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.

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

  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.