A Tough Year for a T.U.F.F. Chick!

The question that I pondered was, how do I want to present myself? How will I brand myself? And what do I represent as a person? Through all of this, I’ve identified a few things. Number one...

So everyone knows by now that I’ve been through some thangs in life. But this year was extremely TOUGH, even for me. I try to look for the positive in every situation, or at minimum the lessons learned, but I’m not going to lie, a lot of times all I came up with was BLAH!


I’m typically a roll with the punches type of person. However, it’s been way too many punches this year that none of us had any control of. I think a couple of them joints got me in the face, caught me slipping! LOL I’ve been stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and honestly a little scared. I’m a woman of faith but this is so unprecedented that it could have anyone worried. I’ve been quiet for a little bit so that I could recenter and refocus.

I was talking to a close friend of mine (hey Nickia boo) and I was just confiding in her about some things that I had going on. I was expressing my fears and just being truly vulnerable with my friend. She probably doesn’t even know this resonated as much as it did but she said “you’ve already done the self-work and experienced the growth required to prepare you for anything that is to come.” Babbbyyyyyy, that’s a word! It helped me to shake myself off and face that fear head on. I had to make a decision that I would do something about it, instead of running from it.


I’ve also spent a great deal of time this year reflecting on who I am, what I’m good at, and ultimately what I want out of life. The question that I pondered was, how do I want to present myself? How will I brand myself? And what do I represent as a person? Through all of this, I’ve identified a few things. Number one, every single thing in my life has to make sense….and by sense, I mean dollars. Ok ok, it could also mean building upon or towards something greater, and/or be tied to my legacy. But that’s it.


So I started strategizing on how to make that happen, even with the blog, while still remaining authentic to who I am, the audience that I’ve built, and what my initial intent was to start the blog in the first place, which was to help people. I began reflecting on my life, what I’ve been through and trying to come up with one word to define me. The word that kept coming back to me was TOUGH! Like girl, the things you’ve endured would’ve caused many to thrown in the towel. Then I started adding to that and asking myself questions like “what makes you tough?”


I instantly went back to being the underdog. I discussed this in my intro blog but essentially the cards had never been dealt in my favor. If you need to understand more, go back and read my intro blog post. I’m not reliving all that again because it’s heavy to even write sometimes. Anyway, I knew that the word underdog needed to be captured in whatever branding I was going to do for myself. Not only do I consider myself an underdog, but I also naturally go for the underdog in every situation.


If we’re talking Beyonce & Kelly, I’m going with Kelly. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like Beyonce because I definitely do. It’s just that she’s already the people’s choice. She doesn’t need me rooting for her. However, Kelly (& Michelle too) need more people rallying behind them to continue to build on their individual successes. This is how I model my entire life.


When other girls don’t like that one girl, I befriend her. I’ve always stuck up for those being bullied. I guess I was always pretty popular, or at least “cool” enough that my opinion mattered in those situations and I always used it for good. If 10 people are ganging up on one person, whether the person was right or wrong, what good does me joining in at number 11 do? That’s just not my style. I despise it actually. I don’t follow trends, and I definitely don’t follow the leader. I am the leader.


I have a heart for the people who start out in last place, like me. It could be the ones who come from broken households, the ones charged with breaking generational curses, the strong friend that nobody ever checks on, or simply the outcast. I reflect on the girl who had a teenage pregnancy and was told she would never amount to anything, just to later witness her making well into the six figures, and building others up along the way. I went to graduate school with one. How about the guy who sold drugs and instead of the adults around pouring into him, they told him he wouldn’t amount to anything, just like his daddy. Then we later saw him turn that hustle into a legit business. After all, he already had a hustler’s spirit in him, he just needed redirection. I dated one. Or how about the one who barely made it into college in the first place but ended up beasting out and graduating at the top of the class. I am friends with one. Maybe you’re the one who started college pretty shaky but then after that warning letter from administration, you turned it around. That’s like 50% of the people l know! Lol


The point is, it’s NEVER too late, nor does it matter how you started. It doesn’t matter if your parents were there or not, broken family or not, toxic relationships, domestic abuse, or repetitive bad decision making in your past. As long as you have breath in your body, it’s not too late. I am a witness and so many of you are as well.


I think of it as almost how Jesus views all of us. He loves us all and died for ALL of us, however, he spent his time on earth with those most in need. Or similar to a doctor. We all need time with our doctor’s here and there, but the person who is sick needs that time and attention the most. That’s how I view the underdog. I love everyone, but I invest more time, energy and resources into the support and uplifting of the underdog.


So I came up with T.U.F.F which stands for The Underdog is Fearless and Favored. The underdog is charged with defying odds, overcoming obstacles, and fighting to be seen or credited their worth. Webster defines it as “a competitor thought to have little chance of winning.” If you have ever been counted out before you even opened your mouth, this is for YOU! If you’ve been deemed of little status or value for whatever reason, this is for YOU! If it seems like the odds are never in your favor, this if for YOU! If you’ve had to endure more than everyone around you, just to get equal footing, this is for YOU! If you are often overlooked, this is for YOU!


I’ve been reflecting on Mark 10:31 “but many who are first will be last, and the last first.” This confirms even more that I’m not the only one concerned with the underdog. So how do we preserve while we wait to finally have our moment?

  1. Utilize your faith – it gets hard, trust me I understand. But what other option do you have? Allow your faith to carry you through when you can’t carry yourself.

  2. Manage your attitude – no matter what the circumstances are, YOU are still in control of you. If you adopt a woe is me attitude, you will get stuck there. It’s very easy to do. Instead, look at all the good things that have happened to/for you INSPITE OF!

  3. Watch your actions – the way you treat people is a direct reflection of you, not them. In your waiting season, do the self-work to prepare you for what is to come. You are claiming it right? Then act on it while you wait! In the meantime, clap for others in their winning season.

I know from firsthand experience that perseverance builds character and strength, while increasing faith that will yield results. Ooohhh that was good. Go back and read it again.


The business is registered as T.U.F.F. Chicks, LLC. I’m starting with an athleisure line…because….well, that’s who I am! LOL Everyone knows I work out hard so you will typically catch me in workout gear or some sort of cute sweatsuit to lounge around in. That’s about all your girl can give you at 35! LOL


The clothes will be sold right here from the website on the SHOP T.U.F.F tab. I want to combine my voice with the merch that represents me as a person. I also intend to start mentoring young girls under the LLC as well because…..well, that is also who I am! It’s been a labor of love the last several months pulling everything together but I am sooo proud of the progress.


I am rolling out the soft launch next week! OMG, I’m excited. I hope you love it as much as I do.


With all my love, from one T.U.F.F. chick to another!

-Michelle L.


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