Friday, October 27, 2006

Upgrade You:Part One- Toya
This is a Beyonce's song off of B-Day. I still can't stand this record but Irreplaceable is one of my favorite songs of the year,hands down.

Depression sucks. It sucks, it sucks it sucks. It sucks on so many different levels because it cripples you. I used to really suffer from depression in my late teens, early twenties. Thank God, it's very rare that I have to deal with that anymore. However, with so much going on, I would have to be a robot to not have indulged in a bit of a pity party. And what's a party without cake and ice cream? and hot wings? and late night fried chicken, double bacon cheeseburgers, nachos and cheese? Let's just say that while I am sure my gym appreciates my "donation" every month, I need to get it together. Strangely enough, Lane Bryant just sent me an email and I don't ever remember being on their email list. Hmm...

This fall in an effort to boost my self esteem, I decided to upgrade my sexy. I have never really been good at finding the most fashionable clothes. I am a chick that will go to The Gap, find some shirts that fit right and buy 6 of them in one color. People compliment me on my style but little do they know I consult Renee, a stylist, on almost everything I wear and Tia has given me most of my shoes because outside of her I would only wear black shoes and sweat socks with almost everything.

I started unpacking my fall/winter clothes one weekend to find that fashionably, I was in a bit of a rut. I knew there was no way I could do this by myself so I started thinking about who I could go to give me a complete fashion upgrade. NOT Makeover, but Upgrade: to take my own personal style and step it up. I knew that there was only one person and one person only: Abby.

Abby is sexy. Abby is the kind of sexy you wish you were. She is tall, thick, has fiery red hair, perfectly puckered come hither lips and hips like BLADDOWW! She's not model thin which is partly why I picked her. At a size 14 , she exudes more confidence than anyone I know that is a size 4 and looks fabulous in everything she wears. The other reason I picked Abby is because, well, I am just flat out scared of her. She does not play. I needed someone that would say "you will shut up, you will try it on and you will like it." Because of this I enlisted her as my Fashion Sensai.

Abby and I had many conversations via IM before we ventured out one weekend to Opry Mills. "I want to bring out my inner India Arie/Carrie Bradshaw" I tried to explain to her. Basically, earthy, fashionable, not too expensive with an obnoxious amount of accessories. "Ooh and can you show me how to go thrifting?" I asked excitedly. "I don't thrift." she quickly let me know."I'm a snob like that". So off we were for new clothes at Opry Mills.

I HATE Opry Mills when I have to get something specific but like I said, I trust Abby. She values her time and I knew there would be no dilly dallying. "We will go here, we will go here and we will go here." she instructed. Pleased to know that I did not have to venture into Opry Mills without a plan, I followed her to my new clothing mecca, Forever 21(I think I heard the theme of Chariots of Fire play when we entered).

Now fortunately for me, someone decided to bring the 80's back. Since I have always been stuck in the 80's, I was much too eager to pick up a pair of leggings in every color imaginable but I let Abby lead the way. Before long I had lost her. She was on a mission and I was confused. "That's long sleeve" I said. "I know, I am going to teach you how to layer." We went into the dressing room and without argument I just started trying things on and to my amazement, I loved almost everything she picked out. Okay, without MUCH argument. "Abby, this is too big". "No it's not. Look". She wrapped a belt around my midsection and before I knew it I actually had a waist! Oh the wonder of it all! To my chubby waisted girls: an empire waist blouse will change your entire life. Try one this thanksgiving instead of trying to hide under your "eating pants".

We left with some great stuff and I now feel confident that I can pick out great clothes on my own. I have been getting great compliments every day since we went shopping. The upside is that this has really boosted my confidence. The downside is, I have become quite materialistic. I have started thinking things like"Oh I need to just get these color shoes and I need to get this type of bag and why don't a have a dress with this cut?" I am terrified to look at my bank statement. I have come to realize that while my makeover was a step in the right direction to feel better, to truly BE better is going to take some work that money can't buy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

??? - Tia

I'm at the office and it's not as if I don't have work to do. I seriously do. I have 3 drafts of a new study that I know nothing about. But since fibromyalgia is not really holding my interest right now I figured I would post some of the intimate details of my life on the world wide web.

Before I get into it I've come to the realization that I can probably never run for congress. No one would have to dig very deep to find my secrets. I have posted them in chronological order for all the world to read at their leisure. Moving on...

I woke up this morning all kinds of sad. (Now you must pay attention because how I came to this sadness is about 4 fold and can only be described as classic female neurosis.) After my shower last night it was rather hot in my room so I opened my windows. One of the good things about living in the Valley is that no matter how hot it is during the day it's usually pretty cool at night and you don't need the A/C. So I opened my windows and went to bed. When I woke this morning it was rather chilly in my room. It was a nice fall kind of the chilly. The chill reminded me of the autumn. Autumn invariably reminds of being in love because the longest relationship I've ever had developed and was at its best in the fall. The person with whom I was in the relationship in the fall is also the person who I somehow managed to let annihilate my heart not once but twice. Thoughts of autumn invariably turn to him and to the fact that he is married and has moved on and for some unfathomable reason I am somehow still hurting. Not to mention ALONE. And that my dear readers is why I was sad this morning.

Now before you ask, I am not one of those people who likes to hold on to old hurts. No one in their right mind would want to be in pain. So I'm just astounded as to how I can still be this hurt this long after the fact. I really would do anything to not have this random hurt pop up at the most inopportune time. When you're getting up at 5:15 to catch the train the last thing you have time for is the crippling pain of a past heartache. It's inconvenient to say the least.

I have come to realize that there is no pat answer. How does one put a tangible solution on an intangible problem? My Christian friends are quick to tell me to let God heal me. I'm a type A visual person. I need to see a solution to see how it works. So to be honest I really don't know what it looks like (or rather what it means) to let give God an intangible problem and find an intangible solution. Maybe it's the scientific part of my brain doing too much thinking. And don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't believe God is big enough to fix my hurt. I just don't really even know how to begin to let him.

I always liked math. Math is logical. It either is or it isn't. There is no gray. Life and Christianity in particular are not that straight forward. While there is no middle ground in Christianity there is a logistical portion of it that in theory makes no sense. I mean, for crying out loud, it is a religion based solely on FAITH in a man who was GOD!! There is not a pie chart, spreadsheet or outline in the world that could explain it. So being the type of person that I am one could see how I could sometimes struggle with some of the more abstract concepts.

I would give anything to wake up one day and not remember the hurt. If the concept from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind were real I would be all over it. But it's not and I am left to grapple with the intangible. Left to figure out why random things, such as cold, spark memories so fresh that the tears can't help but come. I hold on to the clich├ęs that say that which doesn't kill you will make you stronger and wonder if it would be possible to strangle the person who first said that. I pray and I wait for the healing to come. For the first uncloudy day to come when the pain hurts a little less. And ultimately for the pain to be gone all the way around. I don't quite get how it works. But if a little hope is all I need to take the first step then I'm there.

Afterwhile - Kirk Franklin ft Yolanda Adams
After a while, after a while
This too shall pass
After a while
Scars will heal, you’ll love again
It won’t hurt you after a while
It won’t hurt after a while

Stuck between if and when
You pray and tried
But still no end
God’s purpose soon you’ll understand
It won’t hurt you after a while
It won’t hurt you after a while

After a while, after a while

This too shall pass
After a while
Scars will heal, you’ll love again
It won’t hurt you after a while
It won’t hurt after a while

So when the pain has come to an end
And now your heart is whole again
Help someone who needs to know
That it won’t hurt them after a while
It won’t hurt them after a while
It wont hurt them after a while

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Where to be begin.... - Tia

I have been in LA for exactly 2 weeks today. And and already I've learned so much.

I figure at some point I will go into greater detail about the trip out here and all of that jazz but for now a brief list of things since I've been here.

1. The 405 will make you want to hurt yourself or hurt others.
- There is always traffic on the 405 no matter the time of day. The other day it took me an hour and a half to go less than 15 miles. I seriously thought that I was going to die on the freeway. Now I know why some people call them parkways.

2. People here do not have the southern hospitality that I'm used to.
- I'm a southern girl. Always have been, always will be. And there is something about the congeniality of the south that I have, until the last 2 weeks, taken for granted. There is something about a friendly smile from a neighbor, an "excuse me" from someone who walks in your path or a "good morning" from a co-worker in the elevator. I'm seriously going to miss that.
I have spoken to my neighbor 3 times and he never speaks back. All I have to say is don't let any of his mail end up over here.

3. It does rain in southern California.
-...but it doesn't rain a lot. It rained a week ago last Thursday. It has been 85 and sunny ever since. I LOVE it.

4. There are no left turn arrows at any of the intersections.
- Okay this is not entirely true. I can think of 2 intersections where I have seen a left turn arrow. Other than that it's a race against time and oncoming traffic if you want to turn left. Without fail at least 3 people will run the light on the red. But I'm learning there is seriously no other way to do it.
My friend Rusty saw a really bad accident on Sunset. A man in a cargo truck ran the red trying to make a left hand turn and slammed into car that had the green. The car spun out of control and slammed (and from what Rusty said) and was wrapped around a telephone pole. Remarkably the driver of the car got out and walked away. Now see if there had been a left arrow this probably could have been avoided.

5. Roscoes Chicken and Waffles is seriously manna from heaven.
I gotta give a shout out and a great big thank you to my friend Linda for taking me to Roscoe's last week. I was all kinds of homesick and she made me feel okay about being here. It's good to have friends like that.
If you're ever in LA you must must must got to Roscoe's. Do not wrinkle your nose that the combination until you've had it. It is soooooo good.

I have a lot more but I have to go to bed. I have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the train. I must find a new job if for no other reason but so I don't have to commute so far.


...And we didn't even go to jail!!!

The reason why I have cut my face out of the shot of me and Common is not so much because I don't want my face on our blog. It is because I was cheesing SO bad, that my face looks like it swelled up 3 times its size! I mean, I could not stop smiling for two days. I think I may have even sprained a muscle in my face.

6 hours before the show, I get a text from Bets (good lookin' out Bets. I HATE that you couldn't join us) asking if I could come pick up an extra all access pass that she had. I happened to be stuck in traffic right in front of her building so I whizzed right over. Just like that I went from a balcony seat (who thought that tickets would've sold so well here in Nashville for a hip hop show)to right in front of the stage!

Unlike a lot of industry Nashville people, I am really not that cool. I love music too much to stand directly in front of the stage with my arms folded, barely nodding my head. So while the media people stood there shooting pics and some industry heads got their too cool for school head nods on, me and my girl(actually, I don't know what she was doing cause I was wiling out) bounced up and down back and forth and recited all of the words.

He opened with "Be" and he had a full band with a DJ so ill, I told him later that I would have to quit my job to be that good. "Testify" almost sent me into cardiac arrest and then he got to "Come Close". *Sigh* He requested that a girl come dance with him on stage and my girl tried to push me to the front and I refused. THANK GOD. They slow danced for a while to Prince's "Adore" and unless he would've have had a heart shaped diamond solitaire in his back pocket, there was no way I would've danced that way with him. Because soon after he picked this girl up, wrapped her legs around him and proceeded to bounce her up and down. I'm not hatin' on her, but I'm not that girl.

Truthfully, if there is any song that I would want Common to sing to me, it would be "The Light".

It's kinda fresh that you listen to more than hip hop and
I can catch you in the mix from beauty to thrift shops

That's my anthem! So when he got into my favorite Common song of all time, I stood there bouncing back and forth with my hands covering my mouth, eyes wide open, and cheeks hurting from all of the glee stored up in them. And then it happened: he walked over to my side of the stage, looked into my eyes, pointed to me and started singing. And I stood there like it didn't happen. I was in shock and denial until I looked at my girlfriend and she said "I hate you." Then I knew that my wish did indeed come true.

It was about 30 minutes after the show was over that we made the decision to go backstage and meet him. My apprehensions were due to what if he was a complete jerk? What if he was mean or thought we were back there for sex? What if he came out with 5 girls and was high out of his mind? Promising to keep my expectations as low as possible, we went backstage. Walking down the hallway, we were approached by a security guard asking us what we wanted. We decided to keep it real. "We just want a picture with Common. Is that alright?" "Oh yeah, follow me." We waited outside his room for a while and when he and those freckles finally came out I went into what I do best: ignore and deny.

