National Compliment Day

Today is national compliment day.  I am sure you knew that right?  Well let’s talk about them.  I know we all love to get them.  They make you feel warm, beautiful and confident.  However there are a few things to consider:

  1. Be okay with receiving them. If someone says nice shoes, don’t say oh, these old things. This is taking away from the compliment.  You are worthy of it. Do not deflect and bring in any negativity to overshadow the gesture. This is harder than you think. Notice how often you do this.  Your special someone in your life, you can’t just say thank you.  You have to say thank you and deflect.  Things like you have to say that, or you’re playing games, stop this behavior.  This 2018 and everyday accept compliments.
  2. Be okay with giving them. Ladies especially it doesn’t take away from you to give another woman a compliment.  It doesn’t matter if you are alone or in a crowd, show another woman just how brilliant and beautiful she is. If you’re going to rally about women’s rights and I truly support that movement then be okay with being a little more sisterly in how you treat others around you at ALL times. We as women especially are connected in some way whether you want to receive the message or not. What you are going through someone else has so we don’t have time to look down on others.
  3. Give them often.  This doesn’t mean you have to be extra with it, but a compliment does something to the receiver AND the giver.  This world is already filled with so much hate, you don’t need to add to it.  Show love
  4. Be courteous to your fellow-man/woman. This should be common place.  Slow it down.  Do not think that it takes anything away from you. Did you walk past someone and not say hello?  Stop that, it don’t add or take away from your credit score to say hello.  Did you not allow a person to cut in front of you while driving?  Stop that.  Be courteous.  If you’re that much in a hurry you should have left the day before.  Slow down. Did you hold the elevator for your co-worker? No, stop that.  You aren’t that much in a hurry that you couldn’t wait.  Be courteous, give compliments to whom they are due and spread love!

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Everything isn’t What it Seems

I want to highlight a few things.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, things on social media can look grande and be filled with so much smoke screen.  Yes that is how life rolls.  However keep in mind that everyone tries to put their best foot forward.  This is why the age of filters is so amazing. You get to hide behind real life scars and traumas.

The pic used in this blog if I uncovered it was great.  We were having the best ice-cream at one of my favorite spots.  Everyone is all smiling and seemingly happy.  We look like the model family. If I told you that I could still feel the pain of that day, would you believe me?  That was a hard day.  It was a few years ago and we were set to go to the African-American museum.  We were ready to go and our plans got diverted.  Why they got diverted I won’t speak on but I will speak to the nuggets that can be learned from that picture.

In it you see my husband all smiles.  He was under extreme amounts of stress trying to do the best he can.  I was depressed and I believe if I had gone back to work it was short-lived due to the fact that my youngest was nursing and wouldn’t take to a bottle and I had to take her to work with me.  That worked for a while until it was time to put her in daycare and then I had to stop working again because again she wouldn’t take to anyone but me and still no bottle, no cup, just me.

Here is what I know now AFTER that storm of life and what I wish someone had told me:

Dear Toi,

You are stressed out but a lot of your stress is coming from within.  You haven’t quite found your space, your voice, or what you want.  Maybe its the feelings of not quite making your mark in this world. Maybe its the time that you had to take off due to taking care of your kids and the guilt that you feel losing the independence of a working woman. You are fighting those around you but reality is the fight is in you. Use that negative energy not to worry about what others will think, but to know what you want.  Should you leave your husband because it was so rocky?  No! Leaving isn’t the answer. The answer isn’t in your husband. He will never make you happy.  Happy wife, happy life is a bunch of bologna.  You have to be a happy person, and work from that happiness.  You will have many more moments when you are ready to throw the towel in. Don’t stay for the sake of the kids.  They can’t heal you.  How about you deal with some of the let downs you face.  Get out and get a hobby.  Get out and get some fresh air.  Know that as a mom you are at your best when you take some time to practice self-care.  The kids will thrive better with you even if you had to walk alone.  Take a mental time out. Take a deep breath.  Do your hair, get dressed, put on a little make up because its going to be okay.  You don’t have to look a mess while you figure out your messed up life.  Your life is blessed you just have to use this time to rebuild.  Don’t worry down the line you figure it out. Down the line you don’t have to wait for your husband to go with you all the time.  If you like it go do it on your own. It doesn’t make you less married to do a few things on your own.  He isn’t and never was your source for everything stop giving him that power.  He didn’t ask for it. He was attracted to your hustle and your ability to keep it moving.  He saw that hunger in you, you got this!

Sincerely a stronger Toi

Lesson one: Happiness is YOUR job.  Not of your spouse or anything that you own.  Happy people don’t have it all they just know how to keep moving and make the best of their situations.

