I always say my power is my voice and my words inspire. And they do. I believe in the power of my voice to no end. But I didn't always have the courage and strength to use my voice. I wasn't always this outspoken. I wasn't always so quick to offer my two cents either. This part of me was suppressed for most of my life. Even when I didn't know my voice is the very essence of all that I am. Finding my voice was something that took time to do. I had to unlearn conditioned behaviors I learned as a child and as an adolescent. Like, don't ask questions or speak only when spoken to. I'm a Sagittarius y'all – it's only natural for me to be inquisitive by nature. I yearn for knowledge. I am opinionated AF. And I love to talk.
Imagine finding your voice, giving it power, and then feeling like you cannot speak. This was me. Recently, after a severe anxiety attack, I had to make a difficult decision to take down my Medium page. It wasn't something I wanted to do, but in this situation, protecting my peace and space is everything to me. In making this decision, I felt like my voice was taken from me. I felt like my voice was blocked and stripped. I had struggled for so long to be able to speak my truth. And what I didn't know was that sharing my truth could inadvertently cause me harm.
Now, there was a lump stuck in the base of my throat. A few days later, my ears started to hurt and my throat was sore. Mind you, throughout this whole pandemic I have yet to be sick. I ended up with a whole ass sinus infection. Most would have attributed this to the pollen count or allergy season. But nah, not this time.
Now, that I am spiritually aligned, I knew this was physically and energetically connected. Remember, the mind, body, and soul work as one. Your body will give you the answers you seek. I became so anxious I made myself sick. And I knew my throat chakra was blocked. It took me a while to feel like I could speak again, but after my physical symptoms went away, I was able to speak my truth once more. And now, I'm back on.
If you're struggling with communicating or using your voice, here is how to know if your throat chakra is blocked.
A Word About The Throat Chakra
The throat chakra is the fifth chakra of seven chakras in the body. It is the chakra of personal power and is related to our self-esteem and self-confidence. It is responsible for communication, creativity, self-expression, and the ability to speak your inner truth. When your throat chakra is imbalanced or blocked you may have a hard time communicating effectively. So, what causes blockages in the throat chakra? It's hard to say. We are all individuals, and our life experiences vary. But you must look inward for the answer to face your truth and remove the blockages.
Your Body Hurts
When your throat chakra is blocked, the flow of energy through this chakra is disrupted. And when that happens, you may experience any of the following physical symptoms below:
- Chronic sore throat
- Mouth ulcers
- Thyroid problems
- Neck pain
- Gum disease
Your Emotional Well-Being Is Affected
Blocked throat chakras can show up as nonphysical symptoms too. Remember, I said the mind, body, and soul are interconnected. What shows up in the body will manifest mentally and emotionally too. Emotional signs of a blocked throat chakra include the following:
- Low self-esteem
- Fear of speaking your truth
- Inability to express thoughts
- Inhibited creativity
- Inconsistency in speech and actions
5 Ways to Open Up and Heal Your Throat Chakra
If your throat chakra is blocked, you need to clear it. This means learning to let go and trust your inner voice. You must work through and release negative emotions to restore the energy balance in the throat chakra. Inner work is never easy, it requires you to face yourself. Be prepared to deal with what you find.
1. Learn How To Journal
For me, journaling is how I started writing. But journaling can help you express your feelings when you're not able to vocalize them. It's a transformative practice that can help in different areas of your life. So, take time during your day or week to write down thoughts or feelings. It's not about spelling or grammar. It's about taking the time to acknowledge what you feel and be honest about it.
2. Put Some Blue In Your Life
The color blue helps free the natural energy that resides in your throat chakra. This could look like buying blue flowers, a blue candle, blue curtains, or adding blue bedsheets to your bedroom. Consider wearing blue jewelry or blue clothing too. This can also look like spending time outside under clear blue skies.
3. Get You Some Crystals Sis
Crystals for the throat chakra includes lapis lazuli, amazonite, turquoise, or aquamarine. You can keep these crystals under your pillow, by your nightstand, or use them as home decor. But my favorite way to use crystals is to carry them in my backpack or asjewelry. You can find crystals for the throat chakra at any metaphysical store in your local area.
4. Use Affirmations
Mantras or affirmations are another way to help heal the throat chakra. These can be used as a reminder, part of your journaling practice, or in daily meditation. And the beauty of it is, you can use any affirmation you want. You can say something like, "My voice is heard," "I claim and honor my true voice," "I speak my truth freely and openly," or "I'm not scared to speak my mind."
5. Book A Reiki Session
I really can't say enough about the power of reiki. Reiki is a spiritual healing art that stems from Japan. It is the life energy that flows through all living things. This healing practice can clear bad energy from the body, remove energy blockages, and rebalance the flow of energy. I typically do a reiki session a few times a year to balance my chakras and energy. After a reiki session, I feel so much lighter and renewed.
So, how do you know that your throat chakra is healing? Well, when your throat chakra begins to open, you become more aware of your own self and the people around you. You become calm and relaxed. You also start to feel confident in expressing your thoughts and ideas. How you communicate is clear and consistent.
I would also say listen to your intuition; you'll know when your throat chakra is no longer blocked because energy does not lie. Your voice is a gift. It is one of the greatest gifts next to life itself. It's what makes us original, authentic, and different.
I encourage you to find your voice, and then speak from your heart and your core.
