Diving Into My Brag Bag To Be More Creative

I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth so everything I got in life has been because I’ve worked hard for it. Growing up in a single parent home the odds were stacked against me. If society had it’s way I would have been another statistic as a teenager; teenage mother, living off of government assistance, and quite possibly a high school dropout. My mother was not having that for me at all. I knew my father but he was not an active part of my life, so watching my mother work various jobs to always provide for me was the best example of hustle and heart.

We lived in the family house until I was four and starting head start.  We moved across the street to Fort Bailey housing projects.  Walking to the store for a bag of pink cookies and a cream Ritz soda was a treat, now I live for my crab legs and moscato…LOL!  I was a project kid, with a key at the age of five letting myself into the house each day by myself then waiting for my mom to get home.  Life was sweet in the 80s.  Now it’s not that easy to leave kids home alone because too much can happen with predators lurking at every turn.

I grew up being very independent and doing a lot of things for myself because the fact is I spent a lot of time by myself.  My mom worked and that was understandable, so throughout middle and high school, during my mom’s off time we spend time together, then when she was gone, I’d read a book or watch t.v.  So by the time I graduated high school in 2000 having worked at Wendy’s and Shoney’s I could make a little money for myself but in the back of my mind I always wanted to just write.

I went off to college to the University of Florida and partied my life away.  I was introduced to beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., met some amazing people but ultimately blew it.  I joined the United States Air Force in 2001, lived in New Jersey my entire enlistment, got deployed to Bulgaria and Italy, got married, had my two sons, then separated from active duty status in 2007.  My background had set the tone as I share my story because it was not easy being active duty, married, tending to babies, and pursuing my studies all at the same time.  I was very overwhelmed and emotional a lot of times but I pushed through anyways.

By the time I relocated to middle Georgia, I had acquired 3 degrees and had multiple ideas of starting a women’s magazine, writing a book, short stories, or just something creative because I have always had the passion to write. By the time I began teaching in 2008, I was halfway through my Masters in Public Administration program and still had no idea what I was going to do next. But the yearning for more was peeking over my shoulder and in my subconscious. I kept digging until I outlined my first nonfiction title. In 2013 I said to myself that my book was going to be great and everyone would want to read it… Well that didn’t happen. See I wanted more but I didn’t have a plan. Now the plan is for me to TELL MY STORY, so people really get a true idea of who I am, what I represent, and what I’m all about. I defied the odds and I have a story to tell.

Achieving my advanced degree in 2016, my Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership was personal.  It was a checkmark to be place of my list of life goals and accomplishments.  There have been others that did it younger than me, but see at the age of 34 with two kids, a second marriage, six years of honorable military service and eight years of teaching, I was doing damn good for myself.  So where is my POP?!  When things got rocky and I thought I had a clear vision of what I want to have happen, a second divorce happened on 2017.  I wasn’t devastated, but I was derailed so my goals for pursuing speaking and writing more took a backseat.

Now here I am 11 years into teaching, having taught roughly 2000 students, each year I wonder who will or who has been that one?  I have highlighted some of my most memorable students in My Fourth Year, but beyond that when students come into my room to hug me midway through a lesson, or stop by my door during transition to class it has been too many to count or name.  My colleagues are hit or miss, but some of them know where my heart is.  I simply refuse to give up on my population of students, but good God some days it is hard.

When I look at my mixed career I have done a lot and take a stand for individuality. I’m often confused and people like to put other people in a box and you shouldn’t. Creativity is an extension of who a person is and you have to tap into your greatness better than anyone else can and tell your story.

Be vulnerable because someone needs to hear from you.

Feeling Renewed in Business, Career, and Love

July became my month of yes and I took a huge leap into something that I was not sure I was ready for.  The internet is full of copycat ideas and recycled presentations so I’m sticking with what I know…I’mma just DO ME!

When I log into my social media and I see ads for “FREE” this and “FREE” that I’m slightly intrigued.  I click, I enroll, I listen, then I receive countless emails.  There are a few people that I pay close attention to because they consistently push the message of authenticity.  So I’ll continue to be authentic and transparent in my approach because that’s all that I know how to do.

I had to gather my thoughts for this post because I have taken a lot in over these few weeks for summer break and I just wanted to be clear in what I was saying before I posted my thoughts about anything.

Business|I was obsessing about book ideas and then I was struck with one that I cannot abandon.  I find it ironic that as fictitious characters speak to authors, my real life thought processes urge me to write in that discipline…EXPERIENCES from my classroom mixed with life lessons.  Sure other educational experts focus on the needs of our students but I like the approach I’m taking with my writing.  I’m focusing on ways to help teachers because honestly so many times in my career I felt alone and misunderstood.

img_5542So I’m turning that around to pour into my writing and helping other teachers as well on their academic journeys.  Once I got my services in order I began to see how I help more teachers than others would have probably thought possible when I first began teaching.  I had to BOSS UP just a little bit and be unafraid.  For every one thing about me that was misunderstood, I’ve taken back control of my business and writing and I’m pushing the envelope.

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I’ve stepped into my purpose and I knew that things would take time.  I have even tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit and realized that in order to live the life that I want to live, I must pave my path and create in my own lane.  Books and business are only the beginning and I’m staying the course because I have two precious boys (no matter how badly they drive me crazy) that are paying attention to my every move.

Career|This summer went by in a flash.  It seems like we were just getting out in May, and we return tomorrow.  I had the wonderful experience of attending the Model Schools Conference in June.  I felt inspired to keep writing in my discipline of teacher mentorship and set a personal goal that I will be speaking at the conference in June 2020!  I have to speak things into existence because I feel strongly about these next few years of teaching.  Putting things into perspective, my oldest is going to be a Freshman in high school, and my baby boy is going to 7th grade.  Entering my 11th year in the classroom, my career clock is ticking and I’m feeling like I just might be done anywhere between the next three to six years.

See I’m 3 1/2 years from 40 and with my new business venture (started my own health and wellness business) I’d like to create wealth in that, continue to write, speak~guest speak~facilitate~or host workshops in the future.  I’m not a radical voice, but I’m dedicated to newer teachers because experience has taught me.  Entering the field of education is political, but new teachers and I mean those that have been in the classroom less than three years need SUPPORT.  I know I did which is why I wrote my first book.img_5177

I have been asked about leadership and if I have thought about transitioning into that level and to be honest…NO!  After being passed over to become an academic coach because the other candidate “looked better on paper” I realized that maybe it was not for me.  I was not deterred, but like I told another administrator, “You never know what someone is capable of doing until they are given the opportunity to show their leadership skills.”  My candor is a gift and a curse and I am not compromising that for anyone.  I’ll practice my delivery, but the reality is that people hear what they want to hear.  When you think outside of the box like I do most of the time, you will face rejection and scrutiny from some, but encouragement and support from others.

In teaching I have had to adjust and not let my feelings be stronger than my mind.  I’m not saying that I’m unemotional, I’ve just learned how to manage my feelings better while teaching.  In a roundabout way, I’m desensitized and situations that would get me upset before, really don’t now going into this 11th year.  The only thing I don’t take kindly to is anyone discrediting my teaching and attacking my career.  That’s a big NO-NO in my book.  But I’ve realized people don’t like my style because of how I disturb their approach.  What happens in my classroom is just that!  I’m in control of my content!

LOVE|I have not ventured into this topic in a while and it was with GREAT intention not too.  And it’s not because I’ve been unhappy in love, I was just on hiatus from dating and putting all of my eggs in one basket.  See I dated an older guy for a while.  He was GOOD to me but he had some extra baggage that held him back from dating/getting to know someone/trusting ONE woman exclusively.  He started off saying I’m only interested in getting to know you, then ALL of that changed.  We began to see each other less frequently and it was hard at first because we SPENT a lot of time together initially.  He’s still a decent guy but we are just FRIENDS and we both are okay with that…NO PRESSURE!

When I walked away from that, not exactly a clean walk away, but when I took a step back to focus on BETTERING ME and my VIBRATIONAL PATTERN, I saw the beauty is organic chemistry.  There are familiar strangers all around, and you’d be surprised at who would treat you right if ever given the opportunity.  People make a big deal about commitment and dating to the point of it being exhausting.  I for a fact don’t look at each person I date as marriage material.  I mean after a couple of dates you know if you want to be around someone and enjoy their company without the complications… I NEVER have been nor will I EVER be the, “So what are we doing girl?” LOL…

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Then I met HIM and all of that has changed.  Solidifying the FRIENDSHIP!  I’m renewed in LOVE because I’ve always believed in the possibility of genuine and organic connections.  Hmmm…when BAE said, “I pray for you, and I pray for US.”  That changed the trajectory of EVERYTHING.

I’m fully aware that my business, career, and love won’t look like anyone else’s; I’m okay with that.  I’m staying true to what I know and believe.  So what is for me, is for me!

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10 Things I’m Proud Of

When you are grateful.  Fear disappears and abundance appears. ~Anthony Robbins

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I have been inspired by list posts and recently took a second look at my 35 Randoms Thoughts on the eve of my 35th birthday and the 7 Things You Should Do in 2017 and my oh my have I enlightened my own self.

I am in such a different space in my life from the restart of my blog (March 2016) as I pursue my writing and grabbing opportunities to express myself (Pursue Your Dream Career).  I love lists….I write everything down and look back at the things I affirm in myself and feel a sense of pride when things come to fruition.