Lesson two: self-care is a daily thing. It is not okay to have meltdowns if you’re not going to use the meltdowns to get better. What have you done today that made you feel amazing? You should be doing all you can to make it feel like its your birthday everyday.  No one will celebrate you like you.

Lesson three: Marriage is beautiful when you put in work and your spouse does the same.  When that stops the marriage will have a pit stop.  You aren’t responsible for him/her you can only do what you want him/her to do.  Don’t say that because you have done one thing, this is in ALL areas.  No one can receive as much love and listening as you claim you give and treat that person badly.  Remember they need from you what THEY need not what you THINK THEY NEED!

Lesson four: dress up everyday. I don’t mean you have to be in heels, but if you want to knock the sloppy look, you have to get up and get dress and be present. Every time you zone out and don’t care you look it.  Don’t be mad at another woman who shows up and shows out. You both were supposed to.  Don’t say you don’t have the time or money. Admit you didn’t take the time! You can look fierce on any budget.  You can look fierce in pajamas if you want to.

Lesson five: get the hell out.  You can not live your best life cooped up in the house.  Get you a few dollars and go to a bookstore and have a ball, find some Groupons and live! Do more action than talking.  No one cares that you talk about a dream, the doers are finding ways to make the dreams a reality.

Lesson six: for my moms, there is no such thing as a perfect mom.  You don’t have to mirror everything you were taught.  You are in control of what you want motherhood to be.  Even if you grew up in the worst conditions, the dreams you wanted your childhood to be can be made with your own kids.  Be solid for yourself and them not perfect. Dance around the kitchen while making dinner. Make folding into a game.  Be there for your kids and most importantly be there for yourself! They are watching you!

Lesson seven: be okay to lose.  Take a chance on life and yourself. If you fail it won’t be in not making the mark, it will be in not taking the chance to make the mark.

I Will Now….

I have unfortunately been around a lot of people who have had life changing occurrences in their lives. It could be that they are sick, they were at the brink of death, or sadly have lost their life.  The one thing that resonates with all of them that NOW is the time to live.  They want to live their best life because their life is in a balance.  The time to live is everyday you wake up.

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No life isn’t perfect.  It’s not supposed to be but if you have a bucket list, don’t wait until your moments away from kicking the bucket to live. Live on purpose now.  What are you waiting for?  If there is a trip you want to take, start actively saving. How much will it cost?  Research all aspects of the trip.  What can you cut to get you there?  Is it a few Starbucks trips, or maybe it’s spending less on others.  Whatever it is, be active towards those goals.  Wake up every day with purpose.  Wake up with direction and desire to be better than the day before. Today is the best motivation you can get, start now to do what you need for you.

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You have life.  You are here for a purpose.  Don’t sit idle waiting for greatness to drop out of a sky, take control and crush your goal list!

 

 

Shoot Your Shot

Well let’s have a little talk about going after what you want.  The other day I was leaving the gym and a man approached me and asked to take me to dinner. I politely declined.  I didn’t need to make a scene.  I told him no and didn’t put any effort to it.  Did he know I was married yes. Is that disrespectful yes if I would have said yes certainly.  The issue is that like he said so many married woman act single and miserable he had to shoot his shot.  I know friends who would have made a scene. They would have gotten all extra and for what?  I am a beautiful woman who has been shining on the inside so it’s showing up on my outside. It’s not the job of an outsider to keep my marriage its my own responsibility.  So he shoot his shot and I politely declined and walked off. Simple.  No drama.  Just a no and walk away.  FYI if that man hadn’t accepted the no then escalate. There is nothing in the marriage bible that says if a man approaches me that I must act like a circus animal because my ring will defend men from approaching.  The ring is a first set of back up but it’s up to me to love my husband and take my vows serious enough to back a man up and give him no chance. Your ring is mostly as a reminder for you to never let anything break the circle of love between you and your mate.  That is a free nugget.  Too many times women get offended that a man had the nerve to approach you like that man owes you or your husband a thing. He doesn’t.  You do, remember that? No different than a woman with your husband.  If we remembered that then maybe we would put a few unfaithful men and women out instead of dealing with just the outsider alone.  But that’s a blog for a different day.

In other areas of our life we have to shoot that shot.  We have to be willing to go after things that we want. I am doing that more often. I am moving forward and not being afraid to say no or hear no.  NO will not kill you.  It will only break you if you allow it.  I have been told no so many times that I just keep it moving.  No can hurt.  If you are really after something and it doesn’t seem to move at all, it will hurt.  But no breaks those who allow it.  In life you have to be strong.  You can show emotions but never let anything make you quit.  Fail while pursuing.  So for the many areas of your life that is dying for you to shoot your shot, do it.  Do not back down for any reason at all.  Shoot that shot and make no apologies.

