Tasha finally got it right: Seek help when you need it!

Tasha St. Patrick

I was watching Power today (like the rest of the world) and was so touched by Tasha. While I don’t always agree with her she was my favorite this episode. I love how she acknowledged needing help. So many times, we (especially black women) are supposed to just shoulder shit and keep moving forward. To see Tasha be so open about needing help was EVERYTHING!!! She stated multiple times she was not ok and needed to talk. I was like yes way to be self-aware. What made her my favorite this episode is that not only did she recognize the need, but she did something about it without having to be referred or begged to seek help. She had a game plan to help with her healing and I love her for it. We must be proactive in all aspects of our lives. So, bravo Tasha.

What was also so realistic and heartbreaking to me was the person who should have been her number one cheerleader in getting help because they understood what she was dealing with was shutting her down at every turn. I have been there on multiple occasions. Once when I was 19 with a newborn and had no idea what postpartum was and kept being told I had to get over it because I had done this to myself. Another time was saying I wanted to be a therapist and being told by family my career choice was a joke. But let me get back to Power... James originally did not want to even consider the grief group. He said he wasn’t feeling it. I found myself feeling like I was back at work with my forensic clients asking them what’s not to feel? A safe place to say you are hurt (which clearly, he needed). Unfortunately, the way James was acting is nothing new. Saying “I’m not feeling that” or some other derivative is too common.

What also had me side eyeing James was the fact that he didn’t trust her to grieve and describe her feelings because they are different from the people in the group. Sure, the other people in the group probably were not drug dealing murders, who had an affair with the DA and missed what was happening to their son which lead to all this anyway, but a grieving parent is a grieving parent. After all the secrets (setting up Canaan, providing an alibi for killing Lobos, and whatever else) and shenanigans she has dealt with and handled like the proverbial “ride or die chick” why question her now? Why not give her what she needed? Like she said, she can discuss her feelings without discussing the other stuff.

While I baby clap him for being willing to go he was there again blocking Tasha from getting what she truly needed. Simply showing up to the group is not enough for some people. They need to be able to interact and share their feelings (the point of the group anyway). She felt led to share and he shut her down so smoothly. As he has done in their marriage multiple times (but that’s not even why I’m here). Him stopping her from sharing struck me on several layers and I will try to unpack a few…

On the surface you have a husband shutting down a wife who has said she needs help. When people reach out for help or admit to feeling vulnerable, not right, sad, or whatever listen to them. Shutting them down only ensures the next time they will not be sharing their feelings with you. Telling people to get over it, toughen up, or put their big girl panties on is not always the answer. In fact, if a person is actually feeling something I can almost guarantee it makes their stomach turn to hear their loved one say some insensitive shit like that, and they will think twice before opening up again. Why are we so quick to shut down a person who is expressing vulnerability?

On another layer, we have someone telling another person not to do the very thing they think will help them. Tasha felt lead to the group and simply on the strength that she thought it would help her it would have in some way. We have got to stop shutting people down from getting help their way. Which lead me to religion. The minute someone wants to cleanse their energy someone calls it witchcraft. The negative connotation associated with magic, ancient healing rituals, and being a witch is also not why I am here but needs to be mentioned. The second someone says Allah instead of God they become a terrorist. Everything doesn’t work for everyone. The reason some medicines work for some people and are like skittles to another person, the way some children need timeouts and others need a spanking (yes I said it) or removal of toys, its simple… WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. It is perfectly ok to believe, practice, and grieve differently. We must allow people to choose their own path and then respect when their choice does not match our own.

While Tasha has a few more episodes left to deal with her demons, and her choices, you reading this do not have to wait. I wish I could say do this and the pain will go away, but it is not that simple. You must put the work in and be willing to expose yourself. Being self-aware is not for the faint of heart. When you really trying to change and really trying to heal, it has been my experience personally and professionally that it will hurt worse first. It’s like when you really cleaning up and organizing so you pull stuff out of hiding and it looks a hot mess before it looks clean. Be brave like Tasha and admit you need help, but also seek help. It’s not going to be easy the question is are you willing to stick it through?

It really is ok to Level Up!

ciara and russell

So a comment was made by a celebrity (Ciara this week), and folks are all up in arms. I am not 100% sure what the fuss is about. From what I have read she simply expressed her truth. She noted after she leveled up, started to look to God more, and really love herself the right man came along. This is her experience and who are we to take that from her. Before you all start the eye-rolling keep reading... I think the issue is because she said  “level up” and get the love you deserve. People seem to be super in their feelings because of the words level up. Even one of my friends said she took the comment as if you are single you have no standards. So it got me thinking…

Why are we so consumed with every thought a celebrity has? Sure they are in the light and people look to them and they decided to be in the spotlight but we are all responsible for our own actions. Just because she believes in leveling up you don’t have to.They are human just like the rest of us, and if your homegirl disagreed with you would you drag her like some do celebrities? Just my thoughts…

Let’s talk about leveling up. If I am correct it means to get your shit together in all areas of your life. This will look different for everyone. Some will lose weight, start their business, get a deeper relationship with God, carry crystals with you, start reading more books, whatever it is we all can agree it is an improvement on your life. So don’t you want to level up? Or is complacency the new in thing? When we apply for jobs we never say ok I'm entry level and I am good with this for life. I have arrived. No, we get in to learn the ropes and start looking for a raise, promotion, or the next job.

I read some comments saying she is using her marriage as a tool or weapon and I was again confused. #Howsway All she was saying, or how I interpreted it was once you focus on you, and get clear about what you want you can attract it. After you get so into you and realize what it is you actually want you will be able to waste less time with men who mean you no good. I know for me I wasted time and dated losers because I was dating to be dating at one time in my life. I didn’t really know what I wanted so I ended up not getting much of anything if you catch my drift. We can all agree like attracts like so why not improve yourself. The new and improved you will undoubtedly attract more than a man. You will get the bougie girlfriends you wished you had, the promotion you have been dreaming about, or even attract the client to your business because you have now become an improved version of our self. What is wrong with that?

Let me tell you a story… When I met my husband I was a single mom of one, working as a therapist (my previous dream job). I lived on my own and was doing my thing. Admittedly I was more together on paper than I was internally but I was actively working on it. So I guess at the time I met him I was like mid glow up lol (although I am sure that was not the term those years ago). The point is I was in a good place, and working daily to be better. THAT IS WHAT ATTRACTED THE MAN TO ME. For us, regular degular folks life ain't always peaches and cream. So what married minded man wants to marry a girl he has t fix up or who is bringing nothing to the table, not even a plate? Because if the shoe was on the other foot while women are more likely to go for the fixer-upper we are not setting out looking for him. We want a man with his ish together. We want the security that comes with a stable man.

I got off topic...Prior to my self-proclaimed glow up I was attracting broken men, with no jobs, mommy issues, emotional abusers, egos bigger than the Beyonce song, and all other foolery. I was attracting them because I was broken. I was vibrating so low that is what I picked up.  Did I need to level up? Hell yes! Is that the sole reason I got married? Nope, but it damn sure helped. I was happy and whole when I got married. I was not looking for anyone to love me because I loved and still love me. In fact, I was happy to just be me with my child. I had spent so much time dating idiots I decided to date me, and the moment I became ok with me things changed. I walked away from my job (I went back, but with a raise lol making just under what a LCSW makes without a license and in case you are not a counselor and not familiar with non-profits that's a big damn deal!). Nope, life has not been perfect but it has steadily been getting better. I have setbacks but I come out ahead because I glowed up.

So no this is not me using my life as a weapon or shaming tool. This is me telling you if I can do it, the girl who was pregnant at 19 by the way ole boy the sperm donor straight walked away you can too!!!!! I have been through so much and we all have a story to tell but unless you level up in some way your story is going to stay the same and we both know you don’t want that. Leveling up is not all about a man because some of my smartest most successful girlfriends don’t even see marriage as an accomplishment. However to live a life you love whether working a 9-5, being a housewife, having a side hustle, walking the red carpet, whatever it is will require you to level up. How will you level up today?

4 Ways to Make 2018 Great

New Year

As soon as the kids took off their Halloween costumes it felt like they were pulling out the Christmas tree lights, and here we are in 2018. Is it me or is time flying by?

Anyway, this is the time of year where everyone is reflecting. What went well, what went wrong? Some people will be shouting "new year new me" and while I am not a fan, I am a recovering member of the club. I am not quite sure why I thought I had to wait until the new year to change. Change is a series decisions you make and they are not bound by time or date.

