How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
There is a quote by the beautiful Erykah Badu that states, "Write it down on real paper with a real pencil. And watch sh*t get real." This my friends is manifestation at its best. The power in manifestation is speaking what you want like you already have it. You speak in present tense and the Universe will respond at the right time. In 2019, Ragin took her pencil and wrote in her journal what she wanted in her love life. Some of what she wrote in her journal was, "I am in love with an amazing man, who is everything I want and need. He is honest, transparent, and loving. It is easy for him to love me. I never have to convince him that I am special. He is my 'truth' song [by India Arie]."
Just months later, the Universe responded and presented Ragin to the man she needed in her life. And that man was/is Imran. But the thing is, Ragin and Imran actually crossed paths four years prior in the year 2015. I guess you can say it wasn't exactly their time back then.
Courtesy of Ragin and Imran
Ragin and Imran were both in college and were at a club one night. Ragin was leaving and Imran was just arriving. It was a quick moment, but they were able to exchange numbers after the night was over. They kept in touch over the years and it is safe to say that Ragin's journal entry confirmed that the, now couple, deserved a second chance at giving love a shot. Six years ago, Ragin and Imran met each other and went their separate ways. But when things are meant to be, they will find their way back to you one way or another.
In this installment of xoNecole's "How We Met" series, we learn about the power of divine timing, supporting your partner through the ups and downs, and how this couple keeps love as their foundation.
How We Met
Ragin: We both met in 2015 at FAMU. I was actually at this famous club at the time called Coliseum. I was walking out and he was just walking in with his friends. When we crossed paths, he tugged on my arm a little bit. I thought to myself, 'Oooh he's tall' (laughs). We exchanged numbers and went on a date a week later. There were a couple of other guys trying to talk to me at the time too. So I was like, 'Some of yall have to go' and Imran didn't make the cut (laughs). But four years later is when we started dating each other.
Imran: She was walking in the opposite direction of me. [It's] something I don't usually do, but I tugged on her arm to get her attention. I brought her to the side and introduced myself. After that, we caught up afterwards and the rest is history.
Imran: She just stood out in the crowd to me. She looked so beautiful and it was just a natural reaction when I reached out to grab her arm. I was immediately drawn to her.
Ragin: He has very kind eyes. I think that's what most people notice about him when they first meet him. I also liked how he introduced himself. He wasn't like, "Hey ma, wassup?" He introduced himself like a man. I didn't give my number out to everyone, so when he did that, I really appreciated it.
"He has very kind eyes. I think that's what most people notice about him when they first meet him. He introduced himself like a man. I didn't give my number out to everyone, so when he did that, I really appreciated it."
Courtesy of Ragin and Imran
Imran: After the first date and time goes by, we kept in touch via social media. I would check in with her and make comments under her posts. She realized I wasn't following her at the time. So she called me out on it saying, "Are you going to be commenting on my stuff for the rest of my life? And you don't even follow me?" (Laughs) Of course, I was caught off-guard (laughs), but I owned up to it. From then on, we started talking more seriously.
Ragin: When I messaged him that, he was working a 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift at the time. He asked if he could call me when he got off work. During this time, it was difficult because my mom was in the process of passing away. I was taking care of her full-time. So I stayed up late, allowing my sister to take the night shift, in order for me to talk to him. That night, he told me straight up that he was not going anywhere. I didn't believe him at first (laughs).
Ragin: I feel like I caught feelings first (laughs). I knew I loved him after a couple of months of us talking, after we reconnected. With taking care of my mom, throughout the day I would be wondering, 'Why isn't he hitting me up?' I tried to be understanding with his shift at work. But I was telling my sister at the time that I felt I wasn't getting enough attention. She would joke and say, "Oh, so you like this boy?' We are both great communicators, so I told him how I felt. He listened and things picked up from there.
Imran: I knew what I wanted from our first date. My friends and I laugh about it now, but I was so sick about it not working out from the first time we went out. So when I had my second chance, I knew I had to hold on to her. We had a connection spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It was nothing like I ever experienced before. It's like when people say, "when you know you know."
"I knew what I wanted from our first date. So when I had my second chance, I knew I had to hold on to her. We had a connection spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It was nothing like I ever experienced before."
Courtesy of Ragin and Imran
Imran: I learned that while you are in a relationship, it is important to be secure in who you are. Knowing yourself, knowing what makes you happy, and communicating that with your partner with no pride or ego. I learned how to communicate better while being with her. Not having to shut down, but be open with her more.
Ragin: I learned I have to give myself the same patience that he gives me. I try to see myself through his eyes when I am feeling down about myself. Life has been a whirlwind and it's important to share with him what my needs are, so we can work on things together.
Ragin: I had a really great example of what love looked like growing up. My parents were together since 1981 and I think my mom really prepared me for what it is like to be in a relationship. But I had to learn, after my mother passed, how to handle grief while in a relationship. There were days where I honestly didn't know who I was going to be when I woke up. I was just sad. I had to learn to be considerate towards another person when things felt like they were shutting down around me. I had to make sure I wasn't using him as a crutch to make me feel better. I will say though, I am blessed to have had him transition into my life while my mom transitioned into another form of being my guardian. It was divine timing.