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Camille is a lover of all things skin, curls, music, justice, and wanderlust; oceans and islands are her thing. Her words inspire and her power is her voice. A California native with Trinidadian roots, she has penned personal essays, interviews, and lifestyle pieces for POPSUGAR, FEMI magazine, and SelfishBabe. Camille is currently creating a life she loves through words, self-love, fitness, travel, and empowerment. You can follow her on Instagram @cam_just_living or @written_by_cam.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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I tried sliding into my crush’s DMs like Vanessa Hudgens successfully did to her soon-to-be husband, Cole Tucker, after she met him during a Zoom meditation group call. For me, it was akin to a backfired romance in a Mara Brock Akil comedy series.
At the wiser age of 30, I stopped side-eyeing online dating and acquiesced to the possibility of finding love in the digital realm. My one rule: He has to take the lead. I wouldn’t strike up a single conversation once the confetti cues burst that we’re a match. That rule trotted out the door once I swiped on a presumably tall, brawn, and accomplished venture capitalist sporting a million-dollar smile.
The clock was ticking; our match would expire in mere hours if one of us didn’t take the gambit. Screw it. I made the first intro, and the suave VC responded. Turned out we had a close mutual friend, too.
He had an upcoming business trip but said he’d reach out once he returned. I never heard from the VC guy until one year later when I mistakenly ambled into what felt like a zombie ambush at an intimate Thanksgiving gathering our mutual friend held. Then and there, I vowed never again to take the lead at the precipice of dating!
At 36, however, I surreptitiously stumbled across a mutual acquaintance who left me breathless at one of my girlfriend’s husband’s 40th surprise birthday celebration.
Mobilized by swoon-worthy anecdotes from countless women who successfully found love because they weren’t too shy to slide into their dream man’s DMs, I heeded the enticing call to a fortuitous meme: “Ladies, this is your sign to shoot your shot.”
He strolled into the decorated backyard, late, while the rest of us were enthralled by illusory magic tricks performed by a bookish magician; the real enigma was, who is this man who’s left me utterly captivated?
I tried to excavate more intel from my girlfriend, but she was incredibly tipsy from one too many of her husband’s themed cocktails to divulge. From the time I sashayed to the bar to standing across the extended dinner table for 30 – where we locked eyes and grinned at one another – until the end of the night, where I lolled in line for photo booth fun, I noticed Mystery Crush staring back at me.
“You have tree shrub on your butt,” a handsome guy with a stocky athletic build, who’d later introduce himself as B. warned me with a heavy southern drawl, as he and Mystery Crush chuckled. I blushed in embarrassment and swept the debris off my derriere.
Bright, professional lights flashed. I shook off the flub and angled every curve on my body, accentuated by my slinky black, backless dress.
“Let’s take a pic together,” B. smiled. I peered over my shoulder, watching Mystery Crush gazing back. Why couldn’t he be as vocal and proactive as B.? I agonized.
Later, as celebratory glasses clinked, B. boldly asked for my number, in hopes of snagging a copy of our photo and getting to know each other over lunch.
“I haven’t dated anyone in almost two-and-a-half years,” I hesitated, conjuring up any truthful excuse after B. casually revealed he was close friends with Mystery Crush.
Still, my racing heart couldn’t leave the party without officially meeting Mystery Crush. I had to know if his voice, intellect, and character matched his sultry vibe.
Channeling my inner badass Beyoncé, I meandered to him and introduced myself as I firmly shook his smooth cocoa hand. Aside from us exchanging names, no in-depth camaraderie followed.
That should’ve been a clue to relinquish any lingering feelings, but as a single woman who often comes across a smattering of gentlemen who rarely generate a mutual, palpable connection–coupled with a recent missed romantic opportunity in Mexico, I felt compelled to take the leap.
Hey. It was really great meeting you. You seemed afraid to talk to me, but I was really wishing you weren’t…
I hadn’t expected him to respond, however, within a couple of days, he DM’d me with his number. I replied with mine, squealing in excitement. Maybe taking the initiative favorably worked after all?
“Don’t call him. Wait for him to call you.” My sage hair stylist instructed me as she ran her fingers through my curly coils. “Of course not. I believe in attracting, not chasing.” I grinned.
Seven days passed since I first slid into Mystery Crush’s DMs. My optimism waned as calls from family, friends, and aggressively pesky scammers filled my phone log, but none from him, leaving me temporarily deflated. I resurfaced feeling empowered for confidently seeking after what I wanted–not from a place of desperation, but from a well of self-certainty and wholeness.
I’m a type A, go-getter accustomed to proactively risking it all for the unknown and receiving unrequited outcomes. It works wonders for my career; my love life… not so much.
A month prior, I’d just returned from an invigorating solo trip to Cabo, where I met two, late-30-something eligible men while I was enjoying an al fresco brunch buffet, overlooking the Sea of Cortez. One included a charming Black resident doctor who lived near me in LA. He struck up an amusing yet fruitless conversation while we picked over steamy mini waffles and dispensed fresh pressed juice. His geeky friend, however, mustered the courage to ask for my number.
As I was boarding my flight home later that day, a white middle-aged couple, who recognized me and my flowy white linen maxi dress from brunch, probed if the cute doctor connected with me after he expressed he was smitten.
“I told him he should’ve asked you, but he said he didn’t think you were interested,” the wife lamented. “That’s too bad, because I was waiting for him to ask me.”
The doctor’s misinterpretation of my interest and lack of initiation fueled my otherwise reserved proclivity to slide into Mystery Crush’s DMs.
I’m still a traditional millennial woman who appreciates the chivalrous elements of courting, and I’m perfectly content in waiting for my future love to spark the dating communication.
That’s how I’ll know he’s divinely meant for me.
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