Tag Archives: therapy

My Heart Was Built For War

I was told that in life, I would come across some trying times — that I should be prepared to be strong and fight with all of my heart. Those trying times are now upon us but my heart…was built for war. ~Toi Powell

Memories of my past and moments not so distant, reverberate within my chest as I summon the pain I once buried. The pain, it hurts. It burns within me like hot lava beneath a violent earth, promising to rupture at the slightest disturbance.

There ought to be another word to describe the breaking of ones heart besides “heartbroken.” The word just doesn’t do the act, nor the result of it, justice. It is much deeper than that. A heart and spirit so shattered and bruised should not, by any logical standard, function, at all.

The calluses surrounding my heart has formed a protective barrier, enshrining the glowing red shards left over from life’s battles. Whatever is left of it still feels, still hopes, still hurts.

When the first thing you have ever loved introduces the sting of betrayal and dishonesty, there is a special kind of “pain” that seems unrelenting. No matter how much modern medicine has tried to heal it, it cannot heal this. The pain of disappointing, hurtful, abandoning parents/loved ones, the first gods before you knew one, that kind of pain, it never leaves you. Therapy is but a tool, although helpful, tricks your mind into looking past it — to move forward so that you can function as a decent human being in society. But the heart, it knows. It never forgets.

Love is, of course, what our souls desire. It is our purpose. It is what the universe is made of. Procreation, mating and passion, begets life, creation and continued existence. So beautiful, so magical, yet at times, so unattainable. How exhausting is the journey, to have found it and in no fault or in every fault of your own, you have lost it?

Oh the heart, my 5 star general-ess, tired, worn and battle ridden. On the front lines, disabled, yet always charging full steam ahead. My general-ess is bold and brave. She feels and fights not only for her host, but for others who have fallen in life’s battles along the way. She expands, beyond her capacity to love those who cannot love for themselves. Her compassion reaches to the darkest corners of the earth, straining to touch them all. But compassion comes at a price.

Compassion cannot exist without feeling. As overwhelming as it is, one must feel. But how can a broken, wounded heart absorb the pain of others, being so close to the brink of its own devastation? Displacing ones own pain to make room for more, is like playing shuffleboard in a small box, the size of a deck of cards. The worlds pain is my Titanic, and I am desperately stuffing it into a small…box of cards.

Everything hurts. I feel everything. From war ridden countries, to babies without mothers. Genocides to homicides my heart aches to a throbbing beat. Civil rights, women’s rights, Immigration, religious rights, African American rights, LGBTQ rights, Native rights, justice for rape and domestic victims rights. Any basic rights denied to a simple human being on the face of this earth infuriates me. It tears at me. It haunts me.

My fore-fathers and fore-mothers taught us what institutions of education has failed to instill within us. When pain becomes unbearable, and betraying thoughts of surrender to the forces of evil begin to weigh down, there is a moment, if you catch it, where your fear blossoms into courage.

My ancestors had courage. They learned how to live with the pain and used it to fight for freedom, for equality, to fight for the right to love. Blockades of injustice tried to sever their spirits from their souls purpose, tearing families apart, litigating against them for being, different. Still, they used that pain to push on, the fire in them ignited forever. Every strike against them, armored their hearts for long, weary battles and equipped them with the capacity for compassion along the way.

I am a daughter of my forefathers and mothers and I am learning, as they did, to live with and to use the pain. Harnessing strength from them and within, I summon the pain from my memories past, and moments not so distant. I exhume the horrifying truths and disturb the slumbering, violent earth. I arm myself with ammunition against tyranny, patriarchy, discrimination, racism, sexism and greed.

My chin ascends to the heavens from which I came as I use these tools life has given me along the way, to fight. My compassion isn’t without consequence as I grasp the red hot blade of the worlds pain to wield it in battle against the rising evils.

Love is my saving grace. For it is because of love that I have the courage to fight. My 5 star general-ess is bold, strong and brave. She lives to fight another day. I was told that in life, I would come across some trying times — that I should be prepared to be strong and fight with all of my heart. Those trying times are now upon us but my heart…was built for war.

~ Toi Powell




Beauty Haul @ Sephora and the M.A.C Counter with Tata Grrt! (Tara Chaos)


Beauty Therapy!

