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Happy 35th Birthday Latoya "10 Year Reflection"

Turning 35 has been a huge focal point for the past few months, as I reflected on the last 10 years of my life, and everything that I have been through. At 25 I was lost, still trying to figure life out and find my own identity I did things to numb the internal pain I was dealing with. No one really knew what I was going through I hid my darkness with partying, drinking alcohol, depending on anti-depressants, traveling, and shopping. I was working in corporate America for a big company, had a great part-time job, I was starting grad school to pursue an MBA, and I still served my community in Columbia, SC and Augusta, Ga working with the youth. To the outside world it appeared that Latoya had it all together, but in reality I was a lost 25 year old little girl.

From the ages of 25-30 a lot changed I experienced a few serious medical battles, I filed for bankruptcy, and I was also hit with a 10k judgement against me. At the age of 26 I felt like a failure, and embarrassed I cried to my mother, and she was big on credit and finances. Not to mention I worked in the financial industry, so in my mind this was not a good look. My mother said girl you are not the first or the last it’s a part of life learn from your mistakes and move on. I moved to Atlanta and in my mind everything would get better, and I would live the perfect “American Dream”, because I was still working in corporate America, making a little more money. In grad school at the time preparing to better my future and I was so proud of myself the first in my family to attend grad school and receive my master’s degree.

Enjoying that Atlanta life that everyone was hyping up so much, I was still partying, but not as much. I found the true definition of love from someone that I enjoyed living life with and creating the best memories I felt like a Queen that was on top of the world. Not realizing that during these times I was just broken. The last year of my 20’s was a little rough I was diagnosed with a rare medical condition found out I had a pituitary tumor in April of 2014 not knowing what to expect. I took my anger out on those that loved me the most, because I really didn’t know how to deal with everything. At that time I was in my final classes to complete my masters and preparing for graduation in May of 2014, getting that diagnosis hit me hard.

Then in Oct of 2014 the worst thing that I could ever imagined happened, my mother lost her life to a tragedy that was a tough blow and a hard pill to swallow. I was torn on the inside, but I hid it so well trying to be strong for everyone around me, numbed that pain with spending so much money, traveling, and doing what I knew best giving to others in need. Staying off of work for about 4 ½ months trying to process the passing of my mom was rough. Therapy was not helping, so I decided to go back to work and I was so angry and mad with the world, just upset because I couldn’t understand why I was experiencing this at such a young age. In April of 2015 I suffered breaking my ankle and I was like what else can go wrong, I was back home from work looking at the walls crying in silence. So I planned the biggest 30th birthday for myself oh it was a blast, but I was broken and still grieving, but I told everyone I’m ok I’m fine, I’m living, life is great.

Let’s discuss my first years of being in my 30’s I declared to myself that I would find peace, joy, and happiness and I would not be in the same place of pain I had been in. During these past 5 years I found myself unemployed for 10 months, I could not find a job that would pay me what I worth and I experienced some financial challenges, but when I tell you God will place people in your life to say I got you and actually mean it I’m so blessed for my circle of sister friends, it’s hard telling others you are in need when you have been the giver your entire life. I actually changed careers from banking to insurance and it humbled me, because I had to learn, not to chase the money and just be humble and God will supply all of my needs.

I created my blog “Toya’s Café of Inspiration” where I wanted to share my life and help other experiencing loss and dealing with life storms. Something wasn’t connecting so I didn’t want to do that anymore I wanted to try a different approach to connect with others that would give me a larger platform to help more people and start my journey to become a motivational speaker. So I came up with this idea of a podcast, but I will admit I was nervous about what others would say and didn’t want to deal with criticism. My best-friend, my sister, and my inspiration, Tie Velasco told me to just do it, I had to start somewhere and that’s what I did starting out in 2020. I’m able to share inspiration to others, from my personal journey and storms, l give others encouragement to keep going on no matter what storms you are currently facing.

Over the past 10 years I have been through a lot, but my good will always outweigh the bad, I’ve went from lost at 25 to being broken at 30 to arriving at 35. I’m heading towards something so big over my life and I have claimed the victory, and greatness that I was destined for on August 15, 1985.

So on today I will say Happy 35th Birthday to myself, I’m a Queen and I’m will continue to strive for greatness, the best is yet to come. Oh and I must add yes law school is still on the plans.


Toya T.

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