Reflections Of My Life

Artwork by Tosha Michelle

PicsArt_1428258514208“You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past The only way to learn the secret …is to press play.”

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.”
Walt Whitman

Change is an organic thing that that happens every minute, every day, and everywhere. We as people are not meant to stay static.  We may grow up but we should never stop maturing and expanding our hearts and minds.   We shouldn’t be held captive by the past or how people perceive us. We create and radiate our own unique way of being.

In some ways we are always changing but yet staying the same.  When I look back at the me from yesteryear, I still see the same quirky, awkward, random, sentimental girl. I also see a woman who has a wealth of experience, who has endured illness, heartache and loss, but also experienced wonderful life-altering adventures. My journey has taken me out of my comfort zone and into a world of growth and enlightenment. It doesn’t hurt that I have been blessed with the love and unwavering support of family and friends. These people teach me so much every day.

I still process information the same way, but experience has altered the way I interpret that information.  Every day reveals a new layer of character. The years are teaching me and molding me into a better version of myself. I embrace getting older and look forward to one day being a, “wise old soul.” Emerson said “As we grow old the beauty steals inward.” What a beautiful sentiment.

A work in process is what I will always be. I’m still evolving. I hope that never changes, even as I change. However, I know what I stand for and who I am.  Uncertainty has no place in my inner world. It’s a gift where decisions become easier, temptations become less, and confidence grows stronger.


Comings and Goings.

The Life and Times of a Brat Called Tosha.

. I’m currently working on a new book. It is a self help parody. The title. Self Help to Self Harm; The Dubious Guide to Life, Love, and Relationships.  It’s a mixture of serious and silliness. ( much like the author)  I’m also working on a new book of poetry.

In academic news, I’ve decided to pursue a PhD in history. Yes, I am a masochist.

On the music front, I just did a cover of Someone to Watch Over Me. I hope you will give a listen. See below.  This blog has been entirely too Tosh centered. Next time, I promise to focus on topics that really matter- chocolate and guys name Tad.

Shake it Up.

Disclaimer…wonky formatting….I have no clue why…banging my head against the desk and asking the universe…whyyyyyyyyyy? (dramatic sigh)


I have my moments of boisterous and loud behavior,

usually, when I am angry or excited over the prospect

of chocolate, or a new book; but mostly, I prefer to live

a reflective quiet existence. I freely give my time and

resources and often share more than I should. I

sometimes find myself over extended. I love to analyze

things to death. I am a classic over-thinker…digging and

examining issues, putting myself in the heart of

difficult situations. It makes for an interesting life.

But I feel strongly that love should be given freely

and without fear.

I truly believe we are not alone in this world.

Everything is alive. Everything is conscious.

Everything is our friend. We are all part of the

universe. We are one, and it’s up to us to make the world

a better place. Life is in us and all around us.

“The really important kind of freedom involves

attention and awareness and discipline, and being able

truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for

them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every


-David Foster Wallace.


Suki, Lattes, Chaos, and Gratitude


I’ve learned that expectations can often lead to heartache. Assumptions can lead to misunderstandings. I try to adhere to the following rules.(not sure “rules” is the right word ) Live what you speak. Hope without reason. Love without conditions. Give without expectations. Dream without limitation, but never deluded yourself.  Be, and let be.  Of course, maybe, I am full of sh**. Kicking boxing, hiking, and darting throwing, can’t hurt either.


I know. Why you gotta be so rude? My mom hates this picture.

OK. Thanksgiving is coming up. I thought I would blog about a few things I am grateful for. Of course, giving it my weird spin. It goes without saying, that I am thankful for my family and friends. Their love and support is everything. I am also grateful for the beauty of nature, the soulfulness of music and the escapism of books.

Now, for my unconventional list of gratitude

I’m thankful I grew up in a time where reading was valued, reality wasn’t scripted, and social networking happened on a playground, a time before sexing, the Kardashians, Kesha, skinny jeans,and so called “real” housewives


I’m grateful that Pumpkins Spice Latte season is over. (UGH)


In the same vein, I am stoked, it is the season of Peppermint Mocha Lattes (yummy)


I’m thankful my celebrity crush, Timothy Olyphant was born. (hubba, freakin, hubba)


I’m so grateful, I am petite.  I lie. In my next life, I plan on having legs that won’t quit instead of a mouth.