So what are you looking to shoot your shot?  Is it in pursuit of your education?  Go after it.  Keep applying.  Lock in financial aid.  Do it!

Is it in a new job?  Hey do it.  The worst you will hear is a no.  Always ask when you hear a no what you can do better the next time, in due time it will pay off. I have a friend I think it took 5 years to get into a position but they are in it.  No will build you. No will make you who you were meant to be.

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Is it in love?  Then make yourself marketable.  What are you doing for yourself that would attract this dreamy guy you want? Are you what you claim you want? You want an honest man, but won’t pay your bills thus making you a person who can’t be trusted in their finances. You want a lovable man, but will not show love.  Everytime someone approaches if they can get past your mean demeanor you chew their head off.  You want someone who is willing to travel but you have no passport or no passport stamps.  How does that work again?

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Shooting your shot, takes courage, work, and dedication.  If you won’t dedicate yourself to yourself then you can’t expect anything else to attract to you either.

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Save the Drama for your Momma

You ever hear that when you were a kid?  Absolutely you have.  That was the cry when you wanted someone know from the gate you wasn’t here for their crap.  This was before it became popular to say “you tried it” or “boy bye.” A few years ago I got caught in some drama with some family members and decided they or anyone else would never get the chance again to try me.

Now I can admit that my mouth is pretty blunt. I pull no punches. I don’t say to someone  behind their back what I won’t say to their face.  If I said it, I own it.  My mom has raised me on that premise.  As much as folks can say what they want about her, they know what you see is what you get.  So when you’re a young girl you have to walk real close and not say what you want.  However when you become a woman and a real adult, you speak and say what has to be said period.  Do you know how many times I was super respectful in school but I would be the one to school a teacher and have my parents back me?  I had learned to reserve that go off when it was appropriate.  My parents definitely taught me to hold my tongue when I had to but when it was warranted, don’t have them looking crazy but make it a good one.

Well today before someone could even try to drag me I had to hit them with the save the drama for your momma pose.  I am not here for it.  I am not the one. I do not want to hear no issues because I have learned that people love to dice up a story and add stuff that ain;t happen and for me, if you gon quote me, quote me right.  I had to shut down the young lady and let her know from the gate, that I do not subscribe to banter so if that is what she came for keep it moving. She was mad trying to justify why I should listen but mid sentence I walked away. Just like that no questions asked, no let me go, just simply walked away.

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In my mind, I don’t care what you wanted to add, it becomes a choice if I sit there and listen and I definitely knew better.  A few years ago I allowed another person to make me mad enough that the anger was so super explosive I had to retreat for an entire day.  I had to count up the cost if that foolery was even worth it. It wasn’t.  So from that point on I make it my business to live in peace with the 4 other folks aka my immediate family ie, my husband and kids and live our lives without drama.  No drama in the home, so none to go out.  This has caused a rift with others but it works for me and my household.  Outside of getting blamed recently out of association since I had to be explained as to why I was in the last drama fest, I live quite a quiet life.

People are funny that way.  They can’t get to you in another way so they tag you with who you associate with. Let’s keep it real, they don’t like the person and it is what it is.  They didn’t hear me say, they didn’t see me do anything, but they have to add me in.  It’s quite laughable. But I laughed at the little mini altercation this morning as the person was just trying everything to get me upset. My are you done yet face still in tact as she reminded me of a tantrum that a child throws.  It was cute but not cute enough for me to attach any emotions to it and give her what she wanted which was attention.

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If you ever want to make someone mad, don’t pay them any attention.  Don’t subscribe to anything they dish.  Do not talk, don’t break bread, do not entertain that. That doesn’t mean from a far you can’t show love but until some things are worked out on both parties it’s a no for me sis.  As I watched this tantrum from this wayward adult unfold, I thought bless your heart, you just need some friends, some D, a nap, a drink, a vacation, anything but what you won’t get is a high-five on your mess.  She couldn’t do anything but stop talking to herself.  I was a mere distance from her, and her hollering had to stop at some point right?  Right.  Kill folks with a look, ignore them, walk away, but protect your spirit at all cost.  Every time something jumps off I remind myself of that promise I made a few years back, folks ain’t worth my time, energy, my bail money, or my life.  Focus on what matters, and keep it pushing folks, keep it pushing.

