Category Archives: Self Reflection

Finding Harlo Pt.2

While I have decided to embrace this new persona known as Harlo, I don’t expect my friends or anyone for that matter to address me as Harlo.. She is to me essentially what “Sasha Fierce” is to Beyoncé or what Chris Gaines is to Garth Brooks.. so I’m still me it’s just now I have this “Fabtabulous” alter ego. Will I flaunt this new personality? Of course I will and at every available opportunity!

So I’m gonna attempt to pick up where the previous post left off.. In the first sentence of the last paragraph of the previous post I referred to myself as being “born broken.” Shortly after I posted someone privately messaged me and asked that I elaborate. To that person I will say that an in-depth explanation will be in my new book “She Raised Me” coming this fall under my new pseudonym.. For now I will leave it as colorful wording; however I will share this. My ancestry and my upbringing conditioned me to believe that I was undeserving of complete happiness which caused me to question every euphoric moment; expecting it to be met with some sort equivalent misfortune. I could never accept true happiness under the premise that something bad was gonna happen.. Now I simply embrace those moments and if karmic absolution is the result then I want to be grateful for every moment that afforded me a moment of joy. And that me friend is what attracted me to Harlo.

Life and all of its nuances are filled with imperfections but that doesn’t equate to unhappiness. Harlo allows me to embrace, understand and accept those imperfections as simple aspects of life’s journey as opposed to my former enslaved mentality that believed nothing came without penalties. But in all honesty there is nothing that is to good to be true.

Finding Harlo allowed me a piece of mind that l never had before. I feel different when I embrace her. I even think different.. Does she affect the core of who I am? Absolutely but she hasn’t changed me just enhanced me. She represents the upgraded version of my former self. As she evolves so will I or vice versa.

I assure you that you will see the name again in all of its rarity.. It captures your attention doesn’t it?

Hi I’m Harlo Hendrix -Certified Game Changer


Finding Harlo

I’m sure the title of this post will one day serve as a book title but for today I hope it serves it’s purpose. If you follow me on social media personally and professionally you may have noticed some changes. I am specifically referring to the pseudonym “Harlo Hendrix”..

Let me start by asking “Isn’t that a cool fucking name?” It absolutely means nothing to me aside from the fact I feel a little tingly and silly when I say it. It’s a rock stars name and ‘ya know’ in some other universe, dimension and time I AM A FUCKING ROCKSTAR.

Why the new pseudonym you ask? I mean my name in general is pretty cool no matter how you arrange it… (so thanks mom and dad for that?) But there is something about the name Harlo.

I did a little digging just to see if the name had any real significance aside from the definition being “army hill.” Ah, doesn’t make the name necessarily more appealing but what I did like was the appeal of its association.. Harlo is associated with being universal and unisex. Uniquely without definition and not very popular to say the least..Well if I’m being modest it was definitively the perfect name for me.

The real purpose of this post was to explain “why” and not necessarily “what”. Well truthfully, I hit my bottom. Funny how that is a phrase normally associated with some sort of addiction or vice. I’m not sure this would be applicable to me but I had genuinely hit my emotional bottom. I was drained. I had convinced myself that I was in full on “midlife crisis” mode. BTW, I hate that term.. Why isn’t it called “midlife breakthrough” or “midlife blessing”‘ or something that promotes a positive transition into a profound wisdom and confidence. Okay, let me get back on track.

As I was saying, I hit an emotional bottom. I had come to terms with so many things in my life that contributed to the overthinking, over reacting, imaginatively insecure being who trusted absolutely no one. I spent a lifetime craving acceptance until one day I felt completely void. I was null. Right in the middle of a dualistic fit combined with intense pain and hilarity, I just stopped giving a fuck.. And I don’t mean it in a disrespectful sort of asshole kind of way but I just genuinely did not care. In a brief moment of declared insanity I finally let go of shit I had no control over and took control of what I could. If I’m not being dramatic it really was the death of who I was and the birth of Harlo..

Harlo is almost (and I use that cautiously) the exact opposite of who I was and everything I want and need to be. I wasn’t looking to reinvent myself it just sort of happened that way. Harlo trusts the universe, she trusts others that she is intuitively connected to and most importantly she trusts’s sort of creepy to refer to myself in 3rd person but she is definitely a new entity that I’m still learning to identify with.

I was born broken and spent a lifetime trying to insert the missing pieces lost in my innocence. I was never going to be whole until I stopped looking for those pieces and/or stopped looking for things, people and projects to fill that emptiness.

Well I’ve grown a bit tired.. check out Part II of this entry tomorrow….

Love Lessons: Lesson II

Love has always been my greatest desire

And yet my biggest fear. It’s an entire enigma to me. I have no understanding of its purpose and yet it is the one thing I have craved my entire life. It’s such an overwhelming sadness (to not have it) and it wasn’t until I lost the very taste for love as it ceased to linger on the tip of my tongue that I began to recognize its beauty in totality.. (on on it seems to go but you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.)❤️

Love has been more of a concept to me than an actual process.. so lately I’ve been doing some processing of the entire concept… and this shit is just as complicated as a Shakespearean allegory but not as romantic.Love is based on some absurd loyalty put in motion by physical attraction and carnal lust.. Don’t bullshit yourself with the idea that you fell in love with a personality when it was really the intense passionate sexual attraction that pushed the word “Love” carelessly from your lips into whispers in the ear of a stranger.

Love is not some cute love story about the time you first you met or some quaint moment in the history of your past. Love is that shit that makes you sacrifice or gives you the will to be sacrificed at the mere thought of not pleasing the inner spirit of the one soul that connects to your every senses. Love is seeing a darkness so diluted by the brokenness that there is only one energy that could penetrate its obscurity. Love is that toxin so potent that to indulge could very well be your demise.

Will love be the death of me? I sure hope so. It would be less than vainglorious to suffer any other fate.

48:18 #48nUnforgivable

Lately I’ve been dealing with some real intense shit.. I really can’t explain the complexity of the issues I’ve been encountering and in the midst of it all I still don’t feel the desire to complain about it but more inspired to move forward.

Just to give you a gist of the laundry list of shit I’ve been dealing with it reads like this:


Mental illness

Unresolved relationship issues

and the great mind fuck known as Cancer.,

It’s a lot to fucking balance between work, parenting, writing and all the side grinds I pursue but I do it..

Most of the things on my list are more or less resolvable or simply out of my control but I will address the betrayal. Maybe betrayal isn’t the right word.. The context to which I’m using it feels wrong but I do feel emotionally betrayed.

Here’s why. It may be a little long but hang in here with me while I purge..

People think that because I’m an only child I was privy to a certain way of life.. Stereotypes like spoiled and selfish are often invalid adjectives associated with my character. Please note that I worked fucking hard to get where I am today.. While I appreciate the assistance I got to degree from my parents you better believe I had to work my ass off for that. I was a single mom often without financial, emotional or parental assistance. I’m proud of who I have grown into but I would be lying if I said I didn’t make some mistakes, some bad judgement calls, some poor choices. So I don’t pretend to be better, know better than or live better than anyone. I know that my journey in life is about constant growth and change..

At 48 I am still being molded into some great masterpiece and I can’t wait until it’s complete.. so recently when my father revealed he didn’t trust me I was floored. I could have taken it lightly and simply blamed it on an onset of dementia because he must be going fucking crazy or I could accept it as his truth, as my truth, as our truth. When I asked him why he proceeded to bring up an incident that happened over 25 years ago. An incident to which I have been remorseful and amended with the person I offended.. oh yeah did I mention that the incident he is referring to was regarding someone else and had no effect on him directly AND after all these years he kept that little skeleton in his pocket so that he could use it as a dagger to stab me with in a conversation over an incident that didn’t even involve me. Is that betrayal? I don’t know but that shit hurt..

I felt foolish..ya know? All this time i was bragging and boasting about how I was able to build a stronger relationship with my father after years of ups and downs.. After continuous pettiness, we were able to move to better place, a good place even a great place if you had asked my 24 hours ago.. Now I’m feeling like he just blew smoke up my ass to make himself feel better when all the while he fucking thinks the worst of me..

After I took a moment to digest the conversation I had with my father as he tried to justify his feelings towards me.. I hung up the phone. Yes I hung up on my dad.. I refused to continue a conversation that simple would ignite a bigger flame of fury.

