Somebody cue Jahiem's "Age Ain't a Factor" music video, please. Angela Bassett. Cicely Tyson. Gabrielle Union. Adrienne Banfield-Jones (Jada Pinkett Smith's mama). Toni Braxton. Bianca Lawson. Nia Long. Sanaa Lathan. Cynthia Bailey. Karyn Parsons. Sade. Regina Hall. Kimberly Elise. Rozonda "Chili" Thomas. Jill Marie Jones. Mya. Alfre Woodard. Jenifer Lewis. Brandy. Iman. Whew! That's 20 you-definitely-don't-look-your-age women and y'all know good and well that I could go on and on. Indeed, there are a billion-and-one things that make being a Black woman beyond dope, inspiring and relevant. Today, we're going to touch on how well we seem to age.
So, what's up with my title for this article? Yes, there is solid scientific evidence which supports the fact that the high amounts of collagen and melanin (especially if you've got what is known as eumelanin which is what causes someone to have skin of a darker hue) in our skin, coupled with the fact that our bones are denser than a lot of other ethnicities and a lot of us didn't grow up wearing a ton of cosmetics, has resulted in many of us constantly looking 10-20 years longer than we actually are. Still, there are two things to always keep in mind. One, chronological aging is something that none of us can avoid (which is why some people can look 40 for 15 years and then look significantly older all of a sudden). Two, if you don't take care of your skin (and hair and teeth), you can start to age, rapidly and significantly so, no matter how amazing your gene pool is or how much melanin you've got.
That's why I said that "Black can crack" and I stand by that. Many health professionals do as well. What this piece sets out to do is to provide a few tips on how to not take what God (and your parents) gave you for granted so that you can keep looking, as my mother—who also qualifies for the "Wow, you look at least 15 years younger" line up—would put it, not younger than your age so much as representing what your age should be out here lookin' like.
If there are two things that a lot of us struggle with when it comes to our skin, especially as we get older, it would have to be discoloration and dryness. Something that can make this less of an issue is to exfoliate (2-3 times a week unless you have sensitive skin; if that's the case, only do it once a week). Exfoliating is what helps to remove dead skin cells, clear clogged pores and reveal healthy skin. There are plenty of exfoliants on the market that you can buy, but something that I'm a fan of is old-fashioned DIY brown sugar and honey skin scrub. All you need to do is combine ½ cup of brown sugar (it's a humectant that gently exfoliates) with ¼ cup of coconut oil (it's got antibacterial properties), a teaspoon of grapeseed oil (it's loaded with antioxidants) and 2 tablespoons of honey (it's a humectant). Apply this mixture to clean damp skin and you'll notice immediate results after the first use.
If you've always made it a habit of going out without sunscreen because you believe you don't need it, it's time to invest in something like Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30.
While it's true that many of us grew up with the myth that darker skin doesn't require protection from the sun (not to mention the fact that many dermatologists were not trained on how to properly treat our skin), the reality is we can get sunburned and—this is a greater point—we are four times more likely than white people to be diagnosed with melanoma once it's in its fourth stage (which is very serious).
Also, since overexposure to UV rays can also result in fine lines and wrinkles over time, it's definitely in your best interest to apply sunscreen onto your face as well as your body. Not some of the time; daily.
Eat Food with Collagen in It
If your skin isn't looking as "tight" as you would like it to (or as it used to appear), it's probably because your system isn't producing as much collagen as it once did. Collagen is a natural protein that strengthens your skin and builds its natural elasticity. The good news is there are collagen supplements that can counteract this issue. You can also eat foods that are high in collagen. Some of those include berries, tomatoes, bone broth, dark leafy greens, fish, citrus fruits and carrots.
Eat Melanin-Producing Foods Too
Since melanin is what keeps us looking so good, it makes perfect sense that we should consume foods that help to maintain our melanin levels, right? Come to think of it, the reason why our hair turns grey is because our bodies stop producing the amount of melanin that it once did as we get older. That's why it's also a good idea to intentionally eat foods that can produce melanin in our bodies. I actually wrote an article entitled, "Some Foods Literally Enhance Our Melanin (Who Knew?)" that will help you out with that.