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How to Ace Your Job Review

So you got the job, now what?  It’s time to for your yearly review.  Cue in the celebratory music and toss some confetti.  You made it through and its now time to ace the review.

There are a few things you need to do before the review to ace it:

  1. One never get too comfortable.  You know how you dressed when you first got the job verses after you been in your position let’s say 6 months after, cut it out.  Always dress to impress.  I do not care if you have been at your job for years.  Dress accordingly.  How you present yourself matters.
  2. Be on time. Have a track record of being on time. Life happens to all of us but trust and believe if you have a track record of being the “late one” it will come up.  Get to work on time.  Remember what you prayed for when you were in the faith line, get there, be on time, and work.
  3. Know your job and do it well.  You can’t ace your review when you haven’t been doing your actual job.  If you find in the midst of your job that there are areas where you aren’t doing your best, ask for help immediately and before your review.  The amount of people who fluff off inconsistencies makes no sense.  You do realize that your boss knows it and sees it. If training isn’t available then get yourself some.  There should be a wealth of friends that you can call on that can assist you in getting a few areas on point.  If not, get new friends. Either way your employer will appreciate the effort.
  4. Come to your review with areas that can be improved whether it be for yourself or for the company.  Make sure it’s not a list of complaints only. This is called taking an initiative.  Take it.  Coming with suggestions even if it is secretly complaints will look better than just having complaints.
  5. Be on time for your review if not early especially if you are meeting in an area of your office or your boss’s office.  Do not be late.
  6. Watch your tone and your language.  You should be authentic but keep it mind it’s a job.  I am a direct person but in certain arenas knowing the climate of your company matters.

During your review please bring a pen and a pad to write down notes.  One of the most irritating things you can do is come to your review unprepared.  This will come off badly.  Smile, and look your boss in their eyes.  Communication starts as soon as the meeting starts. If you find there is an area of improvement, take the criticism graciously.  Do not try to over explain.  Just note it and improve.  If you disagree, wait until its your turn to speak without cutting off your boss. If they have you write your comments down on your review sheet then do so.  Make sure especially if you are asked to write anything to check your emotions before you write.  You do not want to come off in a negative tone.

If you know that going into your review there are some areas that you KNOW you didn’t do well, think of ways to spin it.  Reviews are like mini interviews and you should always treat it as such.

Lastly ask questions, ask if there is anything that you can do to improve even if you are a model employee.  Never get comfortable in your position that you aren’t looking for ways to do better.

Congrats you have made it through another year!!

 

 

Her Own Empire

So I was watching Starz’s Survivors Remorse and on the show Missy Vaughn played by Teyonah Parris and Reggie Vaughn played by RonReaco Lee are married.  It came out after Reggie was playing cards and lost $123,000 with “big wigs,” that Missy’s father had him sign a prenuptial agreement since Missy comes from money before they were wedded. Now the issue was the signing as well as the fact that as a married woman she didn’t work. Her claim is she keeps the house together aka a stay at home wife.  By the way they have no kids.  The father once he sat down with Missy and explained that the reason he made Reggie sign a prenuptial agreement is so that if the marriage failed, her husband wouldn’t be able to take her money and leave her high and dry.  Her mother interjected that she needed to work too.

So the issues that stirred:

  1. Prenuptial agreements.  Are they a thing to get if you have money or property?Some would argue that you are setting your marriage for failure.  Some would say it is in everyone’s best interest to get one.  Marriage is a partnership and apart of the partnership includes money.  Love is beautiful however being broke is ugly.  We need to talk about the importance of being financially sound before marriage.
  2. Stay at home wife-contributions and withdraws of said money-I was a stay at home wife for many years.  For me it was the best solution to paying high daycare fees.  It was more cost-effective to be at home.
    1. The Pros:
      1. Get to be the COO of your home.  You are the one that organizes and get the home together
      2. You if you have kids don’t have to wonder what your kids are doing cause you are the ones doing it for them
      3. You save money in the long run
    2. The Cons:
      1. Not having your own money comes with the challenges of having to depend on your husband to give you money or allowances. This works for some and not for others.  It depends on the husband that you have to be honest.  Most men talk a good equality talk on the surface but you have to get to the real nitty and gritty if that man means it.  Sorry to say most do not but they pretend to.  You have to be able to talk about it and be clear on what that looks like.  Does the wife still get to get out and do things women like to do such as keeping herself up, shop, or get a coffee if she wants?  If so what does the budget look like.
      2. Not having adult interactions because you are in the home most of the time.

