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Bracing For Impact

Life throws you curve balls. How you brace for impact is what matters most.

How does one brace for impact when life throws us curve balls on our jobs, in our home, with our family and friends?

Below, I’ve listed a few examples on how we can take precautions so life’s blows don’t impact us so severely.

Bracing for Impact on your Job

Always keep your resume up to date. Even if you’re so happy where you are and you can’t see yourself leaving any time soon, update that bad boy. You never know when budget cuts are coming or when they’re starting the 1st round of layoffs. It’s best to update it when you’re in a good place rather than after you’ve been let go and you’re rushing and frustrated. Besides, if you do it now, you’ll have all the time you need to embellish or add in new roles & responsibilities as you’re currently doing them.

Have you ever tried to remember all of the things you did at a job when you no longer work there? It’s a pain in the butt. So get it out of the way and update it when your mind is at ease. You’ll thank yourself later.

Do a LinkedIn endorsement and recommendation swap with your favorite coworkers. That’s a sure fire way to get faster results and feedback for top recruiters and jobs to see how great you are. Also, if you’re currently on the market for something new, here are the top 3 job search sites to get you started: Robert Half, CareerBuilder, and Indeed. Happy job hunting!

Bracing for Impact in your Home

My home is my safe haven. TOI House is literally Toi’s House. Its where I live, eat, breathe, create, write, laugh and love. I feel safe here and I decorate my home to fit my mood and personality. Cool, calm, serene, a touch whimsical with splashes of color and my focus color is various shades of blue. Blue is calming and soothing.

Find a color that exhibits the mood you want to feel when you walk in the door from a long day of work. Better yet, hop onto my Pinterest Home Decor page for some ideas. Follow me of course! I love Moroccan themed decor so you’ll get a sneak peek at what my place sorta looks like.

The best way to soften the blow for anything related to your home is to:

  1. Decorate with budget-friendly decor:

    Decorate so your home looks and feels great. Setting the mood always helps your mindfulness state of being and you’ll always look forward to going home. Less time in the streets means less money spent!

  2. Create a budget for your bills:

    Create a budget so your bills are always paid and all costs are accounted for. There’s nothing better than a peace of mind knowing you don’t need to do anything else but lay your butt down and relax or get up and create.

  3. Leave stress at the door:

    Any job and outside stressors, leave it at the door. Of course, you want to talk about your day and that’s fair but the point is not to let it consume you or your family.

Bring in the best, leave out the rest.

Bracing for Impact with your Friends

This is a special one. Do you know that saying about family and friends? “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.” This is very true and we’ll get to the family part in a sec, but to focus on friends, when you pick good people, it’s certainly a blessing. You control the caliber of people in your life. Let me say this again and I’ll put it in bold quotes too…

You control the caliber of people in your life!

If you let cheery, fun, life loving people into your space, you’ve invited in cheer, fun, life, and love into your life. If you let in Debbie Downers and Sulking Steve’s <—- (I made up Sulking Steve because there has to be a co-part to Debbie. Every negative thing can’t be female. That’s not even realistic! So Sulking Steve it is. I digressed.) naysayers and jealous people, you’ve invited in downers, sulkers, naysayers and jealousy into your life.

The latter makes for more arguing, tiresome proving, coddling, enabling and nurturing negative behavior from your end. That sounds like a full-time job in itself, right? Indeed. (like my pun? lol) Wouldn’t you rather have fun with fun people? I know I would! Don’t be afraid to cut off people who were once fun and cheerful and have become bitter old bats. Some serve their purpose for a season and others we outgrow. This is not you being mean. This is you living life.

We all have to be mindful of the relationships we keep and know whether they are super supportive or if they are super toxic. This can be difficult given how long we’ve had these friendships, but your emotional and mental health is way more important than any relationship you will ever form. You come 1st.

Place the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.

