It's OK To Be Single
A friend of mine recently sent an article with the title "What People Don't Tell You About Freezing Your Eggs". After three long blinks and mentally slamming my head into my keyboard at work, I asked myself, "Should I be thinking about this?"
The thoughts and emotions that flooded in all before I even clicked open the link reminded me that there are millions of anxious women having feelings just like this. Feeling as though the dream of a loving marriage and family could end up being just...a dream. This fear of never finding true love, or having the kids they've always wanted is very real for many women. As I thought more intently about this fear that I didn't necessarily share, I recognized that it isn't purely natural, but there are outside influences that make singleness, for women in particular, dreadful.
American society plays a major role in how us gals view our unwedded lives.
There are thousands of movies on love and romance, finding that special someone, or being "lucky" enough for them to find you. The strong emphasis on being "chosen" makes it oddly taboo to discuss being single, as a woman, especially to do so fondly. It's a topic that isn't as welcomed in girl chats as it is in guy groups, and because this status isn't affirmed as much in women, ladies everywhere are urged to feel the way popular culture tells us to feel about it: miserable. It is often this urge that causes women to remain in relationships much longer than they should, or to rush from relationship to relationship without much or any time for reflection and healing in between.
Then there are those that are actually in relationships, married, or with child. Perhaps without even trying, many of them use language that elevates those titles over others. How many captions have you read from a new wife or mom that go something like, "I'm finally complete" or "Now I know what true love is" or 'Motherhood gave me purpose"? And it's not just women who do this. I've seen some damaging statements from men also, that are along the lines of, "You become a man when you become a father." How might that man or woman with reproductive issues feel when reading these?
If he's never been able to help produce a child, or if she's just had her 9th miscarriage, is he or she any less of a man or woman? Of course not.
There's also this stigma that if you're of a certain age and single, that something must be wrong with you.
I've heard so many conversations over the years where a woman who seemingly has a lot to offer is picked apart once it's known that she's single. Comments like, "She must be crazy," or "I wonder what she does to run men off" are prevalent in these discussions. What a flawed, but common way of thinking. In case anyone reading this doesn't know, there are women out here that are literally choosing. Women who could jump the broom at the snap of their fingers but would rather wait until she finds the one her very soul adores, or focus on her own wholeness, instead of rushing to keep up with the world's timeline. Go figure.
I have a somewhat unique perspective, having been on both sides of this pendulum. I've been engaged before, and have experienced "wedding culture" with nearly everyone around me treating this experience like it's the best one that will ever happen to me, when in actuality, ending that particular engagement was! Since being on the other side, I've found and am still finding, such freedom and joy in truly discovering me, my interests, my goals, my heart's deepest desires, without the influence of another person.
It saddens me to hear women discuss their singleness like it's a curse or a punishment - it is neither. If treated well, it is an incredible time of self-discovery and refinement.
I asked my mother a couple years ago, what was the hardest part of marriage to her, and her response has stuck with me ever since. "I didn't realize how much 'me-time' I'd have to give up," she said. "Once I got married, all the time outside of work was shared with your father in some way. Even if I did things by myself, like going to the grocery store, it'd still have something to do with him because now I have to think about what he wants in there. Then the kids came, and I completely forgot what 'me-time' was."
Now, my parents have been happily married for 38 years (TODAY actually), so it's safe to say my mom wasn't lamenting, but just highlighting a very real point. In case I wasn't catching on, she ended with "Enjoy this time alone, 'cause once it's gone, it's truly gone." That advice didn't make me shun marriage, but it did give me a new appreciation for my singleness, knowing that this incredible time to be selfish is precious too.
I wish I could change the narrative of what singleness for women in particular should look and feel like.
It shouldn't be a sad, dreaded experience, but an invigorating and empowering one. It should be a time of growing and learning from the inside out. And it doesn't have to be riddled with any of the various "phases" that people suggest women should experience in their singleness. Along with wholeness, you can be completely liberated without the intimate company of another person.
It's a fairly common misconception that romantic relationships are the only ones that grow you. I'm thankful for the friends around me, male and female, who push me and make me a better human. Don't take those opportunities to be sharpened by platonic relationships for granted. You can learn compromise, patience, forgiveness, faithfulness, TRUE LOVE, and much more from ya own homies, and I'm learning more everyday. And if you plan to be in a relationship or married someday, it's a good idea to work on these qualities with your friends, your family, your coworkers etc., because they won't magically appear when you're boo'd up.
Society encourages women, in particular, to justify our significance based on marriage and children.
We've been influenced to feel that singleness is a lesser position, and our greatest hope should be that we're one day chosen by someone else. Call me a rebel, but I just can't surrender to that way of thinking about such a sweet time in life! We don't have to play by those rules. Romantic love is one of the MANY things, to be enjoyed in this life, and so is singleness.
Singleness should be treasured and spent well.
I LOVE love, and I deeply value marriage and family. But I desperately want women [people] to know they can and should be whole without either. Romantic love is a desire of my heart, but an even greater desire of mine is to have a life where if it never happens for me again, if I never birth children of my own, or any other of my many hopes, that I am happy, whole, and complete; trusting the God who knew my end from the beginning.
I strive for the apostle Paul's level of fulfillment in being content (satisfied) in whatever state I'm in (Phil.4:11), and I hope the same for you. And if we are not first whole ourselves, we'll never be the wives or mothers we were (possibly) meant to be anyway.
*Article originally published on Joya Smith
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.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images