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He Left Me Because I Inspired Him To Find His Purpose

Getting to know him was like getting to know a new version of me.

Inspiration

The beginning of this new decade has had the world vibrating on some high energies. But, for some us, after only a month in, life's already hit us in the face and all the hype of starting a new year and getting our lives together has flown away. I'm one of those who've been hit. In fact, life literally knocked me down. And as I'm writing this today, my heart is completely shattered.

Last November, during my trip to Atlanta, God introduced me to my soulmate. At the time, my life was already a little bit of a mess: I was burnt out and quit my job, moved back in with my mother whom I don't really get along with and my need for isolation was having a significant impact on all my relationships. I was visiting from Belgium to attend one of my friends' wedding but, secretly, I was hoping for this trip to be some kind of rebirth for me. I expected it to get me back on my feet and bring me closer to my dream life in some ways. Was I expecting it to bring me closer to my dream life in that way, though? Absolutely not.

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Just like any other good modern love story would start, my soulmate and I met on Tinder. It was on a Saturday morning, I was laying in bed in my hotel room, binge-watching Being Mary Jane on Netflix, swiping left more often than right on my phone screen, only aiming to be entertained by some hot dudes. He, too, was bored, at his house, trying to take some beautiful women out on dates. In both cases, we just wanted to pass the time. Neither of us were looking for anything special. To be honest, I kinda sorta wanted a free meal (and why not the D as a dessert?).

But, for two people who weren't looking for anything special, we were strangely digging deep into the things that makes us who we are when we first talked.

I remember us chatting all day long that day. Eventually, he asked if he could take me out. The very next evening, I was getting ready to go on my first Tinder date ever. I was feeling like doing something fancy that night, so I suggested going to the Sun Dial, a bar-restaurant located on the uppermost floors of the Westin Peachtree Plaza that has a 360° breathtaking view of Atlanta. I was looking forward to meeting him but darn, I was so nervous.

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One thing you need to know about me is that I never go on dates. In fact, I absolutely hate dating. It makes me feel way too uncomfortable. I could write a whole piece explaining why it does, but that night, not only was I nervous because of all the sex trafficking stories I'd heard, but I wasn't sure if there would be any chemistry between us, let alone if I'd find him attractive. Because yes, sisters, against all Tinder rules, I accepted his invitation to take me out based on the interesting conversations we had, his pictures didn't really reveal much. To make matters worse, the man had no social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no nothing. I was literally going in blind on this one. Blind, but not entirely.

My intuition had been guiding me from the moment that we matched and I could feel that it was pushing me to take the risk to go and see where all of this would lead me. And as crazy as it may sound, when I saw him walk towards me at the bar and felt every ounce of my body freeze, I understood why exactly I was standing there. At that moment, I knew...

"Oh, there it is... Here's the rest of my life. It's finally arrived."

Our date lasted for a couple of hours and every second of it was a confirmation of the revelation I'd had earlier. We started by digging even deeper into each other's souls, wanting to know about each other's dreams and biggest regrets. About our love languages, our way of communicating when we're angry and whether or not we feel fulfilled. About how we picture the future, how important family is to the both of us and how our mothers would react if we ever were to bring one another home. I'd always let him go first; I didn't want him to analyze my answers and say the right things on purpose -- I wasn't about to be played.

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But despite that, every one of his responses still matched with mine and it made my heart race a little faster every time. Considering the way he was making me feel, it was necessary for me to ask him, before I accidentally let three my walls down and allow him in, whether he just wanted to have a good time or if he actually wanted something, to which he replied: "If you just want to have a good time, then so be it. But if you want something, I'm DOWN."

I nodded and smiled slightly but in my head, I was already planning the wedding. He dropped me off at my hotel and before I got out of the car, we exchanged our first kiss. Contrary to what one might expect, I didn't invite him upstairs. I knew the opportunity to spend the night with him would come again. And indeed, from then on, we didn't let go of each other. I spent the rest of my trip in his company. We went on more dates, ate some food, had a few drinks... We sometimes talked for hours, sometimes had sex, sometimes simply enjoyed each other's presence in complete silence.

Getting to know him was like getting to know a new version of me.

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I didn't know it was possible to feel this happy, this peaceful and somehow so appreciated for who I truly am and all the things that I bring to the table. In the midst of my mess, life seemed enjoyable again. The more time we were spending together, the more I would notice how similar we were and how different we could be at the same time. Yet, just like the Yin and the Yang, we assembled perfectly. At a later stage, I was defining our relationship not as the comfort zone that we have to get out of in order to grow, but as the comfort zone that requires us to constantly grow as individuals. Both of us were aware that that type of bond doesn't happen often in a lifetime. So, we decided to take it long-distance. This is how, on my end, these six years of singleness and loneliness came to an end...finally.

Today, however, I'm writing about my pain. It's a kind of pain that I've never experienced before. A kind of pain that's had me curled up in my bed for a week, suffocating at the idea of having to live another day every time the sun rises. A pain that makes me hate myself for all the things that I am, and all the things that I'm not.

He left me.

A week after my visit this January, he made the decision to end our relationship because of a conversation that we had back when we first met that triggered his desire to live more purposefully and caused him to turn his life around completely. It made him do everything that I've done. He quit his job, moved in with a family member and went back to school to set the ground for his new career. There again, we were in alignment. But this time, our singularities literally disconnected him from me:

"Our relationship isn't part of my priorities right now. And, clearly, me not giving you enough attention makes you unhappy. Then, you become needy. I don't have time for that. [...] I'm unable to give you even the bare minimum of what you need right now. I know that you can do that but I'm a man; I'm incapable of focusing on figuring out my future as an individual and my future with you at the same time."

It doesn't sound that bad, I know. And from the outside, there's a lot of hope that we rekindle when the time is right for us both. The thing is, when I asked him if he still wanted me in his life, he never responded. And to this day, he still hasn't hit my line.

​What would you answer to the question, "What's your biggest fear"?

Mine is to be abandoned.

My biggest fear is to see the people that I love walking away from me without looking back like I never mattered. It's being down on my knees, eyes full of tears, begging them to stay. It's reading their sweet words over and over again, not understanding how feelings can expire just like that. It's needing that closure in order to move on that I never really seem to find. It's wondering what's so wrong with me that always causes people to want to exit my life. It's feeling my heart constantly aching because it's never going to be whole again.

It's all the late nights spent questioning my worth and the importance of my own existence. It's looking for everything that makes me not enough of one thing and too much of another and trying so hard to find that balance between the two so that someone can come and finally be willing to stay. It's desperately hoping that someday, I'll hear the words "I love you" coming from someone other than me.

This isn't the first time I've been rejected by someone I love. As a matter of fact, I know the feeling too well. The more I mature, the more I'm able to recognize my fears, understand them and, by doing so, find a way to overcome them. Though I wish I could share with you the secret to beat rejection, unfortunately, this one still defeats me every single time.

The one thing that I can share with you however is the title of the book that I've read multiple times for all the reassurance and inner peace it instantly provides me with: What a Time to Be Alone: The Slumflower's Guide to Why You Are Already Enough by Chidera Eggerue.

Here are some of my favorite passages from the book:

1. “You are allowed to outgrow people and people are allowed to outgrow you [...]"

"We cannot expect the people we love to move at our pace. And we can't expect the same from them either. It just isn't fair. People grow, their priorities change with their opinions and, before you know it, they just might not have time for you anymore. [...] learning to let go of what no longer serves us is key."

2. “For the world, I’ll always be too much of one thing or not enough of another, but for myself, I’ll always be enough.” 

3. “Anytime you find yourself in an environment that dilutes your self-esteem, picture four-year-old you and try your best to be her hero.” 

4. “Nothing everybody ultimately does is because of you.” 

5. “The sooner we stop pretending to be immune to feelings that scare us, the sooner life will begin to make sense.” 

6. "What's mine won't miss me [...]"

"Life really doesn't require the amount of stress we exert on it most of the time. Learning to accept that everything is where it needs to be will give you the peace and clarity that you need to focus on what really matters: yourself."

When I met this man, it was clear that I was going to write about our love story, but not once had I imagined myself writing about its ending. Yet, here I am, 2,000+ words in. I don't usually allow myself to be this transparent and vulnerable to the eyes of the world, especially if the difficulties that I go through can't serve as a lesson.

But, I realize that it's not always about having it all figured out and seeing the positive side of every breakdown. Sometimes, it's about letting your sisters know that you're fighting the same battles. That no matter how successful they think you are at life, you, too, are hurting and that you're in this together.

If you haven't done so already, check out Chidera Eggerue ode to self-love:

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xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Every day, Black women elevate the world. We are trendsetters and visionaries; the shapeshifters that lead by virtue of presence alone. In a world that sells our identities for consumption, we remind everyone that joy is our birthright and the grace we carry will always be authentic. Our existence is not a social experiment but a crafted emblem of perfection. And for that, we deserve everything good this world has to offer.

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Mj Rodriguez has been giving us all of our lives since she emerged on our screens as the ever-so-fabbbulous Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose, in 2018. Since, she has captured the hearts of many all over the world, from LGBTQ advocates, to everyone in between. The beloved series officially came to a heart-wrenching end, after three seasons of tackling homelessness, sex work, the rejection that the trans community deals with on a daily basis and combined it with heart and dance to captivate millions around the world weekly.

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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

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I can honestly say that I haven't used Cantu since I went natural back in 2016. It's not that I don't like the brand — let's be honest, Cantu is the holy grail brand that a lot of us probably started our natural hair journey with. It was and still is affordable, accessible, and effective haircare. I somewhat strayed away though because it's very easy to get caught up in trying different brands that some products honestly just get lost in the sea of haircare. Nevertheless, Cantu has dropped a few collections that I couldn't help but try. One of their most recent drops is the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line which works for all hair types but is made with 4C hair in mind.

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Born between December 22nd and January 19th, these Saturnians are notorious for being pragmatic workaholics who are constantly striving to reach the peak of their proverbial mountain of acclaim and success. Ruler of the 10th house, Capricorn is no stranger to grind as they are internally driven by their duty to fulfill their obligations.

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