But then I began to question everything.. I began to over analyze my life, my existence..Examining the relationship my parents had that brought me into being. I reflected on how they met on a blind date, hooked up, slipped up and were forced into a shotgun marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I heard my father was engaged to someone else when he got my mom pregnant and how my great uncles forced him to marry my fast ass mother.. that’s how you don’t start a life..

I’ve always felt that burden of virtually fucking up my parents life.. and they for the most part made it apparent that I had done just that..My mother once commented to a family member who expressed concern for me during my adolescence for not having proper supervision and nurturing to which she responded “Toni may grow up and say fuck me, so I’ve gotta look out for me.” Imagine how that made me feel… My father often referred to his budding career as a musician and how he gave that up to be a father and husband against his will..

I grew up where secret and lies were the basis for family dynamics.. Where gossip and descent preceded health and well-being. I was on a constant mission to prove I was worthy because love from my parents came with conditions. I’m not saying my parents didn’t love me but it was an obligated love..

But today at 48 I’m learning to be okay with not being a life changing moment.. I’ve accepted that my life was not a blessing but a burden. And while we are not always a purpose we ALL have one.. I’m trying to fulfill mine. I blogged all this to say…. my circumstances do not define me.. I define my circumstances.. I am inclined to remove the toxins in my life even if I was born into a toxic situation.. Having purged my current state of mind into this post I feel better..

I get me now more than ever.. myself awareness is so heightened..Simply in the idea of knowing who I don’t want to be….

I have forgiven even though I am amongst the UNFORGIVABLE!!!

Eve of 48

I felt compelled to write this blog on the eve of my 48th birthday … uh… just because… I remember when I thought 48 was fucking old and yet oddly enough I feel renewed. It’s actually a pretty defining time in my life. I’ve learned some harsh lessons, made some rash decisions and it has helped me to further design the women I want to be.. I feel like I’ve lived so many lifetimes in this one I’ve been given. 48 just seems like an awesome time for renewal. I feel so blessed even in times of turmoil because I’ve simply accepted that there are things that I don’t have any control over and to be accountable for the things that I do.

All seems like common sense doesn’t?

I wish life was just that simple. I’ve missed out on so much of what life has to offer by being naive and ignorant. Not afraid nor ashamed to admit that. Although I have no regrets, I can admit to deservicing (not a real word btw) by not nurturing and embracing my talents. Now I feel like I can conquer all my challenges (except bungee jumping and extreme sports). I no longer feel as if I am entering a midlife crisis but more of a midlife crossroads.. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of “adulting” thus far so being a little more carefree will be such a welcomed change. I didn’t write this to bitch about turning 48. It’s a privilege and a blessing not granted to so many. Although 50 is the significant milestone, I’m gonna spend 48 doing some real shit..

Follow me on my journey of being 48, fly and fearless.

Summer Vacation Sun

You remember when we were kids and on the very first day of Summer you would try to sleep in late only to be awaken by the beauty of the sun that lightly taps you in the morning.. you hadn’t noticed her for months because you were normally either on your way to school or already there.. She beams just enough to annoy and amuse you.. 

So finally you just say “f*#k it.. Make a big bowl of cereal and watch early morning cartoons… #latchkeykid  #memories #reflecting

Loving our Black Men….PT 1

Okay I am going to try to keep this post brief. I don’t want to dwell on it but I felt it was something I needed to address.  So I was compelled to write on this particular subject matter prior to the recent transgressions displayed against our brothers in Louisiana and Minnesota but I got a little distracted.

So, I was chatting with a friend about her new boo.  I was excited that she mentioned she was dating someone new but as she begin to tell me about him I noticed she had nothing to say nice about him.  Everything she stated was derogatory and negative.  My initial response was to ask “Why the hell are messing with dude if he was all these things but instead I replied “well I am sure there must be something about him you like.”   Anyway as the conversation continued I realized that this dude, perfect stranger to me, someone I had never met, was simple someone I had no interest in meeting.  If I were to recognize him from the pictures she had shown me, I probably would not be the most friendly or the most welcoming to him all based on what his girlfriend told me.     And then I asked myself is that what our black men deal with on  daily?  Their images are so tainted both internally and externally that the are fighting an uphill battle below sea level.

Now I am not saying the brothers are perfect. I’ve dated a few assholes and have suffered from “relationship remorse” but that is my internal situation.  I don’t go bashing the last brother so that he is ruined for the next because let’s be real, what may not be good for you maybe exactly what the next women may need and vice versa.

