I Am Ready For Change...Are You?

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It has been over a month since I last posted. Ugh! Where has the time gone?

I have been meaning to get back to you all, but your girl Toya T has been busy. The past month I have been traveling (Charlotte, NC, Washington, D.C., New York City, and now Southern California with a short stay in Las Vegas ), searching for and applying to jobs, connecting with friends, partying, crying and being fully in my feelings, taking long walks, and trying to figure out my life (of course!).

During this time, I realized one major thing: I am ready to move. Specifically, I am ready for things in my professional and romantic lives to move in new, better, and more fulfilling directions. I love my job as a college professor. Working with, mentoring, and teaching students is my passion. It energizes me and has helped me grow and learn more about myself and the world.

However, what I do not love is the lack of upward mobility I have experienced in my career. I currently teach two courses a semester at a state university part-time, which means I am working without benefits or job security. For the past two years, I have been applying for positions in academic advising and student support, and I have gotten very few calls for interviews and no job offers. It has been hard to deal with because of the amount of time and effort and money I spent on my education. Excuse me as I toot my own horn here. I am a black woman with a PhD. I am part of the less than 1% of people in the world to hold this degree. Yet, despite my educational pedigree, I do not have a JOBB---extra 'b' for benefits, that is to say, retirement, health, dental, paid leave/vacation, and job satisfaction.

It is hard pill to swallow because I have degrees and not much to show for it besides the degrees. I am like the character on Kanye West's first album College Dropout who was homeless with only his multiple degrees to keep him warm. Okay...I may be exaggerating a bit. I am not homeless. I am fortunate to have two loving parents who have been able to help me financially by feeding me and letting me live in their home rent free, among other things, that allow me to pay my bills (including my 100k student loans), build good credit, travel, look cute, and apply to jobs that I want (and not those that just pay the bills). I am far from sleeping on the streets covered in my diplomas. But, I feel...stuck, blocked, unsatisfied, frustrated, unfulfilled.

Okay, so now what? How do I change this and get things in my life moving in new, fulfilling, and purposeful directions?

By changing my mindset to focus daily on what I want and how I want these changes to happen, and not on what I do not have or have not done.

I may feel that my life is stagnant now, but I can change that. I can live the life I want.

To manifest these changes in my life, I am going to set monthly intentions, and I am going to keep a log of my experiences and feelings here on Figure Out Your Life Blog for a year, so you all can follow my progression of change. The beginning of the month, or the start of a new moon cycle, is a great time to set new intentions or desires, since it takes 30 to 40 days to create a new habit or change a behavior.

If you want to join me on this journey, and you are also ready to make changes in your life, here are few things you need to know about setting monthly intentions:

First, when making intentions, you must make definitive statements. Not wishes, asks, or wants because you want the universe to know you intend, and not wish or want, for these things to happen in your life.

Second, you must state you intentions in the present tense. For example, "I am worthy of love" or "I attract a romantic relationship that fulfills me" (I used both of these statements in my romantic intentions for the month).

Third, you must TRUST these things WILL happen.

Fourth, if you feel blocked or deterred, you must take note of what is blocking you and confront it. Spend a little bit of time and energy dealing with this issue. What are the blocks in your life? How do they make you feel? What would removing these blocks do for you? Then, you must spend the majority of your time and energy on visualizing what is going to keep you aligned, attuned, and inspired.

I am ready to live my best life. Are you?


"We must remind ourselves that we are seeing only a small piece of the puzzle--that there is a whole picture, and we all fit in." -- SQuire Rushnell, When God Winks: How The Power of Coincidence Guides Your Life


Where Did My Eyebrows Go?: 3 Tips For Dealing with Thinning Brows

I never leave the house without my eyebrows on (*Jazmine Sullivan singing voice*).

Why did no one tell me to that I might want to leave my naturally thick eyebrows alone because they would practically stop growing after I turned 30?  I blame my mother. As long as I have been alive, she has had no eyebrows. I would, and still do (since I live at home and her makeup dresser is in "my room"), watch her draw on her eyebrows. I never questioned why she had no eyebrows, until one day I woke and noticed my eyebrows were thinning and barely growing in. Ever heard that saying, "if you pluck one gray hair, two more will come to its funeral (at the location of the the plucking)? Why can't my eyebrow hairs do that?

I wish I could jump in a time machine and travel back 15 years ago and stop my younger self from allowing random women from plucking and waxing my eyebrows. Now I am filling in my thinning eyebrows with eyebrow powder every morning, so that I do not look like a big head alien. I already have a big forehead. The last thing I need is to bring more attention to that area between my eyes and my hairline.

What causes this thinning? According to my "Googles," eyebrow hair loss can be caused by a number of factors, including over-plucking or waxing (which can cause follicle damage or infection), excessive weight-loss, stress, vitamin deficiency, and aging.

To combat the thinning, I have done a couple things. First, I cut down on my monthly eyebrow maintenance. I quit waxing my eyebrows around 2008, after some woman in some random nail or hair salon left me with pencil thin, uneven eyebrows. I transitioned over to Indian eyebrow threading after hearing about how great and mostly painless it was from several friends. Eyebrow threading is an ancient hair removal technique which uses a twisting thread to pull hair from the root. I love it because they remove each hair individually, which decreases chances of over-plucking. The threaders always ask whether you want to clean up or fully reshape your eyebrows. However, after noticing that I could barely see my eyebrows, even without a fresh threading, I had to change my brow maintenance from every three weeks to every three months. Ugh!

Second, I started using eyebrow powder after a threader in Santa Barbara suggested I use it to get a fuller brow. She used the Smashbox Tech Trio on me and I instantly fell in love with the way my brows looked. Immediately, I headed to Sephora and bought a box. I used it until they discontinued it and replaced it with Smashbox Ultra Eyebrow Tech Shaping Powder, which I currently use in Dark Brown.

Third, I have been applying Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which is multipurpose oil that I have been using for years to regrow my edges and moisturize my locs. But, recently I found out that it is also good for stimulating eyebrow growth (it is stated as a possible use on the box). I wipe it on my eyebrows before bed after I wash my face. I honestly haven't been applying as consistently as I oughta, but I definitely recommend other eyebrow hair loss sufferers try it out.

#MotivationMondays | Sometimes You Gotta Get Knocked Down to Get Up

This week I am giving you words to motivate you and music to keep you moving along.

Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall) by Mystikal has been on my "Steady On My Grind" playlist for years. Giving me the inspiration and good vibes I need, when I feel low, tired, and done.  The song has a great message about being able to overcome setbacks, failure, and self-doubt, along with a New Orleans bounce-filled, jazzy beat (Note: This song has no explicit language, so it is work and kid friendly).

My favorite lines from the song are:

"So if you ain't ready you better get ready/

I know I do it better when I'm being opposed/

Ah stick ya chest out, keep your chin up/

'Cause sometimes you gotta get knocked down to get up/

You keep bumping me against the wall/Yeah I know I let you slide before/But until you seen me trust me/You ain't seen bouncin' back"



If you have never heard of this song, check out the video below.