Tonisha "Dr. Toni" Pinckney

Tonisha "Dr. Toni" Pinckney

Friday, August 16, 2013

Suicide: Don't Choose the Wrong Ending!






I have been where you are!  While life does continue to present challenges here and there, I am HERE to tell you that life was/is worth living.  I am so glad I did not give up on my future.  I am so glad that my past failures and mistakes lead others (and myself) to success.

My God view for you:  God did not make a mistake in creating you, even if your parents think they did.  God did not make a mistake when He created you - I cannot say that enough.  Know with every breath, God is saying to you that He still has faith in the success and strength of His creation - YOU.

Tears dry. Scars heal. Pain subsides.  Sometimes the hardest part of living is not what we have gone through, but dealing with the residual memories and pain.  We survived the violence, sickness, mental and emotional illness, death of loved ones, loss, poverty, homelessness, heartache, unemployment, and so much more. Now, we have to survive survival.  Now, we need to live past what happened and live on. That is the hardest part.  Why?  Because, we choose to live in the past.  We lock ourselves into a space where we continually relive what we experienced. We heap on every hurt or difficult after that traumatic experience making it feel as if life is one big painful moment.  We forget the laughter.  We forget the successes,  We forget the loves that did not lead to pain.  All we remember is the pain.  So, we stand, feeling alone, in pain, and like there is nothing left to life but death.  Well, there is more to life!

You are what is more to life.  You need you!  You need to recognize that you did not die because you were created strong enough to live.  You are still alive because you refused to give up.  Why give up now?  I pour out my heart in my book, I AM MORE! Surviving Survival, discussing suicidal feelings and thoughts.  It was the toughest part of the book to write. I had to once again relive many of my pains and traumas, this time for the right reasons. So, hopefully, someone else would stop reliving theirs.  I wanted you to know that you can even survive yourself, as I survived myself.

What you are going through is not the end for you.  Life does go on.  You will laugh.  You will experience love.  You will be successful.  The only thing that will prevent any of it is you.  Put as much energy into planning your life, as you do plotting your own death.  You may be thinking, "But, I made so many mistakes and now I will have to live with the consequences of those mistakes for the rest of my life."  That may very well be true.  I want to expand your thinking - NOT ALL CONSEQUENCES ARE BAD.  Detours, otherwise known as "mistakes," take you another route; but, they do not end your journey. It may be more difficult than it would have been, but success is possible.  If may take a bit longer to reach that goal, but it is still attainable. You no longer have control over the mistakes you made.  YOU DO HAVE CONTROL over the decisions you make now and in the future.  You can work your mistakes to your benefit.

Lastly, I want you to see the past for what it is.  The people that hurt you, the things that happened to you, the losses you experienced are all in the past.  They are a part of you, but they are not your whole life.  DO NOT LET THE PEOPLE WHO HURT YOU FINISH WHAT THEY STARTED!  Don't destroy yourself!  Don't let them win!  You got this!  God has you!  You are a success in progress.  You already survived all that happened to you - keep surviving!

My personal motto will also work for you.  
Declare, "I AM MORE!"  
Declare, "I am no longer a product of my past; I am a facilitator of my future!"

From my heart to yours,

Tonisha "Ms. Toni" Pinckney


"I AM MORE!" Survival Strategy Session w/ Ms. Toni  
August 28, 2013 @ 7:00pm
Go to to register for the call

Read more on topics such as suicidal thoughts and feelings, domestic violence, sexual assault, injustice, and even success:

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Friday, August 9, 2013

"I AM MORE!" Survival Strategy Session w/ Ms. Toni

Survival Strategy Session w/ Ms. Toni
AUGUST 28, 2013 @ 7PM (call-in)
You already survived, now what?  
You have already endured, now what? 
You already went through all that life could throw at you, now what?
Now, you survive survival!

Based on the most recent book release by author Tonisha "Ms. Toni" Pinckney, national speaker and life strategist, this surviving survival strategy session will give you the tools you need.  Ms. Toni simplifies the answers to those and other "Now, what" questions.

After reading the book, I AM MORE: Surviving Survival, inspired readers contacted Ms. Toni for their individualized life strategy. So, in this session, you get a few of the surviving survival strategy tips those clients and friends received. 


Everyday Extreme:
  • Divorced, Divorcing, and other Heartbreaks
  • Raising children with challenges
  • Unemployed or Underemployed
Domestic Violence:
  • Understanding Intimate Partner Violence
  • Why do victims stay?
  • Life after survival - I left, now what?
Sexual Assault:
  • What did my sexual abuser, rapist, molester take from me?
  • Will I ever be the same?
  • Life after sexual assault - I survived it, now what?
Surviving Me:
  • Dealing with the despair post-survival
  • Past vs. Future Focus
  • "I AM MORE!"
The purpose of this session is two-fold: (1) inspire, motivate, and empower you beyond hurt and pain to a place of healing where you enjoy an excitement for life and living, and (2) give you a "swift kick in the pants." It is not enough for someone to tell you how great you are and how wonderful life can be. Ms.Toni agrees with life coaches that a good life plan is based on the strengths of the individual or organization. But, a GREAT STRATEGY is the product of risk analysis and a needs assessment. Life is balanced; so, should your strategy. 

You survived so much already, let Ms. Toni help you make the most your life as you continue to survive survival. Let her help you answer the question we all ask from time to time..."Now, what?"
After the session, Ms. Toni will be available for a short time of Q & A on the call, the I AM MORE Facebook page (, and Twitter (@IAMMORE).  


***If you cannot join in on the August 28th call, the recorded call will be available for 48 hours after the call AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.  After the 48 hours, or if you wish to possess a copy of the recording for future reference, it will be available for a modest $15.***


Friday, July 19, 2013

Domestic Violence, Racial Disparity, and Stand Your Ground Laws

If anyone should be told and allowed to “Stand Your Ground” it should be those in the throes of a domestic violence (intimate partner violence) situation.  In the midst of even the least intense episode of intimate partner violence, the victim-partner can feel helpless, afraid, and disillusioned.  Should he or she choose fight, flight, or freeze?  It is not a choice has little if anything to do with whether to harm the abusive partner; the choice is one of survival.  “How can I get out of this with my life?”  “Should I stand my ground; or, should I give in?”

In the case of Marrissa Alexander, 31 year old mother of three, she chose to fight against her alleged abuser.  She refused to freeze.  Fleeing was not an option, according to Alexander, due to the intent and positioning of her husband, her attacker.  So, she stood her ground!  For the sake of her children and herself, she fired a gun.  Unlike in the Zimmerman case, no one was murdered.  There was a real and unavoidable threat on her life.  Alexander felt she was in danger.  Alexander was in danger!

The choice for a victim-partner to fight back is not an easy one.  Often there are many instances of violence, abuse, or both which lead up to the moment that the victim-partner finally decides to stand their ground.  The decision is immediate, unplanned, and often take the victim-partner by surprise.  It is an enough-is-enough moment entwined with a sense of vulnerability and (at times) fear of death.  In listening to Marrissa Alexander’s statements, it is clear to me that she had but one choice – life or death.

Racial disparity is a problem when it comes to the Stand Your Ground laws throughout the United States.  Trayvon Martin was a victim of the Stand Your Ground law.  Post-mortem, he is accused of fighting George Zimmerman.  That supposed fight yielded justification for his death.  My question is:  Zimmerman approached Trayvon Martin in the dark.  If, a very big “IF,” it were true that Martin fought Zimmerman, was Martin justified in doing so because he felt his life was in danger – thus standing his ground? Just a thought, but I digress.

The Alexander case is very different.  However, much like the Zimmerman (Martin) case, the messages relayed by the upholders of Stand Your Ground law is consistent and worrisome.  When and to whom is the law applicable?  Who can truly assess when one feels in danger of his or her own life?  How can one external to the situation, having a completely different set of life experiences, assess the emotional and physical response to another’s start of mind when “danger” presents itself?  

The United States is once again engaged in a discussion of race, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, victim rights, and civil rights.  More importantly, we, Americans, with this law, are thrust into a more important discussion – the value placed on the lives of African-Americans (Blacks).  While I am cautious not to comment on the law solely based on what is reported in the media, I am concerned about the wellbeing of two segments of society I hold dear – youth and victims of domestic violence.

I recall standing in my living-room in Newark, NJ as my then husband banged on windows and doors trying to get into my ground-floor apartment.  I thought I was well hidden from his reach.  As the door and windows rattled from the impact of his rage, I called 9-1-1.  The voice on the other end of the line explained that to me that that night Newark was short on officers to respond.  So, at that point, they were only responding to murder calls.  Jokingly, the voice relayed, “[paraphrased] I guess you have to call back if he murders you.”  I survived that night without incident.  But, I had no way of knowing he would give up and leave.  I had no way of seeing into the future.  Had I possessed a gun that night, I probably would have shot a round into the air or into a wall to scare him away.  Calling 9-1-1 most likely would have been an afterthought.  My first thought, concern, was and would have been for the safety of my children.  I have been in Marrissa Alexander’s shoes.