Ease Off of the Perfume and Statement Necklaces
Man. There were about a dozen people who immediately came to my mind when I read up on this particular point. I kinda hate to say it but…you know how they say that if you cut open a tree and count its rings that you'll be able to tell how old it is? A lot of us may look great in the face but our neck still "tells on us" because it's saggy and wrinkly. Two reasons why that could be the case is because of the perfume that we spray on it and/or the heavy jewelry that we wear around it. The reality is that perfume tends to have quite a bit of alcohol in it that can dry our skin out (so you might want to switch over to essential oils). As far as necklaces go, while you might want to wear chunky stuff on occasion, the key is not to do it all of the time; the weight can pull down on your skin which you definitely don't want if you desire to have a youthful-looking neck.
Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Here's something that might trip you out. The reason why a lot of Black people have a natural Vitamin D deficiency is because our melanin actually hinders the sun's ability to naturally create it in our system.
A lack of Vitamin D not only results in fatigue and bone, back and muscle pain, it can lead to premature hair loss and skin aging too. You can stay on top of this by taking a Vitamin D supplement and/or to eat foods that are high in it. Some of those include salmon, eggs, yogurt, cheese and fortified cereals.
Keep Your Teeth White
Something else that tends to happen over time is our natural enamel wears off and exposes the dentin that is underneath it. That can, in turn, cause our teeth to have a grey or yellowish tint to it which can also make us look older. Maintaining good oral health can help to keep this from happening. So can cutting back on acidic drinks (like soda and coffee), balancing how much fermented food you consume (it also has acid in it), and keeping your mouth thoroughly hydrated (that keeps bacteria at bay). Also, use a softer bristle toothbrush. Hard bristles can damage your teeth over time too.
Get Some Protein Treatments
When you end up with grey hair, it has a lot to do with your gene pool. At the same time, being low in protein plays a significant role as well. Our hair is made up of the protein keratin, which is produced less and less, the older we become. That can result in our hair looking thinner and less healthy. That's why it's a good idea to give your hair protein treatments about every six weeks. Also, because nails are made up of keratin and they can become drier and more brittle over the years, make sure that you eat foods that are high in protein (yogurt, spirulina, oats, quinoa and poultry), and that you regularly apply a nail strengthener to your nails too.
Drink More Water
It would take another article entirely to cover all of the benefits that come with drinking water. As far as your skin goes—it removes toxins, hydrates you (so that you have less fine lines and wrinkles), reduces puffiness, speeds up the healing process, balances the sebum in your skin (which makes your pores appear smaller) and, it also makes your skin look fuller and plumper; this, in turn, causes you to look younger in the process.
Sleep on Your Back More Often
I've got to admit that this is something I need to work on. While I prefer to sleep on my side, doing that (and sleeping on your stomach) can also age you. How? Well, if you ever wake up and see lines on your face, don't just chalk that up to simply being a minor result of being on your sheets and pillowcases all night; it's actually a foreshadowing of where wrinkles can occur. That's because putting that kind of pressure on your face for hours on end can create creases and crinkles over time. That's why it really is your best bet to sleep on your back as much as you can. You lower the "risk" of fine lines, you allow the fluid in your face to properly drain and, you can keep the bacteria that's on your bedding from infecting your pores—and all of this can help you to "keep your Black from cracking" for many years to come.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
10 All-Natural Ways To Strengthen Your Teeth & Whiten Your Smile
These Foods Will Give Your Skin & Hair The Moisture They Crave
Chilli And Mýa Share Their Secrets For Remaining Flawless And Fabulous
Featured image by Nappy
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Omarion Speaks On Where Co-Parenting With Apryl Jones Stands Now & I Have 6 Solid Takeaways From It
Between growing up in an entertainment industry home and then getting my start as an entertainment industry writer, there are always a few things that I make sure to keep in mind when it comes to that particular world. One, celebrity worship is ridiculous, even though our culture is basically obsessed with it.