Bracing for Impact with your Family

The family is a hand dealt by God. We love em and we can’t stand some of em but the fact is nothing can separate us from them genetically. If you are strong enough and have enough courage to stand up to the ones who seem to be out to destroy you, you can certainly love these individuals from a distance. Those type of family members can think they have your best interest at heart but their delivery is only in their best interest, not yours. Being able to articulate this, however, can be a huge challenge. If they’re already difficult, you telling them,

“Uncle, I hear you but I’m not liking your tone. As a matter of fact, I never did. Just like that time at our family BBQ back in 2007 when you said XYZ, and I was like…”

Yeah, none of that is going to work. And if you do try it, hit me up so I can be a fly on the wall, because that is some TV drama I may need some buttered popcorn for. Sometimes limiting visits and conversations help create distance, but that can also feel like you’re running from your problems. Either way, It’s better than being confrontational in a never-ending battle with Uncle so-and-so.

Therapy is also a great tool and helps in this area. If you can convince your family members to go, that’s the biggest step you’ll make here. Because participation is key to rehabilitation. Here’s a link to The Key to Fixing a Dysfunctional Family.

Use of “I” Statements

Check out this link on “I” Statements which is a style of communication focused on the feelings and beliefs of the speaker using the word “I” rather than the word “You” which would focus on the thoughts and characteristics the speaker attributes to the listener.

This is especially helpful when talking to co-workers, friends, and family. Basically, in any relationship you value, these “I” statements come in handy.

There are many other areas in life where you may need to brace for impact. But if you’re proactive and can find tools to put into practice before and during, the impact should be less damaging.

What are some things you do to soften the blow of life’s curveballs?

~ Toi Powell
Author

Just For Today…

I’d recently done an exercise to help lift my spirits after going through some hard times. I decided to share because we all go through tough times. None of us are exempt from stumbling and falling down in our paths and journey’s, but it’s nice to remember that everything doesn’t need to be done in a day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were we.

To think that all of our problems, trials and tribulations will be resolved in a flash or a blink of an eye is a gross misjudgment of our fragility as human beings. Everything great in this life takes time, effort, reshaping and molding. Reshaping and remolding can be painful but as long as we learn from our struggles, we can endure what it takes to move onward and trek through each day one day at a time.

Don’t tackle it all at once. Make a list of what you want to accomplish, Just For Today.

Just For Today

By Toi Powell

Just for today, I will try not to be afraid of the unknown.

Just for today, I will try to put my best foot forward and put my past behind me and move forward with optimism and purpose.

Just for today, I will allow myself to acknowledge my vulnerabilities and allow my strength to come back gradually and not forcibly.

Just for today, I will not think about work, disability, who hurt me and why.

Just for today, I will not think thoughts of fear because it doesn’t exist and the fear of what isn’t will only manifest if I continue to be fearful.

Just for today, I am not who I was a week ago and for tomorrow I will remember that I am stronger than any weakness I acknowledge.

Just for today, my faith is stronger than ever. I will not fear God but respect him because God is not a God of fear. I rebuke anything that is not of him in the name of Jesus.

Just for today, my heart is strong, my spirit is stronger and everything I experienced is just that and everything happens for a reason.

Using the phrase “I will try” takes so much weight off of the actions that follow because realistically, every day will not be peachy. Allow yourself the space to be human and start the next day anew. Who knows, your next day may be your next breakthrough. Have faith and stay blessed.

What’s on your “Just For Today” list?

~ Toi Powell

Being Human is NOT cute.

Let’s get direct, right in the beginning of this post.

Being human is not cute.

What do I mean by that? Simply what it says. It’s a get out of jail free card. When someone does something wrong or says something horrible and ridiculous, the next line that follows is usually, “Hey, I’m only human.” If you’re the one making excuses for everyone else’s faults, the line is, “We’re all human.” “No one is perfect.” And here’s my favorite for the saints who blog…“We all fall short of the glory of God!”

