It was almost this time last year that I wrote "Wanna Start Your Own T-Shirt Line? 7 Pros Will Show You How" for the site. I make no apologies for the fact that I am borderline obsessed with a good unisex, Bella Canvas, T-shirt in a large, that has a great message on it. I just like how tees give you the ability to convey a message without saying a single word. Well, aside from the not-lucky-but-blessed sweatshirt, Black Dope Marriage Coach and Harpo, Who Dis Woman? tees that I recently copped, something that I've also been looking for is a T-shirt that represents a woman who I personally think handles herself in such a phenomenal fashion that her name is actually gonna be used as a verb in my life (like "Girl, you just Ava'd that!") all of this year —Ava DuVernay.
To get into all that she's accomplished as a filmmaker and film distributor would require more than just one article. For now, I'll just say that if you're a fan of the OWN seriesQueen Sugar, thank Ava. If the series based on the Central Park Five,When They See Us, completely moved to you to anger, then tears, then admiration for the strength of the five men in the story, thank Ava. Selma? That's what earned her the bestowed title of being the first Black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director and also best director when it came to the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2014. Maybe Black Love on your television screen is what you seek. Thanks to Ava, via her upcoming OWN drama,Cherish the Day, you're all set.
Honestly, to even begin to grasp all that Ava's accomplished, you'd need to get a glass of wine, curl up on the couch and review her Wikipedia page and website (not necessarily in that order either). For now, I'll just say that if you're a creative who's looking for some inspiration to breakout and do something that a shirt that I like says ("Keep Creating Dope Ass S—t 'Til Someone Notices"), unequivocally, Ava can serve as your muse. Case in point:
Can you tell I'm a fan? Indeed, I am. But today, it's not actually her resume that I want to get into. Rather, I'd like to simply take a little bit of your time to express why I personally find her name (Ava, if somehow you end up reading this, have you seenthis T-shirt before? At first I thought it was about you) to be a verb—"a word that represents an action or a state of being". Because how she appears to move—as a woman who is gracious, focused, fearless, private and totally unbothered—is just how I want to handle whatever 2020 brings my way.
To be gracious is to be "pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous". Even though Ava's Netflix series When They See Us did not earn a Golden Globe nomination (I'll touch a little more on that at the end of this piece), if you hop on over to Ava's Twitter page, you'll see her posting words of gratitude to folks like Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro for being co-executive producers on Selma and shouting out other accomplished individuals like Patricia Cardoso who is the first Latina director to be included in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. Interestingly enough, I'm not the only one who thinks that "gracious" is an appropriate adjective for her (click here for a really cool example).
There are a lot of narcissists in this world. Selfish and self-absorbed people too. It's a real gift if you've got the ability to still remember to be kind, to help others and shoot—to be freakin' polite. How cool is it that someone with the accolades that Ava has still makes the time to be thankful, supportive and to celebrate others? That is a trait all of us should have. No doubt about it.
If you want to see Ava in a not-so-formal setting, check out herShine On with Reese (that would be Witherspoon) interview from 2018. She talks about her first job being at a yogurt place, working as a publicist and not even picking up a camera until 32. Something that really stood out to me is her expressing just how much she loves what she does and how, "Your change from one career to another doesn't have to be all at once. It definitely and should be progressive." She also talks about "cobbling through" her film school experience for herself without ever sitting in a classroom (I can relate. I flunked out of college twice and still became a writer; we'll have to talk about that on another day). Instead, she said that she watched over 200 DVD commentaries of directors and determined in her mind, "I only have what's inside of me, and I had to be able to tell myself 'That's enough'."
Talk about drive. Talk about ambition. Talk about focus. No wonder she's able to introduce us to a new project—not just project but quality project—every time we blink. No wonder she also has the time to advocate for others (see "Ava Duvernay Just Hired A 50% Female Production Staff For Her New Series On OWN"). She's a living and breathing reminder that when you are crystal clear about your purpose and how it is designed to affect as well as benefit other people, it's hard to get distracted by…fame, trolls, critics, obstacles or even your own self-doubt. Focus y'all. Stay. Focused.
