Any of US Could be Kenneka?

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the story of Kenneka Jenkins, the young lady who was found in a freezer in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago.  This story has had twitter and social media in a frenzy.  She left with a group of friends to attend a party and never came home.  Follow any of the hashtags to follow the story.  Regardless of the distorted facts one fact remained is that she had some extremely horrible “friends” and that she was being brought there to be raped.

Now I have seen the memes floating about how her death and rape has sparked the whole be careful of your friends movement but it makes it seem as if the rapist and murdered of Kenneka deserves a pass?  My thoughts are on what planet?  Just because people are using this story to remind others about their choice of friends that doesn’t mean that the rapists and murder whomever they may be are fine.  The way the information is spilling, the rapists and murders can be her friends.  Everyone in that hotel room should be charged.  Hands down.  I will not dispute that.  It’s not a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Everyone who live streamed it, turned the music to muffle Kenneka’s cries, participated, set it up, and carried it out should be charged.  AND you should STILL watch your friends.

I placed myself in the place of a mother.  I am a mother in real life.  I have two daughters. My oldest child is very lovable and already possesses the thoughts that her friends are great.  However as her mother teaching her right from wrong I am the voice until she has a voice on whom is not for her.  Yes, even at 8 I have had to call out a few of the mean girls.  My daughter goes to private school which means for the most part her classes are small and most of the kids in her class have already been together since Kindergarten.  They hang together in and out of the classroom. If you think that I as a mother am not in her ear telling her, pointing out, and calling out her fake friends you are sadly mistaken.  We ALL have had to deal with those who we thought was real and found it wasn’t remotely true.

I was asked this week have I ever had to deal with fake friends and the answer is HELL YES.  My eyes were opened AFTER something went down.  Whether that was hearing of stories being said tabout me, being left at a party, etc, it has happened.  Or the times I have had a circle of friends who were really friends because we had one mutual friend involved and heard some crap about me that I didn’t tell the group.  These are the very recipes for fake friends.  I do not think Kenneka realized that until her unfortunate death.  I said on my SnapChat and I will say it again, its not just the teenagers we need to worry about it’s the young girls that are my oldest daughters age that already show mean girl attributes.  It’s the grown women who keep stuff going well into their 40s and up. This mean girl mentality can begin at any age.  It doesn’t discriminate so while others are pointing their fingers at Kenneka, remember to re-evaluate your own circle.

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Listen cutting off friends is hard.  It hurts.  It makes your circle smaller.  Here are a few things to watch for:

  1. The “leader” that likes to control off the cards aka the information that is given to the group.  My rule of thumb is that just because we share a mutual friend don’t bring me no news about someone I don’t pick up the phone and call myself.  Do you know how many people talk that let’s pray for her crap and ain’t been in church a month of Sundays.  Stop believing the that’s my sis crap. That same sis is the same one when you get on hard times will give your information to people who don’t even know you.  Rule of thumb even in a group setting, let others tell their own business.  Stop giving in the name of friendship other’s information unless you have permission.
  2. When one or more lie about inviting another but talk about how that one don’t come.  I had that happen recently.  I found out that after all this talking about one “friend” went down the girl wasn’t even invited but the “leader” told everyone they were and then talked bad about them for not coming.  IF they will do it to one they will do it to all
  3. Be still sometimes.  We go to things without asking the right questions.  If you feel something isn’t right, trust what you say and have your own mind.

These are the lessons that even at 8 I have had to share with my daughter.  These will NOT solve fake friends problems but it will open eyes.  We believe anything.  Just because you know someone for a long time don’t always mean they have your best interest in heart. Also to my men you play a HUGE part in some of this.  For the men who use women as bait, stop.  Start having conversations with your son and other young men about respect. Too many women trying to protect each other but not having men stand and rally behind them to do the same.  Sorry your fragile egos can’t take a no but remember at some point, this could have been your daughter, mother, cousin, etc. Keneeka is all of us and I have the deepest sympathy for that mother and family.  I pray that the ones who did this, will come forward and take responsibility soon.  R.I.P Kenneka Jenkins!!

Self Care/Self Improvement

September is a lot of things.  I don’t know what it is about September but its a jammed pack month.  However this month is self-care and self-improvement month.  So if you follow this blog, and on any social media feed I am always pushing self care.  I think it’s becoming a thing or a term that is thrown out a lot but not a lot of people understand what that means.  Although it can mean different things to the person who is using it, the bottom line is you have to care and love yourself enough to engage in what YOU need or disengage in the things YOU don’t want to be involved in.

