apartment and watch all of the girlie romantic comedies, go out on dates or hang with my family or friends. Night was hard especially if you feel or don’t have anyone to hang with.  It will pass but it doesn’t change the depth of feeling you feel today! I understand!  Sending you an extra genuine dose of support!

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Ask Toi: How much is too much for a first Valentine’s Day?

I would say rule of thumb spend what’s in your budget.  Do not over spend for any holiday.  Also since it’s your first one I would focus on something that you heard your partner talk about, likes, etc. So if you heard they like to run, maybe a gift card to their favorite running gear store. I can’t say what I would spend, I know my average for a first time Valentine’s day would be 75-100.  It’s a lot more money involved when spending for a man in my opinion.  So that is where I would keep it. I have been known to spend on my husband when we were in college dating. But again, clothes like a sweater of high quality cost more back in the day and that was before I was doing online shopping etc. Do not feel obligated to purchase anything that you will regret. I always asked myself while shopping for a new love interest, if we broke up on February 15th how would I feel about the purchases?  If you answer is clear your spending amounts will be clear too.

Ask Toi: What do I do with an ex that won’t stop contacting me?

Ex boyfriend and ex girlfriends can vary from easy-going to super annoying. I would suggest if the communication is unwanted tell him/her.  Direct communication from your part in order to get direct no contact should work. However if your ex is the type that doesn’t take no for an answer, than block them. I think adults should be able to say hey I moved on and so should you, but if that doesn’t work you can’t stop them from calling but you can control what you answer.

One you block an ex, leave them blocked. It doesn’t always work out.  My husband was an ex at one point but I wouldn’t suggest people going to their ex just because it happened to work out for me. There was space and time between us to work ourselves out. However the mere fact that you don’t want contact means you need to close the door altogether.  If for some strange reason, you find your ex, blocking their number to contact you, or making a page on social media to follow you, please note that you may need to reinforce the I am not interested in anything anymore. If need be for safety reasons, police contact. It would be nice to think that just like back in the day where you could break up, be mad, call your girls for a night of fun, or call your boys for a night out and move on. There have been a lot of violence towards men and women during the break up phase. It doesn’t mean it will happen every time, but you have to be able to make safety your number on goal. Be an adult!

Also there has been times when I have had to get a male family member or friend to step in to assist. Whatever you do be sure to close the door. IF you really are done, be consistent in ignoring messages. Do not play the games when your mouth says you’re not, but your actions say something different. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s never a good thing to have to end it, and even in times when you feel like you have to be with this person, do what’s best for you. End it if you are done, and make an attempt to work it out if you can. Note that not all situations will be saved. You may always have much love for an ex but your lives just aren’t meant to be. That is okay. Speak authentically to your previous partner and voice your desires, to be left alone. If you find yourself and you are reading this to be on the other side where your previous partner has asked for space or has told you they aren’t interested, leave them alone.  Ain’t nobody got time to convince you to respect folks’ space.

 

Daily Women Crushers

As we continue to celebrate women’s history month, I want to shout out all women who are crushing their dreams.  Wednesdays are designated as #WCW or women crush Wednesday.  However daily women are failing, dusting themselves off and getting back out there and making it all happen.

Single women who are lonely and longing for relationship and finding ways to enjoy their single days and taking trips, starting businesses, becoming sound individuals without someone in their company. Those are daily women crushers.  They want to be with someone but aren’t allowing the lack thereof to stop them.  Until love finds them, they are out here making life happen for them under their own guidance, salute.

To the married woman who gives daily to her husband and attempting to be united, you are a daily woman crusher.  People think that marriage is a cure-all but it’s not.  It’s hard work to put someone else above your own.  It’s a union that actually makes you confront a lot of who you are or who you think you are.  Marriage is being there for someone and trying to keep the spark going regardless if that woman is tired or not, salute.  FYI the same should be done from her husband towards her.  If you find you are in a one way marriage, there are a few talks you and your husband need to have.

To the mother who is tired and feeling overwhelmed and still continues to get up before her house, getting things in order, and making it look effortless, you are a daily woman crusher.  To the days when those around you takes you for granted, and forget to say sorry or appreciate what you done, salute to you.  Salute to you when you lose yourself and literally have to pick yourself up before you can give again, salute to you.  Salute to you as you endure your body going through hell and back to deliver, salute to you.  Salute to you as you almost sometimes die on those tables waiting to hear that first cry, salute to you.  Salute to the women who have lost life many times and feel like their worth is tied to being a mother and can’t.  We salute you.  Just know that is a real pain. A real fear.  A real cry.  A real emptiness and I stand behind you and with you.

To the business woman who has to have her work checked twice just because she doesn’t have the same “member” as those on her team, salute to you.  Salute to the woman who is making moves after she was denied financing, salute to you.  Salute to the woman whose ideas failed many times before it took off, salute.  Salute to the woman who while accomplishing her goals, had the very folks who now want to stand with her after the fact and those same ones laughed, talked about, and ridiculed for that venture to pop, salute!

To the woman who has or is facing many demons and finding herself alone as she pushes towards getting her life together.  The ones that seem and feel like constant failures while others around her is flourishing.  The ones who say why not me too but they seem to be saying this only to themselves and there is no one around who understands you.  We salute you.  We get it.  We understand because as a woman regardless of what we have all accomplished we have all been public goals and secret failures.  Trust the process, understand that it will work out. Even in the dark, there will be light.  At the second you go to fail, you find a solution. At the moment you decide today is the day you will give up, light shines.  You are purpose and you were created for purpose.  The world has something that you have inside of you.  We salute the process of growing in the dark with limited water and resources.  The best flowers sometimes have thorns but are the prettiest in the end.  Don’t give up!

Ask Toi: Have You Ever dated outside of your race?

Yes I have and it was so super brief not many people knew.  I wasn’t trying to hide him either.  I have zero problems with dating outside of my race if the vibes are right. I have never been one to discriminate against it. All of my life I have made it clear I like cream in my coffee.  I just never tasted enough cream in my coffee to make any waves. I understand some people’s issues with it and that’s their issue. So it was in college after the breakup of my college sweetheart aka my current husband.  I did not go out seeking him either.  He was white.  He was in one of my core classes.  He had a lot of the qualities I liked, tall, funny, beautiful spirit and good-looking.  He had been giving me the sexy eyes for a minute and I denied him since I was in a relationship.  He saw me in class with a hoody on looking all kinds of depressed and tor up.  Yes tor up and sad.  He swooped in with the what’s the matter talk and our conversation shifted since I was back on the market.  We hung out, we studied but it never went any further because into our second official date, he stated he couldn’t date me because he was afraid of what his parents would think.  He asked me to date him privately and that wasn’t then nor has that ever been my thing. So I let him go.  I was upset but knew I had dodged a bullet.

I might have been able to go the distance in my mind with the college guy had he been open. But I have always been any one I dated cup of tea and I wasn’t about to turn down my melanin to suppress his dad’s preferences.  So there you have it.  Yes I dated outside of my race extremely briefly but I did it.

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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Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine

I am still reading this but have you ever had a moment of pause? I just had mine today. I am almost done with the book and I had to take a pause. There are a thousand and one things in this book that made me jump, cry, or just sit and pause but today’s pause I have to share.

In her chapter, “On mean women and good dogs, Gabrielle describes a boxing session she had with her trainer and life coach.  The coach asked her what 10 things made her happy.  She couldn’t think of 10 things.  The coach reminded her if she couldn’t find 10 things to make her happy what made her so sure she should have gotten married. Pause. This was my pause. I have been in this dark place.  I cried thinking of how I cried in marriage counseling with my husband snotting and having an entire fit over what he was doing, what he wasn’t doing, and why I was ready to leave him. Pause.  I was ready to leave my college sweetheart for a few reasons.  One we have an extremely long and interesting history.  It spans over 10 years almost 20 to be exact off  and on.  This alone was not a recipe to be married.  Two, I got married because I loved him but I also loved what I thought he was when we were together in college.  Pause.  This is not marital love.  This is not one of those things that you rush down the aisle for. I was miserable in my own skin.  I loved my husband, I knew we had been through HELL and back but I didn’t know who I was.  I was a 30/31-year-old women who had put all of my eggs in one basket and with this basket he was supposed to come in and do all the work.  He was supposed to make me smile with gifts. He was supposed to initiate sex while I went with the flow. He was supposed to be my happiness.  How did that work out? Not good if you can imagine. He did it for a while. He opened my life even when we met in college to the finest of things. If things was what I wanted, he got it. His love language is gifts.  He did it well. I can’t even remember what I could have wanted that he wouldn’t have worked his entire behind to get me.  However after the gifts, what did I have to give. Not a damn thing. He was supposed to do the work while I sat pretty.  I was more like pretty damn miserable and it was causing a wedge in our marriage and relationship.

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Ladies this is not how marriage starts off.  This is how marriage will end.  Had I not taken a chance to go to martial counseling the divorce would have been finalized.  Ladies, had I not gone to counseling on my own after that, I would be a miserable rut. NO man or woman is your source.  Let me repeat that for the folks way, way in the back-they are not your source.   You have to come with more than some thighs or checking account to make things work.  You have to be able to be whole before you can unite.  We had done it backwards or at least I did. I take full responsiblity for my part. I came in looking for a dream.  College sweethearts unite, marry and build a family. It sounded cliché and enough until it wasn’t.  Gabrielle is spilling the tea that every woman and man better get with as your progress through life. If Gabrielle or you or me can’t find things that make you happy, that gives you purpose how in God’s green Earth are you to survive?

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Take a point in this book and the tea I am spilling on what I did or didn’t do to get secure.  So many women and men want marriage but have done zero work on themselves.  You haven’t pulled one credit report to fix your own junk.  You realize that when you get married they marry that junk.  You can’t just let it pile up and hope it goes away because it won’t.  You work a job instead of finding a career.  You have never been out of the country or traveled with friends or even by yourself but you’re ready for marriage or just life.  Remember not everyone wants to be married. Marriage is not the end all.  So to my married friends stop selling these fast dreams.  You walk around with your piece of rock and feel and act as if you have made it.  You are the main ones like me (I was) out here stunting on your single friends like you got some badge of honor.  Your husband ain’t seen a genuine smile out of you in years.  You are miserable and you making his life just as miserable. Just stop.  Your husband or wife ain’t seen the real you since Jesus was a baby.  You hide with the lights off and you fake like everything is everything-just stop!

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Get clear.  Self love is important. You should be able to name more than 10 things that make you happy.  These are not to be thought of things that make you temporary smile.  I mean 10 genuine things that make you happy.  The things that makes you smile about yourself.  If you can’t say that, work on that before you connect with another person. Do that while you are with another person. I had to be real with myself during the months it took.  I was frustrated with the fact that I had to go to counseling but I was serious that even if he and I went our separate ways, at least I could walk out whole and happy even if that meant I had to revert to my maiden name.  Ladies and gentleman the time for this soul-searching is ever-present.  Get there and get clear.  To say it lightly, I need a glass of wine just bringing up these old emotions. Well played Gabrielle, well-played.