As for Trayvon Martin, I can imagine many young black males have found themselves in Martin’s shoes.  I, even as a black female, know what it is to be followed through the store, followed by others as I walked through various neighborhoods, followed by police cars until I left a neighborhood not frequented by black, and so on.  I witnessed my son, age 14, pick up an item in the store to look at it only to have a swarm of store staff converge on him asking if he plans to purchase the item.

Both Trayvon Martin and Marrissa Alexander’s cases forced American to have a much needed set of conversations regarding racial disparity and victim rights (pre- and post-trial/adjudication) in the criminal justice.  Violence is not the answer to violence.  One must be able to protect his or herself, and upholders of the law must allow for equitable application.  These two cases are symptoms.  We must solve the problems, ills of America, before the symptoms will go away.  Addressing the symptoms will do nothing but allow for the underlying infection to fester and grow.  Thus, leaving Americans in a state of sickening denial.  As I often say, “Denial is delayed pain.”  How long will be delay the pain?  How long will we, as Americans, address the symptoms and avoid the problem?  Let everyone, of every race, join together for “equality and justice for all.”

I, Too, Sing America (Source)
by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Please share with others :)

Ms. Toni

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Prior to the televised trial, many Americans were not privy to the details and evidence in the case addressing the murder of Trayvon Martin.  I can only speak for myself.  After watching much of the trial, I would have found George Zimmerman guilty.  For the last 30-days I have listened as SCOTUS passed down decisions concerning affirmative action and voting rights that negatively impacts the African-American (Black) community.  As I sat this evening trying to explain the “not-guilty” verdict to my 14-year-old son, seeing the look on his face, I was at a loss for words.  What is the value of a human life?  What is the value of a young African-American boy?  What is the value of a future?

Protesting is understandable – dare I say necessary – so this does not happen in the future.  Peace must be maintained.  So, we must unrest in peace.  After all, there are too many dying.  There are too many whose blood still screams for justice.  As I look at my sons, for the first time, I am troubled as to their future.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated while fighting for justice and against injustice (two very different things) said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."  I have this dream for my sons.  The parents of Trayvon Martin had this dream for their son.  We now share in the knowledge that no matter how great America is as a country, America is not yet the nation we dream it to be.

Unsurprised by the verdict, I am appalled.  The America we live in is in transition.  Many felt we had progressed into a future of tolerance and forward thinking.  Many of those let down their guard.  Economic pressures in recent years squelched the voices of community members.  The election and re-election of an African-American President (who is deserving and doing a great as POTUS) lulled too many in to a false sense of security.  The process and handling of the Trayvon Martin case was a horrific awakening.

How can we rest when there is injustice?  How can communities barbeque and laugh while children go missing without gaining media attention?  How can we watch reality-shows while our own reality spirals downward?  Will we wait until the oppression is too great to bear before we raise our voices?  The time to speak was yesterday, last year, a decade ago, TODAY, and tomorrow!  It is not enough to protest.  We must educate ourselves (including our children).  We must grasp the spirituality which helped us over come during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s.  We must regain our sense of purpose and drive had during the 1970’s.  We, as a community, must remember that freedom begins first in the mind.  You are not free to choose unless you know that you can choose.  You are not free to speak unless you know you have a voice.  You are not free to act unless you have a plan of action.  Why are you resting, America?  Inaction is simply the act of doing nothing?  Are you living in peace, or, are your ears covered?  Are you living in peace, or, are have you lost focus?  Rest is for the dead.  Are you dead or alive?  Rest is for the dead – But, what about those whose death was due to injustice, profiling, and hatred?  Do they rest? Do they have peace?  I pray they do!

Poem: UnRest In Peace (Dedicated to the Memory of Mr. Trayvon Martin)
~Tonisha M. Pinckney 7/13/2013

How can I rest when my blood still screams for justice?
Flowing down the streets of America, my blood seeks, finds, pools with other forgotten souls.
From the grave, I hear my family weep and other innocents tremble in fear.
There is no rest for this young spirit of mine.

My blood knows no peace, do you?

How can I rest when my life was stolen and no one cares as to why?
Yesterday, I was alive, but tomorrow, forever tomorrow, I am gone.
Dreams traded for eternal sleep and my visions exchanged for memorial imagery.
There is no time for me to rest when so many must be awakened!

My life has a value, does yours?

How can I rest when those who should have protected my life, now justify my death?
Muted protests challenging blinding injustice, my blood thickens with curdling lies.
My killer has a voice of defense, who will be mine?
There is no rest where there is no peace – where is my peace?

I cannot rest, can you?

How can I, a teen condemned to never age, rest when you seem to have lost the hope in your eyes?
Your eyes light the way for the unbelieving just as your hands guided my life.
I have no future, but I have a legacy.
There is nothing I can do now but trust you to fight with unrest in peace!