I’m thankful my mom didn’t name me Suki. Yes, it was a contender. Seriously, WTH? We are of Irish and Scottish descent. Southern, etc. Suki. really?. Tosha is bad enough.  However….


Finally, I’m thankful for my current jam. Banks get me. 🙂

Mark Kingwell, Silliness, the Podcast to Be and A Top Twenty List.

On Jan 12th La Literati welcomes Canadian philosopher Mark Kingwell to the show. My co-host and I have the utmost respect for Mark and are giddy about the booking. OK, giddy might be too strong of a word, but we are happy. Niles and I have a running gag going about being stood up for the podcast. We’re really wondering why he said yes. What can I tell you, underneath the guise of adulthood lurks two insecure sixteen year old girls begging to come out. Niles says “speak for yourself.” At any rate, I thought it would be funny to come up with a list of excuses Mark might give for being a no show. I’m also trying to promote the podcast in a semi clever way. (clever is in the eye of the reader, I suppose)

I give you 20 potential Kingwell excuses.

And Mark says…”so Niles and what’s your face, I really hate to bail on you guys but…”

1.  “My sister-in-law’s friend’s cousin’s father’s uncle tragically lost his pet turtle. The details are just too sordid to share.”
2. “My re-gifting recipient list demands to be written. Christmas will be here again before you know it.”
3. “I’ve fallen. I could get up, but I refuse”
4.  “I never go on a podcast on days that end with day.”
5. “I thought I was going to be on LA Literati. What the fu^* is La Literati? What language is this?”
6.  “I have to attend Charles Manson’s wedding.”
7. “I’ve been meaning to get a Rob Ford tattoo on my shoulder and it can’t wait.”
8. “I’m just way too busy chewing gum.”
9. “I have an important call from a telemarketer, and I HAVE to take it”
10. “I’ve been putting off making my Justin Bieber scrapbook.” (Bieber fever won’t wait)
11. “It just wouldn’t be fair to all the other brilliant people.”
12. “Summer will be here before you know it. I need to work out. Those Speedos won’t wear themselves”
13. “I’ve been putting off reading Fifty Shades of Grey. E.L. James is calling to me.”
14. “Signing up for an AOL account. It’s way overdue.”
15. “I’ve being dying to take a beets bath”
16. “My diet has been sorely lacking in kale lately. I must eat some NOW”
17. “I need to spend some serious time thinking up more excuses for why I can’t do the show.”
18. “I’m writing a new book on sardines and I have a deadline to meet”
19. “Kesha is in town for one day only. I can’t miss this concert”
20. “I need to get two restraining orders. How do you spell your names again?”

and bonus

21. “I just read your asinine list on WordPress.”

Murphy’s Law (the good kind)


My Granny was Southern and Irish (a fierce combination) She was full of wisdom, spunk, and character. Lois Murphy didn’t suffer fools, and she wouldn’t put up with any “backtalk” She was also one of those Grandmothers, who always reminded us grandkids of the hardships she had to endure growing up. You know the type to talk about walking ten miles to school and back in three feet of snow. Although, we lived in the South, and snow was often hard to come by. Still, reflecting back, there were life lessons in all of these talks. It was from my Granny, I learned that pretty is as pretty does, that those chores won’t up and “git” done themselves, and that judging a book by its cover is rarely a good idea. When she spoke of a simpler time, a time without TV, where families conversed, and children entertained themselves by playing in the fields. I recall as a child thinking, how tragic for them. Looking back now as an adult, I think how wonderful. I ponder what I would say to my children if I had a” back in my day” talk. It would probably go something like this.

You know kids, when I was your age, real housewives, were just that real. The situation, was something you did not want to get into, although to be fair, I think that still holds true; in order to even be a quasi-celebrity, one had to have at least a modicum of talent for things like singing, dancing, and acting. It wasn’t enough to just be rich, good looking and have a flare for drama, and sleaze.. In order to achieve hero status, one had to do something heroic and noble Substance, style, and class, meant just that. Social networking involved hanging out on the playground or pajamas parties.

I would tell them of a time before 9-11 and the war on terror. I would mourn with them the loss of innocence, but at the same time, show them that flowers grow through the unforgiving cracks of even the best and worst laid sidewalks.. I would say, children, human beings are remarkably resilient ,and can survive and flourish just like those flowers. I would tell them that as long as there is love in this world, there is hope.. I would then share some timeless truths that a dear lady imparted to me  like, pretty is as pretty does, that those chores won’t up and” git “done by themselves and to never judge a book by its cover.

This song goes out to my Grandmother, my angel. I love you. I miss you everyday.

Political Discourse. (Come on, baby. We can work it out)

Recently, I’ve been reading up on political discourse for an upcoming show with Canadian philosopher Mark Kingwell. If you haven’t read his work, you’re missing out on greatness. Brillant guy. Note, I’m on his payroll. Kidding. I’m just an admirer. Don’t make it weird. I have an innocent fixation with his mind. My friend and co-host of La Literati, Niles, is all about his body. (Just kidding.) Given the recent mid-term elections, I thought I would post my thoughts on civility in politics, or lack thereof. This was actaully something I posted back in 2012, but it still rings true, despite the promises by the Republicans and Demorcrats to turn over a new leaf and learn the art of compromise. I’m sorry, but cut the bull sh#$. Now, who’s being uncivil? There’s already a fight brewing over immigration laws. Could another government shutdown be in the works?

In 2012 I wrote:
I have a general observation to make about the vilification that goes on in the political arena, not to mention the hate-filled, public discourse between Americans. It is sickening. It’s demoralizing and demeaning. What happened to showing decency to others? Just because someone has a different point of view than you doesn’t mean they are morally bankrupt, a terrorist, or ignorant. It simply means they have an opposing view.

Isn’t America all about diversity? Must that diversity lead to dissension and discord, to the embattled and embittered democracy? Forget sexy, we have to bring back civility and decency, respect and consideration, for each other, for the candidates, for ourselves, for our country. If we want ethics back in politics, then we must put them back into our lives as well.

And while I am on my soap box. What happened to integrity in journalism? You know conscientious journalists who vowed to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty? I just don’t see it much anymore — at least not on news shows that are more about ratings than accuracy in reporting. The talking heads are the worst. All they are, are corporate marketing interests, delivering entertainment substance, governed by polls, projected ratings and sponsor demands. What we see is well-crafted hype for dramatic value by an eccentric cast of cartoonish characters¬, sound journalism be darned. (Editor’s note: The public would do well to rely more on newspapers and their associated websites, and public broadcast media – organizations where the journalistic values of fairness, thoroughness and accuracy are still held in high esteem.)

As an aside, I’m thinking Iceland is the place to be — clean living, stellar education system, virtually no crime, wonderful food, quality healthcare, political indifference, literacy rate of 99 percent, not too small, not too big. They gave us Of Monsters and Men.  I love America. God bless us, but we could learn a few things from this small peace-loving country.




Midnight in the Garden of My Mind. (someone get the weed whacker)

Random  thought of the day- If Lady Gaga and The Goo Dolls went on the road together; would they call it the Gaga Goo Goo Tour? By the way, why does Gaga live for the bear claws?

But, seriously….
Introspective thought of the day.- I have come to realizes that; I’ll always be a square peg, just trying to fit in, one foot in this world, the other, God knows where. Hopefully not in Crocs. UGH! Although, happiness is within and surrounds me, there will always be an undertone of sadness and melancholy that resides and resonant to my core. I welcome these emotions with open arms because I am a masochist. I also have a lady boner for that old sod, Heathcliff (the moors, the angst, etc) Did I just type lady boner?

In addition to being maudlin,  I am a restless spirit, a spirit who has pieces and shards of interest splayed out in every possible creative direction. But to each its ultimate standard of expertise I can’t seem to reach fully.. Sometimes, I feel like my heart is flying in over my head, bouncing off the walls, the ceilings, yet confined within a certain room. Striving to break free and soar.

I believe I can fly.
Still trying to find my wings.
While I look, grab a pacifier and blankie. Give a listen.


Beauty and the Self Conscious Beast.

Imperfection and flaws are beautiful no matter how strange or dysfunctional they may be. We all strive for perfection, but it is an unattainable, elusive dream. OK, unless you are Timothy Olyphant! Hubba, friggin hubba.


But I digress….

We all have things we would like to change about ourselves. Learning to accept that we are perfectly imperfect is the key to peace of mind and giving our mirrors a much-needed reprieve.  Let’s own our flaws and make them fabulous. Idiosyncrasies should be embraced. How boring life would be without them?
We women especially put so much effort, into our hair, makeup and dress, setting such a high standard by comparing ourselves to others when we should just learn to love ourselves for who we are, flaws and all. Those flaws are what make us uniquely us. Let’s learn to be confident in our insecurities. Our fears do not define our worth, nor naysayers out to cast their stones. Let’s declare our independence from self-doubt.  Remember, under all those gorgeous dresses, lovely hats, and winning smile, even Kate Middleton probably has a few quirky qualities about her, like drinking milk straight from the cartoon, or something deranged like that.

Mark Kingwell-The People’s Philosopher

One of my favorite contemporary philosophers is the University of Toronto professor, author, essayist, and critic Mark Kingwell. He apparently has quite the following in Canada, but we Americans haven’t caught on yet. I discovered his work by accident last year while doing research for an interview with New York Times bestselling author Sylvain Reynard. Reynard who writes under a pen name, is an anonymous Canadian author who is shrouded in mystery. If you’re curious about him, click here.http:// He’s a brilliant guy, kind to a flaw, and his proses are effortless. No one aside from Jesus does redemption better.

But I digress. Kingwell’s name came up an article on Reynard. There was speculation that perhaps Kingwell and Reynard were one in the same. Having read both their works, I don’t see it. Their literary voices are vastly different. Reynard seemingly is a strong man of faith. Hope and redemption are prominent themes in his books. Kingwell, from all accounts, is a  atheist. He refers to himself as a rehabilitated Catholic. There are other glaring differences, but we’ll save those for another time.

Kingwell has written twelve books. You can see a list of his work here.http:// Today I want to focus on two of my favorites. A Civil Tongue (1995) and In Pursuit of Happiness: Better Living from Plato to Prozac (2000).  In A Civil Tongue, he takes on political discourse and culture. He believes social justice can be achieved through an open and honest dialogue. He refers to this as “the talking cure.” He is a proponent of tolerance, reason and civility — how very Canadian of him. In a time when political discord is out of control, his ideas are refreshing. Imagine a world where we actually discuss our political views in a rational, sane way, where we offered up ways to make a difference, where the blame games were nonexistent, and we listen to the other side. Imagine if we not only listened but showed respect for others’ point of view. If we could change political discourse, we could change the world.

In Pursuit of Happiness: Better Living from Plato to Prozac (2000) explores the nature of happiness and human nature in an engaging and entertaining way. Pop culture references are found throughout — everything from The Simpsons to Pepperidge Farm goldfishes. Naturally the works of some of the greats in philosophy play a prominent role. Spoiler alert: Aristotle plays a leading role in the book. Kingwell is a fan. He also takes us into the New Age movement with a hilarious anecdote of his time at a happiness camp. He tried Prozac just to see what all the fuss was about.

Kingwell asserts that happiness isn’t a feeling. Happiness is not about “feeling” good all the time. “Sometimes good enough is enough.” Reflection and introspection about one’s life are crucial to peace of mind.
It is not enough to just be in the world; one must also feel connected to humanity and the collective good. This can be an arduous task in our modern society in which we are inundated with information. This constant stream of noise that can leave us feeling out of the loop Kingwell refers to as “upgrade anxiety” –the feeling that we have to catch up. This feeling can zap us of our energy and overwhelm us.

Paradoxically, no man is an island. Much emphasis is placed on intimate relationships as being fundamental to happiness, yet solitude has sparked some of the most creative minds in history. Kingwell also states the seemingly obvious, that material goods can’t buy happiness. Happiness is not about getting everything we want. In fact, having all of our heart’s desires can lead to unhappiness. It is in the striving that we find meaning.

A Civil Tongue (1995) and In Pursuit of Happiness: Better Living from Plato to Prozac (2000), are books everyone should read. Kingwell’s writing is flawless without being pretentious or preachy. His wit is a thing of wonder. He’s truly the “every man and woman’s philosopher.” He’s hip, snarky and smart. Who needs happiness camp or Prozac when you have a Kingwell book?