If memory serves me correctly, Cassie was 20 when she first officially made her way onto the music scene as a newly-signed Bad Boy artist. Her first single was "Me & U". I remember watching the video and being like, "She's cute." But for me, it wasn't until I saw her in the movie Perfect Match, starring as the love interest of Terrence J. a few years back, that I was like, "Look at Cassie. She's grown grown." It was then that I noticed her having the kind of sexiness and style that puts you—well, at least me—in the mindset of Rihanna in some of the very best ways possible.
But you know what? These past several months, Cassie has captured my attention in a way like never before. First, she got mad respect from me for how graciously she supported Diddy during the loss of Kim Porter—a true love of his life and the mother of three of his children (although he also claims Al B. Sure's son Quincy as one of his own too). Something else that I really esteem about Cassie after this year is the fact that, although Black Twitter has been incessantly lightin' Diddy up for missing out on a good thing (being Cassie), she hasn't said much, if anything, about their relationship. Instead, she's been focused on her new life and new normal—her relationship with her man and now fiance' Alex Fine, and preparing for the entrance of their baby girl. There is something about how Cassie's been letting her Instagram account do the talking that has come off us mature, dignified and totally self-aware. Not only that but she seems to be at peace, living in the moment and very much in love.
You can see all of this resonate via the post that she shared of her engagement. Even though she turned 33 yesterday—Happy Belated Birthday, sis!— you'll see that her caption says that it was actually Saturday (8/24) that was her best day ever. If you make the time to check the video out (and also scroll on her page to check out some shots of her baby bump), it's very apparent why that is the case.
As I watched and oooed and ahhed with all of the others who have caused Cassie to trend on Twitter today, I thought about the fact that, while most of us will probably never be within fifty feet of her, there is something about her late 2018-2019 glow up that hits home for us all. In some ways, she's been the best kind of teachable moment. For me, here are the six lessons that observing her and how she moves has taught me.
Lesson #1. Do Something Different to Get Something New
I've written in the entertainment lane long enough to have learned to be very careful about commenting on famous people's personal lives like I actually know them and have all of the facts. Therefore, I have no clue what the true inner workings of Cassie and Diddy's relationship were; this includes not knowing if she was fine with being in a decade-plus relationship that didn't move to the point of them jumping the broom. However, what I do know is that the minute that she—at least to us—quietly made her exit out of that dynamic, it wasn't too long after that we started to see Mr. Fine. Some party shots from last December caused a lot of us to be like "Oh?" and now, eight months later—she's about to be a wife and a mom.
So yeah, I don't think that any of us need to know the details to be able to come to the confident conclusion that if you want something different than what you currently have going on, you've got to be willing to switch some things up—to let some things go, to try something new, to be open to leaving the past behind you. That's my first takeaway from Ms. Cassie's ever-evolving journey.
Lesson #2. If It’s Not Working…IT’S NOT WORKING
I once loved a man for 10 years. I spoke with him not too long ago and if there's one thing that we can agree on, it's the fact that we actually loved, and still love, each other. The challenge is that I desire to be married someday and he? He has no clue what he wants to do in that arena. That's the thing. Unless you've been in something similar, it's probably hard for you to understand that just because you may be involved with someone and the relationship doesn't go how you planned (or others think it should go), that doesn't automatically or necessarily mean the relationship sucked or the guy is a jerk. Sometimes you simply want different things and, because feelings are there, it can be hard to let one another go so that you can get to what you truly desire.
What makes you finally walk out? I won't speak for Cassie, but I'll speak for me. Sometimes loving another individual teaches you how to love yourself more, better or differently than you did before knowing them. And when that love has solidified, you can love yourself enough to say, "I don't know what the future has in store, but what I do know is this isn't serving me anymore. So, I love you, but I love me more. And since I am single and my top priority, I need to do what's best for me, regardless of what you think about it or even how it affects you, really."
Somebody needs to hear this loud and clear. You can still love someone and know that since something is not working, it's an act of love—love for your future and whatever the other person needs to learn without you being so present in their lives—to move on. PLEASE DO.