True, true and true. But it’s an excuse. Being human doesn’t give you the right not to strive to become something more. It doesn’t give you the right to be a horrible individual without 1st looking at yourself to see where you can improve to be better.

There’s 2 categories of people I want to call out here for obvious reasons. Way Makers and Nay Sayers.

Way Makers are the type of people who strive for perfection. They make a way out of no way and don’t let their human weaknesses keep them from achieving a greater goal. No’s are challenges to them, and they eat it up for breakfast. It’s like they go out hunting for No’s just to turn it into a Yes! Nothing can stop this person if they have their heart and mind-set on a goal. Not a job, not a family member or friend, not a penny in the bank, nothing. They’re resourceful, frugal, DIY, dreamers, movers and shakers. If a door they want to enter is closed, they bust it down!

Those people get somewhere if not everywhere in life. Those people see an impossible opportunity and get excited at the thought of taking it on. Other people can’t understand how they work, how they manage, how they’re so talented, how…how…how. And because they’re so often misunderstood, they’re treated like a unicorn surrounded by greedy, nasty, vile gremlins trying to get what they have, but have done none of the work.

Hence why most of the Way Makers you know or have heard of move alone or in a very tight circle of trusted associates. If you’re not a part of the process, you’re part of the problem.

That’s when we get to our favorite and most robust group of people…

Nay Sayers. Beware of the Nay Sayer for they say no to things. No to your things, no to your ideas, no to your dreams, no to your goals, no to your life and no to your progress. These Nay Sayers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, colors, genders and relations.

Believe it or not, the biggest Nay Sayers will be those closest to you. Family and friends alike. They’re quick to judge you, to remind you of who you were, remind you of where you’re from. They’ll project their own fears and ideas onto you because that’s all they know how to do. If they knew how to be anything else, they’d be a Way Maker. Get me?

Either you do or you don’t. Either you is or you aint. You’re either a Way Maker or a Nay Sayer.

Nay Sayers will feel like they have your best interest at heart. They more oftentimes don’t even realize that the vile spewing from their mouths has discouraged you from even putting pen to pad to work out the idea 1st before they’ve already killed your dream.

Tip: Don’t share your ideas with anyone unless you’re working with them.

Nay Sayers also have a nasty habit of thinking they know everything, yet they know no things at all. How can they? They’ve never even tried. And if they did try to be a Way Maker, at some point they found it too difficult because failure hurt their pride and ego. Ohhhh boo hoo. (No tissues for you friend. Suck it up)

Failure is my BEST FRIEND! I absolutely LOVE failure. It helps me to grow. It shows me the faults and cracks I must fill for next time. Failure means I TRIED. And when you try, you learn things you never knew before. You may not need the information right now but somewhere down the line, it WILL come in useful. Trust me.

The Nay Sayer gave up. Failure was too much and what made them feel better about failing? Saying these lines…

“I’m only human,” “None of us are perfect,” “We all fall short of the glory of God”.

So that just gives you the right to stay content with not trying to be a Way Maker? Without striving for success? Perfection? Even those of us (not me) who don’t believe in Jesus say, “Only Jesus was perfect.”

And whether you believe the bible or not, I know you’ve heard that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light.

Jesus was a WAY MAKER. He walked in his truth and he lit the way for the rest of us so that we can be more like him. He lit the WAY so that we may be WAY MAKERS like him. Perfect like him. Even though our humanity keeps us from being so, we still have to try.

Our humanity isn’t a choice, but it’s nothing to settle for. Being human isn’t cute. Settling for the basics in life isn’t cute. Not contributing to society and your communities isn’t cute. Going to work and then going home to do nothing else isn’t cute. You may try to look cute, you may try to act cute, but when your humanity is all you have going for yourself, cute just doesn’t cut it.

Be a Way Maker.

Tips:

  • Brunch – You like going to brunch? Go. Then figure out how to host one.
  • Bars – You like going to bars? Go. Then figure out how to own one.
  • Beauty – You like hair and makeup?  Go. But learn how to do it yourself so that you can find a WAY to teach others.
  • Reading – You like to read? Read. Then figure out how to write a book.
  • Food – You like to eat? Eat. Then figure out how to make it. Once you do that, figure out how to share that skill with others or open your own catering business.

MAKE A WAY. If not, you’ll just be another human taking up space and enjoying the products of WAY MAKERS.

~ Toi Powell
Author

Merry-Go-Round and Round

I started to write this post about something else that was inspired by a merry-go-round until I experienced yet, another situation which also fits this round and round scenario.

A merry-go-round is an entertainment device that has lots of moving parts, lights, music and people just enjoying the time of their lives. It’s an apparatus of distractions. If you’ve ever been on one, you’d understand the concept of being spun around in a circle going up and down on a horse or what have you, laughing ever so gleefully but until you get off, all you’ll ever see is the same scenery with the same people listening to the same loud music on the same white horse.

As a spectator, from the outside looking in, it seems like fun until you realize, they’re all on a machine that’s taking them in a circle over and over again. What’s so fun about that? It’s not going anywhere, it’s not taking them from point A to point B. If anything, it’s dropping them right back off where they first began.

But you can’t tell that to the people having fun. They don’t see it from that perspective, at all. And the moment you try to tell them about this circle of distractions, they bite your head off because they LOVE this merry-go-round. They always have. They’ll also remind you, that you too used to love this merry-go-round as a child. You used to ride it together.

“Yeah”, you say, “But there are other thrills, other rides, other amazing things other than this same merry-go-round that takes you in a circle over and over again.”

It gets frustrating when you see your friends and family going around in the same circle over and over again. You’ve tried to interject and say, “Hey, there are other thrills, other rides in life…” You’ve tried to point over to the horizon to show them something else greater or even just to show them the merry-go-round itself. But they won’t listen. You are the odd man out.

People keep making the same mistakes, with the same people, using the same distractions on the same horse that takes them up and down and nowhere at all.

When you love them so much, it’s painful to watch. When you love them so much, you passionately want them to see the horse, see the same people hearing the same music. You want them to see the circle. But they still can’t. It hurts.

At this point, you have to make the decision. Do you want to stay standing outside of this circle, pointing to something greater hoping and praying they’ll see, eventually? Or, will you turn away with a broken heart and march on towards something great, alone?

The invitation to join you is always open, you can love them tremendously from your next adventure, still praying that their merry-go-round stops. Opening your arms to welcome them when they do, but you must still move forward.

Sometimes our love for people will drag us back onto that merry-go-round with them because we want to see them happy, all the while we’re miserable because we know better.

Don’t get dragged back into something you know you’ve grown out of for the sake of someone else’s happiness.

If they reject you, yes it will hurt. If they attack you, it will hurt even more, but the mend is on the way to the next thing where you’ll find others who’ve stepped off of the merry-go-round and are willing to enjoy this next adventure with you!

I pray this makes sense to you and gives you guidance in whichever area of your life this applies. I know as I write this under the guidance of the divine, I have answered my own struggle. I too shall apply this with you.

Like I said in a previous post, as I learn, you will too. Spiritual growth isn’t easy. Growing pains are real. But when you go through anything with anyone else who can relate, it makes the journey that much more tolerable.

I pray I helped someone other than myself today. Amen.

~ Toi Powell

Dig deep – Hidden Pain

Have you ever had a splinter? Doesn’t that joint hurt like a …? And it’s so amazing and frustrating at how easy it was to get in there but once you’re ready to take it out, you have to go through so much work? It feels like an impossible task. Sometimes the splinter is in a place we don’t think we can access on our own, but it’s much more painful having someone else do it than to do it ourselves.

Removing splinters is so time-consuming. It takes precision and patience. Sometimes it takes forever, but if you really want it out, you’ll put forth the effort. If you can see it and it’s close to the surface, you have a better chance at getting it out much easier and faster. But what about those that are so far beneath the surface, you literally have to dig deep to find and remove it?

That’s what I think of when I think of pain. Pain is like a splinter. It’s literally a pain in the behind, toe, finger, leg or wherever your splinter is, but let’s associate this splinter with the pain of the heart.

There are so many things we keep deep down inside of us. We know it’s there, we can see it, we can feel it, but it takes too much work to release it. Why is that? Because we have to pull back so many outer layers of skin to get to the source/root of the problem. So many of us aren’t willing to take the time to unpack our pain. So, we leave it there to fester and fester and fester and fester until it gets to a point where we can no longer walk, run, breathe, live. The pain is so strong it interrupts our lives when we least expect it.

Have you ever gone off on someone and was surprised at your own reaction? Was it really that serious? Did they deserve the name calling? Did they deserve the sharp tongue? Did they deserve…any of it? You’re holding on to something you need to let go.

Are you reacting to someone the way you react to everyone when they say a “trigger word”? Guess what boo boo? The trigger is not the word. The trigger is you.

You are holding onto something you need to let go of. The dictionary is full of words and no one is going to sit there and figure out what triggers you or not. If you don’t even have the patience to address your own pain, what makes you think others will? They’d quicker leave you alone so you can figure out your own problems than to figure them out for you unless you’re paying them to.

In order to release yourself from this pain, you need to take the time to unpack it.

  • Why did I go off on so and so?
  • What did they say to make me feel that way?
  • Why do I feel that way?
  • Who did what to me in the past to make me feel this way?
  • What did I do to fix it? Did I address it, or did I just ignore it?
  • Now that I know what it was that hurt me, how do I move on from it?

These are the layers of skin you need to pull back to get to the splinter, the root, the source. When you find the source, you have a few steps you can take.

  • Address this issue with the person who hurt you.
  • Forgive them with all of your heart.
  • Forgive yourself for holding onto it.

It’s important to note the space you’re in when you do address the issues with the people who hurt you. If you take that route, you need to be in a space of true transparency and with the effort of moving forward, past this in love and light.

You can’t call up your old best friend or baby momma or baby daddy cussin them out and blaming them for everything in the world that happened to you since they did what they did.

You simply explain to them…

“I’ve been holding onto something that happened between us in the past and it hurt me badly. This is not a call to confront or blame you for anything. I just want to make amends and say I forgive you for whatever I feel you’ve done to me and I hope you can forgive me for holding onto it all of this time.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re friends anymore or not. What matters is that you’ve addressed it, and you want to move forward without it weighing on your heart and spirit from now on. If they accept it, great! If they don’t, you’ve said your peace and you can still move on.

Trust me, it works. I’ve done it myself and you can literally feel the weight melt right off of you. Next!

Now that you’ve gotten that terrible splinter out, you can walk freely. You won’t be “triggered” by words or phrases since you’ve located the source and have moved on from it. Now you’ll be able to live a healthier lifestyle with friends who don’t think you’re crazy because your eye starts twitching everytime someone mentions xyz.

That’s just the beginning of a journey of self-healing. It can probably save you some coint since you won’t need a psychotherapist to unpack it for you, making you relive every horrible moment of your childhood just to get to age 26 when Jack told you to walk home instead of picking you up. Remember, I said, sometimes its more painful having someone else do it than to do it ourselves? #Message.

A lot of self-healing you can do on your own. You just have to know where to start. Start with you. Not everyone else.

~ Toi Powell

Let me grow or let me go

Growing is something we all must do at some point in our lives but, it’s important to know that growth is different for everyone. Some people grow faster and some slower than others but growing is still an important part of life.

Physical growth, of course, is visible to the naked eye. Maybe a child gets taller, someone grows stronger, someone grows bigger and some grow smaller. It’s easier to accept what we can see but what about the things we can’t see. For instance:

  • Emotional
  • Mental
  • Spiritual

These are all areas that you or someone you know has to work on for themselves.

We all carry emotional baggage and we tend to think sometimes that we’ve let it go, but seriously. Did we really? If you still feel the heat of anger rising up in your chest when you think about what so and so did to you and what you wish you would’ve said and done, guess what? You’re still holding on to it. Let it go.

Mentally, when your perspective and knowledge increases, you’re the 1st to know and everyone else is the last to find out. No one likes to be the last to find out anything, so it makes sense to experience some pushback there.

Spiritually – woah! When you become more aligned with God, you change. You become a new you. This can be scary because you find yourself at the crossroads between old and new and you have others trying to pull you back when God is trying to move you forward. It’s a tug of war but only you know what’s best for you. You already know what lies back there but only God knows what lies ahead. Don’t you want the answers to everything you’ve been asking for? Don’t you finally want that business to take off? That special career you’ve been longing for? Behind you is your past and although it prepared you for what lies ahead, it’s time to put your skills to the test and walk in your purpose.

When you begin to “go with the flow” of where God is guiding you, others who “knew” you are so quick to remind you of who you used to be. They throw things at you that make you question yourself based on your old self. But growth, especially spiritual growth is a process. Say it with me… a process!

How others grow is and will be completely different from how you grow. You have your own talents, skills, thoughts, drives, and ways you’d like to share this with others. Just because you don’t grow like them and vice versa doesn’t mean growth isn’t happening. It just means perhaps keep your distance for a while until you are steady enough in your course and have faith that God has seen something special in you and he wants to work with you in wonderful ways.

While you may have looked like a strong tree prior to your transformation…

Photography: Toi Powell

The transition into the new you can look, not so strong…

Photography: Toi Powell

But when you’re allowed to grow in peace and able to spread your roots,  where an old tree last stood, sprouts something beautiful and new.

Photography: Toi Powell

You may not look like the old tree but you’re growing and that’s all that matters. It may take months, it may take years but if you find someone constantly reminding you of who you “were” simply tell them… Let me grow, or let me go.

If they truly love you, they’ll be amazed at the person you’ve grown to be.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

2 Corinthians 5:17-21  (NKJV)

~ Toi Powell

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

toi-bw

 

 

#ThisIsWhat Democracy LooksLike – Women’s March 2017 – NYC By Toi Powell

#ThisIsWhatDemocracyLooksLike

Women’s March 2017 – NYC
By Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.
Author, Toi Powell at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.

There are a million words I could choose  to describe my experience at yesterday’s Women’s March in NYC, but I feel they just won’t be poetic enough. My best, is to string together enough of them to help paint a picture for those of you who couldn’t or didn’t attend any of hundreds of sister marches held around the world. Millions of women and men worldwide descended upon their cities in solidarity and if my words aren’t enough, I put on my photographers hat in hopes that you could feel through my lens what I felt in person in NYC that day.

On Saturday morning, on the 21st of January, my Aunt Amanda, my friend Tasheea and I journeyed into Manhattan from NJ to march the streets of NY in support of the rights of women and everyone else who has felt the sting of discrimination, racism, sexism and all of the “isms” that are unfair and unjust to all human beings.

Book bags filled with our cameras and Project Pixie care packages of tampons, pads and wipes to distribute to homeless women in need of menstrual products, we marched onto the crowded streets to serve our purpose and the purpose of those around us. Women’s rights.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N. 1
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N. 1

My friend Tasheea has founded such an amazing campaign soon to be an organization to help women with low income- to none at all -access feminine hygiene products. This march is what we stand for, and what an amazing sight it was when we arrived. Tasheea’s campaign is called Project Pixie. Visit her website at iheartprojectpixie.org to see how you can make a change in the lives of women in need today.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Tasheea N. Founder of Project Pixie at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

When we arrived, the air buzzed with electricity, hummed with voices of every race, creed, gender, religious background and sexual orientation. Flags waved from poles, bridges, store front windows and apartment balconies. Witty posters, relate-able phrases, fists and handwriting on thin white pages soared through the air, thrust upwards by passionate demonstrators. Demonstrators who merged onto the streets of NYC to voice, shout and demand fair, equal, justice for all including gays, African Americans, women, Muslims, and anyone who has been discriminated against and whose very rights have been threatened by this incoming administration.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.
Author, Toi Powell and her Aunt Amanda at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.

Men joined us in step, marching a long side their wives, friends, daughters, girlfriends and children. Chanting and demanding justice for us and for all.

My favorite chant of the day was the call and response from men and women, “My body my choice” as the men would respond with “Her body her choice.” Empowering and uplifting, every person there, sharing the same positive contagious energy.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Without typing a long drawn out story, I must say my experience will stay with me forever. There were occasions where I teared up as I captured special moments through my camera’s lens. Moments that were not meant for me, but were being experienced in real time by my focal subject. Seeing the amazement, the love, the pride, the teaching, the curiosity and the awe in that “split” second where I was able to capture a moving target is what you will see in the galleries below.

Some of my favorite shots were on the bridge as we walked down 5th Ave, as I used my long lens to capture a group of young men above me, chant to the sea of demonstrators below, “Show me what Democracy Looks Like!” and the crowd responded with love, cheers and chants “This is what Democracy Looks Like!” The pride in their eyes is what held my heart.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

In a similar shot you can see them engaged in  chanting, but it is the gentleman to the far right in the red jacket who caught this moment. I felt a similar feeling when I went to higher ground to capture the sea of people. Yet, higher than I was, I can only imagine what he is feeling in that moment. Awe.

womens-march-2017-nyc-photo-credit-toi-powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Seeing the amazement on the faces of these children below was priceless. Mouths gaping, a sight to never forget I am sure.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Even those who could not join us in the streets, witnessed the magnetic demonstration from buildings above, joining us in spirit and solidarity.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Symbolism in architecture and art, lined the route, giving us more purpose, more energy and more strength to stand, march and fight for our freedoms and rights.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

As we come together for a common cause, with branches of injustice written upon boards, shouted from every mouth and supported by every stranger who marched shoulder to shoulder, the message is clear…

Love Trumps hate. We will not go quietly into the good night. My body My Choice, and this…is what democracy looks like.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

View My Special Gallery Below

Take a look at these cool shots from the entire day. (Read the signs!)

Preview the Music!

Preview the Music!

Surprise! We have music for Blood of a Queen! So freaking excited for this! I get to combine my love for music and writing into this very unique reading experience and I can’t wait to share it with you all! After spending hours of songwriting, recording, producing and mastering we finally have a finished product!

Why is it So Important to Have Music to Blood of a Queen ?
Music, the magical combination of sounds, harmonic voices, instruments and emotions– is the invisible force that connects the listener to a specific experience, usually one that the writer wants to induce.

We’ve cried, laughed, been afraid and even sat on the edge of our seats in suspense while watching a movie unaware that it is the music that is drawing us in even more. Sometimes the music alone can affect you in ways the dialogue and scenery can’t.

That’s the magic of music. Without it, our experience becomes 1 dimensional. But not anymore. Experience my novel Blood of a Queen like you’ve never experienced a book in your life.

Tweet: #ToiPowell #Author of #BloodofaQueen http://ctt.ec/TEUXR+ previewed her music 4 her #debut #novel and we LOVE it! http://bit.ly/2aHHjgb

How Will Music Work For Our Book?
Just like how a movie soundtrack supports scenes in a movie by describing a current mood or emotion, our music will do the same by enhancing the mood of the book. Placing you in a similar emotional experience as our protagonist, Ruby.

As our characters experience love, heartbreak, betrayal or courage we want the  music to add another layer to the readers experience. See the book like a movie, flow  with the story and be taken deeper.

For additional reading: Check out this article, written by Megan Leigh, on The Importance of a Good Soundtrack 

Launch Buddy, by clicking below, you will be among the 1st to experience the music behind the book!

Click the audio link below to preview our song, Blood of a Queen!

Written by LaToya (Toi) Powell, The TOI House
Co-written by James Aaron Foster.
Performed by LaToya (Toi) Powell
Produced and recorded by James “A-Natural” Foster for Natural City Music. Mixed and mastered by Stefon Moeselle for Secret Sounds Productions

Available at the following locations: on 8/7/16

iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play,
Amazon mp3, Tidal

Don’t forget to share the journey with your friends and family by clicking on the share buttons!

EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON!

Cover_Design_v4

Share your thoughts and feedback in our Secret Book Launch Community!

RSVP FOR OUR BOOK LAUNCH EVENT

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, August 13, 2016, 5pm
VENUE: Katra Lounge, NYC

SAVE THE DATE - Book Launch - FIVERR

Take On Innovation and enjoy!

~ Toi

Behold, Our Winning Book Cover! Available for Pre-Order Now! AND Music!

Behold, Our Winning Book Cover & First Listen to the MUSIC (written and performed by yours truly)! Available for Pre-Order Now!

Ladies and Gents, we have ourselves a winning cover and music!!!!
You’ve rocked with me during this launch, spread the word on social media, watched my videos and when the time came, you voted on your favorite cover. Wow, you put in a lot of work with me– I could call you my co-authors at this point, but then I’d have to send you a 10 page task list  of things still left to do!

Yeah, I didn’t think you’d have the time to take on that load, which is why being a launch buddy is right up your alley! You get to watch videos, laugh at with me, listen to music, read some fiction and vote on a book cover. Life is sweeeeet!

I do hope you enjoyed all of the Book Launch Journey videos so far. But, if you missed any of the videos, click here.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW!

Let’s Make Our Book a Best Seller!
Before I reveal our winning book cover, there are a few extremely important things we need to do to ensure that our book becomes a best seller!Tweet: I Just voted on a #Bookcover for #TheToiHouseBooks. Can't wait 2 see the winner! You should sign up 2 http://ctt.ec/7IRbr+ @TheToihouse

  1. Share Our Journey! – 92% of consumers find word of mouth to be the best form of advertising! That’s were YOU come in. All you have to do is TELL PEOPLE! Invite your family, friends & co-workers to sign up for the launch mailing list, and join our Secret Book Launch Community! Tell them about this amazing author to reader experience we’re all a part of! Tell them to watch the videos and laugh with the rest of us. And when the book is launched on 8/7/16, tell them to go get it and tell their friends about it.
  2. Social Media – Invite your friends and followers to join us on all of your favorite social media networks! Let them know about what you’ve been working on, what you’ve been a part of over these past few weeks! @TheToiHouse #BloodofaQueen #ToiPowell on Twitter!
  3. Review – Once the book launches on 8/7/16 , I can’t stress to you the importance of leaving an amazing Amazon review (Not that I’m trying to sway your opinion of the book lol). But, this is one of the top reasons why a book becomes a best seller in its category. Leave a review on the book and tell reviewers about our journey! Let Amazon and potential readers know that this book is amazing and available because of YOU!
Now, without further ado…

Our Winning Book Cover is…

DESIGNED BY YOURS TRULY (TOI POWELL)

Cover_Design_v4

Listen to the music for Blood of a Queen!
Available on 8/7/16 on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, 
Amazon mp3, Tidal 

Pre-Order_BOAQ - Ebook-Series-Mockup_V1b

 

Don’t forget to click on the images to pre-order the ebook!

The print copy and music will be available to order on 8/7/16. 

Share your thoughts and feedback in our Secret Book Launch Community!

RSVP FOR OUR BOOK LAUNCH EVENT

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, August 13, 2016, 5pm
VENUE: Katra Lounge, NYC

SAVE THE DATE - Book Launch - FIVERR

Can’t wait to see you there!

Take On Innovation and enjoy,

~ Toi