These Bad Habits Are Totally Wasting Your Time
Last year, I checked out a feature that Complex did on actor and artist Mack Wilds. It all centered around effective time management and how Mack is able to accomplish so much in the same 24-hour time frame that we all have. The entire article was good. Two things stood out the most: how he has been exchanging social media use for reading and how he defines time:
"The best thing about time that a lot of people don't realize... and I'm giving you guys a little secret... The best thing about time is that it's man-made. We all get caught up in, 'Oh, wait, I got to get this done now. I have to hurry up. I got to get this done, because I am this old and I am going to die, this and whatever.' Time is man-made, you do what you have to do, in whatever time that you have to do it, and you'll get it done."
His view of time reminded me of something that a man told me on my first trip to South Africa several years ago. "You Americans are slaves to your clock. You can be in the middle of a great conversation or you can be having an awesome time, look at your watch and suddenly your attitude totally changes. Now you're all agitated and in a rush. You should control time and not let it control you." Amen.
Today, we will address things that you are doing that are a waste of your sweet and precious time---things that are actually causing you to lose control of your minutes, hours, and ultimately, your days. You will learn how to make the most of your life by improving the quality of it.
Let it sink in that it's never really about not having enough time. It's all about prioritizing, starting with getting serious about altering the habits that are wasting your time.
TIME WASTER #1: Not Making Daily To-Do Lists (and Following Them)
If you're someone who doesn't create to-do lists because, in your mind, that's what "obsessive types" do, humor me while I share a few reasons why it could make your life so much easier. To-do lists are proven to help us stay focused, keep us organized, prioritize our tasks and make the most of our time. I personally think that to-do lists should be categorized into things that need to be done immediately and things that need to be done before the week ends. If you do the hardest (or the things you like the least) first, checking everything else off will be a breeze. Not only that, but knowing that you completed your list come Friday will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. To-do lists are one of the best ways to ensure that you are making the absolute most of your time. No question.
TIME WASTER #2: Not Using Traffic Apps
Guess how much time we spend in traffic? According to one report, a whopping 54 hours a year. Sure, you could catch up on some audio books or podcasts during that time, but if you want to reclaim some of your traffic hours, do that by downloading some traffic apps. Waze is a popular app that offers info on traffic, construction and even where police are in your area. Traffic Spotter gives up-to-date traffic reports. INRIX Traffic Maps & GPS hips you to road conditions, drive times and even parking options. These maps work brilliantly for iOS systems. HERE WeGo makes it easier for you to locate the faster and shorter routes. These are just some of the options that can at least save you 15 to 20 minutes, one-way, every time you get in your car.
TIME WASTER #3: Constantly Emailing People at Work
Did you know that 23 percent of most people's work day is used to either create or reply to emails? Since it is a common form of communication, it's pretty unrealistic for me to say to ignore emailing completely. But, if you do want to save a little time, I've got a few hacks for you. First, set aside three times per day when you check emails (like when you first get into work, right before your lunch break, and a few moments before heading home). If you put labels on your emails, that can help you to put everything into categories so that you can know what requires a time-sensitive response and what can wait until later. If you find yourself sending the same response over and over again, create a "canned response" so that you can save the template and change the name (and a few minor details) instead of typing out the same email over and over again.
Make sure your email signature includes all of your relevant contact information (you'd be amazed how much time is wasted by not doing this). If you tend to do a lot of emailing via your smartphone, consider downloading an app like The Bat for encryption and security purposes, Front if you're trying to communicate with a team all at once, or Postbox if you want to use personalized templates. Also, turn off all of your social media notifications as you're working. Whatever emails you get from people on Instagram or Twitter can wait until you are actually off of the clock.
TIME WASTER #4: Eating Fast Food During Your Lunch Break
Not only is bringing your own lunch to work healthier and cheaper, it can also save you quite a bit of time. Think about it. If your lunch break is an hour, just leaving your office and getting into your car is probably going to take about 15 minutes. Then, depending on the time that you go, the traffic, and the crowds, you'll barely have time to eat.
Why not enjoy most of your lunch hour by having your meal in tow and then eating in the break room, outside, or even in your car? That way, you don't have to scarf down your food. You can have at least 30 minutes to eat your meal in peace.
TIME WASTER #5: Literally Living Online
A couple of years ago, a survey revealed that folks spend at least five hours a week on their cell phones, doing things that are not work-related. That ultimately costs businesses $15 billion dollars a year. I already know some of y'all are like, "And?" If you consider the revelations shared in "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down," you might see why living online (and constantly straining your eyes via your smartphone's screen) can do a real number on not only your productivity but your health overall.
