I'm gonna be really real with y'all. Back when I wrote the piece for the site entitled, "Women Cheat More Than We Think. What To Do If That's You.", I did a whole lot of "SMDH" as I read the comments on our socials. If there is one area where there seems to be a HUGE double standard, it's when it comes to cheating. Guys do it and, to oh so many women, instantly they are dogs who are totally undeserving of forgiveness. Oh, but let us do the same thing and suddenly it's all jokey jokes or worse—all sorts of justifications. If you truly believe that unfaithfulness is dead ass wrong, as folks say all of the time, "keep that same energy", regardless of which gender is doing it. For real, for real.
But that's not exactly what I want to get into today. As I was doing some of my usual perusing on Twitter, I saw a video that made me chuckle at first (lionesses ain't no joke) and then really pause and reflect. I'll let you check it out too:
Whew. Nature is something, ain't it? And yes, based on the caption, side chick/side guy relationships are complicated, intense and, if you're not super careful, they can even turn violent. And still, it's been reported that 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women have fessed up to having sex with someone other than their spouse over the course of their marriage; sometimes that "someone" is an individual that they've been with for years. Hmph. Some people even end up leaving their partner for their side chick/side guy. We've got more than enough celebrity examples of that (and I'll leave that right there).
And just why do so many people risk their relationship for their side person? Although I've never been the side chick of someone's husband, I have been involved with men while they had girlfriends. It's a dishonest act and that's not cool; not at all. But having the insight that I do from those past experiences, if you've ever wondered why you or someone in your world can't seem to let their side chick/side guy go, I want to share a few angles to look at. Again, not to justify but simply to explain. My ultimate objective being what? Well, once people know why they do the things that they do, sometimes that can make it so much easier to reroute and choose a much healthier and beneficial path. Well, that is, if they want to (hmm…).
Let's go with the obvious reason first. Yes, there are some people who got with, and continue to hold onto, their side person, purely out of greed—or, as a girlfriend of mine who once was in an affair with a married man said, "Because they can." The reality is, some people don't really get into relationships in order to do things like emotionally mature and spiritually grow. It's more about lust—oh, and ego. They like the idea of someone—or even multiple someones—only being with them…while they are with others. If this is you, please take heed of a quote, then a Scripture. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed." Proverbs 1:19(NKJV) says, "So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners."
If you combine both of these things together, what they are basically telling you is that greed is the kind of desire that can never be fully satisfied. It's kind of like chasing the dragon (doing heroin). They say that the first high is so totally off-the-chain that you find yourself spending the rest of your life chasing that same high; you typically don't get it back until you overdose. King Solomon warns that greed can take you out too. Be careful about having people on the side, simply because you can. Be even more cautious about having multiple ones, just because your desire tells you that you should. There are too many warnings out here that greed doesn't have a happy ending. Never say you weren't warned.
OK, selfishness. While this might seem identical to greed, it's actually not. To be selfish is to be self-consumed. Now, bookmark that as we go back to one of the few Tyler Perry films that I—how do I put this?—can comfortably vouch for. Which film is that? Why Did I Get Married? Remember how Mike (Richard T. Jones) was cheating on Sheila (Jill Scott) and his boys introduced the 80/20 rule to him? This rule states that, in most relationships, you're probably only going to get 80 percent of what you want (if that much). Meanwhile, during the testing times of the relationship, the 20 percent that you're not getting that someone else may be offering, looks really good. Selfish people? They want it all and yes, that is greedy. But the core issue is actually much bigger than that. You see, selfish people are horrible at relationships because mutuality and reciprocity mean very little to them. While greed is out here allowing desire to stack up their side folks, selfishness says, "I don't really care about doing what's required to make a relationship work or last. I simply care about having my needs met. If it takes more than one person to make that happen, so be it."
An author by the name of Stephen Kendrick once said, "Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves." Another author by the name of Maria Louise Ramé once said, "Intensely selfish people are always very decided as to what they wish. They do not waste their energies in considering the good of others." Author George Eliot once said, "Selfish—a judgment readily passed by those who have never tested their own power of sacrifice."
Whenever people talk to me about guys who have a side chick or girls who have a side guy and they say, "Why cheat? Why not just end your main relationship?", my usual answer is something along the lines of, "Because they're selfish. They don't want to let go of their '80 percent'; they simply want to find someone to get them as close to 100 percent as possible so that they are happy." If it's at the cost of hurting other people, their mentality is, "Well, ish happens." Unfortunately, they are too self-consumed to care about things like sin, the good of others and making sacrifices. That's why selfish folks really shouldn't be in relationships to begin with.
To me, this is an interesting one. The reason why I say that is because, even when I'm in marriage counseling sessions that have some of the most toxic dynamics, 8 times out of 10, the root is laziness. To be lazy is to be idle and sluggish. Yeah, that's pretty bad. But peep some synonyms for lazy—apathetic, careless, inattentive, indifferent and passive. Some people? They have a person—or people—on the side because they are simply too lazy to put in the time and effort that it takes to make a relationship last with one individual. The way they see it, if someone else is willing to come along and tend to their needs (perhaps the needs that aren't being met by their "main thang"), that ultimately results in them exerting less energy than actually doing things that all healthy relationships need—communication, investing and daily commitment. Not only that, but a lazy individual who's involved with side chick or guy is the perfect storm in the most counterproductive kind of way. Typically, side folks are mad eager to please. Lazy people know that and so they have no problem with their side person going above and beyond because, the more that side chick or guy strives to keep things going, the less the lazy person has to contribute.
Yeah, side folks are so ideal for lazy individuals. Problem is, at least for the side chick or guy, eventually laziness turns into atrophy. In other words, one day, side folks find themselves realizing that no longer are they doing most of the work; they are doing all of it. Meanwhile, ironically, the lazy person's main squeeze is probably in the same boat, sinking into nothingness too. SMDH.
I'll say this—seems to me that people with side folks aren't all that efficient. I mean, just think about it. Even if your main person is low-maintenance and your side chick or guy is too, some sort of "maintaining" of both relationships is still required. Whew. That seems like a lot of work. You know how there are articles out in cyberspace that explore topics like how much time each day we spend—or is it waste?—watching television, streaming channels or YouTube (six hours) or hanging out on social media (2 ½ hours)? Someone should do a study on how much time people waste being in side chick or guy relationships.
But that's not really what I wanted to tackle in this particular section; what I wanted to talk about is the fact that some folks can't seem to let their side person go because they are totally delusional. Believe you me, the tweet that hangs right over this copy happens more than a little bit. While the one who has a "main person" knows that they are cheating, they somehow find themselves utterly baffled when their side person isn't "faithful" either. Crazy, right?
Yet that's the thing about these types of relationships or situationships—they tend to be rooted in fantasy. You only see what you want to see. Since you're already living a lie, it's easier to keep stacking more untruths and false realities on top of it. Before long, if you do it long enough, you start to forget what the truth actually is. Then you start throwing parties for your side person, not even realizing that you were their side person too. #oops
If any of y'all are Sex & the City fans and you checked out the first movie installment, you might remember how Miranda played a direct role in Steve cheating on her. Before I get push back on this, shoot, even the Bible says that you give dark forces an "in" when you're married and you aren't intimate with your spouse (see I Corinthians 7:5 and also check out "What You Should Do If You Find Yourself In A Sexless Marriage"). Try and "rationalize" it all you want, but sex is a very important part of marriage and when it's lacking, one way or another, there are gonna be problems. Miranda admitted to herself that she put her work before her marriage. An affair was one of the consequences of that.
My point in bringing that up is this. It took Miranda a while to face up to the fact that, while Steve was a grown man who made a conscious decision to cheat, he had been begging for her attention and she had totally neglected his needs; not for a couple of weeks but for months on end. And while, in many ways, Miranda was my favorite character on the show, she was also extremely prideful. Pride doesn't fit well in a healthy relationship. And so, while a lot of people may love their prideful and/or arrogant and/or can't-be-told-anything-about-themselves partner, the reason why they get a side chick or guy is because they are scared to confront their main person about how they are feeling. When Steve did it to Miranda, all she did was bark at him. So, he "self-soothed" another way.
Only a person with their own pride issues will struggle with seeing that some people get and keep side people because they are in a main relationship with someone who won't humble themselves enough to see where they could stand to improve so that their relationship can be better. This is one of the reasons why a lot of relationship experts claim that affairs are more of a reflection of what is (or what isn't) happening in the relationship than whatever is happening…on the side. Look deep enough and, more times than not, there is some real truth to that.
A habit is about us doing something so much, for so long, that it becomes a common practice. And yes, I'll end the list of reasons why some people can't seem to let their side chick or guy go here. It's a hard reality to accept that some people end up getting cheated on because they decided to settle down (or at least attempt to do so) with someone who they once cheated with. And while some might see that as being karma for being willing to be the side chick or guy at one point, the bigger—and oftentimes overlooked—issue is that the person they are involved with has a habit of cheating. They have done it for so long and it is ingrained so much in their being that it would take some soul searching along with (probably) a season of abstinence and perhaps some therapy before they would be able stop. And, quite frankly, in order for any of that to happen, they would have to want to stop.
The reason why actual side chicks and side guys need to hear this is because, if you've never considered this before, you could be out here thinking that you are an exception when the actual reality is you are merely feeding an addiction. You are not "special"; you are a fix. The "junkie" is not staying with you out of loyalty; they are simply hooked on the high. The danger for you in that is, if/when they do sober up and see things for what they are, they will probably let you go and all you'll have to show for it is bitter feelings, perhaps exhausted resources and, definitely a lot of wasted time.
I won't lie to y'all—I know some side situationships that ended up turning into full-blown relationships. But the ones who have been open and honest with me about their story will share that it hasn't come without some harsh consequences, some real reality checks and some big challenges. Anyway, my main reason for writing this is because most of us are aware that we're in a high time side chick/side guy culture. While it is not black and white; it's got some gray areas. Still, the more we're able to uncover what those are, the more we can deal with them accordingly.
I will say this, though. If you are a side chick, the mere word "side" should make you feel some type of way. Side means you are pushed aside; that you are not a or the top priority. Don't romanticize that; see it for what it is. And, if you happen to have a side guy who you can't seem to let go of, spend some real time looking at the points made here. None of the reasons that I provided are healthy and things that have a bad foundation tend to have a rocky outcome. Side folks wouldn't exist if there wasn't some sort of allure or attraction, but bait is used to catch fish, not help them. Feel me? From the very bottom of my heart, please choose wisely.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Janelle Monáe's Reveals The Real Reason Why She Stopped Wearing Her Signature Tuxedos
Singer and actress Janelle Monáe exemplifies how change can be a powerful catalyst for growth and transformation.
Monáe, who rose to fame in 2010 following the release of her debut album, The ArchAndroid, captivated fans' hearts with her powerful vocals, catchy tunes, and style. Around that time period, when various female artists were known to wear provocative ensembles on stage, the "Tightrope" songstress set herself apart by wearing her signature black and white suits and continued to do so for almost a decade.
In the later years of her career, after the release of her studio albums The Electric Lady in 2013 and 2018's Dirty Computer, many began to notice the shift in Monáe's artistry and fashion, which some widely praised.
Although the now 37-year-old rarely addressed the reason behind the transformation over the years, that would all change when Monáe sat down with radio personality Angie Martinez on her IRL podcast earlier this month.
During the interview, Monáe --who was promoting her latest album, "The Age of Pleasure"-- opened up about her mental health struggles, how she would cope, and why she chose to live in freedom.
Janelle On Why She Stopped Wearing Her Signature Suits All the Time
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
In the May discussion, the "I Like That" vocalist revealed she suffers from anxiety, which she claimed would occur around "winter to spring."
Monáe added that when she has her bouts with anxiety, she tends to turn to food as a coping mechanism. Further in the interview, the "Lipstick Lover" singer disclosed that her emotional eating habits caused a weight fluctuation and that she could no longer fit into the suits she once wore earlier in her career.
Monáe explained that even though she tried to diet and exercise to return to her smaller figure, she ultimately stopped and made peace with herself with the help of therapy because she acknowledged that she isn't the same person she was nearly a decade ago and shouldn't try to be even if it was a highly "celebrated" version.
"I'm petite, but it can get thick... When I couldn't fit them suits anymore, and I was like, 'Oh my God, what is going on?' I would be dieting, running, or exercising, trying to fit into [it]. I'm just like, 'No. No, we're here. This is where we are.' We [are] not about to be utilizing life trying to be an old version of ourselves. No matter how celebrated that version of me was. I'm here. I'm here," she said.
Janelle On Freedom
As the topic shifted to freedom and what that meant to Monáe, the "Primetime" vocalist shared that in this new era of her life, she enjoys it because she can boldly express herself however she wants and honor who she is as a person right now.
Monáe also revealed that she had found ways to become a better artist and the best version of herself because of her freedom.
"What is the new version of freedom? What does that feel like? That's usually when I feel the most free is when artistically, I can honor exactly who I am right now," she stated. "I feel most free as a human when I can honor exactly who I am right now."
Monáe's fourth studio album, The Age of Pleasure, is set to be released on June 9.
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Feature image by Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images