Two, popular people are people who are just known more than the rest of us; never forget that we’re all human and we’re all gifted in some capacity (which is a huge part of the reason why my first point is a very valid one). Three, don’t put anyone on a pedestal; famous folks aren’t always what they seem. Four, no matter how much you think you know, you will never know as much as you think you do about celebrities. And five, rather than trying to model your life after them, use the things that you do discover as lessons or takeaways.
Omarion is no exception to all of this. When he comes to mind as an artist, B2K’s “Gots Ta Be” (which is the best song that they ever did, in my opinion), his song “Icebox” (which a few of my friends argue is his best solo effort to this day) and his visual “Touch” (the choreography is dope and you can definitely tell that Pharrell produced it) are what I think of first. As for his personal life, I remember thinking that it was not on my bingo card that he and his then-girlfriend Apryl Jones would go on Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood (he touches on why he/they did here); that all of the, umm, stuff that evolved from it isn’t shocking because, well, it started on Love & Hip Hop.
I know that (sidebar) his brother, O’Ryan is fine as hell (and it seems like Jhené Aiko has a type when it comes to men — and the fathers of her children — because he and Big Sean somewhat favor). I also know that Omarion, as a person, has definitely played out to possess some of the qualities that are associated with his zodiac. By that, I mean he seems brave, mystical, determined, creative, calculated, explorative, potential for wanting full control, deep, and — I didn’t know they, Scorpios, were considered to be “the sex symbol” (pun/no pun) on the zodiac chart; I always thought that was reserved for my people, Geminis, yet he exudes sensuality nonetheless, so…that’s noted too.
So yeah — between all of the rumors surrounding both B2K (if you know, you know) and his relationship, through all of its roller-coaster-like-a-mutha stages, with his now ex-Apryl — the woman who is the mother of both of his children (Megaa and A'mei) who you can definitely tell they made together — it’s been a little challenging to not keep them somewhat on my radar…which is why a recent interview that he did on Sway in the Morning caught my attention; especially as it relates to what he had to say about co-parenting and where he and Apryl are finally. FINALLY.
Here are my six takeaways from a famous person that can hopefully help others who may be on a similar journey.
1. Please Don’t Resolve to Be “Unteachable” in Your 20s
A lot of us either watched Omarion grow up or grew up with him. And from my calculations, back when he and Apryl went on Love & Hip Hop, he was in his late-20s. They were in a relationship when he came on, and so, yeah, this point is a very relevant one: even though being in their 20s makes people “grown,” sometimes folks can be worse than teenagers when it comes to not listening to the wisdom and insights of other individuals (especially who are older than they are). It’s almost like folks act as if it’s some rites of passage to make reckless or unhealthy decisions during that decade, only to look back and blame it all on “being young” when some humility and discernment could’ve avoided a helluva lot of drama, to begin with.
Listen, I’m speaking from personal experience here because all four of my abortions were between 19-25, and although the reasons behind the decisions can’t all be chalked up to age, I do know that if I had followed something that my mom used to say often, life could’ve been less, at times traumatizing and at others counterproductive and straight-up foolish. What she used to say is, “Discernment prevents experience from being your teacher.”
So yeah, if you are in your 20s and reading this, please don’t be so “I’m grown” that you end up doing things that result in you needing to use your 30s to heal, only to look up and surprise, surprise — you’re in your 40s (or even 50s). Omarion said, more than once, that he and Apryl were young when they were together. Again, “young” was in their 20s. And also, again, 20s is adulthood; still, brains just stop fully developing at 25. Apply some humility to your grown-ness. You’ll thank me later. Trust me.
2. SEX. MAKES. CHILDREN.
Just yesterday, I was having a discussion with a friend about the fact that folks who act shocked when they get pregnant are kind of comical (me included). Why? Because if you really don't want to have kids, you'll either A) live a life of abstinence (which is the only full-proof approach) or B) be birth-controlled up. And since I am well aware of the fact that only ONE-THIRD of Americans uses condoms (SMDH) — it looks like my point is far from being just an opinion or even a theory. Yes, sex feels amazin' but good enough to make children before you're ready or without fully considering who you are making them with? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
And this is why I will forever rock with the elders' wisdom of "If you wouldn't want to have a child with that person, don't have sex with them." Hey, roll your eyes if you want to, but since a lot of people don't want to use birth control and also since sex is the conventional way of conceiving a child, it needs to forever go on record that when you "engage" — especially raw and sometimes even with birth control, especially if you don't use it correctly — a child could come from that; a child who didn't ask to be here or navigate through parents who initially only had sex for…fun or casually which is what a lot of people do (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Keeping all of this in mind, Omarion and Apryl appeared to have been in a serious dynamic at the time of creating their children; however, I do think that something that Omarion said in the interview needs to be kept especially in mind:
“Not to generalize women, but you know, umm, sometimes women think that you know, love stories are supposed to be this kind of like, happy thing and this, ‘Oh we vibin,’ and you know, we, we get married, and we have a family,’ but it’s really, it’s really not like that. You know, umm, that wasn’t my experience. Looking back on the history of how I viewed relationships, like, my mom is not married, you know, my Nana was married at a very young age…like, steppin’ back and realizin’ like, ‘Oh, your love style, your support, the things that you actually need, you know, is different from what you perceive. And it allowed me to really see, you know, what it is that I truly want, and it is acceptance. It is love. That’s what love is.”
One of the things that I gathered from this is Omarion and Apryl wanted very different things from each other. Whether they knew this before having their first child and ignored it, knew it right before conceiving their second and downplayed it, or hoped that kids would change things (children don’t fix issues; they oftentimes amplify them) — children are permanent.
And so there really need to be serious BEFOREHAND conversations about 1) what you want from the people you choose to sleep with — short- and long-term; 2) what your plans will be for your child should you choose to become pregnant with one, and 3) if you and the person/people you have sex with are strong enough to walk through that life experience together. It really is time-out for the “we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it” approach.
One of the best things that you can do for future children and your future self is to take sex seriously before children exist…or you arrive at your future self.
3. It’s Okay, Welcomed Even, to Go to Therapy Re: Healing from a Break-Up and/or Co-Parenting
Fight me on this if you want to, but I personally believe that therapy should be mandatory for single parents — single moms and single dads alike. Not forever, but initially, once the baby is born because, while some people plan to have kids outside of a two-parent nucleus (now more than ever, actually), there are still many — tons even — who didn’t. And so, whether it’s therapy in order to mentally and emotionally prepare for such a major life shift and/or therapy to process what co-parenting needs to look like for the sake of your mental and emotional health as well as your child’s…yes, do it.
Because it is triggering AF to watch so many people either weaponize their children when it comes to dealing with their child’s other parent or the child having to go through the emotional roller coaster ride (or is it a hamster wheel?) of watching their parents not really know the difference between what they need to own about their relationship with their child’s parent and/or what they need to deal with on the day-to-day, strictly as it relates to co-parenting.
Honestly, I think that Omarion and Apryl’s journey in the spotlight helps to prove this particular point because I watched more than a couple of videos where Apryl was in a lot of pain and processing (rinse and repeat for a few years) when it came to how she felt that Omarion (mis)handled the situation. Not only that but now that I’ve watched the Sway interview, even Omarion has owned that he can get why that was the case (like when he said that they had different interpretations of their future and relational needs; he even owned in the interview that he somewhat abandoned her emotionally as well).
Even watching this throwback video (here) where Apryl talked about dating Omarion and his bandmate Lil’ Fizz (Fizz eventually publicly apologized) — how can pain not be a part of that kind of decision?
Listen, I don’t know if Omarion and/or Apryl went to therapy or not. All I know is, as someone who used to be a teen mom director for the local chapter of a national non-profit, I dealt with generations of single mothers who had some really unhealthy and/or bitter and/or tunnel-visioned perspectives on relationships and men (not necessarily in that order) which is why I’m not shocked at all that there are plenty of studies on the fact that even adult children from divorce are a bit jaded when it comes to their views of getting married themselves (for example, they have more trust issues and are more likely to get divorced themselves, if they ever get married at all) — and since we’re seeing more single parents than ever…I’m sure you can get where that domino effect could possibly lead.
Relational pain going down from generation to generation is never good. So yeah, if you’re a single parent and you’ve got some unresolved issues with your ex when it comes to co-parenting or with yourself as it relates to both, needing therapy and getting some isn’t a gaslight or an insult. In fact, I actually salute the self-awareness and strength of individuals who take the initiative to get some.
4. Release Your Ex from Not Being What You Wanted. Or Needed.
A guy I know and I are both survivors of our parents’ divorce (get old enough, and you’ll probably come to see why I choose to frame it just that way). Something that he and I both discuss is how we both experienced so much… unnecessariness, all because our mothers didn’t properly heal from the divorces that they initiated (most divorces are initiated by women, by the way). My mom has even said to me that “being divorced is like living with a ghost because, if you had children with that person, a part of them is still living with you.” And if you don’t get whatever you felt/feel about your ex “in check” while knowing this, the children who you created with them can end up catching the brunt of stuff that isn’t their fault or even their business.
It could be abuse. It could be walking on eggshells. It could be serving as an emotional caregiver or counselor (which is another form of abuse, by the way). It could be constantly being compared to the other parent. Y’all, my mom said to me, just a couple of weeks after my father died (he took his life, in part, due to toxic female influences in his life; he and I discussed it for years), “I can’t stand either one of your fathers” (she was also referring to my brother’s dad). First, that was a super selfish thing to say at the time (timing much?), and second, umm, YOU CHOSE THEM…what do you expect the kids to do about it? Besides, I liked my father…a lot. Deal with your stuff…over there.
You know, when I take into account so much of what I’ve heard Apryl say out of her own mouth about feeling abandoned and alone by Omarion and now Omarion looking back and seeing that neither one of them was really meeting each other’s needs — and then I look at those children, and you can see hybrids of Omarion and Apryl’s faces…it’s a reminder that it’s so important to release what you thought you would get from your ex (relationship-wise), who you thought they were or even what you may still want them to be. Why?
Because I don’t care how popular single parenting may be in this culture, stats still reveal that it puts kids in a place where it is more challenging to overcome life obstacles — so the more you’re able to function from a place of forgiveness, peacefulness, flexibility, emotional maturity, and harmony, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR KIDS, the better.
And letting go of whatever narrative you had in your mind regarding your ex? That is a truly awesome starting point. Which brings me to my fifth point — and takeaway...
5. Yep. Co-Parenting IS a Form of Black Love
Although I think that the entire segment about co-parenting was good, probably my favorite part is something that co-host Tracy G. touched on. It’s when she said that co-parenting is a form of Black love. Yeah, that is truly powerful because imagine how much drama and trauma could be spared if more people approached raising children with their ex (or exes) from that space and place.
And here’s the thing about this particular form of love — I actually disagree with something that Omarion said when he was in the midst of defining love. He said that love isn’t about judging someone but supporting them. I’ll say this when you sign up to be TRULY LOVED by people, a part of what comes with that is accountability: people holding you fully accountable, and that can come with “judgment calls” being made.
Yeah, it’s kind of another message for another time that a part of the reason why so many people end relationships — personal, professional, familial, platonic, romantic, etc. — is because they think that folks are only supposed to be their cheerleaders and not their accountability partners too (yes, love includes telling you about yourself when you need to hear it).
On the flip side, what I do totally agree with is people need to intentionally build with individuals who accept them. Acceptance is about receiving someone and believing in them — not based on what you want them to do or think they should be but who and what they are. And Lord, just imagine how much smoother co-parenting would go if people took this approach to their child’s other parent. This doesn’t mean that acceptance is easy, either.
Accept that things didn’t go as you initially planned. Accept that your ex may not have ever wanted what you did. Accept that your expectations vs. your reality may be totally different things. Accept that your ex is not you, so their approach to parenting may manifest in a different way. Accept that your main focus should require putting your ego aside for your child’s greater good. Accept that it’s fine to have boundaries…so long as they aren’t walls.
Accept that choosing to not be petty, vindictive, or in a cycle of unforgivingness is always going to benefit everyone in the long run. Accept that the Plan A that you might have had for your life that didn’t work out can still manifest into a Plan B (or Plan H) that ultimately will be even better. And yes, ACCEPT that raising your child in a peaceful dynamic, even if it stretches you out of your comfort zone, is good for your child and ultimately the Black community, at large because…Black love always is.
Again, no one said that acceptance would be easy; it pushes back on the ego every chance that it gets. So yes, oftentimes love, especially co-parenting love, requires something else that Omarion touched on:
“There were some important conversations that needed to be had, in front of my children, between mom and dad. The kids need to see that…Showing up as a man for my kids means that we’ve got to have some tough conversations sometimes…consider your kids. Your kids don’t ask to be here. It is your duty to be in servitude to them, and you make sure you guide them, up until that point when it’s time for them to make decisions.”
Adding to that, the biblical definition of love should be taken into account too, knowing that God rewards those of us who do our best to do it:
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always 'me first,' doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
"Love never dies.” — I Corinthians 13:4-8(Message)
Okay, so as far as “puts up with anything,” even God has boundaries (or the Book of Revelation wouldn’t exist); however, the context is to be as merciful and gracious as you would want someone to be with you — in this case, your child’s other parent because neither of you is perfect…BOTH OF YOU are going to make mistakes along the way.
And finally, when it comes to co-parenting with an ex, it can be beneficial to apply one of my favorite quotes on why sometimes things don’t end up the way that we thought they would or wanted them to:
“As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.”
Love is continual becoming. That is so rich. And when you get that — when you get that sometimes the one who you created life with is, as Omarion so eloquently put it, a teacher and not your forever (not his exact words, but you get the gist), you can transition into my last point for today.
6. Celebrate Your Ex Moving On. For the Sake of Your Children.
Here’s the thing — if you’ve got some resentment, if you’re triggered, and/or if you’re flat-out pissed about your ex moving on with someone else, do yourself a favor and dig into why that is the case. Because another great takeaway from Omarion in the interview is what he said about Taye Diggs now being with Apryl:
“It’s a beautiful thing when somebody finds a good thing and you should be supportive of that.”
And indeed it is. My discernment says that as Omarion explained that he and Apryl are in more of a peaceful place and space now, her heart moving on with someone else (in what seems to be a much healthier way) probably plays a huge role in the…better co-parenting. And really, why wouldn’t you root for the fact that if your ex has more joy in their life, your child will feel the effects/reap the rewards of that as a direct result — and that ends up making your own life easier in the long run?
You know, I peeped that Omarion mentioned that, as far as Taye is concerned, he’s older and has his own kids (which sounds like he’s noticing that there may be some wisdom and empathy from Taye that he can feel good about), so yes, applying discernment with your own ex’s (new) partner is smart and necessary. Just make sure that the motive has nothing to do with you (other than them being respectful as the mother of your child) and everything to do with your child.
When that is the case, you can do as Omarion professes and have an “open arms approach” to your ex’s new normal — because even if things didn’t work out with your ex, you still want who helped to create your child to be good so that your child can be in a loving and safe environment…both in your presence and outside of it. You can say, as Omarion did about Taye, “I only expect good things from him,"…and actually MEAN it.
Can you tell that I could go on and on about this topic? I really could because I know too many people who are going through the PTSD of this topic not being addressed from this kind of angle. Yet as I wrap this up, I hope that you found at least a couple of pearls — and that you will do something else that Omarion says that he does these days: wish the people of your past well (not passive-aggressively but literally) and that you CHOOSE WISELY…yes, especially when it comes to who you make life with.
Yeah, good stuff from this interview. Good (and needed and relevant and lasting) stuff, indeed.
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Featured image by Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb