He Left Me Because I Inspired Him To Find His Purpose
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
By purchasing this book through our affiliate link, xoNecole might earn a small commission. Thank you for supporting brands that keep this platform up and running!
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 email@example.com.
Featured image by Shutterstock
- He Left Me, So Why Can't I Stop Thinking About Him | BetterHelp ›
- When Your Partner Leaves You: 7 Things You Need To Know | by ... ›
- I Was Devastated When He Left Me... Until I Realized It Was The ... ›
- Tiny Love Stories: 'He Left Me on April Fools' Day' - The New York ... ›
- I Am Grateful to the Woman He Left Me For ›
The most Gemini woman you'll ever meet. Communications & community enthusiast, I run a media platform centered around spirituality, and I'm always looking to connect with fellow creatives. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @savannahtaider
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
Monique Rodriguez Of Mielle Organics On How Identifying Your Hair Love Language Is A Radical Act of Self-Care
Monique Rodriguez, CEO and founder of award-winning textured hair care brand Mielle Organics, is one of the most in-demand natural hair care companies and a dominating force within the billion-dollar hair industry. The wife, mother, and beauty boss credits much of her success to taking calculated risks versus playing it safe. She says, "Being comfortable and playing it safe will produce mediocre results. When you take calculated risks, you're betting on yourself."
Stemming from a passion project to building a multi-million dollar empire and having nearly a decade in the game, the global entrepreneur's philosophy that the "risk is worth the reward" has proven vital throughout her career.
"The journey to success includes a lot of failures. You have to have the mindset of knowing that you're going to try something and will likely fail. You're going to make a lot of mistakes, but that's part of the risk-taking," Rodriguez exclusively told xoNecole.
But more importantly, her undeniable desire to level the playing field by helping to encourage, uplift, and educate women on how to fall in love with their natural curls and learn their specific hair type needs is a concept that has allowed her company to thrive in the marketplace by intimately connecting with consumers.
Photo courtesy of Monique Rodriguez
It's no secret that for many women of color, our curls and coils have taken on an intricate self-discovery journey through self-love, for some, self-hatred, and for others, self-awareness. This sentiment is shared even among natural hair care crusaders like Rodriguez.
"I would describe my relationship with my hair over the years as a love-hate relationship. When I was younger, I really didn't embrace my hair. I didn't like the fact that my hair was super curly. I couldn't find ways to manage or style it, and I became very frustrated."
But learning to properly love and tend to individualized hair care needs extends far beyond the surface. It is a radical act of self-care. Women's (and men's) hair and identity of African descent have been closely interconnected for centuries, another reason she has made it her mission to empower the next generation, specifically her daughters, with the confidence to embrace their natural curls.
"When I was younger, I didn't see examples of women that looked like me, whether on the red carpet, on TV, or on a movie screen, embracing natural curls. Now, my girls have the opportunity to see more women of influence rocking their natural curls on the big screens because that really influences and pushes our culture forward."
So, how does Rodriguez suggest building a healthy relationship with one's hair? "Number one, embrace the uniqueness of your hair, and number two, do not compare your hair journey to someone else's. Just like our DNA and our fingerprints, no fingerprint or DNA is exactly the same. The first step in learning to love your hair is to be patient."
She further emphasized, "Even though we see different curl patterns and we see different women on TV, on social media with curls and we say, 'I want my hair to look like that.' It's great to use it as inspiration but not get your head set on it. You have to think about what's healthy for you and your body and what representation you want to give your kids and your community."
This is why her vision for Mielle is built on being more than a beauty brand but a purpose-driven company with the mission to lift as you climb, evidenced by her recent HBCU partnerships with Howard University's swim team and Florida A&M's (FAMU) cheerleading squad.
"Our goal is to bridge the gap between sports and beauty. We know that one of the huge barriers with women athletes, and especially with swimming, is that I can probably swim, but I don't want to get my hair messed up. I want to ensure that these women on these teams have access to quality products, so they don't have to worry about their hair."
With ongoing TikTok trends for various textured hair and other viral social media hacks, the Psychology of hair is a universal conversation. Several studies suggest that it can drastically affect our crowning glory mentally, emotionally, and physically, contributing to the types of extracurricular activities we involve ourselves with to how we look, feel, and view ourselves. A belief Rodriguez agrees with.
"I always style my hair according to my mood. However I style my hair, it can uplift my mood, and that's the goal behind Mielle: it's a movement to empower and excite women, men, and the whole family about healthy hair. I strongly believe that when you look good, you feel good and feel very confident and can go out and conquer the world."
For Rodriguez, her go-to styles that ignite her confidence to step out into the world and own any room she walks in are rotated between "a wash and go, a bun, or I'll straighten my hair." With time, patience, and gentleness, the mompreneur has learned that her hair love language is quality time.
However, even for the self-proclaimed Queen of Hair, discovering her unique hair love language through the years has not been easy. So whether you are just starting your hair care journey, overwhelmed with figuring out what works best, or don't know where to start, she urges you to "give yourself grace."
Establishing a healthy relationship with your "natural hair takes time. It is not going to happen overnight." It is more than skin-deep; it is deep-seated and is also a reflection of developing a healthy relationship with oneself because the two are closely linked.
This is where Mielle Organics steps in as not just a beauty brand but a movement to close the gap—armed with not only products but also the support, community, and resources to pass the crown from "One Queen To Another" to have the freedom to rock your natural curls with confidence, style, and ease. It is liberation, and it is your symbol of your personal identity.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image courtesy of Monique Rodriguez