The opportune word is YOU.  That is essentially what self-care is all about.  Only you can determine what you need or what you don’t need.  For instance I can go to an event and if I am ready to go I position myself to know what type of environment I am going to be in to know if I should drive myself or not even for family events.  I try to in the instance of family events to stay as long as possible especially since my husband attends my side of events without issue and I do the same for his side of his family events.  However depending on what the event is he and I have it set that if one of us is not wanting to stay longer to communicate and make an exit.  If the individual wants to stay than its fine too but we make sure that no one person can put pressure to stay longer than mentally capable.  Sometimes walking away, leaving, or excusing yourself is self care.  I literally refuse to stay in a place I do not want to be in.  I used to feel guilty however I have learned to do whats best for me.  Self care may be not attending an event.  I can’t tell you how many times I have not gone to something because I may have needed to relax or do my own thing.  I may have needed not to be in an environment that is toxic.  I happily will decline an invitation at this point.  If asked I will say sorry but not sorry I can’t attend.  A part of self care especially for me is realizing I am an adult I don’t owe individuals an explanation.  If someone sends an invite its my decision to politely decline.

Another part of self-care is knowing when enough is enough.  I had someone contact me. I didn’t even respond.  I knew I may have responded wrong or come off as if whatever was done in the past was an issue when reality is the person didn’t add or take away from my life.  However silence is always golden and I didn’t even need to engage so I didn’t.  It doesn’t have to make sense but it was to continue in my peace.  Anything that will have you mentally up in arms I don’t engage in.  Anything where I would give more than 15 minutes to hash out is probably not for me.  That’s why I am clear and don’t go back and forth with adults.  There is no need to.  That is a right that I have earned from stepping into adulthood.  I can’t think of a reason for back and forth at this point in my life.  I can agree to disagree and still go home and love on the ones I interact with daily.  I can even disagree with the ones in my home without messing up the atmosphere of my home.

Self care may look like disconnecting.  I am a lover of social media but I take small breaks away from it.  Yes its great for pushing my blog, interacting with family, but sometimes it can be doing the most so I disconnect.  I had a situation where I was arguing with a family member that I would have argued with offline but the point was, online for what?  That one was on me.  I was offended, but so what offenses will come. The world didn’t need to know that I was mad.  I could have handled that better so I take ownership of it and will not allow it to happen again.  I simply state what I feel and if someone comments, oh well.  There are probably screenshots of that very conversation floating around and for what?  So sometimes I don’t delete my social media that’s just crazy.   I am in control.  I never understood why adults can’t simply just not get on an app but that could be a part of their self-care so it is what it is. It’s no different from deleting or blocking.  I could just not engage but for me blocking works.  For me its simple my rule is simple I don’t socially block who I wouldn’t block in real life.  I check my block lists every now and again and if I sit and engage with you than no need to block you.  If I don’t and don’t plan on breaking bread with you, and I block your access to my real life, you can stay blocked on social media.  I don’t need a door opened where I wouldn’t give you access to me otherwise.  So no you don’t need to know about what me and my kids do when I don’t even reach out to you, talk to you, text you, email you, etc and don’t want to.  Its simple.  My life is simple these days because of the steps I take to keep it that way. Do you know the quietness but fullness of life I still have?  Trust.

Self care and self-improvement by far is the biggest goal in life outside of raising healthy children and having a good marriage between my husband and I.  It’s self-care daily practices that I use ALL the time.  I buy myself weekly flowers, I love them and they make me happy.  I journal daily because it keeps me grounded.  I work out 2-3 days a week because I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle and it keeps stress down.  I will go to bed and be okay with my husband putting the kids to sleep because I don’t have to do it all.  I can take a mental time out because that is what is necessary for me.  I can make sure that I am engaging in the little things that make me strong and healthy.  Please find that out for yourself and instead of engaging in bad behavior. Find and engage in what is going to make you a better person.  Also remember it may not make sense to a single soul, but if it makes sense to you, is keeping you grounded, positive, and hurts no one else than do it.

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For self-improvement we all can improve on ourselves, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.  Everyday you should be striving to be better than your last.  With that in mind I don’t really ever feel like I have fully accomplished my goals.  I may complete some of them but there’s always another goal right in its place.  Even in relationships I know there will come a time where the relationships that need mended will mend.  The ones that don’t won’t. Everything is up to be changed and I am more than willing to walk in that change.  You have to do the same for what your life needs.

