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Ladies, You're Not Going To Survive The Rest Of 2020 Without These Group Chats

Lord, we are tired. We tired, Lord.

Life & Travel

Lord, we are tired. We tired, Lord. We've made it to the fall season and we don't know if we can handle anymore, Lord.

If you haven't realized, there's only three more months remaining in this year! We've almost made it through the gauntlet—2020, you're almost gone, sis!

And for my Debbie-Downers, yes, I know that doesn't mean our problems are going to magically disappear, and yes, I know that COVID is still jigging all over the place. But sometimes a girl has got to look at the positives, m'kay?

And I don't know about you, but seriously, in addition to keeping my mind healthy, if it weren't for my variety of group chats, at this point, I would be questioning 2 + 2 (because after this year, the answer damn sure isn't 4 anymore)—which got me to thinking: in a distanced society, how can we make sure we tighten up what we allow to penetrate our minds?

The best way? Solid, focused communication; no distractions. No BS. All support.

According to GroupMe research, 43% of people feel like pop culture, and/or memes, are the only topics discussed in their group chats. Um, ew. No, ma'am. There's no better time than now to tighten up what we allow to nourish us mentally. It's becoming a twilight zone out there.

So, a list of group chats that you're gonna need to finish out this year are these:

Neighborhood

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Listen, it takes a village. And this oddly seems to be a lost art. Ladies, I know that some things may not be our business, and you're right, it's not. But bottom line, you need to know what is going on in your neighborhood. And not in a "Karen" way, but more so in a "Claire Huxtable" way, especially if you have kids. Get to know your neighbors, don't frown at an invite. You can't be everywhere, so it takes a village (there goes that saying again) to protect all of your assets. Additionally, your sense of community lies here.

If you're not interested in joining a direct conversational tool for your neighborhood, seek out Facebook groups or pages. You should not solely rely on the news, join an additional form of communication. Now, stop being anti- and go ahead and wave at Judy, sis!

Finance 

Apple split its stock.

This natural resource company may be interesting to invest in.

Make sure to complete your trust.

Roth IRA vs. 401K?

I'm thinking of putting an offer in on this three-flat.

Add your child as an authorized user to your credit cards to build their credit by the time they leave the home.

Girls, we're all getting older. And the above, are the type of conversations that we need to be having sooner than not. Money is a tricky subject because so many don't understand it. And even then, to be honest, there's so much that we don't know. Link with like-minded people who understand money. And I don't mean fraud or get-rich-quick schemes, I mean those that are thoroughlydiscussing money. Mortgage rates, tax breaks, LLC formation, acquisitions, or optimizing investment funds and shareholders.

All the scary stuff. We need to know about it.

Good Reads

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Books will never go out of style. And learning the way of the world, won't either. Whether articles, or books, or audio, take the time to understand something. Order some books to escape reality. Or because of the stresses of society, seek books which allow you to suppress your anxiety. Whatever form you choose, do it. We can't champion this world alone. Book recommendations, or articles sent from friends are a love language. Indulge.

Cousins

As we age, what we've all mostly learned is that family is a tough code to break. Too many generations of not so progressive behaviors, generational curses, poor mental health practices, and so on and so forth (I could name like hundreds of different variables) run freely in everyone's family, but who else is responsible for keeping it together? It's us. Not to be confused with a family chat, but a cousin chat is necessary in those times when we need to organize what's to come. Where's Thanksgiving dinner this year? The family reunion? Do we have everything? Or our elders may need someone to reach out to for simply assistance on how the world works now. That obligation falls on our shoulders.

So, whether we want to or not, it is our job to keep the family in (somewhat) tact.

Everyone has had a turn to do so. It's ours now.

Prayer/Positivity

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Ladies, we need positivity. We need someone to speak life over us. We need celebration. We need a space where we can tell someone our good news. We need someone to stop us when we're gossiping. We need conversations where everyone was given the benefit of the doubt. We need prayer. We need spiritual guidance and protection...

The world is negative, society is negative. And that's only because we've allowed negative spirits and cynicism to take over. Be intentional in your thinking. Be intentional in conversation. And there's no time to just discuss it. Live it.

Active/Fitness & Health

Health is wealth, ladies. So, we have to prioritize our time to learn about ways to sustain our health. Vitamin recommendations, or weekly yoga classes. Workout classes or city fitness events. We have to find ways to stay on top of this. Or maybe you just need accountability without the nag. These type of group chats allow you to maintain activity in some form.

Plus, that blood pressure and cholesterol number is nothing to play with.

I recently joined a black bike club that rides regularly, which is all they look to do. They ask where you are if you miss a trip. They follow-up and follow-through. They challenge themselves, and they'll challenge you. A friend of mine runs a black women's hiking chapter. These are just two examples, there's a plethora of other ways to engage about fitness.

General Girlfriend Chat

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Now, you know the homies get a chat before anyone. Why? Because it's damn near necessary. We all have one, we all need one. The comfort, the comedy, the accountability. Crucial.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had bad days, or I've been enraged about something, and I ran to my friend chat to discuss. And instantly, everything had become OK. As women, we are always in our heads. Sometimes, we deserve moments where we can step outside of ourselves and hear, "Yeah, you're trippin', girl" or "Well, how did you feel about that?" Or hell, maybe you just want to tell a funny story. Whatever the case, your girlfriends' chat should always be there to catch whatever you're throwing.

And the best thing about your general girlfriend chat, is that you should easily—and fundamentally—be able to discuss all of the above too.

Join us in the xoTribe community and gain access to Mentor Mondays, bi-weekly workshops from our dating and career coaches, an archive of digital fireside chats, and virtual happy hours. Plus, connect with Necole, the xoNecole squad and a community of empowering women committed to being their best selves. Find your tribe today!

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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