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.
We have all heard of love at first sight. But with technology taking the lead in how we interact with each other, "first sight" can mean an IG profile photo or a swipe on a dating app. Whatever your preference is with finding the one, when you get that gut feeling, everything else will fall in line. When it came to bringing together now-engaged couple, Jameila and Brooklyn, all it took was a FaceTime call. So should we say, love at first FaceTime for this modern day love story? I think it has a nice ring to it.
Even when sparks were flying between the couple, it wasn't until moving across the country was when Jameila and Brooklyn realized that their feelings for each other were real. Brooklyn mentions, "When I first saw Jameila, I remember telling a group of friends in a group chat, that in another life, I would marry Jameila and we would have four children. So when the opportunity presented itself when we both were single, I was already planning to make her my girl."
After three years of dating, Jameila and Brooklyn believe in following those gut feelings and setting intentions behind them when it comes to love. Paying attention to your partner's needs and working together to make sure you show your love in different ways is how their love story became a success after one unexpected phone call. In this installment of xoNecole's How We Met, the dancer and strategy director walk us through their beginning, their courtship, and their commitment to take on the world together.
Courtesy of Jameila Cartman
How We Met
Brooklyn: We actually met each other via FaceTime in 2013 through one of our mutual friends. I was on FaceTime with my friend and I saw Jameila walking in the background. My initial thought when I saw her was, 'Oh my God, who is that?' There was just this natural radiance of beauty that attracted me to her when I first saw her. But nothing really happened until we finally met in person in 2016, when I was moving to Atlanta.
Jameila: My friend and I were on tour for The Color Purple for two years, so it happened multiple times where my friend would call him and they would be on FaceTime together. But in 2016, we met in person at his going away party in Chicago, before he moved to Atlanta. At the time, we were both in relationships. So we just stayed friends. Then, I moved to Atlanta a year later. I actually initiated us hanging out in Atlanta via Snapchat after I moved because I didn't know a lot of people out there. I didn't see us hanging out as a way to get intimate or anything though.
Jameila: So before I say this, we both disagree on what our first date was (laughs). For me, my first date with Brooklyn was when we went to this taco spot by his place. We started to really talk about each other's history and got to know each other better. We had already been hanging out before then, but I don't consider anything before that an actual date (laughs).
Brooklyn: In Atlanta, my apartment building was on top of this sushi restaurant. I remember her coming by and we decided to go have sushi. We were chilling and talking like good friends would do. But in the back of my head, I was already planning to make her my girl (laughs).
Jameila: Let me just say, Brooklyn is a very special man (laughs). He knew that I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and wasn't trying to jump back into another one so soon. But Brooklyn definitely was courting me and letting me know that he could be an option (laughs). He has done so many things for me even though we were not together. One thing he did for me was plan my 25th birthday party back in Chicago.
That following weekend, I had planned to visit this other guy I was talking to who lived in Missouri. Brooklyn even drove me to the airport to see the other guy, girl (laughs). When I was in Missouri, I honestly could not stop thinking about Brooklyn. The Missouri guy was actually a really great guy, so it wasn't even like that. But I just couldn't help myself with contacting Brooklyn. So that's when I knew. And literally when I got back, two days later Brooklyn and I got into a relationship.
Brooklyn: For me, the moment was a weekend I spent with her. For background, her mom stayed in Georgia, but far away from the city. With Jameila being a dancer, she would get out of dance class late sometimes. So because her mom didn't want her trying to rush home at 1 a.m., she started pushing for Jameila to spend the night at my place since I stayed in Midtown. So that one weekend with Jameila, I just noticed that being with her was different for me. I usually can be irritated with other people, but with Jameila I wasn't. I could spend hours and hours with her and it made me think, I could spend the rest of my life with this woman.
"I just noticed that being with her was different for me. I usually can be irritated with other people, but with Jameila I wasn't. I could spend hours and hours with her and it made me think, I could spend the rest of my life with this woman."
Courtesy of Jameila Cartman
Jameila: My favorite thing about Brooklyn is his attentiveness. Brooklyn is able to notice everything. I remember he would rub my legs after dance class, or he knows I'm a foodie so he is always making sure I've eaten. He is just really good at making sure he supports me any way that he can and I really appreciate that.
Brooklyn: I would go with her heart. She is legitimately a good person and it makes me think about how much of an asshole I can be at times. That's what I need. Being a Virgo, I can be better at being logical than being emotional. So she brings me back home and reminds me that we are all humans and not robots.
