As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer. If you have a story you'd like to share but aren't sure about how to put it into words, contact us at email@example.com with the subject "As Told To" for your story to be featured.
This is Brittany Autry's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
Have you ever met someone and said to yourself, "yep, that is absolutely going to happen"? Well, that was my first impression of my ex. For the sake of the story, let's name him Uncommitted Chad.
Uncommitted Chad and I worked together, which made it incredibly easy to get to know one another in a short period of time. We didn't tell a single soul at our job and actually, lowkey didn't even engage with each other while at work.
He was fine, charming, spontaneous, and on top of that, he loved the Lord. We bonded over being from the south, our love of music, and our desire to change the community. I was smitten with everything about him. We dated for about a year without an official title. Throughout that first year, everything was great. We made each other dinner, we toured the city. We even had an incredible sex life. Everything was fairy tale perfect.
It wasn't until we celebrated my birthday at dinner with my closest friends that I started to notice that something was off. He didn't express interest in getting to know them and he rudely made assumptions about who they were. I decided to stop bringing him around my friends and individualized our time.
As time went on, I wanted more clarity on our situation, but he made it clear that he didn't want to be in a relationship until he reached a certain income level. I thought it was ridiculous, but I also rocked with his ambition, so I reluctantly stayed. Around a year or so of dating, we stopped seeing each other. He wasn't making any moves towards us being together. He wasn't happy, but he didn't try to stop me either. So, I ended it.
I didn't hear from Uncommitted Chad for months until one day, out of the blue, he called to ask me to lunch. He'd since decided to move back south to start a new business venture and support his family. It seemed like he was in a more positive place, so we slowly started to date again. This time, he expressed an interest in a real relationship and asked me to meet his mother. I was thrown off, but secretly ecstatic that we had come this far.
I bought a bus ticket, to make an eight-hour trip to visit him. On the day of my trip, I grabbed dinner with friends and I planned to Uber to the station directly afterward. Just as we were finishing up, he called and said he wasn't comfortable with me coming anymore. He didn't feel like it was the right time.
He. Didn't. Feel. Like. It. Was. The. Right. Time.
I was embarrassed, pissed, and genuinely hurt. I could not understand how in the hell he could decide an hour before my departure to tell me this. And most importantly, I couldn't believe that I had allowed myself to give this man another chance, only for him to show me yet another example of his inability to be in a relationship. How is it possible to be so wrong about someone?
I gave myself three days to be sad and then I decided to pick myself up and move forward. I blocked him from contacting me and didn't talk to him for six months.
Here's our pattern: every time I got away, he made small progress, and we would try it again. I don't know what type of spell he had over me, but he was a master at reeling me back in. He had moved to the south permanently, purchased a house, and invited me to visit for Valentine's Day. He even purchased my flight this time—which for my ladies who have been involved with an Uncommitted Chad, you are familiar with this mind game. I had decided that people mess up all the time and given that I'm a therapist by trade, who am I to believe people can't change?
So, I went.
The first day was great. We played games, had dinner and made breakfast together the next morning. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment that things shifted, but he told me that he was considering a position in two different places, neither of them being where I live. He discussed his business prospects, salary negotiations and even renting out his home, but he never included me in the conversation. As I listened and robotically gave feedback, I knew this would be the last time we gave this foolishness a shot. He was making future plans for himself. There was no "us" in the equation and if I stayed, I would just be hoping he would one day choose me. I got on my flight the next morning and never looked back. And I haven't spoken to him since.
Self-Therapy & Taking Control
When I returned home, I made a playlist of sad songs and began journaling as a means of coping. It sounds a little crazy, but I am huge on processing, so both allowed me to be sad, mad, frustrated, grateful and ultimately relieved. But I also knew I needed to process the end of the relationship in a real way; I needed a break. I remembered watching Eat, Pray, Love and thought it would be cool to have a similar experience. One night, I got an alert for a roundtrip flight deal to Bali for $650. I bought the flight and started planning my solo trip right away.
When I arrived, I sat in silence. I hated it. But I made myself sit in the discomfort and be present with my thoughts. I sought after activities for healing, so I spent intentional time with myself. I went to a coffee farm and tried different Indonesian blends. I rode elephants. I went to temples and prayed for myself and my family. I treated myself to fancy dinners where I sat at an actual table alone and ate food while I people-watched. I went to the beach to watch the sunset. I took yoga classes. I read by the pool. I wrote about my life thus far and the future life I wanted. I created commitments for myself. I also made a list of desires as well as non-negotiables for my next companionship.
Being with myself was so necessary. I knew I was leaving with something I absolutely did not arrive with.
The Birth of Wellness Retreats
After returning home, I began thinking of the sheer inner peace I felt being away. I thought about how I made the trip happen for very little, and the ways in which the trip helped me heal. A retreat seemed like the next logical option. I began doing some research and focus groups with my girls, and the Cent(her)ed Collective was born.
As I was setting goals for what I wanted to accomplish when back, I realized that I wanted to recreate my experience for other Black women. Given the stress that we deal with on a day-to-day basis and the various life events that impact us, we need more opportunities to be vulnerable, present and focus on ourselves. Mental healthcare is quite expensive if you don't have great insurance and I want to be a change in that.
Manicures and brunches are great, but they won't sustain us long-term. We must make our mental wellness hygienic and that requires daily practice, even if for just a few minutes.
I know for sure that my cultural impact is about creating healing spaces for my people. I want to ensure that I do my part to create access to quality mental health practices and resources for my generation and those who follow. Ultimately, I want to make sure that I relentlessly pursue ending the mental health gap for black women and girls.
So, ladies, let’s make it a priority to heal—whether it’s from a bad experience, a traumatizing job, or an Uncommitted Chad.
Brittany's next retreat will be held in Houston, TX from March 5th-March 8th, 2020. You may email Brittany for more information or visit her website.
Featured image by Brittany Autry.
Charmin Michelle is a southern native and creative spirit who works as a content marketer and events manager in Chicago. She enjoys traveling, #SummertimeChi, and the journey of mastering womanhood. Connect with her on Instagram @charminmichelle.
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Everything Kerry Washington Has Said About Her Husband Nnamdi Asomugha
Actress Kerry Washington and her relationship with her husband, actor Nnamdi Asomugha, is the perfect example of a winning team.
The pair became an item following a chance encounter in 2009, and many years later, on June 24, 2013, Washington and Asomugha would secretly tie the knot. Since then, the high-profile couple has expanded their blended family by welcoming two children, a daughter Isabelle Asomugha, 8, and a 6-year-old son Caleb Asomugha. Asomugha also has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Despite Washington and Asomugha choosing to live a relatively private life for the most part by not sharing images of their family on social media and occasionally attending events together. The rare glimpses they provide to the public showcase that Washington and Asomugha have much in common regarding essential topics.
For example, Washington is highly involved in politics and encourages others to participate by spreading information about various issues and how everyone would be affected.
As for Asomugha, the 41-year-old officially founded the Asomugha Foundation in 2010, years after doing other charity work in Nigeria. According to its site, the organization was created to help "disadvantaged youth and women by providing educational opportunities and mentorship."
Washington's public remarks regarding her relationship with Asomugha and their family may be rare, but when she does speak about their family, it's all positive.
Kerry On Why She Keeps Her Relationship Private
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bronx Children's Museum
In March 2016, the UnPrisioned actress revealed during a discussion panel at SXSW Festival that one of the reasons why she is adamant about remaining private about her union with Asomugha is because she doesn't want the public to make any narratives regarding her marriage.
At the time, it was reported that Washington and the former NFL player were experiencing marital troubles and were allegedly planning on getting a divorce. Washington would shut down those allegations by saying she hasn't and will not share any information about her private life.
"Social media has actually been great for [other celebrities'] relationships with the weeklies or the gossip sites because people say things and they say, 'That's not true!' So I'm thinking in some ways, it's been great because people are able to maintain their voice," she explained.
"It's a little different for me because I don't talk about my personal life. That means not only did I not tell you when I was getting married, it also means if somebody has rumors about what's going on in my marriage, I don't refute them, because I don't talk about my personal life."
Kerry On How She Met Nnamdi And What A Normal Day Looks Like for Their Family
Fast forward to October 2018, the Scandal star gave insight into how she met Asomugha and their family life. During an interview with Marie Claire, Washington shared that she and Asomugha met in 2009 while she was working on the Broadway play Race.
The mother of two told the publication that her life has "completely transformed" since their encounter. "The last time I did theater, it completely transformed my life. That's where I met my husband. I love being with my family. My days off look like homework, reading, and watching stuff. Just hanging out, doing things we love to do," she stated.
Kerry On Nnamdi's Accomplishment
Photo by Jeffrey Camarati/Getty Images
But as time progressed, Washington began speaking a little more openly about her man. In October 2022, Washington gushed over Asomugha and his Netflix project, The Good Nurse, which came out around the same time her film, The School for Good and Evil, was released. While talking to Entertainment Tonight, the star expressed how "proud" she was of her husband.
"I'm really proud of him, I think he's doing amazing work. I'm really excited for his film, The Good Nurse," she said. "It's really exciting to both have really important films at Netflix right now, we feel really blessed.”
Kerry On Why Nnamdi Is Her Soulmate
Washington shared how her love with Asomugha goes beyond the surface after spending over a decade together.
In a March 2023 interview with Marie Claire, Washington explained that she and Asomugha are perfectly aligned because she's allowed to be her authentic self with him.
"I'm in my immediate truth with [him]," Washington said. "Those mirrors are important because they help me get back to myself."
Kerry On The Couple's Upcoming 10-Year Wedding Anniversary
Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
That same month, Washington expressed that in addition to the many years the couple has been together, and their personal and professional accomplishments, she still finds Asomugha "incredible."
Washington shared this revelation while promoting her latest project, UnPrisioned, in an Entertainment Tonight interview.
"I do have an incredible husband," the actress told ET host Kevin Frazier as she disclosed little to no details about their upcoming plans for their tenth wedding anniversary. "Do you remember how secret my wedding was? How private and secretive it was? That's how the anniversary is gonna be too!"
Kerry On Why She Thinks Nnamdi And Their Children Are A Gift From God
Washington's love and admiration for Asomugha and their family grow increasingly each day, so much so that she uses it as inspiration to share positive messages with her fans.
The 46-year-old revealed during a panel with Al Sharpton at National Action Network Convention on April 12 that she sees her husband and their children as "proof" that God exists and loves her because of the great joy they bring to her life.
"Well, you've met my husband, my husband's amazing. I got a good one. We have three beautiful children. And I think, you know, when I look at my marriage, and I look at my kids, fundamentally, they are proof of God to me,” she said. "Because I know that God loves me to have put those people in my life. And that sense of like, knowing that God loves me. That, to me, is so much of how I make the decisions about the activism that I do and the content that I make."
Regardless of what the public may think about Washington and Asomugha's private union, they are proving with each moment that love can conquer all.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue