Let's get real honest, sis. I'm a 20-something woman who is too old for the games but still has milk on her tongue when it comes to love.
My experience with dating and relationships hasn't - in the slightest - been linear, but there are patterns that I've uncovered in hindsight. Now that I'm more comfortable in my skin, but out of the blinders of self-denial, I'm able to operate in the dating scene from my center.
My center, however, is full of multitudes and contradictory wants and needs.
Some days, it's raining inside of my womb and I only want someone to experience the storm with me. When the sun is out and our mouths are dried of the memory from the night before, I will gracefully walk you out. Other days, I crave emotion. I want the same hands that can grip me to softly hold my well-being, mirror my sensitivity, and light the candles to serenade the romance of eternity.
Some days, I want to be alone in solitude and solely focused on myself until I am nestled in the company of money bags on my silk sheets. But then, my neighbor Loneliness peeks her 'Bye Felisha' braided head in through my window and bares a gold-tooth smile.
To be honest, sometimes these multitudes got me f*cked up.
I'm beginning to wonder where I presently fall into the spectrum of dating. In past situationships, I've been the money bag, the wound healer, the faithful, naive, unassuming girlfriend, the doormat, and the maid.
I've also been the side piece, the emotional abuser, the sugar baby, the arm candy, the booty call, and the emotionally-detached-friend-that-told-you-she-liked-you-but-never-responds-to-your-texts-because-she's-living-a-double life.
I have a full resume of experience and can probably do a TED talk on them all.
Currently, I am in a space where I am looking back at my past selves and realizing a common pattern in the way I behaved that probably led to the black hole that is my dating history:
I was acting out of entitlement.
stop dating entitled ass women and you’ll meet a woman down to pay for dates. treat you to dates. spoil you without being asked.— type of n*gga is you? (@type of n*gga is you?) 1516650718
I adopted entitlement from the acceptance of my past pains that turned into victimization.
From this space of victimization, I conditioned myself to believe that I automatically deserved to be treated the way I wanted to be treated, without reciprocating the energy. After my first relationship (where I was the money bag, the unassuming, faithful girlfriend, and the doormat), I subconsciously vowed to myself that I would not be taken for granted ever again.
That only created a monster of ego. I was walking around with a crown on my head that only I could see. Such an aura only stained my situationships with resentment and toxicity, but I carried it with me into every union. (Though sometimes not consciously.) It wasn't until I sat back and wondered why everything around me was always heavy but veiled with misunderstanding.
Entitlement is just open wounds clothed in designer.
You paying for nails, bundles, and shopping sprees for a woman who won’t even foot the bill every now & then. that’… https://t.co/4c2gKWskF6— type of n*gga is you? (@type of n*gga is you?) 1516651268
There is a whole demographic of women who aren't entitled that understand the value of reciprocity and a balance that breeds beautiful, healthy unions. It doesn't necessarily need to be in the materialistic way, either.
I am learning, through being the silent observer of my multitudes, that I am a woman that enjoys being spoiled but also spoiling the person I love; however, my entitlement that was rooted in my scorning limited me from opening myself up in such a way that could ultimately lead to that point of reciprocity. For a minute, I was walking around men's minds like I owned the place but also bringing in my past baggage and moving in without consent.
Ego checks are in commencement.
This is not an ego check that requires me to start doing a man's dishes or jump out of my skin to show him that I'm wifey material. (Because that's a whole ass "no.") This is me recognizing my own quirks as a woman and making a commitment to myself for perpetual self-improvement. I am worthy just the way I am, as I am able to accept my thorns that come bound, unassuming and inevitable, to the flower I am.
There is a thin line between knowing my worth enough to not settle and entitlement. But I'm beginning to believe that it is the very act of accepting my whole self. A part of that entails me having the confidence to tell another that they are not obligated to love me, but if they choose to, they must embrace my whole self just as I am embracing them. Because, any relationship is a mirror and we all deserve to leave the cracked ones behind.
When we act from a place of wholeness, we are never settling because we know our worth.
I'm still on the bridge about if I want to dedicate myself to a full-on relationship or enjoy the colorful canvas of dating, but I do know that I am able to operate from my center and truly assert the love that dwells within me.
Whatever reality I choose to nourish from my multitudes, I can definitely check my entitlement, and my ego, at the door before entering that sacred space.
Featured image by Shutterstock
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If there’s one part of the face that seems to be the most vexing to correct, it’s the under eyes.
This delicate area has a way of being tipped off by our irregular sleep patterns, stress, and the straining that comes from our computers and phone screens. From puffiness to dark circles, it can be irksome to find the right products to soothe our under-eye concerns. Thankfully, there’s one solution that delivers a brighter and more awakened look over time, and that’s under-eye masks and eye patches.
Eye patches are giving our under-eye bags an eviction notice because they can’t hang our glowing faces rent-free. The beauty of these patches is that they are designed to bring your eyes targeted results through concentrated doses of active ingredients directly to the skin under the eyes. Typically made of thin, gel-like material and infused with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and even green teas, these small but mighty patches depuff your puffiness, brighten your dark circles, or tighten fine lines.
While every under-eye differs in its needs, every eye can benefit from an under-eye mask or patch that suits its concerns. And to help, we’ve put together the best under-eye patches to hydrate, soothe, and brighten your eyes.
The KNC Beauty All Natural Retinol Infused Eye Mask, 5-Pack, is a retinol-infused, all-natural product designed to rejuvenate your eyes. It promises to provide hydration, smoothness, reduced puffiness, and brightness without the use of chemicals. With ingredients like retinol to refine skin texture and stimulate blood flow and aloe to soothe and reduce redness, it's like getting 8 hours of beauty sleep for your eyes.
These cooling hydrogel under-eye masks from Topicals promise to fade the appearance of dark circles and discoloration in just 15 minutes. The set includes six masks and offers benefits that brighten, hydrate, depuff, and cool your under-eye area.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Grab these eye contour gel patches to brighten the eye area and combat signs of aging using a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate, which is 50 times more potent than traditional vitamin C.
BeautyBio's Bright Eyes consists of 15 colloidal silver-infused eye gel patches designed to provide instant depuffing, brightening, and revitalization to the delicate eye area within 10 minutes. They also contain natural collagen to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, which we love.
These viral hydrogel masks offer moisture and nourishment to rejuvenate tired-looking skin. Their Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin," an effective moisturizing ingredient that soothes damaged skin and delivers deep hydration, making it suitable for dehydrated and damaged skin types. Your under-eyes will thank you.
Try these caffeine-infused patches to reduce puffiness in the under-eye area. The product features clean, vegan ingredients such as caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and moisture delivery.
The Forever Eye Mask is designed to be the “last eye mask you'll ever need.” This thin, lightweight, and reusable eye patch can hold gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for better absorption, helping your skincare products work more effectively.
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