Right now there are so many thoughts in my head about what I’m trying to do and where I’m trying to go and I know that the next few years are going to push me closer to my purpose.  In the meantime I’ll just focus right here at Tilyarealeyes.com and put things into the atmosphere and watch them come full circle.  

So here’s to the 10 Things I’m Proud Of

10.  I began my college journey at the University of Florida the glorious summer of 2000.  My #1 school of choice and I had a blast…my very first Blue & White weekend, being introduced to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. by way of the fabulous Mu Epsilon Chapter…endless memories…oh what a time I had.

9.  Due to the fun I had at UF, I subsequently enlisted into the United States Air Force and spent six wonderful years on active duty.  I met some amazing people…but I also walked away with 2 associate degrees and my bachelors when I separated in 2007…Honorable Discharge…Veteran Status

8.  I have given birth to the most amazing little boys on the side of heaven.  I’m supposed to be proud as their mother…that damn Lil Phil (3.4.04) waited 20 hours to make his appearance into this world…after contracting, I stalled at 5 centimeters so a c-section it became and he’s still stubborn to this day.. #Big   Then came the baby, my Preston (2.9.06) my little genius and scheduled c-section.  He melts my heart…so innocent…so sweet…so caring… #Little

7. My trials and tribulations in life remind me that everyone struggles at times and it is a part of life but it’s ultimately about how you handle things.  I have no choice but to be resilient…I have children to take care of.  I am defined by my experiences and that is what completes me.  db42f1c66ab6b254f78baae55b330a64

Taking a deeper look though, my first name has 7 letters in it…L.A.T.I.L.Y.A.

Loyal…Ambitious…Talented…Intelligent…Loveable…Yummy…Amazing

My journey makes me aware of who I am…7…the number of completion!

6.  I have been in the traditional classroom for 9 years and I love it!  It’s not easy each day or each year.  In time middle school will be my foundation as I move up to the next level.

5.  Five years ago…April 2012 I closed on my first home…ALL by MYSELF at the age of 30. God is so Good!  These past 5 months have shook me up…my marriage ended…a financial setback…but I’m home!  The devil got busy, but I’m grounded in what’s mine and I give it all to God.

4. I have survived what might drive others crazy.  I am not ashamed of my second divorce, nope not one bit.  Marriage 1 changed me, matured me, and birthed me my 2 delicious babies.  Marriage 2 taught me what I deserve and I don’t deserve to be cheated on, lied to, disrespected, or unappreciated.  It was not all bad but the truth of the matter it was a struggle.  I have my dignity and I learned my lesson. I’m not sure if 3 times is the charm… Who Knows…But You Already Knew That…I Want The Magic.

3.  Writing my book, My Fourth Year in Middle School will always be a proud moment.  Personal, honest and something I always wanted to do.  So stay tuned for my next body of work.  Because I’m super critical of myself, when The Journey to Here is complete it will be because I’m ready for you to see it.  Being a creative is not easy…I’m passionate about MY words and how I intricately weave them together.

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2.  My education!  I’m modest about it, but having someone speak life in me and say, “You should introduce yourself as Dr. Williams”, it is a constant reminder of my accomplishments.  Surround yourself with people that SPEAK LIFE into your existence, your being, your soul, your day…those are the kind of people to have on your team. Community College of the Air Force…Thomas Edison State College (now University)…Bellevue University…Nova Southeastern University…Since 2000 I pursued my education and ultimately became Dr. LaTilya Williams.  No easy feat…but yes I did it.

1. My spirituality!  I luh God!  He is the author of my life.  Without him I would not be able to stand strong.  I am where I am in life because of him and I embrace all of my blessings.  My life is changing for the Good…the Great…the Better.

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Leave People Where They Are

Sometimes you have to leave people where they are so that you do not stunt your growth.  Take a look around you, take in the faces you see, the many people you encounter in a day are fighting battles beyond their control.cc489911048d3d6ee19e0e528fa64722

It is easy to tell someone to give their problems to God, let go and everything will work itself out but what about the advice given that is the complete opposite.  Your closest friends, family members, and spiritual family will pray for you as you pray for yourself but as you pray, you feel your flesh becoming weaker by the day and you lose faith.

In an interesting roundabout of conversation I have communicated with people with various perspectives on love, relationships, and life and I learn something new each time these topics come up.  The issue of marriage is always a hot topic because most of the people that I am around daily are married and have been for a few years.  In a wide range of two years on up to 20 years or more, listening to these people speak on the topic, as I also contribute to the discussion, we hear each other saying the same things but how we deal with each situation is completely different.