I NEEDED some shopping therapy…badly. It’s been so long since I’ve made some much needed beauty purchases and on one rainy day, I dragged my beautiful, make-up enthusiast She’tara – Tara Chaos who I like to call Tata Grrt, to the mall with me for … support.

Since I’ve embarked on this grand T.O.I House journey, I wanted to start making videos and tutorials that focused on how to expand our natural beauty through make-up, styling and just plain self love! The issue I had was, I needed more make-up! I mean, I have I think more than the average girl Buuuuuuuuut, If I was going to show people different looks, I needed more options!

Tata and I started out at the M.A.C counter which I told her I have a valid fear of. I have a weakness for M.A.C cosmetics and it’s an unhealthy relationship I’d rather not continue but I HAD to get a new lipstick soooo we approached with caution. My issue is, I can never get what I came for! I’m always trying new shades, new palettes, new blushes, new, new , new….. UGH!

Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com (M.A.C Display Bridgewaer NJ)


So I looked for a specific lip shade I saw on a friend but realized that I had the lip color (Ruby Woo). I just needed a lip liner which, the M.A.C lady gave me. It was “Nightmoth”. It brought my bright red pucker to a deep red wine smooch! Perfect for the fall. We ended up playing in even more makeup. I made an impulsive purchase – hence my weakness – The Simpsons lip gloss which was awesome , but brought me over my beauty  budget and I hadn’t even hit Sephora yet! I returned it within the hour! But while we were there Tata and I had so much fun trying on lip colors we knew we weren’t buying! LOL


Tata Grrt! (Tara Chaos)
Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com


Then we headed over to SEPHORA!!!! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this store! They have everything from EVERY BRAND! It’s just amazing and downright Horrible at the same time!

Sephora is like a colorful vortex you fly into over the Bermuda triangle, only to come out and wonder where the time went!

My goal in Sephora was to buy a colorful Eye shadow palette (Electric Palette by Urban Decay) and a gel Eyeliner (They’re Real by Benefit Cosmetics). I’d tried on the gel eyeliner and mascara during a recent trip to return yet another impulsive buy! Hey, don’t judge me! I’m a creature of the moment, and when I leave, the responsibilities like RENT hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m always sad to see the impulsive buys go back to their original display but, I whisper promises that I’ll be back soon to take them home! And I kept my promise! I bought the Eyeliner and Mascara duo and LOVE IT!

Photography by: Toi Stori For  TheToiHouse.com
Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com


Anyway, me and Tata Grrt went to town! Lips, eyes, cheeks, foundations…. OMG we were in heaven! I’m sure people looked at us like a bunch of kids in a candy store the way we ran from isle to isle – shouting over the displays ” HOW DOES THIS LOOK ON ME GRRT?!”

Photography by: Toi Stori For  TheToiHouse.com
Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com – Sephora Display Bridgewater NJ)

So, I wanted to contour like a pro and who better to teach me than Tata Grrt! Tata is a CONTOUR QUEEN! When the Sephora lady told me to purchase expensive shades and hues to get the perfect contour, Tata looked at me and said, “Grrt, we’re goin’ to CVS and we’re gonna get foundation sticks and call it a day! Cause this ish right here is toooooo expensive”

And she was right! The foundation sticks worked out perfectly for me! Easy to apply, blend and awesome for my complexion! She’s the best! I bought Maybelline FIT me! Shine-Free foundation sticks in Sun Beige (for my highlighter) and Coconut (for my shadow contour).

After spending so much money, I needed therapy from my shopping therapy and bought a 3 Musketeers and Gummy Lifesavers – I eat when I stress! LOL. But, I stayed within my beauty budget which is $50 a month. But since it’d been so long, I combined 2 1/2 months into one day!

Photography by: Toi Stori For  TheToiHouse.com
Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com

I Must say, I love all of these products and don’t know how I lived with out them! Check out some more pics of our Beauty Haul day below!

Photography by: Toi Stori For  TheToiHouse.com
Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com – Toi Stori and Tara Chaos


Sephora Toi Stori
Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com


Toi Stori at Sephora
Photography by: Toi Stori For TheToiHouse.com