While getting my nails done a couple of weeks ago, my tech and I tried to figure out what year, in the Chinese calendar, we were headed into. As we came to the conclusion that 2020 was going to be the Year of the Rat, that reminded me to look up what 20, overall, symbolizes. It's quite interesting. You probably already know that 20/20 represents perfect vision. As far as angel numbers go, 20 stands for positivity, optimism and a happy future. On the numerology tip, some associate 20 with relationships and cooperation. In the Hebrew language, the word "kaph" represents the number 20 and also translates into the open palm of one's hand, as if to tame or subdue oneself as an act of surrender. But probably, what stands out to me the most, specifically as it relates to this particular topic, is what 20 biblically symbolizes. It represents—wait for it—"a complete or perfect waiting period".
Now on the eve of the year 2020, watch how all of this comes together like a beautiful Happy New Year present from the Universe via someone else's relational journey.
2019 Marked the (Greater) Evolution of the Artist Common
Personally, I've always appreciated what hip-hop artist and actor Common has brought to the culture. That's why, last spring, I was appreciative when our managing editor Sheriden Chanel allowed me to pen the piece "Common, Thanks For Talking About Black Male Molestation. We Need To More Often". As someone who is making it my mission in 2020 to be very intentional about affirming Black men more often, I wanted to publicly praise Common for his candor and courage. From there, we started to check for Common's evolution more and more via pieces like "Common Admits To Seeking Therapy For His Addiction To Love", "More Than A Rapper, Common Reminds Us Why A Father's Love Is So Important", and "Everything We Learned About Love From Common's 'Red Table Talk'" (which ran last July).
Being that I am, for the most part, a sex and relationships writer, I knew about his on-again-off-again relationship with attorney, commentator and political strategist, Angela Rye (you can check out her The Breakfast Club interviews throughout the years here). Between all of the self-work that Common was clearly doing and the rumblings in the media that he and Angela had gotten back together, in my mind, I was like, "Looks like these two will be jumping somebody's broom come next summer." Especially since, via his Red Table Talk, this came out of his own mouth:
"I would like to be a husband. I think that for a long time, I was in and out with that. Do I really wanna be a husband or am I doing this because this is what society says to? Now, I just want that partnership to be able to experience life, where I'm growing as a human being and kind of just spark each other. It's fun too. I know it's hard at times."
It was right around this time last year when I wrote the article "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material". In my opinion, what exactly would that indicator be? A man who says that he wants to be married. A pull-out quote from the piece states this:
Is he dating with a purpose (with that purpose being to find a life partner)? Does he say that marriage is a part of his life plan? Is it evident that he's preparing for a wife and family? And — please get this — does he state that he wants to get married sooner than later? (Meaning within a couple of years rather than him saying something along the lines of "I mean…maybe…someday.")
If you can confidently say "yes" to these questions because you've actually asked him and you heard "yes" come out of his own mouth, then yes, he is marriage material.
So yeah, since Common said, in his own words, that he wanted to be a husband, and since he also put on record that he was seeing someone (who we did later find out was indeed Ms. Rye), it was fair to put two-and-two together. Common was no longer running from love and he was back with someone he deeply cared for. As a bonus, he was interested in marriage. Wins all the way around.
That's why, it initially hurt my feelings, just a little bit, when I heard several weeks back that Common and Angela were no longer together. That is, until I read why they broke up (again). After hearing and processing the explanation, I must admit that I could only salute their self-awareness (peep the last point about self-awareness in the article "These Are The Things Self-Aware People Do Daily") and ask my editor again for an opportunity to share the lesson that I personally got out of their experience. Thankfully, Sheriden obliged. As we're hours away from 2020, it truly is a gem. I can promise you that.
A Great Point via Angela Rye—When You Choose a Person, You Also Choose a Path
Last night, while I was chillin' and internet surfin', I peeped that it was Tyrese's birthday (Happy Belated, sir). BET Soul has a knack for playing an artist's videos on their birthday, so I watched some of his hits (I forgot how many of them there actually were; it's a lot). Anyway, when Tyrese's song "Best of Me" came on, I peeped that part of it says this—"I feel I could conquer the world with you by my side/Cause of your unconditional love baby that's why/You bring out the best in me, cause you are the best baby/And if I had to do it again (I'll still choose you girl)/You bring out the best in me, 'cause you are the best, baby". This just happened to come on while I was reading a Bossip article entitled, "Angela Rye Confirms Common Breakup 'We Will Always Be Friends'". The best means "of the highest quality, excellence, or standing". The best also means "most advantageous, suitable, or desirable". Synonyms for best include first-rate, beyond compare, culminating (that's a really good one), prime, greatest, matchless and unrivaled. Now watch this.
