Motivate Me Mondays: Doing what you are passionate about

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela
I am always so inspired by those who truly tap into their passions in life. We live in a world where people feel as though their passion has to take a back seat to the things people expect of us. I truly believe it is important to be happy in life and to be happy you must do things you are truly passionate about. Never allow anyone to make you feel as though your passion is not good enough because we all know it takes a lot of courage to do what we love. Jenell is the perfect example of someone who has never been afraid to do what makes her happy and recently she started a business to fulfill her passion in life. I was able to ask her a few questions and I hope that her answers will help someone who may be having a hard time with following through with what they are passionate about, here is her story:

1. Who is Jenell? Tell a little bit about yourself
Jenell McMillon, 26, Event Planner and Entrepreneur. I was born, raised and currently reside in New Jersey. New Jersey is home but I decided to take a huge leap of faith in 2009 by attending thee Illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC. Being 8 hours away from home, I had to learn to rely on myself to get things done. I’ve always had that independent mentality but there is a difference between being independent in your hometown versus a new state with no friends or family at the age of 17. Although it was difficult, the transition was needed and taught me things about myself that I would have never learned. I am a passionate, ambitious, self motivated and creative young black woman. God continues to be at the forefront of my life and I give him all the credit as I walk in the path that he has laid out for me. 
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2. When did you start your business ?
I launched my business on April 30, 2017 at 7:30pm EST.
3. What was the motivation behind starting your business ?
My sister and I decided to do a watch series for New Edition at our house in January for young adults (ages 25-35) from our church. As people were coming in, I was applying for jobs. I have a tendency of reading out loud before sending things over and one lady (Cortney) decided to ask more about my event planning since she overheard my experience.
Side note: I always seen Cortney in church but never spoke to her until this one day. 

I advised her that I have been planning events for 6 years. Starting with my sorority (DST) to BET Networks to my current place of employment, the list goes on. She was so impress and asked if I was interested in wedding planning. I told her that I’ve shadowed a wedding planner but never coordinated a wedding even though it is a future interest. She immediately asked why I was waiting and that I could use her wedding as my first wedding. As you can tell, the conversation moved so quick but I knew this was nothing but God pushing me towards my dreams of starting my own company. I told her yes and the start of JNicole Events begun. 

I will forever be thankful for Cortney and Amir. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin, thank you for putting your trust and faith in me to execute my first wedding for your special day!
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4. What obstacles and/or set backs have you had to overcome ?
As an event planner, we have to find ways to stand out amongst the rest especially in an area like the Tri-State. Competition is real. I became worried that I wouldn’t receive a lot of interest from prospective clients due to my location in South Jersey. Some may say that we are a state of our own. However, I have learned to use that to my advantage because people will need events no matter where you are. Word of mouth will always be the number one marketing tactic and this tactic has continued to be an asset for my company.
5. What keeps you motivated ?
This may sound cliché but it’s the smiles and satisfaction of my clients that keep me motivated. I love knowing that every detail they could have ever imagined was executed flawlessly.
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6. How much has it grown since you started?
Whooh! I am almost 3 months in and I currently have 10 booked events until the new year in New Jersey, DC and Atlanta. Oh, we are growing!
7. As you continue to expand, where would you like to see things going in the next 2-3 years?
I would love to see my company become my full time job within the next 3 years while continuing to provide my services beyond the Tri-State area.
8. What are 2-3 goals you would like to accomplish to help with expanding your business ?
  1. Obtaining my MBA in entrepreneurship
  2. Receiving my event certification
9. What advice do you have for young women like yourself?
Never be afraid to start your own! Continue to use your strengths to help others and you will always find your passion.
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10. What sets your apart from other event planning companies ? What makes you unique?
This was my main question that I asked myself before starting JNicole Events. I’ve always noticed that when people “make it” they are hesitant on talking about the day to day struggles it took to get to where they are currently at in their career. I decided to use my love for writing and photography into my company. Before the launch, I’d blogged daily to let my readers especially my young black readers understand that we all had to start from somewhere and here’s how it begun for me. I continue to write about the daily triumphs and challenges as I proceed to turn my dream into reality. I’ve used my love for photography and videography on my website/social media to increase all levels of creativity. I’ve been able to turn my 3 passions (event planning, writing and photography) into one with JNicole Events in hopes that people will use my story and company as motivation for starting their own business. 
11. If you could tell anyone who is trying to start a business one important thing, what would it be?
Trust your instinct!
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12. Where can people go to find out more about JNicole Events?
Please check me out at www.eventsbyjnicole.com
I am also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @JNicoleEvents
Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Monday: A true love story