A few days ago, I caught up with a friend who said that, over Thanksgiving, she had a "no cell phone" rule in her home. While the teens were irritated at first, she said, by the end of the day, they told her how much fun that they had. The Internet is not the devil, but it's not the end all be all of life, either. If you process how many hours you spend browsing social sites, reading gossip blogs, and surfing the Web, you might be floored by all the grocery shopping, cleaning up, bonding with friends, pampering and planning for your future you could've been doing instead.
David Foster Wallace, a writer and professor, once said, "It is named the 'Web' for good reason." Think about that every time you procrastinate by using your phone, or read articles like "Self-Care For Idris Elba Means Cutting Back On Social Media" and brush it off. Every moment is one that you'll never get back. Constantly wasting yours by being "plugged in" all the time is a shame; especially since all that stuff will be waiting for you once you actually live your life and come back to it.
TIME WASTER #6: Remaining in Counterproductive Relationships
I write about relationships…a lot. And if there's one word that I think is my favorite in reference to red flag relationships, it would have to be "counterproductive". Our time, energy, and resources—hell, our feelings---are far too precious and valuable to be out here chasing down or even tolerating counterproductive relationships, whether they are professional or personal ones. I would think that just about all of us can agree with that fact, yet I'm also willing to bet a pretty good amount of money that at least 80 percent of us are currently involved in one.
Why are we wasting our assets this way? I think a big part of the reason is because we don't really take the time to let the definition of counterproductive sink in. When something or someone is counterproductive in our lives, it means that it is (or they are) "thwarting the achievement of an intended goal". You know what this means, right? In order for you to remove counterproductive relationships from your space, you need to figure out what the goal for your relationships are. If the goal is to become a better individual, you need to remove those from your life who are counterproductive in helping you to achieve that mission.
I can't tell you how many times that I've allowed someone to remain in my life well past their shelf life, all because I tolerated how much time we've known each other or allowed what they needed to supersede what I knew was best for me. Everything in your life should have a clear purpose. If you're involved with someone, on any level, and you can't attach a purpose to them—yes, my friend, on some level, they are wasting your time.
TIME WASTER #7: Always Needing to Have the Last Word
Recently, I watched the cutest movie calledChristmas Belles about two cousins who fall for the new pastor at their church. There's a scene where the cousins try and "check each other" by attempting to have the last word. These two chicks said "Me too" back and forth nine times (yes, I counted) in response to the pastor asking if they were going to come to Bible study. It was so awkward that it was both humorous and ridiculous. It also made me think that I must look just like them when I'm in a heated discussion with someone and I want to get the last word. But for what? At the end of the day, it's a control tactic that is a waste of precious time and energy. These days, I'm more interested in my words being impactful whether I'm the last one to say something or not. And you know what? Life is a lot more peaceful this way.
TIME WASTER #8: Being Indecisive
Not too long ago, I wrote an article for xoNecole entitled "Here's How To Stop Worrying So Freakin' Much". Two things worrying does that results in wasting all kinds of time are overthinking and indecisiveness. When you don't make decisions, you end up being stagnate. Stagnation is a form of being stuck and who ever benefits from that? So why do so many of us find ourselves in this kind of trap?
I think it's because sometimes we'd rather allow things to happen to us via our stagnation rather than taking the risk of stepping out, making some real (and sometimes even hard) choices that we'll actually have to take some accountability for. It's like we'd rather take the cowardly approach to our own lives. But if you're so intimidated by what could be that you never develop the courage to take risks, try new things or step out on faith, how can you learn more about yourself and what you want? How can you ever really grow?
The Latin writer Publilius Syrus once said, "Through indecision opportunity is often lost." Pastor John Ortberg once said, "Greatness is never achieved through indecision." Bernhard Langer, a German professional golfer, once said, "Be decisive. A wrong decision is generally less disastrous than indecision." And get this—a motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy once said, "Indecision is a major time waster; 80% of decisions should be made the first time they come up." Worrying and overthinking don't help you to make wise choices. Doing so only encourages you to make decisions more complicated than they need to be.
Your time is too valuable to be hanging around in the valley of indecision.
If you struggle with making choices, check out "Need To Make A Big Decision Quickly? Do This". Then move. The sooner you make a decision, the sooner you can make progress as well. On the flip side, if you stay stuck in indecision, all you'll be doing is wasting time you can never get back.
TIME WASTER #9: Complaining
Complaining is a colossal waste of time. Spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle has a quote that explains a big part of the reason why: "When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness." Another quote that I like in reference to complaining is by a wise person who once said, "Stay away from 'still' people. Still broke, still complaining, still hating, and still nowhere." When you put these two quotes together, it's a reminder that constantly verbalizing how dissatisfied you are about something—or someone—perpetuates a victim mentality. In other words, it keeps you focused on the problem rather than inspired to find a solution (which is why living on social media can be quite the trap if you're not careful).
Does this mean that you shouldn't feel free to vent about things that frustrate or even simply annoy you? Of course, you should. Just try to find a productive way to do it. Allow yourself a certain amount of time for venting, then be intentional about putting a plan into place. Or, if you don't know how to go about putting a plan together, do what another one of my favorite quotes on complaining instructs: Complain to someone who can help you."
TIME WASTER #10: Doubting Yourself
Let's end this with a quote by another author, Jaachynma N.E. Agu: "Don't set your goals by what other people deem important." Many people do not go after the things that they want in life all because they are consumed by what other people think. I personally think it's an epidemic. Part of what holds folks back is that they esteem others more than themselves. In other words, they doubt themselves and this too is a big waste of time.
How do you know if you are a self-doubter? Do you underestimate your gifts and talents? Do you second-guess your dreams and goals? Do you need to run everything by a billion people before making a decision? Do you compare yourself to others a lot? Do you think that an idea is dumb if there is no blueprint in place for you to follow? Do you feel like your worth is only based on how others treat you?
There are so many things I would not have accomplished had I listened to certain family members and friends. Thankfully, I didn't waste my time doubting myself, and I didn't determine that something was important—or not—based on the opinion of others. Your time is your time. Don't waste it by obsessing about what others think is best. Get out here and make your own life happen. It's the best way to show how much you value the time you have---time that is ticking away as we speak. So, what are you gonna do with it, sis?
Featured image by Shutterstock
Article originally published on December 30, 2019.
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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 (email@example.com) 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.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Janelle Monáe's Reveals The Real Reason Why She Stopped Wearing Her Signature Tuxedos
Singer and actress Janelle Monáe exemplifies how change can be a powerful catalyst for growth and transformation.
Monáe, who rose to fame in 2010 following the release of her debut album, The ArchAndroid, captivated fans' hearts with her powerful vocals, catchy tunes, and style. Around that time period, when various female artists were known to wear provocative ensembles on stage, the "Tightrope" songstress set herself apart by wearing her signature black and white suits and continued to do so for almost a decade.
In the later years of her career, after the release of her studio albums The Electric Lady in 2013 and 2018's Dirty Computer, many began to notice the shift in Monáe's artistry and fashion, which some widely praised.
Although the now 37-year-old rarely addressed the reason behind the transformation over the years, that would all change when Monáe sat down with radio personality Angie Martinez on her IRL podcast earlier this month.
During the interview, Monáe --who was promoting her latest album, "The Age of Pleasure"-- opened up about her mental health struggles, how she would cope, and why she chose to live in freedom.
Janelle On Why She Stopped Wearing Her Signature Suits All the Time
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
In the May discussion, the "I Like That" vocalist revealed she suffers from anxiety, which she claimed would occur around "winter to spring."
Monáe added that when she has her bouts with anxiety, she tends to turn to food as a coping mechanism. Further in the interview, the "Lipstick Lover" singer disclosed that her emotional eating habits caused a weight fluctuation and that she could no longer fit into the suits she once wore earlier in her career.
Monáe explained that even though she tried to diet and exercise to return to her smaller figure, she ultimately stopped and made peace with herself with the help of therapy because she acknowledged that she isn't the same person she was nearly a decade ago and shouldn't try to be even if it was a highly "celebrated" version.
"I'm petite, but it can get thick... When I couldn't fit them suits anymore, and I was like, 'Oh my God, what is going on?' I would be dieting, running, or exercising, trying to fit into [it]. I'm just like, 'No. No, we're here. This is where we are.' We [are] not about to be utilizing life trying to be an old version of ourselves. No matter how celebrated that version of me was. I'm here. I'm here," she said.
Janelle On Freedom
As the topic shifted to freedom and what that meant to Monáe, the "Primetime" vocalist shared that in this new era of her life, she enjoys it because she can boldly express herself however she wants and honor who she is as a person right now.
Monáe also revealed that she had found ways to become a better artist and the best version of herself because of her freedom.
"What is the new version of freedom? What does that feel like? That's usually when I feel the most free is when artistically, I can honor exactly who I am right now," she stated. "I feel most free as a human when I can honor exactly who I am right now."
Monáe's fourth studio album, The Age of Pleasure, is set to be released on June 9.
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Feature image by Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images