So again as this month is supposed to encourage you to be about self care and self improvement.

Ask Toi: I got questions….

So because I haven’t been doing a good job in answering questions that come in publicly so today is an Ask Toi drop.  I am answering a series of questions publicly that I have already answered readers privately.  Looks like some of you had some personal ones for me too, that’s fine.  If you have a question remember you can ask it at toitimeblog@gmail.com

  1. Have you ever gotten into a fight with a woman over your husband? No and yes. When I was in undergraduate school I have gotten into some verbal tussles even though I knew basically my husband aka boyfriend at the time was the one who had gotten me into the situation in the first place.  There was a girl on campus who he tried to talk to in the very early stages of our situationship at the time.  We were not an item but my thing is I didn’t take too kindly to him pushing up on the girl and the girl and I lived in the same dorm.  I didn’t verbally attack her, she was pretty and I definitely saw what he saw.  However I let the both know at the same time in front of others that I wouldn’t be the one playing a back and forth game.  He must have agreed because as far as I knew it stopped that day.  Another time on campus he took a number from a woman and the woman knew we were dating.  I blamed him for that and let him have it.  However my friends and I still call her a little nick name and I let her know that I wasn’t the one for the undercutting.  Since then its been little petty things prior to marriage.  At this point in my life, we have known each other too long, I ain’t fighting.  I’ll go Lemonade and he will “lose his wife.”
  2. Have you ever lost a job and if so how did you handle it?  I was only laid off on one job when I had my daughter.  They laid off about 40 others at the same time.  It was hard.  My oldest daughter had asthma and I had to be off a lot to take care of her.  I believe in my entire heart that is why they allowed me to be in the number to be let go.  However it was the best thing in the way to happen to me.  I got engaged a week before, I was able to take care of my daughter full-time, and it pushed the move to Philly that helped to shape me into a better version of myself today.  Now back to how I handled it, at first I was pissed.  Technically I could have gotten an attorney.  I just completed my paperwork to protect me from the very thing they were doing but at the time I had too much on my plate and didn’t feel like going back and forth.
  3. What should I do if I feel like I am burned out from my job? First you need to do some soul-searching.  Are you burned out due to the fact that you shouldn’t be there any longer? Sometimes we stay in places we shouldn’t and then wonder why we are burned out.  You may have stayed longer than you need to be.  It may be time to find a new career path or a new job.  Anytime you are in a parking lot crying or willing yourself to a place you are in the wrong place.  You may just need to take a few days off.  Even if you can’t go anywhere, a staycation is what you need to get your spirits together.  Over working yourself is never a good thing.  So make sure you place breaks and stops in your work and home balance.
  4. If your man hasn’t proposed should you stay?  This is something that ONLY you can determine.  You have to balance what makes sense.  If you have only been together for a few months, marriage shouldn’t be in your horizon so soon.  I truly believe staying with a person through at least all of the seasonal changes is ideal.  You need to get a sense of how that person deals when they are angry, upset, hurt, or feel betrayed as a few examples.  These things still look like Power Puff Girl cartoons in the early stages when men are still in the impress you stage.  So get to know a person.  I am not one for giving an ultimatum.  I think as a woman you need to give yourself one.  If you say that you have been with this man long enough and you have stayed through the tears and fears and he just won’t put a ring on it, make a date in your mind and stick to it.  Do NOT share this date with anyone but yourself. You don’t need your friends in your ear telling you a bunch of stuff they WON’T do if they were in your shoes. You don’t need a please don’t leave me ring either. It should be genuine.  I had a date in my mind and my now husband never got to it. We have been married for 5 years.  If you can’t keep a promise to yourself on a date and stick to it, telling him won’t change that either.  That is why the ultimatum to yourself is more important.  If you tell him the date you will leave if he don’t do, you will regret it because you will always wonder if he did it for you to stay or not.
  5. If sex is a deal breaker how can you tell a man this without hurting his ego?  You can’t.  Sorry but not sorry a man and his sex is a package deal.  For some men its there one go to.  So to tell a man who the sex isn’t good and he’s not pleasing you will not go over well.  I am not saying that many people haven’t had this talk and it worked out, I am saying is that they will be bruised.  IF they love you they will try to step it up.  However when you say that sex is a deal breaker this means to me that you have had the talk and no matter what is being said it’s not working in the bedroom and now you are ready to leave and find the one where sex is amazing with.  Be careful and make sure that is what you want.  Sex is important.  I don’t buy into the whole sex is secondary bit especially in a committed relationship or marriage.  When you speak of staying with one person and not cheating than sex should be satisfying and it should be for both partners.  I have dated a man in the PAST where sex wasn’t even close to be satisfying.  I left.  It was a personal decision for me and I was fine with making it.  I was honest and I tried to make it work after I had “the talk” but it didn’t work.  I was crystal clear in letting that man know that if I stayed knowing the sex wasn’t working I would cheat and I felt it more honorable to leave than to stay.  He may not have liked it or agreed with me but again it should be satisifying for both.