“True love doesn’t happen right away; it’s an ever-growing process. It develops after you’ve gone through many ups and downs, when you’ve suffered together, cried together, laughed together.” – Ricardo Montalban

Love stories are by far one of my favorite things to share with the world. We live in a society where people do not view love the same way they use to back in the day. Often times people play with love or they simply do not believe in it anymore. There are people in this world who still believe in that true genuine love story and keeping the faith in GOD can get you to that point. In today’s world we want everything to happen so quickly with out realizing that certain things take time and they take real effort. Sasha Campbell has a very beautiful love story that she allowed me to share, here is her story:


1. Who is Sasha Campbell? Tell me more about yourself and your husband

Sasha Campbell, 27, Chemist/ Product Developer I
My husband’s name is John Campbell. We are two years apart in age. We come from 2 totally difference backgrounds, were raised differently and even act completely differently. But somehow, it works out because we balance one another. He is the calm and mellow one. I am the one to pop off with a quickness and then fuss at him for not popping off. But it always works out because he is always there to calm me. He has a lot of patience, which is something that I needed in a husband because I am not. It is crazy how we are complete opposites but we balance one another.

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2. How did you meet your husband?

John and I met at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He was a senior and I was a sophomore at the time. I would always see him in the café around 5pm and I found myself glancing around when I was there to see if I would see him. He was the first guy to ever make me nervous so I never went to him to speak. This is not like me because I am often outspoken without a filter. But John just presented himself like HE KNEW HE WAS IT… like he was THE MAN. From the way he was always fresh with a clean cut, from the way he would always wear his Polo hat turned to the back all cool and whatnot, from the way his shoulders used to sway back and forth as he walked. His walk used to scream “Yeah you are lucky if YOU get my number. And if you do, I will THINK about picking up. I may be too busy chilling.” And I was not the only one who thought this apparently. John still thinks til this day that there is nothing wrong with how he walks and he doesn’t understand why “girls” think he is full of himself. And in reality, he isn’t… he just presents himself that way. So anyways, I had joined a local party promoting company (one of the worst decisions in my undergraduate career, just to put out there) and I was basically over the street team that promoted the company’s parties. One day I was recruiting people in the cafeteria and I pointed out John and his friend to a young lady who was helping me recruit. I remember saying “I would ask them but they are seniors… and they look so stuck up. I always thought the one with the hat was cute though.” The young lady found this comical and she went over to recruit them. To my surprise, John agreed to join. So she called me over to explain how the company worked. I later found out that John used the company just to get to know me and he never had a single interest in promoting the parties. Apparently, he had told his friend who was sitting with him (Preston, who was also the best man in our wedding) that he was going to talk to me before he graduated. Preston responded, “Man John Willie… no you not.” And John said, “Yeah I am man. I am going to talk to her before I leave here.”

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3. Give me one key story about your relationship that let you know that you two were made for each other?

