It's kind of rare that a day doesn't go by when there's not a headline that features Oprah, Gayle King or them both. But when I caught the one that I saw today on People's site, I immediately hit up my editor to see if I could expound on it a bit. The title? "Oprah Winfrey Says BFF Gayle King Has 'Always Felt Not a Shadow but the Light' from Her Success". I adore that because that is just what a friendship should be.
Since I wanted to hear more, first, I watched the feature interview with Gayle about how she and Oprah have been friends since 1976; how she was a production assistant at the time, Oprah was anchor and staying at Oprah's house during a bad storm one night solidified their friendship forever. How? Well, they basically had a "C.S. Lewis moment" based on when he once said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" For them, their ethnicity, being close in age and sharing similar philosophies (oh and agreeing on who they liked and who they thought were assholes; that's a direct Gayle quote, by the way) are the very things that still keep them so close even now.
45th NAACP Image Awards Presented By TV One - Red CarpetGetty Images
Something else that stood out to me is the story Gayle shared about the nicest thing that Oprah has ever done for her. She said that on her first New Year's Eve following her divorce, Oprah and Stedman drove four hours to surprise her. Stedman made spaghetti and they stayed with Gayle so that she wouldn't have to be alone. (So, Sex & the City fans, when Carrie did that for Miranda in the first movie, that wasn't original or merely fictional; Oprah and Gayle did it first). And now, some forty-plus years later, here Oprah and Gaye still stand. Strong and secure Black women. Powerhouses in their own right (let's not forget that Gayle negotiated a pretty impressive deal with CBS earlier this year). And, what I really admire, complete and total fans of one another.
So much, in fact, that for the first time ever, Gayle is gracing the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine in September, alongside her bestie.
As I went to Oprah's actual website to check out the cover story, this part, in particular, stood out to me:
For years, people have marveled at our friendship—and sometimes misunderstood it. But anyone who has a soulful bond with a friend, a friend who would do anything for you, who revels in your happiness and is there to comfort you in your sadness, gets it exactly.
In our friendship, they see their own connections. It's why people often introduce their best friends to me as "She's my Gayle."
Amen. Your friends, your true friends, won't only do anything for you, they will revel in your happiness. That includes your success. (Bookmark that for a moment. I'll be coming back to it.)
As I continued to read on, it's pretty obvious that Oprah not only adores her BFF, but she highly respects her too. It's evident in her words that if anyone saw Gayle's current success coming a mile away, and is totally thrilled because of it, it is her. Plus, I appreciate that Oprah addressed something that I'm sure just about all of us have wondered at one time or another—did Gayle ever feel resentment, envy or that it was some sort of backhanded compliment to be referred to as "Oprah's best friend" all these years. According to Oprah, absolutely not.
Now that Gayle's a shining star on 'CBS This Morning', people often ask her how she felt being in the shadow of my success. The truth is, she always felt not a shadow, but the light. We couldn't have remained friends if she'd perceived it as a shadow. I would have sensed that, and I wouldn't have been able to be as open.
A true friend can't be jealous of you, or want to take advantage of you in any way.
Rinse and repeat— A true friend can't be jealous of you, or want to take advantage of you in any way.
As I finished up, what I consider to be, Oprah's letter of deep love and profound adoration for her friend, I thought about some of my own relationships. Although I didn't plan for it to play out the way that it has, I also have friends who are in the spotlight. Sometimes people ask me how I am able to make it all work. If I were to offer up a bullet point list, here would be my top five:
Know That You Each Have Your Own Purpose in Life
I'll be honest. Something that particularly impresses me about Oprah and Gayle's friendship is the fact that they are basically in the same line of work and there are no moments of competitiveness or jealousy; especially since the media world is naturally competitive on its own. For them to be able to navigate through all of that, it speaks to their own heightened level of self-awareness that they each have a purpose in this life. Oprah can't do what Gayle can in the way that she can do it, and vice versa.
And you know what? That point right there applies to all of us. One of my favorite quotes of all time is "If two people were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary." (A man named Larry Dixon said that.) By the mere fact that you are even on this site, I can only assume that you are a pretty ambitious individual. That probably means that some of your inner circle is pretty accomplished as well. No matter how popular, successful or rich one of you may be more than the other, that has nothing to do with the value of each purpose. God placed you both here to do something specific. Knowing this—and reminding one another of this too—can help to keep the green-eyed monster away. For good.