There is a doctor by the name of Ashish Patel who once said, "The elegance under pressure is the result of fearlessness." Man, if this doesn't embody Ava, I don't know what does because, looka here—if you never considered her to be fearless before, you should hang out on her Twitter page more often. Shoot, just the straight-up read alone that she dished out to Ms. Megan Kelly and the tweet she sent out to Jack (the CEO of Twitter) to hold y'all's president accountable are enough examples to remind us that our platform should be about more than stacking up followers. We should each use our gifts, talents, social media accounts and influence to stand up for what we believe in, to push back on things that we don't agree with, and to seek justice in the areas we are truly passionate about.
And what if we're disliked for it? Something tells me that Ava doesn't lose a lot of sleep over questions like that. Something tells me she's more in the lane of Margaret Thatcher—"If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, at any time—and you would achieve nothing." That'll preach. A billion times over.
I want to say that Ava tweeted it out herself sometime last year, but something that I find to be really cool about her is she's consistently active on social media; not her "team"—her. Still, you don't really know all that much about her personal life. Her Twitter bio says that she's (currently) a "Mom of 10" (she's referring to her creative babies). Her bio tells you that she's from Long Beach, California and her alma mater is the University of California. Still, you really don't know much more than that. Is she seeing someone? We don't know. What's her net worth? Rumors say that it's somewhere around (whew!) $60 million, but I've never heard her bring it up. We do know her age and, since she was born in 1972 (she's a Virgo, by the way), I totally get why she wanted everyone to nix the whole "Auntie Ava" thing. Per this tweet, I think she's a vegan. I'm assuming her favorite color may be black (only because I see her in it a lot). But really, what can we confirm?
And that's what I think is so dope. For the most part, all you know about Ava is related to her art—and her advocating for others; oh, and her sometimes putting folks in check. It's like she totally embodies a quote by an author named Katherine Neville— "Privacy—like eating and breathing—is one of life's basic requirements." To be able to pull that off in a world that is oh-so-very-nosey, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a feat within itself. Then to be able to be private in a way where folks feel connected to you without them being in all of your business? That's an art form. One that more of us could stand to adapt, don't cha think?
She's Totally Unbothered
*le sigh* The Golden Globes. Yeah, I'll spare y'all my soapbox thoughts on that awards program (or the politics of award shows, in general). What I will say is when I saw some of what was nominated while When They See Us was overlooked, I couldn't help but to immediately conjure up some of my own conspiracy theories. It really is crazy, just how much a lot of this world would rather be entertained—mindlessly so—than inspired. But you know what? I did get another Ava-related takeaway from it. If Omarion won the Totally Unbothered Award for 2019 (and he did), Ava has to at least be nominated for 2020. Just peep her tweet about the awards show (see above). Look at how she chose to look at it.
I don't personally know Ava, so I can't speak to why she's so calm, cool and collected about everything. But what I can do is speak to how her energy ministers to me personally—"Shellie, stick to your purpose, do your best and be your own biggest fan. If you commit to doing those things, not only will you be untouchable but unstoppable." Y'all, being unbothered is a superpower because it keeps you centered, balanced and able to keep pressing forward. We ALL need to be on that tip this year. Each and every one of us.
Something else that Ava once said is, "I love to see people just being regal in their own skin; it's just when they know who they are." Regal. Some synonyms for that word include royal, majestic and sublime. When you see yourself in this fashion, it's a lot easier to walk through this life, both online as well as off, yep—totally unbothered.
So yeah, call this a "jock piece" if you want. I don't care. The energy frequency that Ms. Ava DuVernay is on, that is what I totally aspire to this year. So, if somebody can point me in the direction of a really cool portrait T-shirt with her on it, I'd be grateful (sidebar, I'm on the hunt for a Yara Shahidi one too). For me, it's symbolic of the fact that you know you're truly on task when you motivate others.
Ava, big ups for doing that. Keep walking in your greatness, holding people accountable with your tweets and, in some ways, keeping us wondering. It's a part of your charm. Not only can I dig it. I totally appreciate it. It inspires me. It really does. Thank you.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy