The first time I realized my man was intimidated by me was at a party celebrating a job promotion.
After busting my butt for months on a project, staying in the office till 9 p.m. every day, and getting back into the office by 8 a.m. the next day, I finally received the news I had been waiting for: I had received my promotion. It was one that came with many tears, sacrifices, and "What the hell am I doing?" moments. That night, I decided to call up all my friends and bae so that we could go out to celebrate my amazing accomplishment. On my way home, I called him to tell him the amazing news, and of course, the pay increase that came with it. He was silent.
The more I watched, the more I noticed that my accomplishments or achievements made him uncomfortable. Sure, he'd say congratulations or that he was proud of me, but when it came time to really celebrate, there was nothing. It almost like a win for me presented a mirror up to him of all the things he hadn't achieved or gained yet — and instead of celebrating how dope it was that his woman was "winning," he saw that as a threat.
Women are constantly told to shrink themselves for men, never to push themselves too much lest we upset them. To never upset a man's ego, but always serve as an accessory to their success. When a woman is too ambitious, society tells her that she runs the risk of not finding a suitable mate. We have really been shaken to the core out here, believing that the only way for us to hold onto a man is by stroking HIS ego, supporting HIS dreams, and never working hard and celebrating the fruits of our labor. That ultimately men are intimidated by successful women.
And I had to ask, "Uh, so what?"
The narrative that women can't be strong or ambitious is such an old stereotype that has to end, especially amongst Black women, where we already feel the dating pool to be small. I wasn't about to let a man dictate my worth or my happiness or force me to put aside my personal ambition solely to keep him happy, especially when I felt like he could be doing more to achieve his goals. At the end of the day, iron is supposed to sharpen iron, so why would I not want a partner who saw the fire in me and, instead of trying to blow the flame out, decided to add more fuel?
When you really work on yourself and decide that you will pursue everything you want in life regardless of how another person feels, the universe conspires to support you by sending the right people in your life.
When I let him go (yes honey, let him GO), I noticed how toxic life had been, and just how much I had tolerated and dimmed to appease another human being. I wasn't operating in the fullness of who I could be and what I could do.
I had to learn how to let go of what was holding me back to walk in the fullness of what I could have.
Now, I have a great man who lovingly supports me, and who says that whatever win I have is a win for him. I have different friends who don't see my wins as competition, and a man who understands that as my companion, he works to support my dreams and vice versa. My mindset on things has changed, including the relationship I have with myself and how hard I work to pursue my dreams. I'm no longer apologetic for wanting more, doing more, and striving for more. I am proud of the person I am, and you can be, too.
Ladies, never dim your light for anyone. ANYONE. And never be afraid to let go of people who don't serve your higher purpose and calling, out of fear that you won't attract someone new or better who can support you. The people God has for you are out there, but decide for yourself that you are no longer allowing yourself to play small in this thing.
You are poppin', and you can win.
Featured image by Morsa Images/Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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