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


Learning to Let Go of "Them" and Get the Love and Happiness I Deserve

Sometimes you gotta let people go: fake friends, toxic folks, energy-sucks,  drama-full family members, fuck boys, former loves, friends with (few) benefits.

Sometimes you gotta let things go: phone numbers of former love interests, clothes that haven't fit in 3+ years, overstretched hair elastics, broken electronics, worn out shoes, not safe for work or grandma's eyes sexy pictures of your former bae.

Sometimes you gotta let energies go: long-held hurts, emotional scars, old ideas, grudges, bad habits, doubts, insecurities, drama.

As much as I have grown personally and professionally this past year of my life, I have realized that I still have a lot of things that I need to figure out. One of the things I need to figure out in 2017 is how to let go of people who cause me nothing but unnecessary stress and heartache and whose presence in my life do not benefit me or give me the love and appreciation I want and need.

But I have a hard time letting go of the select people that I let into my heart. I am very protective of my heart and my personal space, so when I let people in, I hold onto them fiercely. I love hard. Even when these people I love show me how easily they have let me go, I hold on. I continue to care. I check in. I wish happy birthdays. I extend congratulations and well wishes. And, I rarely get anything back but hurt feelings.

To deal with my "letting go" problem, I have decided that I need a detox---a life detox.

There are some people whose phone numbers I delete and re-add and then delete again that I need to  keep deleted. Some Facebook friends I unfriend and re-friend that I need to unfriend and keep it that way. 

LET. THEM. GO....Close my eyes and inhale.... and then exhale them all out. 

In order to Grow. to Evolve. to Change. to Heal. to be Happy. to be Sane. to be Healthy.

Lemme Get This Off My Chest: Don't Mansplain My Feminism

Ladies, has this ever happened to you? You comment on a friend's post and a (male) stranger thinks that it is okay to mansplain to you about why YOUR decision to do or not so something is wrong. 

Check out the video below to find out what I had to get off my chest: 

Losing Weight During a Weekend Away

I am happy to announce that your girl Toya T is still losing weight. I lost 1.6 lbs this week. This is really a huge feat because of the fact that I took off three days from my diet this past Labor Day weekend. 

Week 6:

From Saturday to Monday, I was in Philadelphia with two of my friends at the Made in America Festival, which is a 2-day music festival sponsored by Budweiser. At first, I thought that I might be able to follow my diet with a few tweaks while I was at the festival: eat my regular healthy breakfast and lunch, drink a minimum of one beer per day, and eat the least fatty meals for dinner while I was at the festival.  I really thought that this was going to work. Or, at least I wanted this plan to work because I did not want to lose my weight-loss momentum from the past 6 weeks. I packed as many healthy snacks as I could carry and brought along a homemade protein shake, since our hotel had a mini fridges in the rooms. 

By noon on Saturday, I realized that it was unrealistic for me to follow my diet during my weekend away. This was my last hoorah before heading back into the classroom and plus I was with my friends. Sticking to my diet felt more like work than a normal healthy life choice.  So, I decided to allow myself three cheat days, not to overindulge on fatty goodness, but to eat and drink when I felt hungry without counting calories (and feeling guilty). To not fall back into bad eating habits or throw away my weight-loss successes, I also decided to jump back into my Super Shred diet at the point that I stopped on the program's weekly meal plan--in this case, it was Days 5, 6, and 7 of Week 2.

During my three cheat days, I made sure to stay active. Luckily, the festival made this very easy because it involved a lot of walking around and standing. I made over 24,000 steps on Saturday alone and burned over 3000 calories (note: this is more than I burn on a regular day eating healthy and working out). 

When I weighed myself on Tuesday, I was surprised to see that I didn't gain any weight. I lost .2 lbs and by Thursday I had lost an additional 1.4 lbs. 

This past weekend was very important moment in my 50 lb weight-loss journey. I learned that I can still eat, drink, and be merry without losing control. Cheat days or cheat meals are good in moderation as long as you stay active and focused on your goals. I am now 12.2 lbs down and determined to lose another 8 lbs by the end of the month. 

Smiles and Lime-a-ritas at Made in America 

Why Guys Pull Away: The Rubber Band Effect

If you have been following my blog, you know that your girl Toya T is living single and looking for love. And so far, I have not had the best of luck. My most recent dating endeavor did not end as happily as I hoped. And, it seemed like I should have seen it coming. He likes to play disappearing acts...and I do not.

Somehow...I don't know...maybe the love gods got tired of watching (and laughing) at my pitiful attempt at finding love and decided to help me out a bit. Regardless of how or why it happened, I came across this Youtube video by Jenny Delish (from Real World Ex-plosion fame) that gave one of the best dating analogies I have heard. It gave me a bit of insight on some of my dating flaws.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Words of Wisdom (from Oprah): There Are No Mistakes!

Hey Folks Trying to Figure Out Life,

I know it has been a few weeks since I posted on here. This month has been a bit hectic. As many of you know, I teach part-time at one of the local universities in the Sociology Department. What you don't know is that for the entire Spring semester I was interviewing for a full time position in my department. For the last three weeks, I was waiting to hear back about the position. At the same time, I was finishing up the semester, grading final papers and exams, packing for my annual family cruise to the Caribbean (more details on this trip in an upcoming blog post), and dealing with dating drama (more on that in an upcoming post too). So, I had to take a bit of a hiatus from my precious blog/public journal/soapbox.

Well...hiatus is done. Unfortunately, I did not get the full time position ( that I was pretty damn sure I was going to get). They picked the other guy (literally!). Learned about it via email, in the middle of my vacation (in the middle of the Caribbean Sea) and I just felt like jumping off the boat to save myself from the embarrassment of telling others I did not get the job (again)... This is me being completely honest. Getting another "I regret to inform you" email has left me feeling a bit hopeless about my future. I love teaching and working with students. But, the last couple of days I was starting to feel like I was never going to get a job. I have been a finalist several jobs in the past few years and I have started to get used to "almost getting the job."

Fortunately, I have a great support system, including a best friend who always there to keep me motivated and to encourage me to use my disappointment as fuel for my next move, and Oprah, who always says the things that I need to hear when I need to hear it.

Below is a video that I came across on Facebook this morning and it just made me feel hopeful, inspired, and motivated. If you need some words of wisdom from Oprah, check this out and share with others.

I am ready to make my next move. Are you?

Need Help Saving Money?...Try Digit!

If you are trying to save money to pay for off some bills, buy that cute purse, take your first trip to New Orleans for Essence, or start a habit of saving money weekly, you may want to try out Digit.

I have been using it since May 2015 and it has completely changed my savings game, by making it super easy for me to save money. The app automatically stashes money away for you by tracking your spending habits and then pulling periodically a few dollars from your checking account and placing them in a FDIC-insured online savings account. The amounts can be really small--as little as a $1 a day--and vary daily based on the amount of money in your account and how much you ask Digit to save for you (daily you can ask the app to save less or more money for you). This week alone, using Digit, I saved $52 without thinking about it. Overall, I have saved a total of $720 since I joined Digit (see images below from my Digit account)

Digit sends weekly, and on request, updates to you on how much you have saved, and it sends every morning the updated balance of your checking account, including your last 3 transactions. You can withdraw your money at a time from your Digit savings account; and, the money will be available in your checking account the next day.

I highly recommend trying Digit for yourself. It has been recommended as a savings tool by several magazines, including Essence and Shop Smart (which is how I found out about it) and by financial expert Suze Orman.

Click

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