A few months ago, in the article, "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have", I referenced a lil' tour that I took back in 2015 (wow, five years ago). At the time when I started it, I didn't know that I was on a mission to get my heart pieces back. But, as life would have it at the time, that is exactly what went down. Anyway, because I seem to get interviewed about "the tour" more and more, I decided it was only right to share with the xoTribe just what I did, why I did it, and how to played a huge role in making my heart truly whole again.
Why Our Hearts Are Do Divine and Must Be Protected at all Costs
The Classic Amplified Version of Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to, "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life." If there's something that I tell soon-to-be parents is there are two things that children definitely need; two things that get overlooked far too often in the raising and nurturing (or, as the Bible puts it, "training"—Proverbs 22:6) process. First, children need to be taught how to be financially responsible and second, children need to be taught how to properly guard their heart. That second one is super layered because, by definition, the heart is a complex thing.
It's an organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies. It's the center of our emotions. It's also the center of our personality. In the Hebrew language, it's our mind and thoughts. Some synonyms for heart include our character, our soul and even our temperament. No wonder the Word tells us that out of our heart flows the springs of life. No wonder that a broken heart devastates—and sometimes totally alters us—so much.
This is why it's super crucial that we keep and guard our heart. For the record, this does not mean that we're supposed to be unapproachable, bitter or that we put up such a high wall up that no one can ever reach us. What it does mean is we need to handle our heart with an incredible amount of TLC. We need to be careful about who we let enter into our body. We need to be cautious about how we allow others to affect our emotions or influence our personality. Influence is a big freakin' deal. That's why we also need to watch what kind of folks are able to use their words, actions and even energy to infiltrate our thoughts.
Growing up, because I wasn't taught this well at all, I didn't know how to guard my heart. Sure, the rules in my house were semi-strict but what was modeled (parents, we watch what you do far more than what you say) was also pretty toxic. So, by the time I went to college and was in my own space, guys were able to…basically do with my heart whatever they wanted to. It wasn't until I got abstinent that I realized just how much damage had been done. Once I "detoxed", in the physical sense, from the 14 partners I had been with ("Each Of My 14 Sex Partners Taught Me Something New" pretty much breaks that down), I realized there were still parts of me that "belonged" to some of those men; belonged in ways that I had totally underestimated until I went…on tour.
What the Heck Is a “Get Your Heart Pieces Tour”, Anyway?
The love of my life. The one who got away. The best sex I ever had. These were the titles that I had given to certain men from my past. Although those resolves weren't untrue, because they were a part of my reality, those fellas still had a bit of power over me; power that I didn't even realize until I actually stopped and thought about my choices, my patterns and why, in some ways, I was stagnant when it came to my personal relational progress. And so, back in 2015, I decided that I would be intentional about finding those fellas and having a little convo with them.
The love of my life. When it came to this guy, clearly the Universe was in agreement that we needed to find real closure. I say that because my running statement is, "If you find your ex on Facebook, that's you. If you run into him in the grocery store, that's God." After looking for him for a couple of weeks (after not speaking for several years) and finally declaring to a friend that I was going to give it a month and then try to let it all go, the very next day after that phone call, I ran into ole' boy. It wasn't on Facebook, so you know what that means.
My first love had always been able to reel me back in, in a way that no other man could. But this time, I wasn't interested in romanticizing our situation. I wanted to know what the heck it was that we had been doing, basically since I was three months shy of 19. We talked off and on and met up a couple of times for a few weeks. Then one day, while we were having lunch, I realized that no matter how much he professed to love me, when we were in love, loved or liked each other, his treatment was pretty much the same. Meaning, there was no change in how he loved me beyond his words.
That a-ha moment gave me my heart piece back. I will always love him, no doubt. But that lunch—coupled with a run-in that we actually had in December—solidified the fact that we had a past, no future, and that the part of me that always kinda sorta held out hope that one day we'd be like the characters inLove Jones or Dear John wasn't going to—and didn't need to—happen. No longer do I have this sinking feeling and wondering suspicion that if I were to get married but he was to reach out, there would be a possibility that he might be able to reel me back in; even if it was just with an emotional affair (which is still cheating, y'all). The mouse hole is finally closed. That chapter—which was more like a novella—is done. Next stop.
The one who got away. Whew. This. Man. Right. Here. He's fine—and then some mo' fine. Smart. Charming. Accomplished. Hilarious. SEXY (and yes, I'm screaming the last part!). After all these years, he's still that. And, up until 2015, he was my biggest regret. Nothing was really "wrong" with us; the timing just was off. Way off. It was so off that one day, while he was in college, he called to say, "You're like crack and I choose to no longer be addicted." He hung up and I never heard from him again. I must admit that, in many ways, I totally got where he was coming from because I continued to think of him, sometimes dream about him, and always refer to him as the one who got away. This means that he still had some type of hold on me. So, one day I Googled him, found one of his office numbers (you can read between the lines right there, sis) and left a message referring to myself as "crack". Later that evening he called, we stayed on the phone for eight hours, partly discussing how, umm, ravenous we both made each other feel. Whew. I seriously considered hopping on a plane. ASAP.
Why didn't I? For a few reasons, really. One, it was evident that while there was still a deep connection there, spiritually, we are in very different places now. Secondly, I'm not so sure that reuniting wouldn't have been more than months—maybe years—of off-the-chain sex, nice dates, but not much more than that…on his part. But more than anything, he's divorced, and I hold a personal conviction about that (I Corinthians 7:10-11). Because my niche, as a marriage life coach, is reconciling divorces, I personally don't want to "be in the way" of a couple, who was once in that type of covenant, possibly getting back together. And so, after a few weeks of chatting—and I'll be honest, fantasizing—I sent him an email that it was so good to reconnect, to get to a good place, and to be able to wish him well. Now, he's no longer the guy who got away from me. He's just the fine divorced man who I used to know.
The best sex I ever had. How do you get past this one? Hmph. You might be surprised. As we emotionally heal and even physically mature, our take on what "best sex" is tends to shift (see "What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be"). It was important for me to have a brief (LOL) conversation with this dude because, up until I did, I kept replaying how the physical part of the sex was without factoring in how absolutely wack everything else had been. I was never really "into him"; I liked the sex.
And chile, if you live on this earth long enough, you realize that great sex isn't super hard to come by; that oftentimes, sex is what you make it. Still, it was necessary to talk to him because now I don't feel like he has the ability to "hit some spots" like no other man can. He simply was one of the lucky ones who was privileged enough to do it. My future husband will be even more blessed. Yep. Got that heart piece back too.
Why It’s So Important to Restore Your Heart Before Moving Forward.
Although I can't recall exactly where it came from, I once heard someone say, "It's hard to walk away from a train wreck once the train has run you over." Indeed. Some of us don't realize that "the wreck" is a relationship (or several relationships) and "the train" is a guy. We don't get that we're emotionally stagnant, internally bitter or not thriving in a new relationship like we could and should be, and that it's all because there are men out here who still have parts of our heart. They still trigger our emotions. They are still able to love bomb or gaslight us. They prevent us from fully trusting. They keep us living in the past. They have us holding out. Or, perhaps worst of all, they are able to keep coming back—if not physically, mentally.
Man…when I tell you that words can't express, just how freeing it feels to know that, while there are some faint scars from some of my past experiences, all of the wounds are totally gone? It is so refreshing! Going on that tour has shown me that it really is possible to be fully restored, to not hate or even resent an ex and, no matter how deep or profound an experience—or set of experiences—may have been, it no longer has to affect or infect me. A tour can be "one and done". No matter how much of myself that I gave to a man, I can get all of me back.
All of this said, I will say this—the title of today's soul food for thought is a little bit of clickbait. Does every woman who has a past need to go on this kind of tour? Eh, probably not. But if you're like a lot of women I know who reflect on their past and have given men certain titles or accolades like the examples that I just provided, 8.5 times out of 10, what that means is those guys still have a stronger hold on them than they ever should. Whether those ladies realize—or choose to accept—it or not, those fellas still have a piece of their heart; a piece that they need to get back. That means that, on some level, they are stuck. And when you are stagnant, it is impossible to move forward. And you need to move forward.
If that means saying a prayer, taking a deep breath and hitting up an ex or two to have a talk, so be it. Better to get your heart piece via the clarity that you need than to allow a man to still have a part of you because you haven't found resolve with—or from—him. Take the tour. Get the T-shirt. I did. And I'm oh so very whole because of it.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
6 Reasons Why You STILL Can't Over Your Ex
How To Get Closure If Your Ex Won't Give It To You
6 Signs You're In A One-Sided 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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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Sabrina Dhowre Elba Admits To Not Initially Knowing Who Idris Elba Was When They Met
Model and entrepreneur Sabrina Elba recently recalled the intimate moments surrounding the fateful day she first encountered her husband, Idris Elba.
The couple, who have been together since 2017, met at a jazz bar in Vancouver when Idris was working on his film Mountain Between Us. Years later, in April 2019, following a whirlwind romance, Sabrina and Idris would tie the knot in Morocco.
Since then, the pair's love story has become "couple goals" among many for various reasons. The list includes the numerous times Sabrina and Idris have showcased their love on social media. Another factor contributing to the duo's likability is that Sabrina and Idris have displayed over the years that being with the right partner can elevate one's career or passion in life.
Sabrina and Idris have collaborated professionally in several businesses, including their Coupledom podcast and skincare brand S'Able Labs. In a June interview on Jemele Hill's Unbothered podcast, the 34-year-old opened up about the events leading up to when she met Idris and how she initially didn't know who he was.
Sabrina Dhowre Elba on Meeting Idris Elba
Sabrina, who was living in Vancouver at the time, said that the same night Idris was in town, she went out to a jazz bar for an event called Slow Jam Sunday for a friend’s birthday.
Around that time, the model was getting over a breakup and claimed she wasn't interested in a relationship because of how badly her previous one ended. In a past interview, Idris revealed that he, too, just went through a breakup before meeting Sabrina.
"This is so funny. I [had] just gotten out of a really bad relationship, so I was not this person. I was like 'men are trash. They suck.' I'm literally ready to switch it on up or something because I was so over it," she said. "I come to this party with a night off at work that I prebooked because I was working literally every weekend. But it was my girlfriend's birthday party, so I was there kind of by chance."
Sabrina also revealed that, coincidently, the night she took off for her friend's birthday celebration was the same night Idris had the day off and was convinced by his stunt double to attend Slow Jam Sunday.
"Slow Jam Sundays is an amazing night in Vancouver. It's the one night I would probably go to, but you wouldn't see me out often because I was a weekend worker. I was working at restaurants and service industry, your weekends are taken up," she stated.
"Idris was filming this film in Vancouver and had one night off in Vancouver because most of it was filmed sort of up north in the mountains. His stunt double convinced him to go to Slow Jam Sundays. By chance, we were both there."
Further into the interview, Sabrina disclosed that her friend was interested in Idris at first and went to flirt with him. However, the Daddy's Little Girls star dismissed the friend's advances because Sabrina had caught his eye.
When Sabrina's friend informed her about what happened, she admitted that although she tried to put up a front for her friend's sake, the S'Able Labs CEO was happy because she thought he was also attractive. Following the discussion, Sabrina and her friend went to the section where Idris was, and the couple realized how much they had in common, from the music choices to their background.
"So I go over, and we have like one of those conversations that you just feel like you've known this person for ten years because we're singing the same songs. When a song comes on that I love, he's like, 'I love this song.' I'm like, 'what?' Like I just had this like cultural connection. He's African. I'm like,' Where are you from?'" she said.
Sabrina On Not Knowing Who Idris Was After Meeting Him
As the topic shifted to Idris' celebrity status, Sabrina explained that she didn't know who he was until after it was brought to her attention by a few people she met outside of the bar.
"When I went outside, I realized because there's a group of people there, they're like, 'Oh, you're talking to Idris Elba,'" she stated.
When asked about how well-known the actor was when they met, Sabrina shared that Idris was widely famous in America but not so much in Canada and that the one film she saw him in was the 2009 thriller Obsessed.
Sabrina would add that even after being told who Idris was, she couldn't recollect where she knew him from until her friends mentioned the movie.
"Well, so the film that I had seen was Obsessed... I feel Idris Elba now he gets recognized so much. In that moment, unless you were kind of in that zeitgeist, he was definitely a lot more popular in America," she said. "I don't think I would've known it even when they said that was him. I was trying to remember, like, my friends were like, 'yeah, he's from Obsessed.' We're like, 'Oh, yeah.'"
After figuring out who Idris was, Sabrina shared that when she re-entered the venue, she doubted a relationship would form between them given his occupation, the short timeline he would be there to shoot his movie, and the constant temptation that could flock around him due to his status. But despite Sabrina's uncertainty, they would exchange numbers before she left.
"So I went back inside, we started chatting some more, and he was like, 'Let me take your number.' I was like, 'Alright,' and then I left," she stated.
The model explained the reason why she left the event was that her friend, whose birthday she was celebrating, wanted to check out other spots. When the night was coming to an end, Sabrina hailed a taxi to go home when she received a phone call from Idris. The entrepreneur revealed that the Takers star stopped her from entering the cab and urged her to get in the car he was driving, and they spent the whole night talking until 8 a.m.
"I got in his car, and we spoke till like 8 a.m. easy. It was probably like 2 [a.m.] at that time. We just had the most intense, amazing conversation," she said. "It was the first time I ever connected with someone to the point where I was like, I went home the next day called my friends, I was like, 'I think I found my soulmate.'"
Sabrina revealed that from that fateful night, she and Idris became inseparable. The couple would be long-distance for a brief stint of their union until they acknowledged how difficult it was to maintain that type of relationship. Sabrina ultimately decided to move in with Idris although she was skeptical at first, she claimed it was one of the best decisions she's made because she found her "soulmate."
Sabrina Elba's First Night with Idris Elba Sounds Like a Romance MovieModel and philanthropist Sabrina Elba joins Jemele to discuss her marriage to actor Idris Elba, and their heartwarming, love at first sight origin story.SUBS...
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Feature image by Dave Benett/Getty Images for Space NK