God has always made it very clear that we were meant to be together. After all, our relationship all started off of a prayer. When I first officially met John in the café that day, I was actually holding on to a DEAD relationship. So we didn’t start talking right away. Me and my current boyfriend were actually on a break but I wanted to make sure that I was completely done with him before I entertained anyone else. So when John asked my relationship status, I told him that I was in a relationship. I never explained that I was on a break and just wanted to see if I was done with my current boyfriend because I did not want any distractions. I will say we met around October 2009 and I actually called off my relationship Christmas that same year. John and I had kept in contact but I never really made a move. John had actually gotten out of a long term relationship himself but wanted to find a serious relationship once again. One night, he told God that he was “ready to settle down” and it was so strange, the next day I asked him if he wanted to hang for the first time ever. John knew deep down that I was the one for him and it was a sign.
Fast forward, we start dating. We get our first apartment together and begin living together. We were both still in college… and still very much broke trying to make ends meet. I will be the first to say that I am not the easiest to live with. Everything has to be a certain way; I do not like messes or germs. Blame it on my bio degree. But one day, we had gotten into an argument… I cannot even remember what it was about. And that was the thing about John and I. We never had any REAL problems. The things we would argue about were always so small. The real big issues, you would think would cause an argument, never did. We always worked out the big issues with ease. Anywho, we had gotten into an argument about something silly and I left the house to head to work. At the time I was driving a Hyundai Sonata that would PURR. You couldn’t even tell when the car was on because it drove so quiet. As I was backing out of my park, the car made a loud SCRUUUUUUUUURRRREEEEEEECK!!! noise. John came flying out of the apartment. He thought I had gotten in a car wreck. We weren’t sure where the noise originated from so John said he wanted to drive me to work. He did not feel safe with me driving on my own. Later that night, John was running late to pick me up from work. I was still pissed from earlier so this did not help. So I called him. John told me that on his way to come pick me up… his transmission completely went out. He had no previous signs that this would happen and was very shocked and frustrated.
So here we were. Two broke college kids, stuck at the house looking at one another because both of our rides are out of commission. Now we look stupid because we have to figure out how in the world are we going to fix TWO cars. We found out that there was something wrong with my timing belt, which was expensive because my car had a V6 engine. And he needed a new transmission. But somehow, we made it work. John conveniently waited until after our cars were fixed to say, “Yeah… you probably have no idea but this was all my fault.” I replied, “What do you mean?” He says,”Well , remember that day we got into that argument and you were getting ready for work. I always knew that we were meant to be together… but for some reason, I asked God for confirmation. That is why we both got stuck at the house. What are the odds that your timing belt goes out and my transmission goes out the same day? Especially when both cars were perfectly fine before my prayer. God made it so that we were both stuck at the house and we had to work together to get through this. This was my sign.” I wasn’t sure at the time to be pissed that he had cost us so much money or touched that he cared so much about our relationship. All I could say was “Man you better be more specific in prayer. What in the world!”

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4. What is special about your relationship and what makes your love story unique?

I never knew love at first sight ever existed. But John and I have both agreed that it does. Little did I know, those days where I would glance around to see if he was in the café, John says he would intentionally try to come to the café every day at the same time in hopes of seeing me. While I thought he was unapproachable… he was actually going out of his way just to see me… just to make eye contact for a brief second. There aren’t many love stories that are “love at first sight”. In fact, many people do not believe in it. And I will be the first to say, our love story is SO DAG GONE CHEESY… but I have loved every moment of these 7 years together.

John was raised in a strictly religious household. Religion was kind of something that my parents let me discover on my own. My step mother is Jewish and up until a year before he passed, my father did not claim a religion. Thankfully, he gave his life to the Lord a year before he passed.

5. What type of role has GOD played in your relationship?

As mentioned above, God has always been present in our relationship. And what has amazed me is how we will get an answer about something so much faster vs when I pray on something just by myself. It is almost as if, when my husband and I are on one accord and we pray on something… we get an answer so fast and clear. I tear up thinking about how blessed we are at times because God has really guided our relationship. Yeah, we both have degrees, we are home owners, we have good credit… but our biggest asset is our relationship with God. I know it was God who has carried the both of us through our hardships, individually and together.

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6. What are 3 key things that are important in a relationship?

I always say that you and your partner should not only grow emotionally and mentally… but spiritually as well. I was independent at an early age. Asking for help has always been a hard thing for me to do, even when it comes to asking God for help. Every time a difficult situation arises in my life, the first thing my husband will ask is “Well Sasha, have you prayed about it.” Let me tell y’all… there is NOTHING like an obedient and praying husband.

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7.What encouraging words of advice would you give someone who feels like love is just not possible?