Ask Toi: Is it Right that my Boyfriend of 3 years Family Didn’t Invite me to His Birthday Dinner?

Yes this is wrong.  You are not a random girl that he has been dating.  3 years is more than enough time for them to have included you in a birthday dinner.  I would talk with your boyfriend as he knows his family more than you would as to the snub.  Was it assumed you would be there therefore no formal invite took place?  When I was dating my husband they just told me where it was going to be since I was a fixture in his life it wasn’t a discussion of if but when.

How is the relationship with the family?  What underlying issues are happening that you are aware of?  Sometimes we not there is salt in a wound and if given an oppportunity would snub them just the same.  If that is the case and you want to be included than you have to sit down and have a talk with whomever is the matriarch or patriarch of the family and iron out some differences.  However if your boyfriend has any sense than he has already spoken on your behalf. My personal rule is to always allow the person whose family it is to talk it out at first.  I am hoping it was just an assumption.  How did you hear about the party?  This is key too.  If his mom told you but sent no formal invite by mail then its safe to say you just need to go and celebrate your man.  Is it a surprise? Then speak again to whomever is throwing the party and go from there.  Sometimes taking the first step in communication will be beneficial.

Ask Toi: I recently overheard a song that I used to share with an ex, my current boyfriend thinks I should stop singing it, what should I do?

Nothing.  It’s a song.  There is nothing that your current boyfriend can do with the fact that you have a memory with an ex.  It’s life.  We all have them.  I have them.  The point is to see it as a memory only and keep moving.  As long as you aren’t throwing the song or any memory in his face, he will be okay.  He may just be upset because he feels that another man has shared something he hasn’t.  My thing is that is the way dating works. You will never really share everything with one person.  There is space although small that we all bring in from someone else.  It’s no different from a cologne or perfume smell.  It’s all a memory.  It reminds me of the song by Jill Scott, “Cross my mind.”  In the song she talks about a memory in the form of her ex’s cologne and she attempted to have the next one smell like the last but it stunk.  Everything isn’t for everybody.  It really isn’t. Your boyfriend has memories of other women he just happened to know about one of yours and it stung him a bit.  He will be fine.  Let him know that there is nothing to be worried about and let that be that.

To the part where you should stop singing unless you have a mic or a made up mic and are literally in his face with it, he will deal.  Songs come on.  I know of one of my husbands songs for his ex and I just mention it and move on.  I have songs for my exs and it is what it is.  I don’t sing it like I am attempting to make American Idol but its a memory good or bad and it fades.

The Mirage is really A smoke Screen

People, good people, good morning.  Listen let’s have a serious talk about what appears to be and what is.  We ALL have put out into the atmosphere our very best self.  We post the best pics out of the 100 we took.  We use filters because let’s face it they are pretty. However there is one thing that we all need to be reminded.  Everything that glitters isn’t gold.  This isn’t the first time we have heard it but let’s talk about it some more.

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We get caught up in the ideas about of what people put out. Some people post about solid marriages and have the most flakiest ones.  Being real is about being loud and yelling instead of just being honest and transparent.  Just because you yell you keeping it real doesn’t mean you are.  That’s a free nugget of wisdom for someone.  People struggle. Relationships and marriages struggle.  People don’t air out their dirty laundry or rather they shouldn’t.  We base our lives off of others and do less work on our own.  If you see a woman get flowers, you go home and complain you aren’t getting them.  However you haven’t expressed you wanted them before.  You don’t go and get them yourself because you enjoy them.  You are waiting, hoping that the man you are with will finally take this initiative and do and missing out on the love you really do and can give yourself.  You realize that if that love won’t measure up and you practice self-love, nature will separate you from what you don’t need to be with.  Again another freebie for you.

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Please learn to take some stock in YOUR life.  I give great advice but I try to eat and nibble on it before I give it.  I hold myself accountable.  For instance let me give you some realness.  I was having the worst anxiety attack.  I didn’t want to go to an event because I knew some of the people there I don’t vibe with.  I had to be reminded that its more than talk, I will NEVER vibe well with them.  I can’t live with brakes on.  SO I got dressed and made it happen.  I wanted to be in my defeated world and just go to bed.  I ended up having an amazing time.  The point is simple, it’s about getting past the hiccups with action and not just lip service.

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We have to get past our favorites smoke screens.  I love LL Cool J and Morris Chestnut and both are married.  Like my marriage there are days even with all of their fineness that their wives are ready to trip them because of something they did or didn’t do.  No different from my own marriage. I have friends who I look up to but when they close their doors they have things they are working out in their lives.  So you have to understand that and learn to live life on your own terms.  A lot of people selling this message of love your spouse, or job or life to the fullest don’t always mean they receive it or live it everyday.  Be careful who you put your highest stock on.  Everyone on your pedalstool will disappoint you if you don’t keep things into perspective.  No different from when the report of  America’s sweetheart Jesse Williams called it quits with his wife.  Everyone like lawd if they can’t make it what we gon do?  You gon get over it and make your marriage work.  You need to use the information to make yours solid.  Love harder, listen more, don’t take things for granted, etc  That’s what you do instead of attributing everything good and going into doom and gloom when it doesn’t add up.

Live your OWN best life!!

 

 

I Got You Ma…

Well where I live it’s about to be a nice 90 degrees.  This is a signal to every female of what to expect in the coming months.  It doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, or an alien, if you are female the foolery is going to happen.  For my single ladies, this cat calling will confuse you if you don’t have your wits about you.  For some we can get cat called on daily but for those who may be a little rusty and looking to step back in the dating field, let me give you a few details to remember.

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I got you ma personality-this is the man with all of the promises in the world but NEVER comes through. Also watch for the ones who are hit and miss with the promises.  They were waiting on you to drop your drawers and didn’t want to go all in-trust me. I met a guy a million years ago that was like, I got you: nails, hair etc I ain’t seen him in a million years.  He was all talk.  It may seem like part of the game but there are a lot of cues to this type of man.  Look at if you get that far how he interacts with those around you.  If he is the flashy type of guy that makes it rain in the club but ain’t making it rain in his own home, there is a problem.  We all love to go out and have a good time but if you find the man you are entertaining is the type that don’t have his stuff together, run.  In your 20s living it up is what folks do,  but anything past 20s is screaming “run the hell away.” If this man can’t get your nails and hair done but keeps promising you, what are you wasting your time for? Not that you need him to do it. Let’s keep this real during the time I met the I got you ma man, I was at the nail and hair salon bi-weekly.  So his donations weren’t needed. I wasn’t the woman looking for a come up.  My momma already taught me how to maintain without a man.  So for the men on some oh she trying to get the ladies to be a gold digger you can relax that’s not even the case.  Be clear that a LOT of men will approach a woman especially when they think she and he are comfortable with the let me get you lies.  Women don’t even have to give it up.

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How many times has a man said I don’t care that you’re married?  Trust me a lot.  How many of them said I can get you whatever and you can look in their eyes and see they full of it?  A lot.  Ladies, you know I am telling the truth.  The problem is once you have gone out on a few dates we tend to forget that it’s all about the chase.  The I got you ma man isn’t staying around to really wine and dine you past getting the “cookie.”  So you have to see if that man’s words have weight. The game doesn’t change.  The issue is that some women will find that man who does make good on what he says and messes him over.  This does happen.  Be careful in the world of scammers.  Not all men are scammers but trust there are some.  Some men, will put only a little bait to see what you are willing to do.  You want the expensive restaurant, it’s going to cost you.  You want a new handbag, it’s going to cost you.  The cost to them is mere pennies to what it cost you to think you finally found the one and are left with a broken heart.  Unless a wet spot on some sheets is all you need than I say go for it!!

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I had a guy tell me he was going to buy this and that I have yet to see it but guess what, I bought it myself.  End of the day its simple, be your own boss.  Go to the table with more than hips and thighs.  You are not a value meal.  Learn to smile and give them a little snazziness back when they start talking that game.  Learn to weed out the losers that really just want to get laid.  Always remember as a woman when you walk away from one there is another so don’t waste your beautiful times on a bunch of lies.  Its warm, Summer is coming and skirts and dresses make these men lose their mind.  Don’t lose yours….