Was lost and still not quite found…

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It has always been that way, I over-analyze, I think too much, I create these false stories in my head to keep myself from getting hurt and I laugh at all of the “coincidences” in every relationship I’ve been in (whether friendship, co-worker or significant others).

When my friends and I graduated from college there was a spoken and unspoken promise to stay into contact and never loose touch. Typical, right? Well I never really spoke up but I always felt a little left out because all of my friends “knew” what they wanted to do with their lives and had the drive in them to continue onto pursuing their masters with scholarships and grants. Me…well I thought I wanted to go to grad-school but I knew it would be a waste of money if I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was like I was a little kid all over again. One day I wanted to be the hottest journalist, topping Oprah Winfrey and Katie Couric, the next minute I wanted to be the next Angela Davis (fighting for our rights, whether it was in the court room or the streets– I was ready to be a political prisoner), then I wanted to be a teacher and rise above in administration and become somebody’s superintendent. But can I just tell you, that is exactly the reason why I decided to take a year off to figure me out. I’ve been surrounded in this world where everyone has the privilege of being in college and even graduating. It was not until my senior year that I accepted I was in college. Everyone kept telling me …”You have time, you have time” But truth is I didn’t, I needed to get out of school and find me. What my passions, goals and values truly are. And can I tell you I still have no idea what I want to do with my life and I have finally gotten to the point of accepting that it is okay!

Every job interview always asks me the generic question…”Where do you see yourself career wise in the next 5-10 years.” My first response in my head is …”I don’t know, 5-10 years ago I didn’t even see myself being here where I am standing so how can I answer that?!” But of course I answer with some sophisticated bullsh*t I come up with in my head because employers don’t want to hear that you just want to grow as a person and figure it out.

I promised myself over the summer I would travel and pursue relationships with family and friends to a different level and you know what, I did that. I got a job a couple weeks after graduation and have traveled every weekend after. I’ve been back and forth to Richmond hanging out with different people every time, rode the metro in DC for the 1st time by myself to go see friends, I had the pleasure of being in a suite at a concert with endless alcohol and food for days, I’ve been to Nashville, Tennessee by myself to watch a car show, I’ve been to Kentucky to visit my relatives I had no idea existed, I moved my best friend into her new college apartment and I’ve learned to keep up my relationships and travel by myself (whether it’s a 12hr drive or a one hour flight), I DID IT! Not to mention my graduation gift of going to the Atlantis in the islands.

I wish my friends well, as they have pursued a career they can call their own and aspire. Although I am not in school, I am learning to pay bills, responsibility, budget and say no because it is a smart financial move or take the risk because I know there is no about of money that can replace experience. I have learned that the money will come as long as you do what you love. And I am learning…. I lovvvvvveeeeee to travel but come back home, I love to speak to strangers and hear their stories, I love to connect with friends my college career hindered me from doing, I love to go to the gym by myself and just talk, meet, greet people (and of course sweat). There’s just something about a person becoming a stranger and then an acquaintance that I love. You can become anything you want to be in that moment and tell them things you may not have even told those closest to you.

My point is that in order to grow and figure you out. You have to first find what makes you happy, what pushes and motivates you and what your talents are. Now, I’d be lying if I told you my money has not been tight and I haven’t spent recklessly, but I know it’s worth it. You know why? Because the best investment I can make, until I have kids, is within myself. Because I’m lost and enjoying the wilderness I AM. They say wake up and smell the flowers and notice the little things like birds playing chase or watching the worms in the rain ….it’s the simple pleasures and sacrifices that mean the most.

If you’re in a season of being lost and you’ve been there for awhile, sit back and enjoy the view because there’s something you’re missing.

Let God show you. After-all, he is the one in the driver’s seat (you’re just the passenger.)

Genuinely,

LaToria Todd

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“Try New Things!” Finding yourself in places you’d never go.

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As I sit here and graduation approaches I think….

Where am I going to be this time next year? Where is my mindset going to be? What struggles will I face? Who will be on my journey who was not there before and who flew with the winds?

 

This morning I woke up at 6am worried about my best friends and all of the trials and tribulations they face. I prayed for them and their families but most of all I prayed for myself to be the strength for them in their season of frailness.

 

At 7am the sun beams in my room against my disco ball …I open the blinds to allow the light to take me over and in this instant I realize how beautiful life is. Then I think of John Legend’s song “All of Me” but the version I was listening to was featuring violinist Lindsey Stirling. There is just something about an instrument singing that made my heart tremble. I broke down crying because I’m 22 and I realized, I’m BLESSED. The way my life is set up I can fail over and over again but I’ve met some of the greatest people and truest friends in college that I can lean on whenever I please. My Grandfather once told me, “If you can meet at least two good friends in life then you are blessed” and I must say God gives in abundance; when you ask you shall receive.

 

As the song plays and my mind goes everywhere, I realize that the sun makes everything look soo beautiful but there is much scrutiny placed on darkness. Is darkness bad? I beg to differ….the light allows one to see, whereas the darkness allows you to feel . That’s why when we kiss we close our eyes, because in that moment you seeing what’s in front of you doesn’t matter, it’s about how that person makes you feel in that instant, whether it’s a female or male. Not only is darkness beautiful but the rainy days is what makes the sunny days worth it…if there was no rain how could things grow and blossom? And just like our lives there will be rainy days but how will you take care of yourself? The family I used to nanny for once told me that the way a person takes care of their car and cleanliness of it tells a lot about a person. Me being young at the time I didn’t really understand it. But I’ve recently started really taking care of my car and spending more “me” time and I realized the way invest in my car is the way I invest in myself.

 

But after the car theory, I realized how beautiful I was despite what people have said in my past and even in my present. While in college my friend participated in a pageant called Miss Black and Gold hosted by the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. She could not find anyone to help her and at the time we weren’t really friends, more of associates. I knew how to do hair, make-up and knew I was a great cheerleader, so I told her to look no longer, not knowing her from Adam or Eve, and I would be her pageant mom. I helped her study, helped her with her speech and calmed her down during times of doubt. Needless to say she won 3rd place, receiving the title Miss 1906. The next year flew by and she wanted me to participate in the pageant and I kept saying “NO,” I was not beautiful enough to participate in a pageant, I can’t walk in heels and I was pledging for Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Incorporated in the Fall so I didn’t have time to participate in her shenanigans. So once again time passed and I gained confidence in speech, spitting out facts and being intellectually confident whether I was right or wrong. Time continued to pass and here I am senior year and this same friend tried to recruit me to do the pageant and I gave her the same excuses of why I would not participate. I believed pageants were anti-feminist, placing women on a stage allowing men to see their bodies and judge an “outer” beauty that has been euro-centralized. And there was a bathing suit scene? Oh helllllll NOOOOOO, I am not participating in that.

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Putting Yourself First

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“How you treat yourself is how you treat God”- Iyanla Vanzant

Vanzant says that “When you start sacrificing yourself for other people you make them a thief” because they’re taking from you what you need. Sometimes the best time to spend is with yourself and learning to do this is best because they you will be able to more effectively put yourself in the position of service.