The biggest problem I see in our generation with relationships is that people do not like to commit. We let our egos get in the way of ever loving someone. And for those who do let their guard down, they do it with the wrong people. We have to do a better job with learning WHO is worth an investment and who is not. You have people (such as myself previously) holding on to dead relationships and it does nothing but block you from a potential blessing. For all you know, you can be wasting your time with Mr. Wrong and your Mr. Right might get snatched up by another chic because you are too busy trying to make something work with someone who was not sent for you by God. I ALMOST passed up on my blessing with John because when I was finally single… I did not want to be in a relationship. When God sent John my way, I actually questioned it. I told the Lord I was not ready for a relationship and why did He have to send him now?! But look at it all now, John is literally the best thing that has ever happened to me. Learn who to invest in… and don’t be so quick to let them go over small things. Find someone with potential. A lot of people pass by others because they aren’t where they want them to be in life. When John and I met one another, we were both broke and I had a lot of pain built up inside. But John worked through that. IT WAS NOT EASY. I was angry at the world for a long time. But he felt that I was worth it. And he did not give up on me. Find someone who loves you for who you are and wants to GROW with you. Find someone you can build with. Find someone who won’t let go even when you are ready to give up. I would not be the woman I am today if it was not for him. And THAT’S what you want in a man.

 

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Motivate Me Monday: Staying true to who you are

Raynell Steward aka Supa was born in New Orleans, LA. Supa is a very well known social media icon. If you know about her then I’m sure you have seen her funny videos and the various ways she helps other people. I remember the first time I came across her from seeing one of her funny videos and I automatically became a fan. As time progressed and I continued to keep up with her post I started to notice that she was more then just some videos. Supa is real, genuine, passionate, an amazing mother, friend, sister, cousin, daughter who is using her platform to not only make us laugh but help us advance in life! She allows the world to get a glimpse of her life and that isn’t always easy.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

As long as I have been following Supa, she has ALWAYS stayed true to herself and who she is. She has allowed the world to watch here grow as a woman and the growth is undeniable. People who are in the public eye are always judged and talked about by people who have nothing better to do with their time and it is sad. It is amazing being able to watch how Supa deals with people who question her or are out to challenge the type of person she is, the type of mother she is, and how she handles situations.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

 

Not only does Supa allow you to see her being a mother and a friend but she ALSO allows you to see things about her love life, she gives advice, and she shares things through the promotions she does. Often times we see a lot of people on social media who are heavily in the public eye doing things that aren’t always positive or putting on a front instead of being their true self. The reason why I am such a fan of Supa is because of how authentic she is and always has been. She never turned away from being who she is and she doesn’t apologize for it either. She has created an entire brand for herself and her following has increased tremendously but that does not stop her from giving advice, taking care of her family, and always showing love to those who truly support her.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

If you can learn ANYTHING from Supa it is how to stay true to who you are no matter what! Often times in life we allow things in our life to stop us from being who we really are. We allow what others say about us change us and its not a change for the good either. We have to stop doing this because there is no one in the world like you and to get the respect you deserve often time requires you to stay true to who you are. DO NOT let anyone or any situation stop you from being you; you’re true genuine authentic self.

Let Tay Tell It

Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women say things we do not mean in relationships?

Ladies, just try to hear me out on this one, okay? It has become a natural and pretty much normal thing to hear guys talk about what a female really means when she says certain things. For example as a female when my man asks me “What is wrong with you” I will typically say “nothing, I’m fine” but my man knows deep down that if he just says okay and does not ask me again or try to get me to talk, it becomes a problem. How about when you are having an argument and you say to your man “leave me alone” but in reality we do not literally mean for you to leave us alone. These are just a few examples of us women saying things we don’t really mean; it is almost as if we want to test our man to see how far he would go to make sure we are okay. This is good and all, SOMETIMES, but then you have other situations where you say mean things to a guy because you’re hurt or because you’re dealing with a good guy and you don’t know how to handle it.

You play a tricky game when you say things you do not mean, you have to be careful. If your man is asking you what is wrong, tell him; he’s asking because he cares so don’t make him beg you every time. If you are in a situation and you want to tell your man to leave you alone just to see what he will do, don’t get mad if he actually leaves you alone; guys take things literally so most of the time they will not automatically think that you telling them to leave you alone, doesn’t actually mean that. With that being said, there are some times where I am all for making your man work hard to figure out what is going on especially if he is the cause of problem and knows what he did wrong; sometimes guys will “act” as if they do not know but they do.

