I've shared before that I don't do social media. No regrets either. Adding to that, I can't tell you the last time that I Googled myself and I rarely read comments posted under anything that I've written. See, I remember the days before the world wide web (amazing). I imagine that life was so much more peaceful for professional writers back then because you basically said what you wanted to say and was done with it. There were no distractions from trollers or haters or folks who just like to trigger you for a living (when they actually could and should be focused on their own life's work). Limiting how much I engage online offers up a similar kind of tranquility.
And what in the world does this possibly have to do with what I'm gonna touch on today? Well, since I don't have social media accounts, another bonus is I'm not as tempted to do what a lot of people in my world tend to do — check up on exes. Lawd. Folks post so many details of their daily lives online that it can be really easy to get caught up in the past, in your present, if you're not careful. That's why I wish that I had totally ignored a friend who decided to give me an update on an ex, one that was from many years ago, a couple of months. Because while I'm not gonna lie and act like I don't think about him from time to time, I honestly hadn't interacted with him since I went on my heart pieces tour (check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour").
I hadn't looked him up in a few years either. Yet when I heard what I heard, I went a lookin' and boy…what I saw. I won't lie, it sent me back down memory's lane for a hot minute. And it definitely had me wondering if I was simply missing what once was or if I was low-key craving him a bit. The conclusion that I came to, I'm hoping can set some of y'all free, if you are currently in a similar emotional predicament…cause whew, chile.
What Does It Mean to Crave Someone?
OK, although the title has "miss" before "crave", consider that to be a little bit of clickbait because honestly, I think it makes more sense to break down what it means to crave someone first. And yes, I'll use my semi-recent incident as the example. The interesting thing about a craving is, from a dietary standpoint, it oftentimes means that we are either lacking a nutrient or that our hormones are imbalanced in some way (which explains why many of us have cravings when we're on our cycle or pregnant). However, there can also be psychological reasons for cravings too. A memory, an emotion, a longing can cause us to want to eat something that will bring some sense of comfort to us.
Let's expand this to a craving for a person. Definitions for the word include "to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly", "to require; need" and "to ask earnestly for (something); beg for". As you process these definitions, think about what I said about your body and swap it out for your heart. Then exchange food for "him".
When you feel like something is lacking within you, you may crave someone. When you're emotionally all over the place on some level, you may crave someone. Feeding into a memory, the way a person made you feel or a desire that you possibly have been suppressing, that too can cause you to crave someone. And if you don't really take the time to ponder all of this, the craving could manifest into a longing, possibly begging (asking earnestly) or even gassing yourself up to think that you need or even require them to be (back) in your life.
My ex? The chemistry was strong. The sex was good. The battle of wits was bar none. Not just when we were together but many years later when we caught back up. I won't lie —I literally had to convince myself to not get off ofmy abstinence wheel and take another spin with him (if you know what I mean). Yet in 2015, when we reconnected by phone, while I was still sexually attracted to him, I realized that I missed him — or rather, missed what we had — more than anything else (more on that in a second). And still earlier this year? Chile, that was a craving. See, I have been so focused on fulfilling my purpose and counseling other people that, although I'm a place of wholeness when it comes to my relational status (perhaps more than I've ever been before), seeing him married, a parent and thriving got to me a bit.
It was a mixture of being happy for him, wondering if we would've been like that had we made more responsible choices in the past and also admitting to myself that sometimes I desire companionship. Then I had to remind myself that wanting that and yet refusing to settle — those two things can co-exist. Not only that, but it's OK to feel that way. All of this brought me to the conclusion that the craving I was experiencing really wasn't about him. The craving was seeing what had manifested in his life and desiring it. A bit.
Another example of a craving. There is someone in my world who had an emotional affair with an ex because 1) her marriage was getting on her last nerve in that season and 2) she was missing the sexual connection she had with this particular person (a person who she found online so, again, be careful on there). That is a brutal combo yet between his looks, his charm and taking a walk down sexual memory lane, she was definitely craving him. And while she eventually realized that he was someone that she really just needed to leave alone for the rest of her days, after coming clean with her man and going through some couple's therapy, she also saw that the craving existed because there was a disconnect with her husband. While the sex with her ex was bomb, she was also satisfied with her man. It's just that because something was lacking between them, she "blew up" the experiences that she shared with her ex in her mind.
Cravings will do that to you. They'll have you out here thinking that you'll damn near die if you don't have a pint of Rocky Road or one more round with a blast from the past. It'll do that until you get to the root of what's triggering the craving in the first place. Once you do, usually you end up realizing that you're just fine without it or him…that you might miss him but that's about it.
Which brings me to the next point.
What Does It Mean to Miss Someone?
Miss. Miss is an interesting word. It means "to fail to reach, hit, meet, find, or attain (some specified or implied aim, goal, target, etc.)", "to fail to attend or be present for", "to fail to see, hear, understand, or perceive" and "to lose, overlook, or fail to take advantage of".
When you take all of this in, it's easy to see how "I miss him" can include all of these definitions. You may miss that you aren't present for a season in "his" life. You may miss that you are unable to see or understand what's currently going on in his world. You may miss that you didn't take advantage of the opportunity that you had to build with him once upon a time. You may miss that you've lost him. Perhaps for a season. Maybe for good.
For me, "my miss" was knowing that being present in his life would be totally inappropriate (considering our history). I also "miss" him in the sense he has to be chalked up to a missed opportunity. That's why it's so important that when we're making decisions that we factor in the fact that decisions now have a ripple effect in our future — not "every once in a while", at least 85 percent of the time. Back when he and I were involved, our passion was reckless, our privacy was sneaky and our thought process was only in present tense. We had a lot of the characteristics to be an awesome match while making totally irresponsible decisions. And so, when I saw what his life looked like I now, I realized that I missed taking better advantage of the potential of what we could've been more than I craved anything about him, if that makes sense.
Another example. Last year, another ex hit me up to tell me that he missed me. What he missed, more than anything, was our friendship. So much damage had been done and so much time had now passed that it's pretty close to impossible to become anything more than two people who are at peace with one another while living separate lives — yet, he missed discussing politics, watching movies and listening to music together. He missed our inside jokes. He missed our way of just…knowing each other — when we knew each other. Nothing is lacking in his world now. In fact, in many ways, he's thriving. So no, I'm not a craving. He just misses parts of me. And us. I totally get that because, again, a craving tends to reveal to us something that we're lacking in some way while missing something (or one) can happen, even if we are fine and whole.
Why Is All of This So Relevant? And Beneficial?
The reason why it's so important to know the difference between the two is because craving and missing warrant different responses. If you're craving someone, I recommend that you do some real soul-searching to see where you feel like there are places of lack — not so much as it relates to him but as it relates to your mind, body and spirit. What kind of voids would distracting yourself with him fill? On the other hand, if you're missing someone, well, that happens. When we share our worlds, intimately, with someone else — it's kind of like what I heard someone in a movie once say. They asked, "If you love someone and it all comes to an end, where does the love go?" Indeed.
If you just miss them, miss them. It's not an automatic sign to make it any more than that. Honor your heart and the journey by being still in feeling what you feel…knowing that the feeling will pass.
Back to food. You know, sometimes I miss McDonald's French fries. However, I don't really crave them. My overall health and diet are at a place where I don't feel like that kind of food will fill any voids for me. That doesn't mean that I don't remember how good they used to be at a certain time in my life. I think about all of this sometimes when I drive by a pair of golden arches. Then I come home and make myself something better.
Processing men can be the same way. If you long for someone, what's that about? Is it really about him or is it loneliness, horniness, regret, fear or something even far more complex speaking up? On the flip, if you just find yourself reflecting and nothing more, do that and move on.
I'm telling you, knowing the difference between these two things can change your life and save you a lot of time. Clearly, I'm speaking from very personal experience. Craving vs. missing is all about clarity. The clearer you are, the easier it is to do what you need to do. For yourself. Irrespective of him.
Feel me? Somehow, I believe that you do.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith went to social media to share their Thanksgiving holiday with followers. The pair were surrounded by family and friends Thursday, and both posted how grateful they were to be with the ones they loved. Yet this comes on the heels of Pinkett Smith’s whirlwind of negative opinions and critics forecasting her book would be a flop.
Despite the negative feedback she received, Worthy, Pinkett Smith’s memoir, still debuted at #3 on the New York Times’ Best Seller list on October 25. The greatest backlash she received was centered around her relationship with Smith and the fact that the two had been living separate lives since 2016.
The commentary about their marriage overshadowed the reality that this book is ultimately about her journey to self-worth and the path she’s had to take in order to get there.
Social media comments about her book tour ranged from, “Me counting all the times Jada woke up and chose to embarrass Will Smith,” to podcasts like The Joe Budden Podcast saying, “Take me out the group chat,” which was a sentiment shared by many celebrities and fans alike. Yet, a point made by comedian KevOnStage proved that even though people say they don’t want to know about the Smiths, they’re secretly interested and want to know more.
Since the Smiths were wed in 1997, people have been fascinated with their marriage, and rumors about their marital arrangement have always been a topic of conversation. People continue to speculate that the pair is gay and swingers, and even new allegations have come out that Smith and Duane Martin shared an intimate relationship at one point.
However, despite their consistent united front throughout their marriage in recent years, Pinkett Smith has borne the brunt of backlash in the couple’s relationship, from her entanglement with August Alsina to Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards to the recent truths she’s shared about the couple’s marriage in her memoir.
Individuals are consistently running to the internet to support Smith and villainize Pinkett Smith, from podcast guests saying things such as “She doesn’t like Will, she likes the lifestyle” to deeming her “mean” or "manipulative" because of her facial expressions and demeanor.
Likewise, when you have hosts of daytime talk shows such as Ana Navarro saying, “I think she’s having a relationship with her bank account,” insinuating Pinkett Smith only shared stories about Smith to increase her book sales, it begs the question of where was this same energy when Smith released his memoir?
In Will, Smith discusses both of his marriages and how, in relationships, because of his upbringing, he needed constant validation and praise from his partners to feel secure. He also shared the reality that Pinkett Smith never wanted to be married, just as she never wanted the huge estate they share in California, but he wanted to give it to her despite her feelings about it.
Smith admitted to creating this family empire that only further boosted his ego and what he wanted his legacy to be instead of actually asking his family what they wanted or needed. People praised him for his vulnerability and said his book was an inspiration.
So how is it that one book about a person’s family, upbringing, and journey to self is praised, and another is villainized? The glaring thought that comes to me is, does likability often trump accountability?
People love Smith and his “good guy” persona; he’s always been an attractive, charismatic man that people can relate to, so even when he speaks about the way he mismanaged his marriage and family, it’s seen as growth. On the contrary, because Pinkett Smith doesn’t constantly fawn over him and shares how miserable she was in their marriage, she’s the villain.
People still blame her for not stopping Smith from smacking Rock at the Oscars and share their sentiments about how she embarrassed Smith with her entanglement with Alsina. Though this is a celebrity couple we’ve all followed for years, the question must be asked, how much accountability must Black women be subjected to in relationship to their partners' actions?
Why is it that the media is more interested in the marriage between Smith and Pinkett Smith than her childhood, or the fact her memoir consists of writing prompts, meditations, and methods for other women to find their sense of worth?
Could it be that the larger society doesn’t value Black women having the tools to find their own sense of worth? Or is it that Black women are expected to accept whatever is given to them regardless of how they feel or what they want?
The exclusive interview with Eboni K. Williams (@ebonikwilliams) and Dr. Iyanla Vanzant about if she would date a bus driver seems to have a lot of people talking. You can watch her response tonight on #theGrio. Catch the full interview, here: https://t.co/ctxE0zKFWj pic.twitter.com/BhIO52T2fg— theGrio.com (@theGrio) May 2, 2023
When Eboni K. Williams shared that she wasn’t interested in dating a bus driver, the internet blew up with individuals saying that Black women need to be less selective with their dating prospects. The commentary around this conversation shed much light on the reality that this demographic is expected and invited to settle in love if they actually want a life partner.
Black women aren’t often given the space to find their joy, fulfillment, or even self-worth because of the responsibility they’re forced to acquire in order to support their families and communities. Yet, “high value” Black men speak vehemently about Black women’s masculinity and inability to submit. We’re often inundated with podcast guests sharing that they’re not impressed by our success and are uninterested in our aspirations.
Black women, from a young age, are taught to place their community first and cater to the men around them regardless of what they do or how they behave.
We see this when young girls are told to put on pants when male relatives come around, we experience it when domestic violence survivors are encouraged not to press charges against their perpetrators, and we even see it when Black women face backlash for dating outside of their race.
The way Pinkett Smith has been treated since sharing the truth about her life and journey of discovering her self-worth is another example of how the world isn’t receptive to Black women being their most authentic selves.
It’s another example we can hold up to illustrate how Black women are expected to be magical but not human.
Even with this article, I’m sure there will be many who want to argue why Pinkett Smith was wrong in her narrative, but at the end of the day, it was her story to tell, and no one has more authority to share her lived experience than her.
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