Justice was my injustice.  What will you do?

We MUST say, "I AM MORE!"

It takes a village to save a child!!!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Please share with others :)

Ms. Toni

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Always yelling, "That's MY man!"

Who has not heard a woman exclaim, in person or on social media, some version of the following: “That’s my man!”  - “Leave my man alone!”  - “My man don’t want you!”  - “I wish other women would stop trying to get at my man!”  The list can go on.  Often, the declarations are ridden with derogatory and offensive terms.  The woman rant and rages as she throws away every ounce of her pride.  In a misguided attempt to tell the world that she and said man is in a committed relationship, she reveals to the world her weaknesses along with those of her man and their relationship.

As we type “SMHH” or actually shake our heads at her display, we wonder why she cannot see the folly of her actions.  We, then, wonder what and when she will learn from the experience.  Finally, we start a mental countdown to the Facebook relationship status change from “married” or “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” or “single.”

William Knight (Iam Pastor K) says:  “[If] you have to announce it to the world by yelling from the mountain tops, it's obvious that you are either insecure or you have valid reasons to believe that he can be taken from you.  Either way, [any] man that you have to warn everybody to stay away from may not be all yours.  [Maybe it’s just] in your own mind.  Most of the time that a [woman] does that, it's over someone that nobody else really wants anyway.  [Thoughts of a man are,] if I'm with you for real, you don't have to announce it...the way I look at you, the way I hold your hand, the way I say your name, the way I smile in your presence should let errryyyyybody know.”

Here are a few things for you, I mean that woman, to consider:

1. It is more impactful when a man professes his love and commitment in his own words than when a woman shouts, “That’s my man,” in order to keep other women away.  Ask yourself why he is not professing his love and commitment.  Ask yourself why you feel such a need to express vocally (angrily) your jealousy and insecurity.
2. Concentrate more on relating to your man than on the relationship with your man.
3. Allow your man to be the man.  He needs to have a sense of pride in your relationship.  You are not in the relationship alone.  His feelings matter just as much as your feelings.  Is he comfortable being the man he know he is or should be? Are you limiting him?
4. Treat your man like a man.  He is not your son.  He is not your boy-toy.  He is not your ATM.  Treat him like the strong man he is. Show him you need him because you want him not that you want him because you need him.  He is a man not a habit.
5. A trustworthy man must be trusted.
6. Focus on being the right woman more than making him the right man.
7. Communicate less with the world, and more with “your man.”  Stop telling the world your problems.  Talk and listen to him.
8. Once it’s said, it’s said.  Ranting to the world cannot be undone.  The relationship will change forever.  How others look at the relationship will change.  How he looks at you will change.  Nothing good will come of it.  Respect is of utmost importance.
9. When in doubt…Shut Up!
10. Support that man and share his interests.
11. Class beats crass any day!  Understand that a lady carries herself as such.  Acting a fool in public (on or offline) is not lady-like.  So, you are not showing how much of a man he is, you are revealing how unlike a lady you are.  Any female can be a woman.  A lady is in a class all by herself.  Be a lady.  Think like a lady.  Act like a lady.
12. Focus more on being a “jewel” than on getting the jewelry (the ring).
13. Close your mouth, open your heart, and listen.  A real man has wisdom he wants to share with you.  Have you given him the opportunity?  If you are not willing to listen, there is always another who is.
14. Invest in his vision.  A real man has a vision, not just a dream, and a real woman will understand and support that vision.  Investment requirements are not limited to money and property.  Listening, time, and research are other examples of investment.
15. He should have the freedom to leave while making the decision to stay.  Entrapping a man does not make him “your man.”
16. He must be a “man” before he can be “your man.”
17. Other women do not care whether he is married, in a relationship, or single.  Other woman care whether he is or is not committed.  Your loud and intrusive outbursts to let the world know he is “taken” mean nothing.  It is obvious when a man is committed.  Only he can confirm and profess his commitment.  Your declarations, probably unfounded, only confirm to other women that he is probably not totally committed to you.  By default, you are admitting there is some deficiencies is the areas of trust, love, commitment, respect, faithfulness,  or any combination thereof.
18. Saying he is “your man” does not make him “your man.”
19. Saying he is “your man” does not make you the only women making that declaration.
20. A man is not a piece of property.  You do not and cannot own him.  He is not enslaved to you.  A committed man is a man who was free to choose and chose you!

Saying “I AM MORE!” is saying:  I love myself too much to debase myself to keep a man.  I love my man too much to disrespect and devalue him.  I love our relationship too much to reveal our areas of weakness to the world.  We are strong together because we are strong as individuals.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Please share with others :)

Ms. Toni