No wonder that some of the guys I have dated have questioned my love for them because I have been known to completely shut my feelings off. So when Common walked up to me, standing face to face because he was polite enough to bend down (he is way taller than me) I did not grab his bald head and violate him in the most ungodly of ways. I mean I shut down COMPLETELY. "Thank yall for waitin' outside for me for so long." Those eyelashes fluttered and I knew right then that I would've waited 6 hours because hearing that voice was worth it. We talked about his movie and I asked him if he regretted at all leaving the Kanye tour early to do it. He said that it was totally worth it and to look for it in March. "Yall were the ones rockin' out in the front! Word. Thanks for that". We took our individual pics and then he picked up his bag, turned to me and gave me a big hug. I was in love for the rest of the night.

I would like to end this story by saying that Lonnie and I are now registered at Target and Ikea but unfortunately I cannot. What I can say is that he was so sweet, nicer than what I expected even before I opted to keep my expectations low and I am a fan forever.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


YES, I met Common and NO I did not go to jail. Pictures to follow. I am soooo in love and am going to sleep so so so good tonight. Okay, of course I am not in love but I am floating and I cannot stop smiling for anything. He was super sweet, even more beautiful in person and THOSE EYELASHES WON'T STOP. *sigh* Jesus if you so bless me I will SURELY give you the praise. Glory glory!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's Toya. I'ma keep it real and say that life has sucked these past few weeks. Not just because Tia is gone but because of the stress of numerous stressful situations that as soon as I see a glimpse of the bigger picture I will be writing about. Oh but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. And speaking of "The Light"...


Common and his sexy freckled face is coming to Nashville on Friday with some guy named Ludacris. Just kidding. I actually like some Ludacris songs along with a few of his cameos but overall, whatever. Let me not get on that. The important thing is Common is coming and if not for an hour, all will be right for the world. I am pondering starting a Paypal account on this site just in case I need to raise some bail money. I am SOOOO excited!!!!!!!

Monday, October 9, 2006

She's Gone- Toya

This is pretty much all I want to say at this point.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Pasttime Paradise- Toya
You can’t trust a person that does not love Stevie Wonder. This is the same kind of person who hates ice cream, the laughter of children and popcorn. Stay away from such an individual.

“Oh my God! I’m going to hell”.

This is an email I wrote to Tia from work after having one of the worst thoughts I have ever had in my entire life. For some reason, as of late I have been thinking about past boyfriends/relationships Actually, I was thinking about friendships in general and who I have been the most comfortable around. It wasn’t long until I got to Jason (not real name, We will call him Jason because he looks like Jason Kidd. Yes, that fine.)

Jason and I were sweethearts back when I was young and stupid enough to think that I wanted a guy who was “a challenge”. Ever heard a woman say a dumb thing like that? Men are challenges enough as is and so are women. To want an EXTRA challenge on top of that is ridiculous. Usually women that say this have low self esteem and think that if they can just get the guy that can’t get gotten then they are worth more as women. It’s usually the challenges that make a woman feel less of a woman.

Jason was so sprung on me and I ate it up selfishly. I didn’t know how to give back then. He wrote me poems, told me I was beautiful and I was his first kiss. And he was absolutely beautiful in every way imaginable! But I wanted the challenge. I wanted to be with they guy who I referred to back in my post “The Relationship that Jacked You Up”. The guy that I am ashamed to admit made some mistakes that my future husband may have to pay for in some way or another. So I left Jason for him and Jason told him why even though I asked him not to. And even though I wore Jason out and basically told him he was the scum of the earth, he cried and wrote me poems entitled “Why Doesn’t She Love Me?” hoping to win me back.

Years went by and I was still being strung along by that same guy . Eventually Jason and I caught up again and rekindled our friendship. He kindly but honestly told me that I had really messed him up and that he didn’t treat women too kindly after me. I felt so horrible. But God straightened him out and he had a girlfriend that was his best friend and she was the one. After I went on and on about the drama with the other guy, Jason said “Stop. There is nothing wrong with you. You are beautiful and you have so much to offer and well…if I …if I wasn‘t…” “You don’t have to say it” I interrupted. I knew that what was hard for him to say would be even harder for me to hear.

He married this girl shortly after I moved to Nashville and I have not heard from him since. So while I was sitting in my cubicle I was starting to wonder if he was still married. Soon wondering if he was still married turned into hoping that he wasn’t. When I came to, I just knew that I was going to hell on a scholarship. I called Tia shortly after I emailed her.

“I mean, I’m going to hell”.
“You called me to tell me that you are going to hell?”
“Did you get my email?”
“Yes I was working”
“Damn work, you haven’t had to work all day”.
“Ok, I was going to finish and call you to tell you that you are NOT going to hell. I mean, you are dead wrong for what you thought. I will not co-sign on that. However, we all have bad thoughts.”

She then went on to tell me about something that she recently thought about her ex that made me think that not only are we both going to hell but we are going to have a suite in hell. But then she assured me that sometimes things do just pop up in our heads that are just evil but it’s up to us to fight them and not entertain them. Entertaining these thoughts is what is sinful.

My mother told me that I would regret breaking up with Jason but I can actually say right now that I don’t. I regret breaking his heart and yeah, I wish that he would not have gotten married and that I could have him back right now. But I can’t regret the lesson that I learned because if I am ever fortunate enough to get a man half as wonderful as he is I know that I will know how to treat him with love and respect and will not take his kindness for weakness.

Like I said I have thought a lot about my past relationships , some of which have been my greatest friendships and I miss them terribly. And even though I feel lonely, by no means do I want to date anyone right now. I know that sounds odd but I am the type of woman that doesn’t want to depend on people for her happiness. I just want to get through this on my own. I’m used to being alone but not lonely so loneliness is a new challenge for me.

Like clockwork, while I was revisiting my past, I received a visit from a guy from my past and we started talking again. Bad boy, bad news. Tia often says “First time shame on you, second time shame on me.” I usually say “First time shame on you, second time, I’m a dumb ass”. I mean, he is straight out of the textbook under “Men Toya Attracts But Needs to Stay Away From”. I should’ve smelled him coming a mile away and even though I entertained bad thoughts for a while, do I really want things to get worse and have to come back and post another “See What Had Happened Was”? story. Uh, no. I shut the book on that one real quick.

I don’t know WHAT’s going to happen. I am in another limbo stage in my life and there is so much uncertainty. However, one thing I am glad about is that I have truly learned a lot of lessons from a lot of mistakes making me more prepared to walk into the next stage than I have ever been. Now if I could just stop looking back.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Comfortable- Toya

I have been kidding a lot lately referring to John Mayer as "My Pastor John Mayer" much like I refer to India Arie as my play cousin. If you have never heard Comfortable, do yourself a favor and at least read the lyrics. It is hands down one of the best written songs of all time.

I am sitting in Tia's and my old condo as she packs and is talking to her new roommate on the phone. I am on the floor, missing our old couch, listening to Kenny Loggins' Outside:from the Redwoods. This joker bought it today and I was going to buy it as part of her going away gift TOMORROW.

And that's one of the things I will miss the most. The fact that I am friends with the only other person in the world who loves Kenny Loggins as much and in the same way that I do. We met him together. We talked about "Love Will Follow" and he explained how he would like to do it in concert but "his white audience really struggles with it." That's hilarious! So many of our memories involve music.

That's one of the good and bad things about music and memories: if you have good memories with a person and then your relationship is shot to hell, you can ruin the most perfect song. After a really bad situation, it was almost impossible for me to listen to Boyz II Men for at least a year. A whole year without 50 Candles? Not fair.

I remember within the first weeks of getting to know one another Tia and I would go back and forth playing "You Don't Know Nothing About This Joint", trying to top the others' taste for obscure songs. I can't remember who pulled out Deon Estus' "Heaven Help Me" but it was pretty obvious right then that we were put together for a reason.