However, I understand the concept. The new year brings about a refreshing sense of newness and it seems like the right time to lose weight or cut people off when really the right time was the moment you made the decision to be a better you. I get though we are all looking to win in some form or fashion. Whether it be finding that great love, buying our dream home,  booking a speaking gig, or landing a high paying client. Whatever it is we all want to be great. So this year, if you start losing focus on the resolutions here, are some habits to adapt to make sure this is your year.

  1. Be intentional. Whatever your goals are get aligned and make them happen. Once you are sure about what you want  to accomplish make sure you are constantly doing what you need to do to make it happen on purpose.
  2. Change your mindset. You can have everything you want if you think you can. Stop allowing our past, what you did last year, or the limiting beliefs you have to stop you. Trust me we all have had these beliefs and a lot of times they are inherited. How you were raised helps to shape what you think is possible but that is a lesson for a different day.
  3.  Stop setting goals without setting time to do the work. We all are like Ok I am going to lose weight this year, but what we fail to figure out is when we will meal prep, when we add working out to our already busy schedule, how many calories will we intake. Or better yet my clients say this is the year they will find a man, yet they never leave the house, don't know what they are looking for in a relationship, and sadly some of them are still in love with their ex. Simply setting the goal is not enough. You have to plan for the process.
  4.  Make your to-do list NON NEGOTIABLE.  I get it at the end of the day you are tired and just want to sit on the couch and watch the TV, or maybe you want to read a book. Either way, the to-do list is not a priority after work. You had the best intentions but by the end of the day, your determination fades. But this is where we mess up. This is how we stay stuck and never lose the weight, start the business, finish writing that bestseller or whatever the goal is.  If you are really serious you have to work even when you are tired and don't want to because that is where the real change happens. 

What are you going to do to make this a great year for you?

6 time management tips to help you have it all

We want it all if we are honest with ourselves, and in my opinion nothing is wrong with that. We want the family, career, money, cars, all of it. Now how do we get there? You have to begin telling yourself you can have it all and then define what “it all” is for you. This will look differently for every one. Figure out what your ideal day looks like. Does this include meetings, sessions, gym time, children, husband, work, travel? You have to know what you are working toward so you can get there. Then there is time.

Time, if we are honest we often waste away (social media, reality TV, sleep) and then complain about not having enough of it. Coming from my own past experience, watching TV instead of working out was much more fun. However, you could always find me complaining about my weight and saying I had no time to work out. Another old favorite of mine was using my children as an excuse not to clean. Yep I would say well I work every day the weekend is the time I need to be with them. When really I just wanted to avoid the laundry, scrubbing, and sweeping. Yes spending time with my kids is hella important but if one is napping and the other is reading how much time are we really spending together? Still, I would think geesh I really just need a day to clean... yes after wasting an entire day with excuses.

I was making a lot of excuses to simply do what I wanted to do (be lazy, although I called it rest) and not what I needed to do (everything else, cook, clean, etc.). I always found myself saying I want to do more, be more, and have more, but I was not putting in the effort. I was putting in the excuses.

Excuses are tools of nothingness (yep I am a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta- all my fellow NPHC Greeks feel me on this). Back to these excuses... making them was only getting me one thing NOTHING. The truth was I had time to get healthy, cook, start a business, and whatever else I wanted to if I used my time wisely. What I needed to do was to shift the way I thought about time. I had convinced myself I did not have enough of it when the truth is I had plenty. I simply had to use wisely.

Here are a few things I started to do to gain better control of my time.

  1. Protecting my time. Which really means setting boundaries, and saying no when I needed to say no and no longer feeling guilty about it.  I now refuse to allow my time to be wasted. It may seem harsh but it has really been beneficial for me and my family.
  2. I am intentional about how I spend my time. If I set out to spend time with my family, I make sure everyone is awake, present, and with limited electronic interaction. If it is time to blog or do other stuff related to my business I make sure I set the intentions to complete those task. It really is about a mind shift here.
  3. I plan for things. Part of being able to fit so many things into one day is knowing what must be done. If I know what I have to do, I can fit in what I want to do. I decided I wanted to put more effort into my own self development. So instead of having my own lip sync battle on the way to work daily I now make sure I listen to a podcast that will feed my growth at least 3 days a week on my way to work. 
  4. Prioritize. This is my best kept secret. If it can be done later I do it later and do something that cannot wait. Everything is not an emergency so it will not be treated as such.
  5. Practice discipline. It is easy to lay down because I worked all day. Then who is going to cook, clean, blog, talk to my clients, how will I ever get into shape. When I set my list I do it. There is no waiting until tomorrow because I have already filtered out what can wait so it is not on the current day’s to do list.
  6. I am flexible with my family. I know you giving side eye after reading 1-5, but I am. If my babies are sick things get shifted. My daughter is pushing 13 so her emotions and hormones are off the chain. If she needs some extra mommy time she gets it. Sometimes bae needs time and I am not here for the games so bae gets his time.

