Whenever Myleik Teele posts a podcast, I'm all ears—soaking up every word of wisdom that I possibly can.
There's something about her transparency and realness that draws me in as she touches on topics that many at her level of visibility would shy away from. With every new post she reminds me that I'm not alone in my pursuit of purpose and leaving behind a legacy that will inspire and impact generations to come. Nor am I the only one attempting to navigate the world of dating without letting my biological clock rush me into the wrong arms, or allow my work to overwhelm me into an early grave.
To put it simply, Myleik is that home girl that you want to call up whenever you're going through a crisis and need a gentle reminder that “you've got this, boo!"
When I hop on a call with the founder and CEO of curlBOX—a subscription service that allows women of color to explore natural hair by delivering quality products to their doorstep every month—she brings that same level of realness to our conversation as if she were at home recording another #MyTaughtYou lesson from the school of hard knocks.
I confess to her that I almost reached out after shutting down my former website, Necole Bitchie in July 2015. It was four weeks after I called it quits and decided to create a platform that was positive and uplifting for women of color—a bold step that left me tripping over my emotions—broken and having to risk going broke as I was dumping every dollar I made back into a site I wasn't sure would work. I wasn't sure who to turn to for support during my confusion, so I tuned into Myleik's uplifting podcasts. It left me wondering who she reached out to as an entrepreneur during her times of struggle.
“Honestly, Necole, I go to a licensed psychotherapist," she says. Revealing her secret as to how she deals with the pressures of running a business without letting it ruin her life. “I got to a point where I kind of had outpaced my circle. I had a circle of girlfriends. And then you start complaining like, 'I'm making too much money and I'm unhappy,' and they're like 'f-ck you.' Nobody wants to hear that. I've been in psychotherapy; this month makes three years; every Tuesday I go."
It reminds me of the article that I read in Inc. Magazine on “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship," and how many entrepreneurs battle depression and succumb to suicidal thoughts due to long hours, mounting debt, and no guarantee that your risk will come with reward. It's no secret that being your own boss isn't always glitz and glamour. Sure there are the successes and the wins—the press opportunities from respectable magazines, red carpet appearances, and award banquet invitations. But there's also the side that is often less visible but highly experienced—a subject that up until recently has been so taboo that many die masking their pain. I, too, know that taking a leap of faith means free falling before spreading your wings and soaring to success. Myleik is familiar with it as well.
Growing up in Los Angeles, CA, Myleik always knew that she would be successful, and made a point to be around people who reflected the success that she desired. Her résumé is a reflection of her hustle—working in PR for The Grammy Awards, American Idol and celebrity clients such as Prince and Linkin Park before snagging a job with Travis Barker to work as his personal publicist. But when the musician and his band mates were involved in an unfortunate plane crash that left four of the six passengers dead, it caused her to rethink her own path in life and whether or not she was living her life to the fullest.
“My friend died in that crash, and at his funeral I don't know what happened, but I had this huge light bulb moment where I was like this could be you. How many times are you going to sit and promise to live the life you've always wished for and do all the things they say you should do before you die and not do it? And that was my wake up call. It was basically like "ride or die" until you're in that casket. I've never went back since then."
With $7,000 cashed out from a 401K, she moved to Atlanta, but couldn't find a job due to the recession. Desperate for money, she signed up for babysitting service Care.com, and was contacted by Kim Zolciak from The Real Housewives of Atlanta for a job. She worked as a personal assistant to the reality star for a year before branching off in 2010 to launch her boutique PR firm, snagging celebrities, apps and beauty brands as clients. When friend-turned-client Ken Burkeen, founder of the Huetiful Hair Steamer, hired her to do PR, she started attending hair meet ups and shows, where she noticed a lack of sample products geared towards black women.
It sparked the idea for curlBOX, and after seeing her own massive collection of hair products that were piling up under her sink, she decided it was time to create the product that she always needed. “I was like white girls get samples all of the time. They can go to Macy's and get their own, but what about us?"
The product junkie took her passion and knowledge for beauty and hair products from a thought to reality, utilizing her connections to help her with the foundations of her business from logo design to photos for her website, which launched in November 2011. In January 2012, she put the first box on sale for $20 per month. In her first month she made $4,000, and has continued to be profitable for the last three years.
At this point, I'm curious, because many business owners will attest to losing money for the first few months (or even a few years) before becoming profitable. Within 10 months Myleik was already moving her booming business into a warehouse. She credits her gift of gab to being a big part of her financial success.
“I think that some of the skills that I gained as a PR person is just relationships. I figured out how to do it. I spent a lot of time traveling; I spent a lot of time connecting with my brand. What's so funny is I think a lot of people wonder how I get this network or why people like me so much and this is just what I do, so people who I befriend really love me. They really take care of me, and I do my best to take care of them."
Though she's churned a profit, she's also made some costly mistakes—such as kicking out $6,000 for a website that wouldn't work for her e-commerce platform. But one thing about Myleik is that she's made a point to never go back to broke and always has a plan. In this case, it's an exit plan for when she reaches the dollar amount that she's comfortable with retiring off of.
“I have two wealth managers and they know what my goal is. If I don't figure out what my next move is, I am planning to retire early, so I know how much it cost me. I'm saving to be able to have the option to quit one day, so that in the event that I get sick of this and I don't know what's next, I can live off of interest. I try to convince the girls that work for me to get $10,000 saved up, because I think that's kind of a minimum to get a good investment account going, and just work from there."
Noted. Not to mention that she has investors reaching out to cash in on her curlBOX product line. But she's in no rush to share a slice of the pie with anyone who can't bring more to the table.
Between managing her team of full-time staff and interns, on top of building the curlBOX brand, her mentoring site MYTaughtYou.com, and her social media, it's no wonder why Myleik is up at the crack of dawn.
“Successful people have this insane amount of discipline and do things when they are tired or they don't feel like it. I've seen so many people do so much in a day with very little complaining. I always say that I don't know a successful person that doesn't wake up early."
But don't get it twisted; taking care of self is numero uno on her agenda—something that I personally have just begun to master. She references one of my previous blogs where I confessed to taking my first break in three years and I can feel the side eye through the phone.
“I was like she's crazy! I will take a break on you so fast! I realized that I'm useless or I would get sick and would hate this if I don't stop and take a break. Last year I took like 15 vacations. I love massages; I am the queen of the spa."
We both agree that if you don't take care of you, nobody else will. It's easy to burn out in this business, and if you don't know your limits someone will surely push you beyond them. Going to psychotherapy is part of what keeps Myleik mentally and spiritually sound. So much so that not even a man can come in and disrupt her peace. We talk about dating at our age as independent girl bosses with me sharing that throughout the years, I've sacrificed my love life to completely dedicate my time to growing my brand, and her keeping it real and admitting that she doesn't want to have “all of this and nobody to share it with." When her friend Melody McCloskey, co-founder and CEO of StyleSeat, encouraged her to get on Tinder, she gulped down two glasses of wine, hooked up her profile, and started swiping right.
“Dating is just like a trial period. It's going to take you time to see if this person has all your points or if you like them. You just never know when you might find a gem; be open to everybody and everything. Take it serious. If you do, there's no way you'll be single."
She's on her second Tinder boyfriend and is learning the art of balance in a relationship. With both her and her partner working (he's a curator for a museum), making time is just as important as making money. Between traveling and work they find time in their down time to nurture their relationship.
“I own my business; I won't turn the ringer off. I'm just not there yet, and he completely respects that. I'm reading this book and it says that once a woman has a good circle of friends and is in a career that she's satisfied with and happy, she should begin to date. I just decided to make dating a priority like I do everything else. I was like okay, at least two nights a week, I will block my calendar off for a date, you have to do it. I used to have this anxiety that I was going to be single forever; Tinder taught me that that's not true. I told myself 'you will never get to the end. It's an endless supply of men, you have never gotten to the end of it and you never will. Until you have gone through every single man on Tinder is when you can officially say you're going to be single forever.' There's plenty on there."
Of course I had to admit to Myleik that I sometimes wonder if I sacrificed having kids for a demanding career, and whether or not she was concerned about not being able to have babies. Being in your 30s, you can hear your biological clock loud and clear, and even if you ignore it, there's always someone else there to remind you. That's when I felt a little sadness as Myleik detailed going to the doctor a year ago. At age 35, they told her that her eggs were dying and that she wouldn't be able to have a baby if she didn't act soon. She had a no-pregnancy scare, and talked to the fertility doctor about freezing her eggs. $12,000 and five shots a day later, she was informed that her Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) levels were too low, and that she had a year before her chance at being a mommy would run out.
“I went through a really dark period because I just did all of this stuff only to find out that I may not have the opportunity," she says. “And then, I think it was a conversation I had with a friend who said, 'if this is the worst thing that happens to you in your life, you're actually doing well. And what we know is that the statistics and all of the stuff that they say is not accurate.'"
Like always, Myleik has a plan for if she runs into the issue of infertility. There are donor eggs, which will still allow her to have the whole pregnancy experience, and then, of course, there's adoption, which has been the option for many successful businesswomen.
“There are so many ways that I think that a woman can become a parent, and whatever this wave that is about to happen to us career women that decide to have children later, it's going to be a different type of motherhood that I'm excited for us to experience."
In the meantime, I remind her that through her podcasts—her honest revelations—that she's birthing the next generation of female entrepreneurs. I can recall countless times when I tuned in just in time to hear the words that I needed to keep going, and her 76,000 followers are proof that she's speaking life into people.
“I do it because at the end of the day what I know now is what I wish I knew [before]. I'm sure somebody can benefit from it. When I hear people like you and other people telling me 'I listen to your podcast,' I feel like thisthat is the greatest gift anybody could ever give me. That beats any kind of cash, just knowing that somebody now has success. Because we will all benefit from what you are going to do next."
– Interviewed by Necole Kane, penned by “as told to" Kiah McBride @writeonkiah
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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