Conflict is always the laughable stories.  Communication in relationships causes unwanted stress.  The discussion on finances always arises and figuring out how to balance it all is our common denominator.  But what do you do when all of this breaks down?  Do you throw in the towel or hang on and let the relationship take its course?

The idea of moving on is tough especially when you have completely invested yourself in the relationship and know that once you get over the hump things will get better.  I personally admire marital relationships that have lasted 20, 30, or even 40 plus years.  The relationships that have lasted that length of time show commitment to one another to see each obstacle all the way through together.  They didn’t just walk away because things got tough and almost unbearable.  They worked through the conflict and heartbreak in order to mend the connection they share.

However, on the flip side of working things out I was introduced to a different perspective.  Ironically people that are single want to be married, and married people want to be single because marriage takes a lot of work.

I heard a guy say in a discussion once that you don’t have to get married because that is what society expects you to do.  He said that people treat marriage like a trend, and after they see what it’s like and decide that they don’t like it, people just walk away.  He also said that people don’t take love seriously anymore.  He had a point because I know women including myself that have had to cope with failed relationships time and time again.

Now the guy was not bashing marriage and relationships but he said sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered.  He’s right! Ignoring your significant other makes matters worse if there is already tension in the air.  But he went on to say that relationships take a lot of work, almost too much work if you asked him…LOL. He was dead ass serious.  He set this scenario:  If your significant other is having a bad day, you have to put your feelings to the side, take on their concerns, sympathize with them to make sure they are okay then do something for them to make them feel better.  He didn’t say that he would have a problem doing it, he was simply saying that at the end of the a bad day, he likes going home to confines of his four walls and not dealing with anyone if he doesn’t have to.  That sounds easy but when there is already a breakdown that is not easy to do.

That’s not a selfish thought that is just where he is in his life and that is respectable.  At least he’s a man that knows who he is and what he is and isn’t ready for.   When he does finally decide to settle down I am sure the women he gives his love to will be truly adored.

All too often we jump into relationships, the new feelings and attention gives you goosebumps then the infatuation wears off.  The kind words turn into periods of silence and every conversation has a slither of conflict attached to it.  The roller-coaster of emotions is ushered in and you find yourself at an impasse.  Women are emotional creatures and internalize the breakdown and will see things for what they are while remaining optimistic.  Men will walk away using their heads and not their hearts not realizing the hurt they are causing.  This is not all relationships, but I have talked to so many women that have loved with all of their heart and still got handled badly.

If God is not at the center of these relationships, most times these relationships are failing.  Moving on sounds easy in theory but it’s a lot harder to do for some more than others.  Eventually you have to move on and leave people where they are.

So I have a question, do you think it is easy hang on because relationships have seasons or should you move on?  Leave a comment, I’m interested to know what you think.

20 Facts About Me

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  1. I am my mother’s only child.
  2. I have half siblings on my biological father’s side.
  3. I was in a secret relationship my Junior year in high school. (I hate him now!)
  4. I began my college journey at the University of Florida.
  5. Seafood, specifically snow crab legs and shrimp are my favorite food.                       
  6. I have attended 8 different colleges and universities from 2000-2016.                  University of Florida, Burlington Community College, Western International University, University of Phoenix, Community College of the Air Force (A.A.S. 06’), Thomas Edison State College (A.A. and B.A. Liberal Studies, 07’), Bellevue University (MPA 09’),  Nova Southeastern University (Ed.S. 10’ and Ed. D. 16’) img_20160518_110904.jpg
  7.  I am from Waycross, Georgia, Home of the Okefenokee Swamp. 
  8. I joined the United States Air Force in 2001, and served until 2007.
  9.  The first time I got married was in 2003 until I got divorced in 2011.                                                                                                                   
  10.  I have visited 12 United States and 1 U.S. Territory:  Florida, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and U.S. Territory-Puerto Rico
  11.  I am a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.20160116_112608-1-1.jpg
  12.  I have been on 3 Carnival Cruises: Bahamas twice, and Cozumel/Key West once
  13.  I worked for the Office of Child Supported Services for 8 months, and hated it.
  14.  I love the The Real Housewives Franchise, except for the Miami cast, they don’t do anything for me.  The Real Housewives of Atlanta are my favorite since I’m a GA Girl.
  15.  I have twelve tattoos…three of them are butterflies that represent the changes in my life.
  16.  I have two wonderful sons, Phillip who’s 12 and Preston who’s 10.
  17.  I have been a middle school teacher since 2008.
  18. I got remarried in 2014.wp-image-1457144966jpg.jpg
  19. I have played tennis as a hobby since 2012.
  20. I self-published my first book My Fourth Year in Middle School: The Truth About Teaching
    20160702_170048Comment and let me know what you find the most interesting, I’ll be sure to respond.