Brooklyn: I started plotting when I was going to propose to her when we decided to move to Los Angeles. After everything we have been through, I told myself if I am moving this woman across the country, I better make it a point in making her my wife. I proposed in December 2019 and I was putting things in motion around September/October. On my 29th birthday, I bought the engagement ring and made the arrangements for the location later on.
I started working with our good friend Dallas to set everything up. We made it seem as though she was going to dance for a concept video. And then, I would pop up out of nowhere and propose. I wanted to surprise her in a way where it spoke to how much I loved her, but because she is a dancer, we could use this piece as a way to advertise her dancing skills too.
Jameila: So for me, the day already started off weird (laughs). Even when Dallas told me about the concept beforehand, I thought it was weird too (laughs). I didn't even think it would turn into my proposal. But that morning, Dallas told me I had to get my nails done. Again, weird (laughs). So after that, we drive up to this beautiful house and we were waiting on the videographer.
While we were waiting, Dallas tells me that we only had one take to shoot the video, so we had to get the dance down right. We do the take and after we finished dancing, everyone is just standing around smiling. I'm just looking around confused and then I see Brooklyn come down the stairs. It was beautiful.
"I wanted to surprise her in a way where it spoke to how much I loved her, but because she is a dancer, we could use this piece as a way to advertise her dancing skills too."
Jameila: I would say sacrifice [has been my biggest lesson]. When it comes to love, I didn't realize how much you may have to sacrifice or compromise in a relationship. There is a lot of give and take. I think we both are pretty aligned with most things, but there have been little things we sacrificed for one another.
Brooklyn: Mine is going to be communication. I wouldn't say we argue, but we have had our disagreements. It's important that when you are trying to meet the needs of your partner and vice versa, it could all go smoothly by just having a conversation. Even if you talk about how something made you upset in the moment or something that made you feel happy. Instead of creating a narrative of your own, which I am guilty of, communicating with one another solves so many things.
Jameila: Moving away from my family was hard for me. It took a toll on our relationship where I felt I needed more time with Brooklyn since I was missing spending time with my family. We had to have a couple conversations around what was on his plate with the new job and everything, while finding that balance with spending quality time together.
Brooklyn: I would say with the pandemic and still learning how to effectively communicate with each other, last year during the holiday season was one of the toughest. But now we try to be as honest as possible when we are stressed about certain things and try to find a solution instead of making a situation bigger than it actually is.
Jameila: My top love language is quality time and physical touch. Brooklyn and I decided to be celibate until the wedding. So we came up with this thing called date wars to increase that non-physical intimacy for each other. We basically compete with each other on who can create the better date (laughs). I think adding these 'wars' was huge for me because there is so much thought and effort that goes into it. Filling in those spaces where physical touch would be nice, with more engaging moments have been the best.
Brooklyn: One of my love languages is quality time too, but it definitely has been hard. While sex is great, I care more about that emotional connection. When we decided to be celibate, we became more and more best friends. Sex can cloud that sometimes and instead of releasing how we felt sexually, we are more intentional now with talking things through. I don't think our connection would have grown stronger like it has now, if we have continued to have sex.
"When we decided to be celibate, we became more and more best friends. Sex can cloud that sometimes and instead of releasing how we felt sexually, we are more intentional now with talking things through. I don't think our connection would have grown stronger like it has now, if we have continued to have sex."
Courtesy of Jameila Cartman
Brooklyn: If you plan on taking that step into marriage, make sure that that person is your forever person. There are going to be moments where people in society are going to make you feel like you are boxed into a situation that you are honestly not sure about. Fear can actually be a good thing leading into anticipation, but having doubts is a whole other thing. There is no set time frame when you will know if this person is the one for you, but be 100 percent sure you are ready before taking that step. Do not take anyone on that roller coaster, including yourself.
Jameila: Definitely go at your own pace. It is not up to society, or your parents, or your friends as far as what's best for you in your relationship. What works for you and your partner, do not question that. Be honest with the feelings both of you have towards each other in order to focus on each other better. Other people's opinions can really cloud your judgement on things.
For more of Jameila and Brooklyn, follow them on Instagram @j_dance and @the.blackgatsby. You can also follow their love story on their YouTube channel here.
Featured image courtesy of Jameila
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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