I know, I know, you’re probably shaking your head and saying “some of these dudes are just trifling and need to be put on blast” and you are probably right AND there are extreme cases where abuse (physical, mental, emotional and sometimes even spiritual) is involved that you may need to tell someone about.   However, if abuse is the case, then maybe you should be discussing your own issues and as to why you choose to continue an abusive relationship.

What I am getting at, is if you are with a man that is showing some genuine effort to be attentive, caring, supportive, etc and yet you find nothing good to say about him to others then why are you with him.  No relationship is perfect but your relationship issues are just that YOUR relationship issues.

Now this should apply to all relationships but I find that in the case of LOVING OUR BLACK MEN we need to exercise a little more compassion with our words, a little more understanding of his burdens because society and it’s actions has shown no compassion or understanding for him.   The same way we love our black sons even at their worst behavior we don’t systematically insult them or shame them to others. We need  to apply that same logic to the men we are involved with, they are someone’s son too.

I wanted to elaborate a little more on this but I promised to keep it short.   So stay tuned on a series of corresponding posts on this subject matter.

Next time I want to discuss “Baby Daddy/Mama Drama”

Our black men are targets let’s not be the one’s pointing out the bull’s eye.


THIS JUST IN!!: Random thoughts

You know sometimes it’s so frustrating when your heart is in the right place and your intentions are good and yet your efforts still just don’t seem to manifest the results that you want. Sometimes it’s just God telling you it’s not time and he is simple asking you to exercise your patience and efforts. This is a lesson I have had to learn. I have also learned to NEVER place expectations on man because often enough you will be disappointed in the results. So I am often so very moved by acts of humanity and kindness.
I have been so empathetic to what I now deem as just a national tragedy amidst a civil unrest that my eyes swell up with tears and sometimes I am not sure why. This is the hurt I have been feeling. I have grand moments of hope and then in those moments I have to reflect on how I even came to that moment. It’s a vicious circle I tell you. I want to log off and tune out. Dive into my art, my writing, my crafts and then I feel immense guilt for turning away when I feel like I should be doing or saying something. I don’t want to joke about it, I don’t want to make light of it and yet at the same time I just don’t want to talk about it.
I have so many thoughts, input and insight but then I have to worry if those same thoughts, input and insights will be offensive to others.  In the mist of everything that has happened I have learned somethings about people I once considered friends and in turn made a lot of new one friends.
THIS JUST IN! SHOTS FIRED! Another police officer shot.. THIS JUST IN! SHOTS FIRED! Another unarmed black man has just been killed.  THIS JUST IN!  This just in. (sigh)
Some one said “don’t dwell on it.”  How can I not dwell in a house I was forced to lived in my entire life and why would I abandon that same dwelling when it needs my upkeep and care the most.
2016 has been ROUGH on a girls spirit let me tell you.

Deliver Our Daughters

For years I wanted to created a program to help young woman develop more positive self images and encourage them to make more positive decisions for themselves.  I wanted to create a rites of passage program that would conclude with a gifting ceremony from family members and friends.  I have researched and followed a variety of different programs that I felt best represented my potential program goals.

I purchased the website, did some ads, created my logo and created the initial format of the program but I did not garner very much support.  There was also the factor that I too needed to deal with some personal issues.  I had seen this program through my own adolescent eyes as a young lady who could have greatly benefited from such an experience.  That was my mistake.  I should have been viewing this project as a women who could help others benefit from the experience.

This would require me to re-evaluate my own emotional, mental and spiritual needs.  I was able to share my journey and teach a class at a local homeless shelter.  It indeed was one of the most powerful experiences in my life.  It is because of that experience that I feel that I am equipped to handle the task of making my program “Deliver Our Daughters” a success.

However I still, at one, point felt the timing was off and I did not diligently pursue reestablishing the program until my daughter was recently expelled two days from school for public display of affection now it’s time.   I have raised two adult sons who live on their own and have relationships of their own, my daughter however is 11 and is a completely new experience when it comes to this pubescent stage in life.   Times have changed since I was an 11-year-old girl and the amount of exposure our children encounter can not often be controlled or prevented.  My daughter does not watch programs that promote promiscuous behavior (not saying she has exhibited any) but I was concerned by the choice she made.  Obviously I can not control human nature but I did feel that had I given her better tools in her decision-making ability this incident could have been prevented.

My husband has a very traditional viewpoint when it comes to his only daughter growing up and experience this natural development in life and it is simply “NO” – no boys, no kissing, no growing up period.  LOL.  Not very realistic of course but probably the sentiments of every loving and caring father.  So when my daughter told the little boy, who liked her, that her dad said she could NOT have a boyfriend, he in turn encouraged her to lie and keep it a secret.  I know it seems like something a boy would coerce a girl to do but at 11 he is already setting a pattern and I don’t want her to fall into an unhealthy pattern of her own.   I explained to her that a friend (be it boy or girl) does not encourage you to do things that will cause you harm or trouble and that a good friend would encourage her to do what is right and expected of her; however, I also had to scold her for the fact that it was ultimately a decision she made and there were consequences to her actions.

Without going into great detail I have been having these very random conversations with my daughter as they come to me and I realized that there are so many things we assume our children already know but in reality they have no idea.  I knew she was not alone in her feelings nor in her experience.  Again I felt this would be a perfect time to resurrect Deliver Our Daughters.

My hope is to gather with my daughter and a group of her peers as we participate in a variety of activities that will help promote healthy and positive self images that will encourage them to make more sound and responsible decisions.   I am sharing this because I hope that it will encourage others to share and support my dream as well as challenge me to make it the success that I know it can be.

If you feel that you can contribute or assist in any way to the success of this program, I implore you to leave me feedback in the comment section of this post.

Thank you.

For You(The beginning)

Written by Toni Racell

It’s funny how tragedy can open up not only a floodgate of emotions but also memories. How suddenly things you hadn’t thought about in years can suddenly be recalled so vividly.

Right before my 8th birthday I caught the bus with my babysitter to a downtown San Francisco record store. I even believed she told me that she was going to buy my birthday gift early. I went into the record store wanting a Mickey Mouse Club lunch box (they sold lots of stuff) and came out in love with a boy.

You know what I remember most about that day though? A poster that hung high on the wall behind the counter of Popeye banging Olive Oyl..there was clock shaped like a boat wheel covering their sex tools.. My baby sitter tried to explain it  (as I am sure I had questions). Hey the 70’s were a very sexual heightened time so I’m sure I had been exposed to things long before I should have been.

When my sitter asked what I wanted I pointed to this

For You - 1978
For You – 1978

She responded “your mom would kick my ass if I got you that. Pick a fucking doll or something. But I’ma buy it but you can only listen to it at my house and only if I let you okay heffa?”  (I would to take this moment to thank that baby sitter for sneaking me Prince  music and for my awesome ability to curse like a fucking sailor.)

You better believe that I’ve gotten a fair share of ass whoopings and pops in the mouth. (It wasn’t illegal back then) all in the name of love for Prince. I got in trouble for the pictures I would get from album cover inserts.. I mean seriously looking at a Prince picture back then for a kid my age was like looking at porn almost. He was very risqué…

When “Soft and Wet” would come on the radio I would get in trouble for knowing ALL the words. Adults would say things like “that song ain’t for you to be singing” or ” you shouldn’t be listening to that song”... Then why in the hell is it on the radio ( I would THINK to myself)…

“Soft and Wet” wasn’t the selling track that made me fall for the light eyed boy with the Afro. It was that song “In love” that did it for me.  Just play it one day while your staring at his picture and it feels like he’s singing it to you .. I guess that’s how everyone felt about him.. His ability to make you feel like he wrote a song just for you..  And then there was “Crazy You”.. Every time I heard It I felt all free spirited.. Doesn’t it make you wanna dance by the ocean?…

I’m not looking for kudos or trying to stake a claim to fame but I loved him before it was cool to love him.. I would have followed him anywhere…  I’m a pre-Purple Rain-Post Prince survivor.. Just letting it all out is healing.

Today was a rough day for me.  There was this nostalgia in the air. The coolness of the breeze and sound of the blowing wind that took me back to being a young girl lying across her bed staring at the ceiling while the record player spun.  His voice would light me up as I sang his song verbatim, every verse, chorus and adlib… I wish I could turn back time..