We also have to be careful saying mean things in the heat of an argument. Ladies it should come to no surprise that our words can cut a man deep especially if it comes from a woman he truly loves; he may not show it how effected him like we as women do but it definitely does. An argument and/or disagreement should not the time where we try to hurt each other because nothing gets accomplished and feelings get hurt off of things being said that a person probably didn’t even mean. You do not want to loose someone you love from saying something that you didn’t even mean. I have seen women use their words to try to tear down a good man because lets be honest; dealing with good guys these days seems rare. If all you have ever known are lying, cheating, dishonest men why wouldn’t you expect a good to be putting on a front? Why wouldn’t you start to doubt the situation after while? Why wouldn’t you start to question things? I understand but to tear down a good guy by saying things that aren’t true can cause more harm then good so don’t push that good man away, embrace him.

From testing your man to tearing down a good guy plus any and everything that falls in between that, all results in saying things we do not mean. Things should flow pretty easily in a relationship so do not make it a permanent habit of saying things you do not mean or you may cause more problems then necessary. Also, always remember that your words hold more power then you may know.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Experiencing true LOVE

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

No matter what LOVE may look like these days, I still believe that true, passionate, undeniable, crazy, exciting love is still possible with the right person. You can meet a person and know right away that they are meant for you, as if GOD hand picked that person just for you and nobody else. Robin and her fiancé share a strong love that genuinely shows through all that they do. Sometimes you meet a couple and you can feel the love and that is exactly what I have experienced being around this wonderful couple. I wanted to give them a chance to share their love story with others in hopes it will motivate someone to never give up on love because the person meant for you could be coming sooner then you expect. Here is their love story:
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your fiancé
My name is Robyn K, Harris and I’m 25 years old. I’m currently a Social Worker at Union County Department of Social Services as an investigator, CPS (Child Protective Services). My fiance’s name is Dontavius Mobley and we will be getting married on, April 15, 2017. I graduated from North Carolina A&T with my BSW. Donta graduated from Charleston Southern University with a degree in Biology. He is currently employed through Carolina Medical Center as a Histotechnologist.
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2. Where are you and your fiancé from?
I’m from Bridgeport Connecticut however was raised in Charlotte, NC. Donta was born and raised in Rock Hill, SC, where we currently reside.
3. How did you meet?
We met June 2011 at Wendy’s. We used to work together. We both have our own stories on how we met, lol. He says I stalked him and I simply disagree. Lowkey, he’s right, lol. We went on our first date July 10, 2011 and the rest is left unwritten. Stay tuned!
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4. What is special about your relationship and what makes your love story unique?
Everything about our relationship is special. It may sound cliche’ but God made me for Donta and Donta for me. We are complete opposites. I am bold, loud and outgoing while Donta is quite, calm, cool and collective; however we are the perfect balance. Donta treats me like a Queen and he notices things about me that I don’t notice about myself. He encourages me to reach my highest potential and believes in me, more than I believe in myself. I give him the confidence to be unapologetically him. I bring out the crazy, fun Donta that only a few people have seen. We compliment one another.
5. What type of role has GOD played in your relationship?
Without God, there would be no us. We are far from perfect but know without God, we are nothing. I am a big prayer and I pray about everything. Donta and I pray together as well as fellowship with one another and one of our goals is to build a stronger relationship with God as one. We found a church home that we both thoroughly enjoy and agree that God is the foundation of our relationship. Pray our strength in the Lord!
6. What are 3 key things that are important in a relationship?
Loyalty, Respect and Honesty
7. What encouraging words of advice would you give someone who feels like love is just not possible ?
God is love. Love comes naturally and shouldn’t be forced. Love yourself first and when God is ready, your happily ever after will come when it’s least expected. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is beautiful.
8. Additional comments/add-ins/things you would like to include that is not covered in the questions above?
Thanks for allowing me to share our love story : )
Robin and Donta, I wish you nothing but love and success. Congratulations on your wedding that is coming up on April 15, 2017 and remember to always keep GOD first no matter what!
Let Tay Tell It

Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women judge other people for the things they deal with as if we’ve never been in similar situations?

