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Closure From A Cheating Ex Was The Catalyst To Healing I Needed

Here are the hard truths about healing.

Her Voice

I'll never forget the moment I found out my ex cheated. Knowing another woman lingered in our home while I was committed to our relationship was the most violated I have ever felt. All I could think about was "her". How her lips touched our wine glasses. Her body slept in the bed we shared. Her moans echoed in the home where we once said, "I love you." I could almost smell her perfume. It was the perfect formula to make any woman see red. My anger took over our once happy home.

You can imagine my dismay when my ex reached out years later. Turns out, HE needed closure. Yeah, you read that correctly. Every part of me wanted to "boy-bye!" his ass up out of my phone, but I didn't. I had so many unanswered questions that lingered in my mind for years. I knew it was time to put my pain to rest. I texted him back and we had one of the hardest conversations of my life.

Healing is not always sunshine and rainbows. It's also not as colorful as the wellness pages on social media. We all process pain differently, therefore we all heal differently.

Sometimes the process of healing looks like emotional breakdowns in your car or regular dates with your therapist. Overall, healing is difficult for everyone and we will all face hardships along the way. Here are some hard truths I've run into during my healing process.

It Happened, Period.

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I found the moment I accepted things for what they were, the easier it was to move forward. He cheated, it happened, and there was no changing it. I could yell all I wanted, but the fact is the deed was already done. I had to accept that there was a woman who was important enough to sacrifice our relationship for, period. Me staying angry forever or justifying his actions to give him a second chance won't change the past. This is no shade to those who have gone back after cheating. I'm just speaking from my own experience.

Whatever hurt you, happened. I know this may sound a little forward to most people, but we keep it real at xoNecole. In my experience, it was easy to get wrapped up in the whole, "Is this happening to me? Nah, this can't be happening to me."

I learned denying that it happened or justifying the action to make it less painful, doesn't mean it just goes away. Denial or justifying is just an excuse to suppress your emotions or not face the reality of the situation. This can only lead to prolonging your healing process.

To start our healing journey, we must accept what happened and that we are hurt. We live in a society where we are encouraged to "look at the positive" or ask yourself, "what did we learn from this?" three days after it happened. You are allowed to admit a situation sucks and feel those emotions for what they are. It is OK to validate our pain if it means moving forward.

Sometimes You Have To Call Yourself Out On Your Toxic Traits

If you think you don't have any toxic traits, you're lying. Yes, sis, you have a toxic trait and so do I. We all have a toxic trait or two. Although my relationship ended due to cheating, that doesn't mean I was exactly perfect either. I had a few toxic traits that didn't help my relationship thrive. I had the classic "daddy issues" which made me extremely codependent. I also suffered from a strong case of "hood mentality" due to my upbringing. I didn't know how to talk about my problems. I just knew how to fight about them. This was a huge issue in our relationship.

It's hard to admit that we have toxic traits because no one likes to feel "wrong". Confessing our toxic traits also means "showcasing" our weaknesses. Letting others in on our weaknesses is an extremely vulnerable place to be in. Admitting we have a toxic trait may take time, but it can make us aware of it. Becoming more self-aware with our whole being will only make us better in the toughest of situations. We will be able to detect our toxic traits when they arise and have more self-control.

You Owe It To Yourself To Heal 

Unfortunately, it's not the job of the person who "hurt us" to heal us. In fact, I have a confession to make. There was a period in time where I felt my cheating ex should've made up for what he did. Crazy, right? As if a Michael Kors bag (don't judge, they were popping back then!) was the answer to all of our underlying issues. What I was subconsciously doing was placing MY healing in HIS hands.

My healing is my responsibility, just like it is yours. You owe it to yourself to heal. If you rely on those who hurt you to heal you, you might be hurting for a while. Taking charge of our healing is taking back our power.

Closure & Forgiveness Are For You. Read That Again.

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When I agreed to meet up with my ex after some time, it was because I needed closure too. As selfish as it may sound, I decided to embrace closure and forgiveness for me, not for him. I spent years being angry and labeling all men as "ain't shit" because of what another man did. All I accomplished by choosing to "stay mad" was block other relationships that could have been great for me. I was tired of being a "bitter woman". I was ready to forgive and release all of the pain I found comfort in.

Closure and forgiveness don't always require a meet up at Starbucks. It can consist of your journaling or organically coming to terms with how things ended. If you do choose the Starbucks route though, make sure to prep before going. Write down a list of key points you would like to mention and do your best to be in a good headspace. Remember, holding on to situations that no longer serve us is holding us back from our higher purpose.

Toxic Relationships Shouldn’t Be Turned Into Friendships

This may be an unpopular opinion, but trust me sis, I'm trying to save you. If your situation was toxic, give him back to Jesus, and move forward with grace. Turning any toxic relationship into a friendship is still holding onto the toxicity; it means we're not ready to let go. The point is to let toxicity go so we can thrive into who we're meant to be.

My ex and I tried to have a friendship after we broke up and it got messy. The issues we had in our relationship began to roll into our friendship. Arguments about people we were dating, mixed signals, and old wounds from the past began to come up again.

The friendship felt more stressful than the actual relationship itself. I realized If I wanted to move forward with my life, I had to let him go completely. I gracefully gave him back to Jesus.

Letting go of my ex and the grudge I had against him has helped me find peace. I truly feel happier, free, and more aligned with myself than I ever have before. I've learned to fall in love with the woman I am today and embrace all of me. I love my independence, peace of mind, and the beauty marks I have gained along the way. I wish my ex well and I truly hope he has also healed from this experience.

I hope these hard truths are a benefit to your healing journey. These truths have helped me find acceptance in many ways. The hurt you are going through now is molding you into a strong phenomenal human for the future. I promise it does get better. If you need someone to talk to during this time, please reach out to me on Instagram. Happy healing.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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