Imran: Similar to what she said. Learning how to support someone who is grieving. Learning how to be there for her in the right way and not overthink things. I would internalize a lot with how I felt and not really voice them. But I was able to get better with that in communicating more.
"I had to learn, after my mother passed, how to handle grief while in a relationship. There were days where I honestly didn't know who I was going to be when I woke up. I was just sad. I am blessed to have had him transition into my life while my mom transitioned into another form of being my guardian. It was divine timing."
Courtesy of Ragin and Imran
Ragin: I have never lived with a man before Imran. So we had to find that happy medium between the different roles we wanted to play. When we first moved in together, I was working a full-time job. I decided to quit that job, so I could make more time to do things that were more fulfilling for me.
Imran: That was definitely a situation we had to approach with a lot of grace and patience. We didn't want the other person to feel like one was doing more than the other. At the time when we both had different shifts, we would pour into each other or take care of things around the house when the other person couldn't. When she decided to quit her job, I had let her know that she didn't have to work that job if she didn't want to.
Ragin: We are very family-oriented. I fangirl over his family. They embraced me ever since I met them. He is nice to my sister and very hospitable whenever she comes to visit us. We also have a mutual respect in each other's mindsets.
Imran: I want her to be close with her family just like I am close with mine. To strengthen those relationships and just allowing ourselves to be our own individual person.
Imran: The biggest thing for the fellas out there is to communicate. We sometimes let pride or ego get in the way. But with communication, it is so important to be open and it helps having a woman that provides that safe space for us to do that.
Ragin: Let it be known exactly who you are in the very beginning. A lot of times we try to be cute and hold things back. In the beginning, I was upfront about who I was. Doing that gives the other person a chance to know what they are getting themselves into and the choice to decide if they want to rock with it or not.
For more Ragin and Imran, follow them on Instagram @westindieray and @ron2_smoov. You can also check out Ragin's YouTube channel here.
Featured image courtesy of Ragin and Imran
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
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September is National Self-Care Awareness Month, so for my girlies who have been putting off self-care, here’s your opportunity to start. Self-care means exactly what it says: taking care of self. Why is it important? Well, many of us have busy lives that may include careers, family, and activities that consume us daily. Taking some time for self regularly can help prevent depression, stress, anxiety, and burnout.
In February 2023, Future Forum polled 10,243 people in six countries, including the U.S., and 40% said they are experiencing burnout, and 46% of that number are women. According to CNBC, many factors contributing to burnout include companies demanding employees return to the office, hiring freezes, and layoffs.
Psychologist Debbie Sorensen explained to CNBC why women and millennials are experiencing burnout in higher numbers. “We haven’t had time to recover from the trauma of what we’ve been through the last few years,” she said. “Women and young people, in particular, are putting an immense amount of pressure on themselves to keep going, keep working, no matter the cost.”
As women, particularly Black women, we tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Other people's problems become our problems, and then we are expected to show up to work and show up for our family and friends with a smile on our faces. Whew, chile! What if we are having a bad day? How are we supposed to cope if we have to be everything to everyone? Well, here’s your sign to make time for yourself, especially on the days when you are feeling down.
Below is a list of self-care ideas for when you are having a bad day.
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Spend time in nature
Sometimes something as simple as surrounding yourself with trees, grass, and/ or water can improve your mood exponentially. The American Psychological Association’s (APA) research shows that spending time in nature can improve attention, lower stress, and reduce the risk of psychiatric disorders.
Got to a Spa
There’s nothing like going to a spa. You can relax in a sauna, get a massage, and just be. According to research, massages help release serotonin and dopamine, which are often referred to as “feel good” hormones, that will instantly perk you up and have you going about your day with a smile on your face.
When was the last time you did arts and crafts? Drawing a picture, painting, or even coloring can help you discover your inner child, thus boosting your mood. Purchase an adult coloring book, or go to a paint-and-sip class by yourself, or you can make it a group activity and bring your besties.
Look your best
The old saying, “When you look good, you feel good,” didn’t just come out of thin air. There’s some truth to it. The Kentucky Counseling Center shared a link between self-care and feeling good. “Self-care regimens are extremely important not just to stabilize your day but to make you feel great. Simple things like getting a facial, taking care of your hair done, or exercising can make you confident because when you look good, you also feel good,” according to its website.
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There’s a reason why it is suggested that you breathe when you begin feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Breathing brings oxygen back into your body, and WebMD reports that it can decrease the fight or flight response that happens when you are stressed.
Spend time with babies
I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me smile quicker than a baby, especially a smiling baby. If you’re the same way, then spending time with a baby or babies may help put you in a better mood, too.
Last but certainly not least, do nothing. There’s nothing like laying in your bed and not being forced to do anything. Stay in this moment and use this time to relax and replenish your energy.
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