As a woman who has been in plenty of situations that I never expected to be in I always tread lightly when it comes to speaking on the things I see other people deal with. I have learned that I cannot always judge another person for what they are dealing with when I do not know their story and when I have been in the same or similar situation myself. However, seeing things like people sleeping with married men and/or trying to mess up another persons relationship on purpose is something I definitely judge BUT that is another topic for another day. Today I am simply referring to situations such as the ones we find ourselves in when it comes to our relationships.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen other women talk down about someone who continues to stay with a person that has done them wrong as if they haven’t been that woman before. People hurt people in so many ways by cheating, lying, being deceitful, mentally and physically abusive, being conniving, putting other people and things before her and the relationship, not taking her feelings into consideration, constantly running away from problems, etc. You cannot always prevent someone from hurting you so when you also have to deal with people judging you for how you deal with it makes things even worse.

I remember seeing Tammy Rivera Malphrus, who is the wife of rapper Wakaflocka, publicly dealing with her husbands infidelity in their marriage. Tammy made a decision to separate from her husband for awhile because simply put, she could not deal with the disrespect any longer; she was fed up. She did not divorce him or bash him she simply did what was best for her at the time but this did not change the fact that she was still married nor did she fully give up on her marriage. Leaving her husband had women showing her so much love and support trying to uplift and encourage her but the minute Tammy decided to work on her marriage and take her husband back things changed. I saw so many comments from women judging her, tearing her down, criticizing her, and ridiculing her as if she was wrong for working things out with her husband. Tammy married this man and vowed to stick with him through the good and the bad and a lot of women have been where she is but were quick to judge her for the decisions she made.

Ladies if you are a woman who is now in a better place in life, try not to forget where you came from and what you had to deal with and put up with to get to where you are today. Do not look down on other people because they have not reached that point in their life yet because you too use to be exactly where they are; we have to be a little more understanding. This not only applies to relationships, but also friendships, financial status, job status; you too may have struggled in these areas just like the next person. We also have to remember to not judge people when we have our own personal problems and flaws that we need to work on so the more you focus on yourself and try to uplift others the better off you will be.

Let Tay Tell It

Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women choose to be defensive and mean before choosing to tell someone how we really feel?

As a woman who is learning more and more about herself everyday, I can honestly say that I have had my fair share of situations that have caused me to put up a wall when it comes to letting people in. I have become use to being mean and defensive because I learned at a young age that nobody will protect me the way I can protect myself and really telling someone how I feel was not always an option. Unfortunately this stuck with me and now, at the age of 26, I am working on changing these things about myself but IT IS NOT EASY. The most important thing I have learned while working on this is that you can loose out on having some good people in your life if you choose to be defensive and mean instead of choosing to be honest about how you really feel.

I honestly believe that sometimes as women we are so passionate about protecting ourselves and our feelings that we forget how that can effect the people around us who honestly want to love us and be friends with us and care for us. Being passionate about this usually comes from being so hurt and damaged by people we expected to love and protect us. We have to stop letting people who hurt us make us mean and situations that almost broke us make us defensive because that hurt doesn’t last always and almost doesn’t count; you’re still here because what could have broke you didn’t ! My last relationship is when things really got worse for me as far as how I handled dealing with telling someone how I felt. I was in a relationship where I had to be defensive and I had to be mean because it was the only way to defend myself because trying to communicate how I really felt wasn’t taken seriously. It was not until the end of that relationship that I promised myself to change how I handled things because I knew that I could not continue doing things the same way.

Ladies you will be surprised how relieved you will feel when you properly communicate how you are feeling instead of choosing to be defensive and mean all the time. My friends help me to stick to this path that I am on with changing myself and now my current relationship is helping me stay on track as well because for the first time in a long time I am with someone who does not make me feel like I have to be defensive and mean. AGAIN, this is not an easy thing because I catch myself being defensive and mean when there is no need for that but I am with someone who understands the change I am trying to make so he is super patient with me. We have to make a conscious effort to change these thing about ourselves whether it is in our friendships or our relationships because loosing someone all because you chose to be defensive and mean instead of speaking up about how you feel the proper way is not a good feeling; trust me I have been there, done that, and had it happen to me. Do not be like me, be BETTER then me, and learn from me.

Let Tay Tell It