Now let me put this is terms where my life fit in it and what I got from this.  Money in our home has always been an issue. I am going to be transparent because I KNOW for a fact that a lot of women go through this.  I love things.  I like the ability of being able to get the things that I like or want.  The drawback to this when I was a stay at home mom is that my husband rarely said no.  However what he had to do in the background to make sure that every time I swiped was part of the conversation that I didn’t want to have to have. I got to the point of not having of my own and having to rely on him.  This is a dangerous place for most women including myself.

Who puts it back if its gone?

The ability to do for myself is a beautiful thing. I know some women do not care, but for me I do. I am striving to be the type of women that if my husband does it is a bonus and not out of need.  The reason is my husband plain and simple is not the husband from the 1950s who takes shoveling out money on the chin.  That doesn’t mean he has an issue giving me the things I need and some of the things I want.  However there has been times when in conversation he would say it.  In the beginning I would read messages he would text on his phone. AKA get into his phone and find negative messages about what I was doing on all fronts of the relationship not just money by the way.  These are the things they don’t tell you about marriage or relationship especially ones that have only one partner being the only bread-winner or the main bread-winner.  If you have one that is constantly spending and not putting it back-who puts the money back?  The working husband and sometimes the working wife since men stay at home too.  If the husband or wife is stressed trying to figure it all out than the issue isn’t in the spending its in balancing.  I think both partners should be honest about that.  However ladies I know I have heard it and if you’re not careful go back to doing whatever at no respect for his hustle too.  The man may want to do more but if he stressed trying to put it back all the time maybe that’s the issue in your spending and not just in him giving or not giving.

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Now back to Reggie and Missy I could relate to the shock when Missy mom told her to get a job.  It’s the life of Riley when you can swipe and kick off to wonderland until you realize your mate doesn’t respect the fact that you have him working harder than ever to put the money back you keep using.  I know, it would be east to blame the man until you take your emotions out of it and come to reality that at the end of the day, money is made not wished upon.  She had the look of disgust when it came to the fact that she needs to work and secure her own so her father or her husband couldn’t make any issues with money. I am realizing more and more and maybe it’s because of my personal dealings that there really is no real we.  To be honest, he that makes the gold makes the rules.  Its frustrating but it matters on who you are with to be honest. And regardless of who you are marrying to recognize the financial state that your family is in.  Red bottoms when you are saving may not be in the cards. Asking for them and getting but not caring if that man has to work extra hours or cut back in another area to get them is an issue.

Get your hustle on too

I would encourage every woman to know the financial dealings of your home.  You should know the ins and outs of what accounts are in effect.  Know the numbers, know where the important documents are in the home.  Please use one of your gifts to make your own money even if your money isn’t as long as your husband.  Every now and again say no to your husband’s swipe.  This means that you will have to have something of your own to swipe with.  I know this world would tell us that we are women hear us roar, that’s cute too but roar with some dollars it’s one of the ways to keep respect in the finances of your marriage.  To those who do not have that issue, kudos to you.  For the rest of the world, always securing your own bag is best.  Trust and believe these men will respect you more when you can do a few things independent of you.  Even the ones who claim they are here for your personal growth lie constantly so get your coins all the way up.

The big issue is to ask questions and be transparent with your spouse about money. This goes for both parties not when and after your completely frustrated.  Money was always scary to me and I never wanted to take the time to get the full picture. I do not want to paint my husband into a tyrant that by no means is the reason of this blog.  It’s to highlight an area that causes more divorce in the country within marriage. Not having a conversation and having expectations that don’t match with reality.  Men you must have a conversation and be honest too.  Ladies we have to be willing to listen without emotion.  Most husbands want to see their wife happy they just don’t want to die killing themselves to get you to that point. Come to the table with something or find ways to always reinvent the wheel to bring things to the table, coupon to cut corners.  Then when you cut the corners don’t spend that too, save.  Help the household not just you or your bottom line. Also shout out to my dad who before marriage ALWAYS then and NOW drills the importance of having your own.  He would never want me to be totally dependent on my husband.  It has zero to do with my husband controlling me it has to do with being free to make decisions on my own and being totally depenedent is and will never be healthy.  Shout out to my husband who has behind the scenes has helped me be financially debt free, and to make sure that I am empowered to have my own.  He doesn’t stop me but encourages me to be my own woman.  Some can’t say that. Work out the dealings of your home and if you feel like things aren’t being heard on any side, than I would suggest getting someone who will not take sides to be a mediator.  As much as people think the issue of money is no big thing, it is a huge part of living with another person and working things out.

Also know that things will NEVER make you happy. Get your spirit together as well. Sometimes the desire to excessive spending could reveal something on the inside that you are dealing with that shopping bags can’t fill.