By doing all these things I am so much closer to my goal of having it all. I am able to be a great wife, mom, biz owner, and still employee. It is not easy but it can definitely be done.

 

How do you manage it all? Have questions? Shoot me an email mrstoyacarter@gmail.com I would love to help.

3 Things I learned When Mariah asked for an Inconvenience Fee

lessoned learned from Mariah Carey

Say what you will about Ms. Mariah she is a true diva and not just in the vocal aspect. Mariah has managed to do what women probably should have been doing all along. Demand money for wasting her time! After all time is super sacred because we can NEVER get it back.  Now I am not sure she will get the money. I am not even sure she deserves it. What I am sure of is this is one the most epic empowerment moves I have seen in a while.

Is it a publicity stunt for her upcoming show? Maybe. Does she deserve the money? Hell I don’t know because I wasn’t there. What I do know is it takes balls to do something this bold. She is in essence saying you waste my time so pay me. She uprooted her family to be with this man, and the demise of the relationship had her so distraught she had to cancel part of her tour. Before you condemn her she is a women first and a celebrity second.

She is not the first woman to move to a city to be with or closer to a man. If I am being honest, I have done it. It all worked out because I met my husband but I will never forget facing the fact that I left home and comfort with my daughter for a man and the relationship failed. She also is not the first women to be so distraught about love ending she had to miss work. Don’t pretend you have spent a day on the couch after a break up. Sure it is not the same as cancelling a tour but it boils down to a woman missing work because things did not work out with the man she loves. I think we often expect celebrities to bounce quicker, but why? They are human too.

Still not convinced this was an empowering move? Let’s talk. Remember the guy you cosigned for his car because his credit was bad and you believed in him? Remember when he stopped making those payments?  Or the guy who told you all his big dreams and you helped him by allowing him to live with you rent free and as soon as he got it together he only wanted to be “friends” so he could focus on his dream? Or the guy who slept with your friend? What about ole boy who lied and had a whole family turning you unknowingly into the Sidechick? Then there was the guy who promised he was different and told you he would love you forever and forever ended way sooner than you thought it would? See we have all been in some sort of situation where our time was wasted by a man we were in a romantic relationship with. So even if she doesn’t get the money in some way it has to feel great to be audacious enough to ask.

While I have had my own thoughts on Mariah since she got in the tub at the end of her episode of Cribs show she has made a serious move with this one.  She understands it does not matter what we think about her, her spending habits, her love life, and even her talent. She values herself enough to ask for what she believes she deserves. Now whether you think she is a hot mess for doing so or not here are three things to take from this situation.

Value yourself. For better or worse Mariah is asking for an inconvenience fee because she feel her time, love and location are valuable. If more of us saw the value in ourselves we not be swept away by men who are only going to waste our time by breaking promises they never intended to keep. While I am not telling you to charge your ex a fee I am saying understand what you bring to the table so you don’t have to settle.

Stop husband-ing (like wife-ing) these boyfriends. I will admit I have done it to. However the sooner you learn to stop the better you will be. We as women are trying so hard to prove we are wife material, (whatever that is because it is clearly different for every guy) that we forget we are the prize. Sure be down, have his back but things like moving, placing him on your insurance, combining bills these are all husband status activities. Any man married or not can leave but I promise you will feel so much better about yourself when you are going through the break up if you reserved some of the extras.  I know what you are thinking, well he was her fiancé. SO WHAT!!! He was not her husband and now she has to relocate again and start over. Some would say a fiancé is just a slightly upgraded boyfriend anyway.

Never be afraid to ask for what you want… after all you just might get it. We are living in strange times and it is oddly possibly that she just might get this man’s money. Even still what if she doesn’t get all of it but half?  Half will still add to her account. Without asking we can all agree she would get nothing.

I understand husband’s leave their wives all the time but not as often as boyfriends, and apparently fiancés. So protect your heart ladies, and be careful. Along with that never be afraid to demand your worth. You just might get it. When is the last time you boldly asked for what you wanted?