Yeah. I'll be the first to raise my hand in this class and say that forgiveness is a process. What I mean by that is, whether you choose to forgive someone while looking them dead in the eye, while journaling at home or while standing at the foot of an altar, rarely do you say the words, "I forgive you" and, immediately following, everything is fully resolved. Or healed. When you decide to forgive someone via your words, it is basically like making a public declaration that you are going to put yourself on the path to, as the dictionary definitions of the word state— "to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.)"; "to cease to feel resentment against and absolve (to cancel an indebtedness or liability of", or "to set free or release, as from some duty, obligation, or responsibility)".
Pardon. Not resent. Release. Hmph. No wonder so many mental health professionals say that when we choose to forgive a person, it's far more for our benefit than it is for theirs; that to choose (because it is always a choice) to hold onto the fallout of our experiences is holding us back, stressing us out and, according to many reports, even making us sick. No joke. There are studies that reveal unforgivingness can keep you in a state of anger and raise your blood pressure. Unforgivingness can also increase levels of depression and PTSD. Shoot, unforgivingness can even cut your lifespan short. And really, y'all, is holding a grudge really worth all of that?
That's why I wanted to take out a few minutes of your time to first say, if you know there is someone you need to forgive, for your own health and well-being, please consider doing so. And second, if you're reading this and you someone who hurt you, offended you and/or totally pissed you off immediately comes to mind, just to make sure that you're as free from the situation as you may believe that you are. You can do this by going down this checklist of signs that a person isn't as good at forgiving as they might think that they are.
Why Is Forgiving So Hard to Do?
Since most of us know that bestowing forgiveness is essential in life (because none of us is perfect, right?), why is it that so many of us seem to struggle so much with forgiving others? In a good article that I read on the topic, the author brought up three good points. A lot of us don't forgive others because 1) we don't want the "offender" to think that what they did was OK; 2) we don't think that the person who hurt us deserves forgiveness, and/or 3) we don't trust them. Thanks to my own forgiveness journey, what I have learned is, far too often we are hesitant or even afraid to forgive someone because we think that forgiveness and reconciliation are one in the same, when that is not even remotely the case.
You forgive as a way to heal from the hurt or harm that was done to you. You also forgive in order to release yourself from the temptation to keep the cycle of pain going by hurting or harming the other person (or someone else because you are still holding onto unforgivingness).
Reconciliation is another matter entirely. If it is even on the table for discussion, the offender has some work to do in order to restore what has been lost (and if they are truly sorry, they are all for putting the sweat equity in with their words and actions—no question about that). So no, never feel that just because you have forgiven someone that you are invalidating your feelings about the offense or that you have to have the same kind of relationship with them moving forward. Forgiveness isn't designed to make you more vulnerable; it's actually meant to empower you by helping you to let the pain, fear and frustration go.
Now, with all of this out of the way, here are some pretty telling signs that you're not as good at forgiving as you probably need to be.
1. You Don’t Really Ever Let Things Go
Something that I deal with a lot in marriage counseling are people who forgive with their mouths but not necessarily via their actions. What I mean by that is, although one spouse will claim that they've forgiven their partner for something that they've done, the moment they do something else that they don't like, the past issue comes up. It's almost like they hold onto it like a trump card to use in an argument in order to "win" it. Nothing healthy comes out of it because really, who wants to constantly hear about their past missteps and mishaps all of the time?
Say that you are married, your husband misspends some money and it caused a check to bounce. You talk it through and then tell yourself and him that you are willing to let it go. But then he forgets to pay a different bill five months later and you bring his misspending from before up, even though these are the only times in recent history that it has happened. This is a good example of not being able to let things go.
If your man really isn't the best with money, perhaps it's time for you to handle the finances or for you guys to get a financial consultant. But to berate him every time he does something, even though you claim you've forgiven him, means that you actually didn't. Not only that, but the more that you "stockpile" his mistakes, the harder it will be to get past a challenge or problem the next time one comes up.
Interestingly enough, this is one of the reasons why a lot of couples end up divorcing after 20 years of marriage; they never really forgave each other for much of…anything really. And you know what they say—eventually a collection of snowflakes end up turning into a huge avalanche.
2. You Take “Forgive but Don’t Forget” Totally Out of Context
One time, I heard a guy named Cedric Dent say something about forgiveness that I think is pretty good. He used the hypothetical example of him telling someone something in confidence, them turning around and telling other people, and then them ultimately asking for forgiveness for the betrayal. According to Cedric, the best way to handle an instance like that is to forgive the person, but to also not tell them any more secrets for a while. It's not because you are holding things over them; it's actually their actions have shown that they have a weakness when it comes to respecting someone else's privacy.
I think this is the healthy way of applying the old adage "forgive but don't forget". You're not "not forgetting the offense" in order to weaponize the offender with it later up the road. You're using it as a teachable moment so that you can do all that you can to prevent being in a similar situation again. It's not about holding something over a person; it's about making sure that you apply wisdom in the future. No more, no less.
That said, forgiving while not forgetting shouldn't be about not being open to giving someone another chance. It's simply about asking yourself, "What did I learn from this experience?" and then applying it across the board. For instance, if someone revealed one of your secrets, what's the lesson? Perhaps it's something as simple as learning how to vet people better in the future. "Not forgetting" should be more about how the situation can make you better rather than how to make someone feel like they cannot be redeemed for what they have done. If you've truly forgiven them, sometimes they can be—once trust has been restored. It's close to impossible for that to happen if you're holding onto the out of context take of "forgive but don't forget".
3. You Lack Empathy in the Forgiving Process
I remember when I got my first abortion and a "friend" that I went to school with, who was a virgin at the time, told me that I was going to go to hell for it. Fast forward to her having a late period two years later and—surprise, surprise—she was asking me what clinic I went to for my procedure.
Yeah, it can be really easy to think that someone is not worthy of your forgiveness—or forgiveness, in general—when you haven't done anything similar to what they did to you (or you have selective memory when it comes to some of the past things that you have done). But we've all done something that some human, somewhere, would deem "unforgivable". Not only that but, if a lot of us were truly honest with ourselves, the reason why we don't extend the forgiveness is because, on some cryptic level, we want to have some sort of power over the person who offended us.
I can speak from very up close and personal experience that the sooner you bring empathy—" the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings"—into play, the sooner your heart will soften to a situation; any situation, really. Try it.
4. You’re Stuck in the Past
An author by the name of Criss Jami once said, "Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on." Now put a pin in that as we touch on the main points from the article, "8 Signs You Have NOT Forgiven Someone", the author shares some of the following points.
Here's how to tell if you still need to do more forgiveness work. When you:
- Use what the person said or did as a topic of conversation.
- Daydream about getting revenge or some kind of justice. A good example of this is attending your high school reunion and showing them.
- Preoccupy your mind day in and day out either reliving or dwelling on the situation or the person's behaviors.
- Get annoyed if someone even mentions the person.
- Have a tendency to avoid the person.
- Are secretly delighted to hear about the person's current difficulties and losses.
- Strongly believe you have been unfairly treated and are an innocent victim.
- Have friends and family that are tired of talking about the person and the latest drama.
In another article on forgiveness, the author said this:
"…forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life."
Something that a lot of us refuse to acknowledge or accept about forgiveness is that it can keep us mentally, emotionally and relationally stagnant. Here's an example. Back when I was dating my late fiancé, it took for-e-ver to let him fully into my heart and life because my first love had done so much emotional damage. Looking back, I stand amazed by how much my fiancé was able to tolerate me bringing up my ex or sometimes even comparing the two of them. By the time I finally did let my guard down, Damien (my fiancé) died just a few months later.
That's the thing about unforgivingness. In order to remain in that head and heart space, you have to keep thinking and looking backwards. And that is what can prevent you from truly moving forward. Hmph. The real "ouch" about that is while you're still stuck in your past, there's a pretty good chance that your offender…isn't. They are moving right along.
5. You Think That Karma Is YOUR Job
If you hop on Google, put "karma quotes" in the search field and then click on the "images" tab, you'll see a slew of karma references. Two that cracked me up were "Karma's just sharpening her nails and finishing her drink. She'll be with you shortly" and "In the end, karma will be a bigger bitch than I'll ever need to be". Two that had me like "hmm" were "Karma isn't a bitch, it's a mirror" and "You will never understand the damage you did to someone until it's done to you; that's why I'm here. Signed, Karma." But the quote that all of us should keep in mind as it relates to forgiveness is the one by Dr. Wayne Dyer—"How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours." (Louder for the seats in the back, please.)