Be Intentional About Celebrating One Another
The Greek playwright Aeschylus once said, "Few men have the natural strength to honor a friend's success without envy." I can see how that would be the case. In my world, a lot of my friends who are in the spotlight are musicians. I'm a writer. So, for the most part, there is no "clashing" to be had. But I will say that when one of them calls me up to say they won an award or they've landed a television special, I celebrate it. And you know what? When I got my book deals or even when I landed this gig with xoNecole, they celebrated that with just as much enthusiasm.
True friends are able to get excited about one another's accomplishments because true friends want to see one another thrive. Because really, when you truly love someone, why wouldn't you want them to win?
Unless you're not "in it" for the friendship, just the opportunities or the "perks" that come with being associated with you. That's not only mad shady but brings me to another point.
Test Your Motives (and Theirs)
There's a Scripture in the Bible that serves as a pretty good character warning—"We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives." (Proverbs 21:2—Message) What I like about it is it's a reminder that no matter how good you may be (or think that you are) at hiding your true intentions about something, God always knows. And eventually, those intentions tend to come out. Although there have been times when I've used my media contacts to help out a friend, more times than not, they did not ask; I offered (because again, friends like to see their friends win). But the reason why I am confident that none of my inner circle has ulterior motives is because, unless we're trying to figure out a time to hang out or one of us needs some advice about something, our professional lives don't really come up all that much.
Just last night, I was hanging out with a friend who has an ever-growing platform. Do you know what we talked about more than anything? Past memories and our current relationships (which for me is nada). He wasn't looking to see how I could finesse him nor was I. He's my homie. His accomplishments are a part of him, not all of him. True friends embrace one another's totality. Do you? Do yours?
“Get Off of the Clock” Sometimes
I don't do social media, but I will set a Google alert for some of my friends. Why? Because if search engines didn't tell me about some of the things they've got going on, I wouldn't know any other way. Why? Because most of our relationship consists of day-to-day stuff. We look forward to being able to discuss the things that are probably only truly significant to us.
You can't convince me that Oprah and Gayle don't share moments when they don't do anything but binge-watch television, crack jokes or hang out just for the sake of it. I doubt any friendship could last if all both people did was "talk shop" all of the time; shoot, that's what co-workers are for. Without a doubt, a great way to nurture your friendship is to be off of the clock more than you're on it with each other.
Friendships are supposed to be a source of relaxation and fun. It can only do that when both people are safe places to chill out.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
A husband that I truly respect once said something about his wife that I will never forget—"My job is to present my wife in her best light at all times. She has flaws, but you won't ever hear about them from me." That said, there's no way that Oprah and Gayle—or any other set of friends—can be authentic and not have "moments"; it's just not our business to know about them.
At the same time, that's not to say that I don't have respect for "Kelly Rowland moments" either. Some of y'all might remember back in 2013 when the song "Dirty Laundry" came out and she admitted that she had times when she felt jealous of Beyonce's success. It's a reminder that another necessary component for a friendship's success and longevity is honesty.
And so, if you're feeling some type of way about a friend's accomplishments, don't tell someone else or be passive aggressive about it on social media—tell them directly. A true friend will love you through those feelings and support you in getting past them so that, you can stop feeling like you are in their shadow; so that, like Gayle with Oprah, you can beam in the light alongside them.
If you live on this earth long enough, you'll come to embrace that one of the best gifts it has to offer is a true friend. Oprah and Gayle just reminded us of that. So today, take out a moment to be intentional about shining some light on your besties—to be their fan as well as their friend. If they've been a true one, they deserve it. Right?
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- Oprah Opens Up About the Start of Her Gayle King Friendship ›
- Gayle King and Oprah Uncensored - The O Magazine Interview ›
- A Timeline of Oprah and Gayle King's Enduring Friendship ›
- Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King finally reunite after negative COVID-19 test ›
- Oprah Reflects on "Timeless" 40-Year Friendship With Gayle King ›
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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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