As I read, in Angela's own words (via her podcast), about why she and Common decided to call it quits, for the second time, my initial disappointment transformed into pure excitement. Odd? After you read this, I'm hoping that you won't think so:
"What I would say happened is we broke up. We were together for about a year this time and we broke up, I think it was September-ish maybe, because we just want different things. This was right after the time that I realized I was going to take the second godson, the 9-year-old [Ryan], more often. I had told him about it the day before. We had been talking probably for two months about 'Let's see where things go' because I'm leaning towards 'I want kids' and he was leaning towards 'I don't know,' and I think when somebody tells you they don't know, they don't really want that, they just don't want to hurt you.
"For me, I was like, I'm clear, I'm getting clarity around what I want for myself…so the thing that I would say is he is more established in his career and we have a little bit of an age difference and he has a fully grown wonderful human daughter I love, Omoye, in law school so not wanting to start over is a thing."
Yes Angela. Yaaas. No matter how many articles I write on relationships, nine times out of 10, the messages are for me first. So, back when I wrote, "Is It OK To Love A Man More Than He Loves You?" last spring and "Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time?" a few weeks prior to that, I must say that Angela's resolve brought both of those back to my remembrance. How dope it is, really, that two people can care about one other enough to basically say, "I do love you, but I love myself too much to not get all of what I want and feel like I deserve. And since we're not on the same page about those things, we should let each other go…so that we can get to them?" (See "What Loving Yourself Actually Looks Like".) And really, doesn't that look like what Angela did? She wants kids. Common is unsure. They weren't on the same page. It was time to move on. No love is lost; it's simply—redirected.
Something that far too many of us miss when it comes to relationships is something that I share in every premarital counseling session that I can—when you are looking for the right fit for you, it's not just about choosing a person; it's also about selecting the path that you want to be on. There are some guys I've dated who, to this day, I adore. But whether it's their career path, their future plans, or certain priorities that don't complement my own, I stopped seeing them. Not because of who they are as an individual, but because a true partnership, in many ways, walks side-by-side, on the same path. Why be with someone and then fight them at every turn, simply because they are going in a direction that you can't be enthusiastic about or support because it doesn't complement your own?
If you don't want children, why date a man who desires kids within the next two years?
If you're not sure what you think about religion at all, why go out with a man who is a pastor?
If you cringe at the thought of being a "traditional wife", why get involved with a man who has traditional expectations?
If you want to see the world, why get serious about a homebody?
If your libido is off the charts, why consider someone who doesn't make sexual intimacy a top priority?
If you want a constant sense of stability when it comes to one's finances or daily routine, why see an entertainer or entrepreneur?
If you want to get married, why date a guy who doesn't?
This is why, I'm all about people going on dates and asking some real questions while they're on them. Just because someone is fine, funny and shares some of your interests, that doesn't automatically mean they are the right fit for you; that doesn't mean they will complement your life's path. And because each one of us is here to fulfill a particular purpose, and also because we all have certain desires and goals, it's important that we don't get so caught up in "him" that we forget how important our path truly is. It's essential that we apply to our lives what the philosopher Siddhārtha Gautama once said—"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."
In other words if, as a single woman, you are distracted by a man instead of loyal to your purpose and desires, you could end up resenting the very man you love, all because you're on a path that isn't BEST—excellent, most advantageous, unrivaled—for you. That won't be his fault either. It will be yours.
Bottom Line: Allow 2020 to “Perfect Your Wait”
And that's why, I think, what Angela shared about her break-up with Common, is actually a really great way to step into 2020. Remember how I said at the very beginning of this that, in the Bible, 20 represents perfection in waiting? Being perfect is about "having all essential elements" and to wait is "to be available or in readiness". Listen, I don't care if you've been single for a while and you're totally sick of it at this point, you've recently broken up with someone, or your relationship is lying somewhere in the balance (if so, check out "Should You Take A Break? Or Break Up For Good?" and "Is Your Relationship Complicated? Simplify It With These Questions")—make the conscious decision to allow 2020 to be YOUR YEAR.
Focus on being clear about the essential elements that you desire—and require—for a successful relationship. Then make sure that you are truly ready for when those things arise. And don't forget that your path is just as important as the person—always remember that "your one" will check both boxes; he will be a great individual and he will complement your journey. Not either or—both.
Common and Angela—thank you for the pearls of wisdom that you shared with us in 2019. It is my hope and prayer that your wait is perfected in the very best way possible. xoTribe, the same goes for you. May 2020 either put you on your path or keep you on it…so that your person can meet you there. Not just any guy. The right one. Just you wait, sis. Just. You. Wait.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Is He REALLY The One Who Got Away?
The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have
If Your Man Is Missing These Things, Wait Before Marrying Him
Why You Need To Grieve Your Past Relationship
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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 (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.
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7 Black Women Bookstagrammers To Follow And The Reads By Black Authors That Empower Us
I've always been a stan for reading, and I've been a so-called book geek since kindergarten. My mom would always reward good grades and behavior with a trip to the local library, something my siblings loved more than any new toys or free time to play outside. We would spend hours at the tall stone building in the downtown area of the small town I spent my childhood in, first in the downstairs "Children's Room" (which only had books for readers 5-13). I later graduated to going (i.e., snuck) upstairs to find all the juicy celebrity autobiographies, travel books, and classics like Sula, Moby Dick, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
So today, when I see so many Black women part of #bookstagram, I feel seen because many of us love not only to read but to drown in books by Black authors, poets, historians, and researchers who continue to add to the narrative and reflection of what it truly means to be a Black person---a Black woman---in America.
Check out (and follow) a few of my favorite Black women bookstagrammers and the books that empower us:
Zora Neale Hurston is clearly an icon, and she's one of my favorite authors, thought leaders, and scholars, so this is an obvious choice for me. What I love, specifically, about this bookstagrammer's page is that it lacks pretension, is super-relatable, and includes a nice mix of nonfiction books, something I'm trying to boost in my collection.
2.Kayla Starr @blackgirlbookadventures
Another classic, Beloved was a book I unsuccessfully tried to read as a 12-year-old, tried again in my 20s (and failed), saw the film, and then fell back in love with again reading in my 30s. Black Girl Book Adventures is a page that just screams brightness, positivity, and a love for books that draws you near.
3.Black Girl With Books @blackgirlwithbooks
This book had a profound effect on me, as it connected the dots between Ghana (a place that has held a special place in my heart since my 2016 visit) and Black America in a way that blew my mind. It also helps that the storytelling and timelines are captivating and thoughtful in a way that any editor who just loves good writing--in an online content environment that seems to reward robotic, vapid, Grammarly-informed, copycat writing---would appreciate.) The founder of this page also offers info on bookstores and other interesting updates for bibliophile baes.
4.Shani Akilah @_shaniakilah
A love of travel and books? Yes, please! Shani's page is refreshing and welcoming, inviting you in on her global adventures along with her journeys through her latest reads. I'm a huge fan of books that feature Black women protagonists in Caribbean or African settings who are able to come into a higher sense of themselves through challenge or hardship. For some reason, I'm always drawn to those books, which is why this one is a top pick for me.
5.Boipelo Lecha @boipelo.reads.books
I'm not big on romance novels (after having grown out of an early obsession with Danielle Steele). At one point, I'd been yearning for a book that offered an elevated sense of the Black love experience (beyond the esteemed OGs like Terry McMillan, Eric Jerome Dickey, and Zane) and stumbled upon Love In Color. It was just what I needed because it's a collection of classic love stories retold through the lens of the author, and the tales centrally feature women.
Biopelo is an up-and-comer in the #bookstagrammer space.
I've been consumed by Black historical fiction, and this is a good one for the collection. It tells the story of a Black southern family through generations in a way that doesn't feel like a book you were forced to read for a college project. It screams, "Turn me into a six-part Netflix saga," and was a surprise hit for me because I made some very ignorant assumptions about a poet being able to write such a story. (Ah, like Maya Angelou isn't literally a queen in my head.)
Virginia-based Semiyah is literally like my reading tastes twin, down to the mix of types of books she showcases on her page, from romance fiction to new YA titles.
Lex serves up book events and information about new releases to boot, and her page doesn't scream, "Hey, I'm going to just promo books sent to me for free by publishers." On top of that, I support any and everything with the name Tiffany D. Jackson stamped on it. She's a graduate of the other HU (heeeey all my Hampton *cough*, I mean, Howard folk), and the way she puts her special stank on YA will have you wanting to actually relive your own teenage years.
Dare I say, reading her work is like the first time I read Judy Blume, Sister Souljah, and Candy Dawson Boyd---all pioneers in what is now known as young adult fiction. It's authentic, truthful, kind, real, and has a living soul, all elements I yearned for back in the late '80s and '90s as a confused, geeky, Black girl at the library and that I still yearn for as an award-winning editor, editorial manager, and self-employed woman at my big age.
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