Although most of us consider karma to be "what goes around comes around", did you know that another definition of the word is "destiny" or "fate"? I can personally attest to the fact that karma has a way of handling what someone has done (ourselves included) in a way that we couldn't even begin to come up with on our own. Plus, when we let karma do its thing without trying to help it along, we avoid reaping seeds of bitterness, resentment and revenge.
Along these same lines, the Bible tells us that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:6-10). What's really a trip about that Scripture is it doesn't put an expiration date on when that reaping will happen. The warning here is that you only waste time and bring unnecessary drama into your own life if you think it's better to be the "karma bestower" rather than forgiving someone. What's really crazy is, by trying to do karma's job, you keep the vicious cycle going—and usually end up doing further harm to yourself. (Something that unforgiveness knows will happen, by the way.)
Bonus: If You’re a Christian, You Don’t Factor in Just How Much You Need to Forgive
If you're a Christian (or you're simply someone who tries to apply biblical Scripture to your life as much as possible), I think it's imperative that I end this article on forgiveness on a particular note. Matthew 6:14-15(NKJV) tells us, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
What this basically means that in order to be forgiven by God, we need to forgive those around us. It's a Scripture that actually keeps me pretty humble because it reminds me that just like I need to forgive others for what they've done, there is stuff that I do that I need to be forgiven by the Most High for; that nothing should keep me from wanting to live a free and forgiven life so that, at the very least, I can spiritually thrive as an individual.
True forgiveness ain't easy. Not by a long shot. But if you really want to evolve and heal as an individual, it's important that you do it. Not the "bad way" (you know, saying that you do even if you don't really mean it); the right way. Hopefully this article helped to point you in the direction of just that.
Forgive. So that your karma will bring forgiveness unto you. Amen. So be it, sis.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Whether it was your group chat, social media feed, or your favorite media outlet covering the spectacle, I’m pretty sure you’ve come across the viral Black wedding between actress KJ Smith (Sistas, Raising Kanan) and actor Skyh Black (All the Queen’s Men, Sistas). From their grand entrance to Jay-Z, Kayne West, and Beyoncé’s song “Lift Off” to KJ’s standout dance routine and the endless celebrity appearances, it’s an addictive TikTok scroll you can’t help but delve into.
But what many people would be surprised to know is that the couple’s original wedding plan was nothing like what it grew to be. What started as her simply scrolling through posts to get ideas eventually transformed into what the internet knows now as #TheBlackExperience. In an exclusive conversation with xoNecole, KJ walked us through her planning process, the morning of her wedding, and what she thinks of the online response.
Some women have their whole wedding planned out, from the bridal gown and venue to the bridal party and playlist. However, KJ was not one of those people. “I didn’t foresee a wedding in my future,” she reveals. “I was just gonna be the boss chick, rich auntie. I didn’t force love in my life until recently. I never had an idea of what a dream wedding would look like, it was easier for me to elope.”
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
And to many people’s surprise, that was their original plan – until Skyh brought up a valid concern. He was raised by his grandmother and thought she should be at the wedding, and naturally, that led to KJ wanting her grandmother to be there as well – then her mom – and later her sister – and, you’ve gotta invite the besties too, right? From there, the guest list continued to blossom. Much like the updo and pop of color bold red lip, she wore on her special day, which was initially on her Pinterest board as a soft glam look with her hair hanging on her shoulders, KJ is okay with changing her plan if it brings her and her loved ones happiness.
So let’s get into the wedding, which took place in Malibu, CA. The first thing you should know about the celebrity couple is that they’re non-traditional. They know, and they don’t care. So, in true unconventional fashion, they shared the morning of the wedding together.
“I woke up with Skyh, we walked our dog, had black coffee, and said good morning to the people who stayed at the venue with us,” she says.
Now, it was time for hair and makeup. While she was getting glammed up, she had Black-owned McBride Sisters wine and champagne (which ties into The Black Experience theme) on deck with her mom and friends, had her besties help rework her vows, retried on every outfit (sis is very Type-A), took photos, and ended the early-celebration with prayer and meditation. It seems very non-Bridezilla, I said.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company,” she explains. “The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
Things moved quickly, and before she knew it, it was time to line up to walk down the aisle.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company. The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
KJ Smith and her bridal party
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
Since everything started with their grandmothers, the couple wanted to ensure they honored them and planned to keep an element of their wedding traditional. Although we’ve all seen the reception videos and photos online, you may have noticed visuals from the wedding itself are harder to find.
“We planned for it to be traditional, but we’re not like that, so we tried to create those moments. We jumped the broom and had a salt ceremony (where the bride and groom individually pour salt into a glass container, symbolizing their lives becoming one.) But honestly, still, nothing was traditional about it.”
She goes on to explain that her mom caught the holy ghost coming down the aisle, her glam team was on deck, and she became so nervous with excitement that she had an anxiety attack – something she struggled with for years, she explains tearfully. Her friends had to literally cheer her down the aisle because of how overwhelmed she felt until she eventually calmed down.
“Skyh was standing there with his hand on his heart; we have our own little language, and I could feel the support,” she shares.
It was surprising to hear all these emotional moments happened before the party we saw online. That is until she once again got into the backstory.
“As a Black woman actress, for so long, it was popular to be mysterious and secretive, but that’s not who I am or what I like. Plus, we both wanted to create an experience for everyone there. We are the people who always host family and friends,” she says. “Like for me, the first order of business was getting sandals for the women so they can dance all night long. We had oxtail, D'ussé, and a coffee and sativa lounge – which is part of Skyh and I’s lifestyle and routine. We wanted to bring them into our world.”
Skyh Black (L) and KJ Smith (R)
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
She went on to discuss the dance routine she did for her husband at the reception, which has taken over the internet. Apparently, that’s another thing that didn’t go according to plan. According to KJ, she had promised a performance at their joint bachelor/ bachelorette party, but her outfit got stolen from her car. So, Skyh ended up performing for her – complete with a strip tease. Still, she never forgot her promise to dance for him.
So, she hired her friend as a choreographer, learned the routine, made friends and family watch it endless times, and attended Beyoncé’s Renaissance show a few days before for a confidence boost. It ended up being a show to remember. But that wasn’t all the night offered. Lil Mo performed, and the guests received special goody bags featuring their favorite Black-owned products like journals, hair care, and more.
“We made sure everyone was taken care of all night. That kind of stuff makes us happy. I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives,” she says.
But naturally, the internet is going to internet, and while there were countless people praising the event and applauding the newlyweds, some thought it was too over the top. I was curious to know her thoughts on some of the criticism.
“It’s cool. We did what we wanted to do. I’ve decided to share my world with people. Just how I went on social media platforms and found inspiration, I want people to do the same,” she explains. “I don’t think it's fair to my supporters not to give that out. There’s so much I wanna share with brides, specifically Black brides. I love that people are adding it to their Pinterest boards."
"I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives."
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
“I’m happy with it because we did what we wanted to do. They can do what they wanna do. Don’t be cruel, though, because you will get blocked,” she said, laughing.
The more I spoke with her, the more her sense of freedom shined through. People are always going to have their opinions, but at the end of the day, it’s you who has to live your life, and it seems like the couple realizes that and embraces that power. She also stressed the importance of not living for others and the lessons life has taught her.
“I’ve been to countless weddings, and I’ve been in countless weddings. I’m a generally older bride. So when women in my demographic get married, and you and your husband are busy working people like us, you deserve to have the one you want to have,” she shares.
“This is what we wanted to do. Our loved ones love and support us. We did so much to honor them, but we also wanted to start our own tradition, legacy, and creation. I'm not going to be pulled back into ideas of the past when I’m trying to create a future with my partner. “
If you’d like to see more of the couple, you probably won’t have to wait long. Although no content is planned yet, she admits to being an oversharer. “Me being open and transparent about my experiences lets people know it’s okay to have flaws; it makes you human, and for many years, I didn’t believe that was okay. I had pressure to be perfect, and I’d crumble every time,” she explains to xoNecole.
Now, she owns her flaws and uses them as a superpower to connect with her community and feel and express her love.
“Some people give us [Skyh and KJ] a hard time because they say we just seem too perfect. I’m like, why is that a bad thing? I love the people I love. From my man to my mama, to my friends - unabashedly. We move through time and space how we want to move. If we did it another way, we’d let ourselves and our union down.”
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Feature image by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
In my opinion, oral sex is the best type of sex. In the words of my favorite female R&B group, “You gotta go downtown, that’s the way to my love...” But if you want to enhance your oral sex experience, you gotta try face-sitting.
Face-sitting has been making its rounds again on the interwebs, however, it’s been around since the 1800s. During that time, it became increasingly popular for “upper-class women” to enjoy sexual gratification from men and avoid pregnancy all at the same damn time.
What Is Queening or Face-Sitting?
Face-sitting is just what it says, sitting on your partner’s face. We're talking genital-to-face contact here. We're talking delightfully, smothering intimate oral sex. Face-sitting can be a deeply fulfilling experience for both partners since it allows them to develop incredible intimacy and closeness. Because of its throne metaphor, face-sitting is sometimes called queening. In comparison to traditional penetrative intercourse, face sitting can lead to orgasms that are much more frequent for cisgender women. This makes total sense since it’s been scientifically proven that direct clitoral stimulation boosts intense orgasms.
The only couple I trust when it comes to learning how to “face-sit” correctly are sex experts Dee H. Black and Laydee Vee of DVPassion. When I found out they actually teach a “face-sitting” class at Exxxotica a while back, I had to interview them.
Laydee Vee believes sitting makes people of all sizes feel comfortable praising their partner. Through breath play and smothering, participants learn how to enhance communication. The top person gives instructions to their partner below, which can make them feel dominant, powerful, and in control, whereas bottom partners may feel empowered and submissive.
Queening 101: The Most Ideal Sex Positions For Face-Sitting
Women sometimes hesitate to try face-sitting for fear of hurting their partner or being too heavy. Personally, I subscribe to the philosophy, "If they die, they die!" If they gotta go, why not go in between my legs? However, to build confidence, Laydee Vee suggests looking within. “Confidence starts with you. If you’re nervous, your partner may sense it, causing harm. Once you feel comfortable, you can experiment with different positions to find the one that works best for you.”
Once you become more comfortable, face-sitting can be even more enjoyable for you and your partner. A good position to try and build your confidence is the classic reverse cowgirl position, with your partner lying on their back and you straddling their face while facing their feet. By adding a pillow, the bottom partner can lean back more and add pressure to the vulva to intensify the face-sitting experience.
In addition to using a pillow while in the facesitting position, the bottom partner can also use other sex toys. For example, he or she can use a butt plug or a dildo to feel enjoyable. You can also engage in face sitting while you're on your knees or in a squat with a pillow for support if you want to take things to the next level. You'll experience more sensations and pressure as a result of this.
A personal favorite from Laydee Vee and Dee Black’s workshop is “The Queening Position,” where the person on top sits on the bottom’s face like a chair. For those of you that love anal play, this can be a really intense way to get it. You can also get up close to the anus and stimulate it with your mouth and tongue. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also try stroking the anus with your fingers.
Another advantage of face-sitting over other positions is that it can be used for threesomes and group sex. The top can, for instance, use their hands or a sex toy to satisfy others while simultaneously getting pleasured through genital stimulation from the bottom. The bottom, on the other hand, can also experience genital pleasure from others or even penetration while engaging in oral sex with the top.
Face-Sitting: How To Enjoy The Queening Position Comfortably & Safely
Although a number of people can enjoy the act of face-sitting, it is a very risky and potentially dangerous practice. It is possible to hurt your partner if you aren’t careful, hence why communication is key. As with any sexual act, it's important to talk with your partner ahead of time about their comfort level with face-sitting, as well as any potential boundaries or concerns they may have. In many cases, it may be helpful to start with a more gentle, exploratory approach, such as placing your partner's face between your thighs without bearing down too heavily.
Many things can be done to make face-sitting more comfortable for those who are hesitant about it. The first thing that you should do is get a good understanding of anatomy and the position. You might also want to discuss what kind of stimulation you're looking for in a face-sitting session with your partner.
A queening chair, a chair with a hole in the seat big enough for a mouth and part of the face to fit through, is another option I suggested. After lying on their back, the person on the bottom slides under the chair, allowing them to perform oral sex on the person sitting on top. Lastly, it's a good idea to have a signal with your partner for when they need a break. This can be as simple as tapping on their thigh or butt, but it's a great way to avoid having the session become too intense for them.
With a little bit of communication, experimentation, and attention to safety and pleasure, face-sitting can be a wonderfully intimate and satisfying addition to your sexual repertoire. So go forth with confidence and enjoy all the exciting new sensations this position can offer!
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