Lesson #3. The Right Man Is Ready, Willing and Totally Able
The Universe is both cryptic and hilarious. Right around the time when Cassie posted a pic of her then-boyfriend-now-fiance', I had an article published on here entitled "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material". I don't know if Diddy is a commitment-phobe or marriage just ain't on his menu (yet). At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. What I do know is the third lesson that Cassie has taught me, actually comes from her man this time. It was basically in December that they went public and, not even a year later, this man literally saddled up, rode up to his lady, got down on one knee and sealed the deal. It didn't take 10 years, or even five or one. He knew what he wanted and he made it happen. And clearly, a part of what he wants is to be a husband. Cassie's husband.
A lot of us waste time with a man, not because he isn't a good man, but because he doesn't want what we do or he isn't at a point in his life to prepare for it. If we stay anyway and, as a direct result, only end up wasting more time, really…whose fault is that? That's my third lesson. (Thank you, Alex.)
Lesson #4. Timing Really Is Everything
I write a lot, so I can't remember exactly when or where I said this, but I know that I've shared that one thing about lessons of the heart, no matter how great or heart-wrenching the experience may have been, is they all are able to teach you some things that you probably wouldn't have learned any other way.
Again, I don't know Cassie, our paths have never crossed in any shape, form or fashion, but I'm willing to bet some pretty good money that she'll tell you that the woman she was at 20 is totally different than the woman she is now at 33. And yes, her past relationship(s) play a direct role in that. And because of what she's learned, she is able to take that wisdom into her upcoming marriage and her new season of motherhood. For that alone, she is grateful for the experiences and the growth. It was all preparation. All of it.
Speaking of motherhood, I must say that when I looked at her baby bump, I thought about something I heard someone say about how to tackle feelings of low self-esteem—"Automatically, you are a fighter and a winner because out of all of the sperm that made it to your mom's egg, it was you. YOU." Keeping that point in mind, while looking at Cassie, I thought, "Now that she's in the kind of relationship that she desires in this stage and season of her life, love is birthing new life."
Lesson #4. The right kind of love isn't just about feelings. It's also about well-placed timing too. You can't do it all. Just do your part. Let timing do the rest. As timing sees fit. Believe you me, it knows some things that you absolutely do not.
Lesson #5. What You Seek Is Seeking You
I don't know the full history of Cassie and Alex. I do know that it's been reported, countless times, that he was hired to be her trainer once upon a time. There's been plenty of speculation about what transpired since that initial meeting, but when I briefly revisited all of the gushing that Alex did on his Instagram at the news of Cassie's pregnancy, all I could think about is the Rumi quote—"What you seek is seeking you."
Sometimes, the thing that we hope or even try and make happen with someone isn't working out because they aren't truly what we're looking for. What I mean by that is, well, my favorite quote by author and speak Leo Buscaglia expresses it all perfectly:
"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."
If who you're with doesn't line up with what you want, always remember that real love is about your constantly evolution and the Universe seeks to bring you what you truly desire—and need. If the person you're with can't honor you in that way, the Universe will beckon you to look elsewhere.
Maybe towards your trainer. Maybe somewhere else. #winkwink
Lesson #6. Love Does Not Hurt. Love Nurtures, Heals and Fulfills.
Did you see how BIG Cassie's smile was at the end of the engagement video? No two people are perfect, no love relationship either. But what I haven't seen since the entrance of Mr. Fine is anxiety, confusion or pain. Cassie really does seem happy. No, she seems like she has joy. Happy is fleeting. Joy is a state of being.
And if that is what you want, no matter how much you love or even want to be with someone, if joy isn't coming your way, you've got to be willing to comply with whatever needs to happen so that you can get to the kind of love—and lover—that you truly deserve. A love that nurtures. A love that heals. A love that fulfills.
So yes, Ms. Soon-To-Be Cassie Fine, I'm happy for you today like I'm one of your homies or something. Because in many ways, you represent the love journey that may of us are on. And you are living proof that if we're willing to learn, apply and wait, good will come our way. Enjoy all of the blessings of this new season. We're rooting for you, Alex and that sure-to-be beautiful baby girl of yours. We really and truly are.
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Feature image by Alex Fine/Instagram