I was in a loveless relationship, having the worst sex of my life with a man I wanted to marry. Yes, you read that right.
I spent three years of my life trying to progress a relationship that was never meant to be my forever, but I was persistent in my pursuit to meet him at the altar because, well, I thought that was what you were supposed to do in a long-term relationship. My fear of missing out on being a wife with a dog and a white picket fence led me to stay in a toxic relationship that sabotaged us both. I loved him just because he was there, until one day I looked up, and he wasn't anymore.
It wasn't until two years after grieving and mourning the love that once was that I learned that my fairy tale ending could still be a reality, it's just that sometimes, you don't get the fairy tale right the first time. The brokenness I felt when that relationship saw its final curtain call did not define me, but it did teach me a lesson in the power of my choices. I think every woman comes to a crossroads in her life when she has to be clear about her intentions.
Ultimately, I had to decide what I wanted more: the fairy tale or the man, and in the end, I chose myself.
I've never met Cassie, and although I'm sure she's a dope individual, I can't speculate on what has or has not happened in her love life. What I can say is, it's a beautiful thing when a woman can become selfish enough about her own needs to find the good in goodbye.
Last night, Cassie and her baby zaddy/celebrity personal trainer, Alex Fine, announced that they would be welcoming a bouncing baby girl to the world with social media posts that broke the internet. The couple made their relationship public late last year and now only six months later, they're officially taking the first steps in becoming the Family Fine. While their heartwarming announcement sparked an emotional response that had Black twitter in tears, it also sparked a debate about Cassie's previous relationship with Diddy.
While some praised the soon-to-be mom for moving on from a fruitless relationship and finding true love, others criticized Diddy for being a "waste of time" and an example for men who can't get their sh*t together, causing them to miss out on the one who "got away".
Cassie spent her 20s enjoying the world off the dime of a man she/everyone knew wouldn’t settle down and, when she… https://t.co/JrjFwaDCwA— Candice Marie Benbow (@Candice Marie Benbow) 1560435167.0
But, I would like to personally submit a request to the Black Coalition of Social Media Users that we leave Diddy out of this, mind the business that pays us, and just say congrats.
Cassie was never publicly critical of her relationship with her former lover, so why should we be? When a woman's ready to bust a move, she'll move, and Cassie did exactly that after she and Diddy's nearly 10-year relationship. It's quite possible that Cassie never wanted to get married or have a family with Diddy because being in a long-term relationship isn't enough to qualify a man as marriage material, sis.
Some users speculated that the couple's relationship has moved relatively fast, but when you know, you know; and judging by the articulately captioned posts by Cassie's bull riding boothang, it wasn't hard to tell.
Although we haven't gotten to the chance to catch a glimpse of Cassie's belly full of baby just yet, Alex captioned the announcement with open letters that will give you all the feels. In a public message to his unborn child, he apologized in advance for embarrassing forehead kisses at school dropoffs and his adamant disproval for potential suitors. He wrote:
"I will be the first man in your life and will show you the greatest love and affection now and forever. I never thought my heart could grow bigger after meeting your mother... then I found out we were having you and I instantly felt a love that is so indescribable. I promise to be at every dance recital, concert, sporting event, school plays whatever you decide to do I will be there and support you. I am your number one fan.I promise to be a man that you and your mother look up to and love. I will always listen and put the both of you first.I will show you a healthy relationship and how you deserve to be treated."
I don't hate my ex. I hope he finds great sex, a relationship overflowing with love, and ultimately gets his storybook ending one day, too. For now, I'm just happy for the lessons I learned during the process that prepared me to be a wife with a dog and a white-picket fence one day, but only when the vision is right. Sometimes we don't get the fairytale right the first time, but take a page out of Cassie's book. Dust yourself off, sis, and try again with new intentions.
Now, can somebody tell Ciara and Cassie to step into this prayer closet and put an anointing on my life please, cause I need that scripture, sis.
Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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You all know we're big on affirmations over here at xoNecole, and we know all too well the benefits of speaking life over yourself and positivity on your day. And we love that affirmations can be used to trigger career advancement, workplace confidence, and motivation as well.
Whether you're struggling with a stressful project, need that boost of boldness for managing teams, or just need a few bright mantras to take your already sunny disposition up a notch, here are eight powerful affirmations to add to your list, specific to career promotion, leadership, and development:
"Everything I need to succeed at work is right inside of me."
This is something that has been repeated to me many times in life, from the people who raised me, to in-office mentors, to interviews with super-successful women, to church leaders, and it's real. When I sit and lean fully into my own ideas, my own unique way of looking at life, and my professional training and educational background that nobody can take away from me, I know I can create something great and continue to pay my bills.
"I am worthy and will stand on what my unique talents and time are worth."
Many of us struggle with this, and even I have to remind myself that I indeed should speak up more, advocate for myself more, and demand more. We've all worked hard to get to where we are, so we actually do deserve our heart's desires when it comes to salary, recognition, awards, commissions, and quality of work life.
"I am completely capable of fearlessly and eloquently closing that deal."
This one is especially good when you're up for a promotion, have a big meeting you're leading for your company, or are trying to land a partnership, grant, or other expansion opportunity that will take your career to the next level. You got this, sis.
"I am a bold woman who leads with grace, compassion, and vision."
As leaders, we can't shrink at the sight of a challenge. Instead, embrace a bold confidence (even if you feel you're a bit delulu) and face those fears with the tools God gave us for combat. Grace, compassion, and vision always win in the long run, so if you can offer those things to people and your company, you always come out on top.
"I am the divine thermostat in the room—setting the temperature and the tone."
Alfred Edmond, Jr., my forever mentor who's an entrepreneur, author, and senior vice president, once told me this when I was having a super-emotional moment as an editorial manager: "Always be the thermostat. You set the temperature as a leader. Stay pleasantly solid in your tone and demeanor no matter what. You keep the power by doing so. You can't let every little issue rattle you as a leader." I was taken aback at the time, but his advice has served me well.
We don't have to always "match" the energy others give us—especially when you're managing teams, leading departments, or managing processes. Instead, you can set the tone and let people know, through your play-with-your-mama-not-me demeanor and professionalism. This way, no one can visibly lure you into embarrassing, unkind, or angry exchanges. As a power woman, that's beneath you. Period.
"I attract positive, growth-focused experiences because I am positive and growth-focused."
Again, sis, you deserve. When you embrace this truth, you often find yourself thinking positive, seeking out all things positive, and adjusting areas where the growth of positivity is lacking. I'm not big on "manifestations" that center on "attraction" being an ego-driven act of exclusion, "magic," or privilege— I'm more into prayerand allowing God to be the master of "attraction"—but when I think about this particular affirmation, it's something to remind us all to focus on ourselves in order to draw that same energy toward us.
And it's not that toxic positivity where we ignore very valid feelings of hurt, burnout, or disrespect. It's a foundational belief that despite the challenges many workplace environments present for us as Black women, we will always think highly of ourselves and prioritize gratitude while addressing both the good and the bad.
"I am fully capable of walking away from toxic environments and walking into those where I thrive."
This is a big one. No matter what your circumstances are, I'm a big believer in having the power to change them if they aren't helping you thrive through your purpose on Earth. Even if you have to create an exit plan that takes years to see to fruition, do it. Let's stop staying at jobs we hate or careers that just aren't a fit anymore. You can unapologetically chuck the deuces, embrace the unknown, be strategic, and enjoy the work aspect of your life to meet your lifestyle goals.
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