Should we be so concerned that we will never find (or be found by) The One in knowing good and well that God put us together the way He did? I think we forget that God knows us better than we know ourselves. God is good at giving us what we want and need even when we don't know exactly what it is that we want and need. All I wanted was a place to live. God gave me that, a best friend, a woman that I look up to with the utmost respect, a confidant that has seen me do the most ugliest of crying and a homie that knows that when a songs starts off saying "How, how can it be, that a love carved out of caring, fashioned by fate..." that it is about to be some good times (we went to see India Arie and Anthony David broke out into Level 42's "Something About You". We were the only ones screaming after the first line.)

I don't even want to get off of the floor. This is the most comfortable and relaxed I have been in weeks. You can always breathe easy around someone that you don't have to explain yourself to.

I am looking around the room thinking "There was a fire here. There was a fire right over there, I cried right there REALLY hard scared that I was going to lose my car, we had Felicity Marathons right on this floor under that blanket, and Tia and I used to have people over there on the deck at our house for BBQ and dominoes." I need the next 2 days to be over as soon as possible.

I really don't want to get off of the floor.

I really wish we would've done more stuff in this house but then again, we did a lot of stuff here. We have both grown soooo much. I mean, I do dishes now. LOL! Tia actually wears makeup and heels! These two things were unthinkable about 4-5 years ago.

What's around the corner better be just as good or better. It has to be.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Yeah I know it's been a while. I'm moving. I'm busy. But I'll try to keep every one in the loop. Until then...

All I have to say is

Beyonce, who?

Monday, October 2, 2006

Hang On To Your Love- Toya
I have been listening to a lot of Sade lately, mostly because I have had to go on some long behind road trips. My ""Drive" playlist has consisted mostly of Sade, John Mayer, Seal and Stevie Wonder. By the time the Mayer portion rolls around to "Quiet", I am out like a light.

I love music. I love music more than ice cream, sushi, strawberries, television, three day weekends, boys in skully knit caps and ribbed turtleneck sweaters (hello Fall) and randomly finding money in an old pair of jeans. I can't imagine my life without it and besides sex (which is remained to be seen), I can't imagine loving any one thing more.

And along with my love for music is my appreciation for artistry and musicianship; that thing that is in an artist that makes them create with or without a record deal, in front of 50,000 people or 50 people. I love artists. I love people that express themselves musically and who in melody and prose say what other people find hard to say.

My love for music and those that create it is what has propelled my life long passion of helping others achieve success in infusing the world with great music. Unfortunately, as of late the bitter taste that is in my mouth due to the industry made me question if helping others get in the business is even an ethical idea let alone a good one.

Without getting into too much detail, I want to remind you of something: the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. A friend of mine pointed this out to me one day and added that this does not just apply to people but to dreams. So when I woke up this morning to find myself questioning my life long passion, I knew that something was afoot.

With Tia moving in just a few days, other friends deciding to move almost every week, and Tag and I barely speaking anymore, (side note: he admitted something to me a few weeks back that if I wrote about it would make you want to stand in an already long line of women who want to punch him in the face)and entering another year as the poster child for "extended singleness" I at least could say hey, at least I had my passion. At least I was on my way to doing what I have always wanted to do. But in the light of recent events, I can sincerely say that I absolutely detest the music industry. And I am not alone. As of late I have had this conversation with producers, executives and artists alike in almost every genre and we can pretty much agree on one thing: Christian, Secular, Hip Hop, Country, it doesn't matter. It is all corrupt, full of liars and connivers who could care less about making the industry better and are blind to how bad it actually really is(yeah I am only a little bitter and jaded). So why on earth would I want to be a part of this and furthermore why would I want to help someone else be a part of this?

Because like most things, things don't get better if I just complain about them. Because if I just sit around and complain and am not going to be a part of the solution , I am a part of the problem. Because if I hate the industry so much as to not be a part of it anymore, I might as well leave the world too because it is chock full of the same types of people. Because if I don't fight, I don't win and not only do I not win but I have let them win. And the last reason, I can't imagine doing anything else. A lot of people don't know what they are on this earth to do and I am blessed to know and to be able to do it.

If I let my passion go, that's it and that was the wake up call today. That's when I heard the thud of the rock bottom. However, I have been through this enough times to know that just when you think you are swinging on the final trapeze, another flies out of no where, then another and then another. If the past is any indication of the future, this is probably the turning point where it will all start to make sense.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-20

Hang On To Your Love,