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.
Everyone loves a Cinderella love story. In fact, when most of us daydream about love, there's usually a Prince, a Princess, and a happy ending. As lovely as it might sound, what these fantastical stories have failed to highlight is what happens in the "in-between". The days when romanization meets the sobering realities of when love looks less like a fairy tale and more like sacrifice. Truth be told, that might actually make a better story. Still, this alt-fairy tale may not be too far off script as one could imagine, just ask Kyle and Kobe Campbell.
When Kobe and Kyle first met, most people would think that the environment where their initial attraction sparked wasn't exactly conducive for what would later come out of it. The two met in college and lived in the town where Kyle's father leads the largest Black church in the community. "Think Greenleaf," shared Kobe, 27, to describe the church they both attended. When the two met in college, Kyle, 26, was the guy that all the church girls in town were convinced would be their husband. And as their courtship progressed, Kyle's social status and Kobe's introduction to it, began to take a strain on the early days of their courtship. Still, in the midst of their rocky beginnings, they knew that what they were experiencing was all a part of the greater plan and love story that God was writing for them.
Courtesy of Kyle and Kobe Campbell
Now the couple works to bring light to mental health, faith, and relationships through their podcast, The Healing Circle, and have founded a non-profit, The Healing Circle Therapy Fund. Through their work, the two are showing the world what love looks like when two people are committed to each other's healing. "God dispelled so many myths for us, the idea that the things God called you to [were] meant to be and come easy and that just isn't true. Don't give up on love just because it's hard."
In this installment of How We Met, we learn about the power of healing, growing (up) together in love, and how God can write the ultimate love story.
How They Met
Kobe: There are two sides to the story. I met Kyle coherently at bible study, through some mutual friends, my sophomore year of college. Kyle, would you like to tell your side of the story?
Kyle: OK, there's what she said and then there's the truth (laughs). The truth is, a year before that bible study, "B.C." (or before Christ), I met her at the club. She was throwing it and I was catching it. We danced all night and I went home and told my brother, "I met the woman I'm going to marry." And I didn't see her again for a year until that bible study.
Kobe: I didn't remember dancing with him at the club because I was very drunk, and when we got married, he kept telling people that we met at the club. I thought it was a joke at first until I realized he was serious and I was like, "Stop telling people that." Especially at church because it's embarrassing. Then he was like, we're going to hash this out right now and started telling me how my hair was, the dress I was wearing. I had a That's So Raven moment and was like, 'Oh my gosh, I remember the night I wore that dress because I had only worn it once.' And all my friends were like, "Get off of him, you've been dancing with him all night," and I was like, "I'm grown!" Turns out, he was my husband. God works in mysterious ways.
Kyle: So, I don't know if you've ever seen Kobe, but I'm sure you're well aware that she's ridiculously good-looking. Gotta be the top 2-3% most beautiful people in the universe. I always thought she was beautiful, even when we first met. I don't know what she thought about me. When we met a year later at the bible study, it was very much so platonic because I was dating someone else. I thought she was beautiful, but I wasn't interested in her in that way. I remembered her from the club!
Kobe: Well, I knew whoever I was dancing with at the club was fine! When I met him at bible study, I thought he was really handsome and just who he was and how much he loved the Lord, was something that was really attractive. But similarly, he was dating someone, and I was like, 'I'm just going to go about my business.' I thought he was a little bit arrogant. He's a PK (Preacher's Kid), so he was the guy that all the girls thought were going to be their husband. I wanted no parts of such foolery, so I very clearly drew the friend line and we just moved forward from there.
Kobe: It was really difficult. Where [he] lived and went to college, Kyle's dad is the pastor of the biggest Black church, so think of it like Greenleaf. It was a very close-knit family and in the minds of the people in the church, Kyle was already married off to the daughter of the assistant pastor. And here I was, this 21-year old girl, like, "Hi, I like this boy and I want to date him," and it brought out my insecurities. I'm a darker skinned woman and I have a twin sister who's fairer skinned than I am, so I was always aware of colorism and comparison. In my childhood, I was taught that men don't marry women darker than them. So when this guy who's a couple of shades lighter than me wants to be with me instead of all these light skin girls who are intelligent and beautiful, it made me suspicious that there must be ulterior motives. But it highlighted the uniqueness that I have because being with Kyle was one of the first times I realized that I have something that no one else has. I didn't have to be the prettiest person in the room, I didn't have to be the skinniest, with the biggest butt or the longest hair, I just needed to be myself.
Kyle: Truth be told, a lot of those "well-meaning" women were actually really vindictive and mean. They would spread rumors about her, that she must have done something to be with me. Everyone thought she was a hoe and called her that to her face. Then I'd have to show up with the DMs from the same girls who were talking about how they would give it up if I gave them the chance. It was tough.
Courtesy of Kyle and Kobe Campbell
"In my childhood, I was taught that men don't marry women darker than them... being with Kyle was one of the first times I realized that I have something that no one else has. I didn't have to be the prettiest person in the room, I didn't have to be the skinniest, with the biggest butt or the longest hair, I just needed to be myself."
Kyle: I always say that we didn't fall in love, we walked into love and it was slow. We were committed to each other long before we ever liked each other. We didn't really "like" each other until we were engaged. We respected each other and saw value in each other but we didn't really have the honeymoon phrase. We were just out here holding hands and having hard conversations.
Kobe: That needs to be put on a t-shirt! Kyle has given me a physical reference for what it means for God to never leave me or forsake me. No matter what I do, Kyle always has the most kind and gracious response. If I say something to hurt him, his response is, "I know you're hurting right now and I want to walk with you in that." Just like the Lord, he disarms the shell that I'm so used to operating in and sees right through it. I can go off, and he's not going to speak to how I'm manifesting my anger, he's going to speak to the anger. And he makes me feel like I deserve love. And for a long time, I didn't think I deserved that. It's never an act, it's just who he is.
Making It Official
Kyle: The courtship was pretty interesting, we had an honest conversation and I told her that I felt like I really wanted to pursue a deeper relationship with her. She told me that she might be attracted to me all of a sudden, out of nowhere, but didn't want to talk about it again. Then she high-fived me and said, "Let's give it 30 days and it will go away." I took her advice and 30 days later I came back and my feelings hadn't changed, so I asked if I could pursue her and she said no. The next few months were just me asking her If I could take her out and going through more extreme lengths. I asked her dad before we were dating if I could marry her and he told me if I could get her to like me, he was all good with me marrying her. After that, it was really just me knocking at the proverbial door trying to get her to like me until I kind of just annoyed her into answering it.
Kobe: I think we went into things sober-minded, knowing that there wouldn't be a honeymoon phase. If I'm just being candid, the beginning of our relationship was the first time I had experienced depression that strongly before. It was a lot of what led me to become a therapist myself because that time was just so formative for me. The amount of social kick-back from Kyle saying that he wanted to be with me was just something that I wasn't used to. It felt like my life was not my own, but I knew God had called me to this person, but with his person came all these things I didn't like. There were a lot of women at our church who had known Kyle since they were like 12 years old, and they had an eye on him and were very upset [about him dating me] and were very vocal about it. That was the first time in my life I found myself being quiet; I was just the new girl who was really disliked because I was with Kyle which was really confusing because I knew I was called to be with him.
Courtesy of Kyle and Kobe Campbell
"I always say that we didn't fall in love, we walked into love and it was slow. We were committed to each other long before we ever liked each other... We respected each other and saw value in each other but we didn't really have the honeymoon phrase. We were just out here holding hands and having hard conversations."
Kyle: Love and marriage is not about happiness, it's about healing. Having one can bring you the other, but it doesn't work in reverse. Being happy won't make you healed, but after enough healing has been applied, you will definitely be happy. Our relationship was not filled with all the happiness in the beginning because it was really just focused on a lot of healing. We were in the type of relationship that most people would tell us to get out of. The world would say, "You don't owe this person this type of commitment, clearly something that hurts this much cannot be good." But we were encouraged in our relationship that this wasn't something we experienced before, but there had to be something at the end: and it was healing.
Kobe: It's OK to sacrifice for other people if you feel like it's worth it. People would say, "Stop sacrificing so much," but in my heart I knew [our love] could save his life. And looking back I lost nothing that mattered and gained everything that did.
Keeping The Faith
Kobe: Kyle and I made an agreement that we would do our best to love God more than we loved each other and anytime we felt like we loved each other more than we loved God, we had to check each other. The reference of me saying that it's OK to suffer for someone if you feel like you can save their life wasn't just something that I came up with, that's what I've experienced from Jesus. And I think sometimes our ideas of love look more like mutual convenience than it looks like sacrifice. Kyle says that the hard times feel like, "Day 2," and Day 2 looks like God's a liar and that every miracle Jesus did was in vain. But then Day 3 comes and now Day 2 looks like the liar. So for us, if we did not have the Lord, we would not be together.
Kyle: Our faith anchors us, it puts context into what it meant to be together. It wasn't about how happy we could make each other, God was like, "I have something really good for you if you trust me and move forward in faith." Since our commitment was to the Lord and not to each other, we got to a point where we were really freed up to love each other really well.
Courtesy of Kyle and Kobe Campbell
"Love and marriage is not about happiness, it's about healing. Having one can bring you the other, but it doesn't work in reverse. Being happy won't make you healed, but after enough healing has been applied, you will definitely be happy."
Kyle: Very easy for [me]. My favorite thing about Kobe is her generosity. People say they know generous people, but Kobe is different. If she sees a homeless person asking for money, not only does she give every single time, she'll go out of the way to go to the bank to give them money. There are folks that have a commitment to doing the right thing but there are some people who wouldn't have it any other way, it's just who she intrinsically is.
Kobe: I love how gracious he is. Kyle has never let something I've said or done define who I or anyone else is. He will always be the person who sees beyond the moment. He also has this child-like joy that I love. He's just so free, loving, and hilarious and that's not something I was able to see in Black men growing up. Now, I get to live with that every day.
Kyle: The biggest piece of evidence of, "Two different purposes combining to be more than they are separately," gets into our non-profit, The Healing Circle Therapy Fund, which addresses the economic side of the mental health care gap of POC, and the emotional aspect of people who need healing and the disparity in the number of African American therapists who can help them. I'm highly analytical and Kobe is the Einstein of emotional intelligence. She can't do math very well, she counts on her fingers sometimes, but emotionally, she is a genius. In this non-profit that we started it came out of her having a dream and seeing the need for people and her moving recklessly in that direction. She saw that she had clients that needed therapy, but just couldn't afford it, so she started her own practice. Six months in, we started losing money because she was paying for more therapy than she was being paid for. So I said, tell me what the problems are in your industry and he taught me about it and we put a plan together to help fix it.
Kobe: I think the more we became healed individually, the more we realized that our passions didn't match but they complement each other. For me, my passion is healing. I do consultations with Corporate American businesses but I primarily provide therapy for women of color who have experienced trauma. For me, healing is my thing. So for Kyle, his analytical mind marries my passion where he can make it logistically possible [to achieve] the dreams we have.
For more of Kobe and Kyle, follow them on Instagram @healingcirclepod and @urban_apologist.
Featured image courtesy of Kobe and Kyle Campbell
Originally published May 27, 2020
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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Featured image by Kanobi Pollard/xoNecole
Embarking on a celibacy journey was a plot twist in my life that I never saw coming.
Sex was my comfort zone and that fact was something I didn’t come to terms with until my late twenties when I met a man who in a lot of ways allowed me to embody the fullness of myself fearlessly in ways I might have not realized at the time. I spent many years before that over-identifying with my sexual side because it was the part of me that I met with the least resistance and the part of me the people outside of me welcomed with open arms so I leaned into it. That coupled with my emotional unavailability at the time, made for an ease and a lack of emotional risk that allowed me to connect with others without getting in too deep.
I know now that it was why I felt comfortable talking openly about sex, be it to strangers, be it in situationships and no-strings-attached flings, be it on this very platform. While that’s not to say that my sexuality isn’t mine, it is to say there was an unhealthy element attached to it because of the way I didn’t realize I was using it at the time. In a strange way, I was using it as a shield.
I was masquerading as this evolved, fully healed version of myself with a healthy relationship with sex and my sexuality but in reality, I was lost and scared of being hurt so badly sometimes that I led with sex as a way to avoid true intimacy and being vulnerable. These are all things that I unpacked and discovered about myself last year during my shadow work sessions with my shadow work guide, Jordan Jeppe.
In her course offerings, Jeppe guides you through celibacy as a tool for deeper self-love. With reports of millennials and Gen-Zers engaging in less sex than previous generations, and even articles from our platform like, "More Women Are Taking The 'Girlfriend' Title & Exclusivity Off The Table In Dating — Here's Why," it's clear we are experiencing shifts in the romantic landscape for one reason or another where more focus is being placed on self.
Although my own celibacy journey is more seasonal and sporadic than year-round, I fell in love with unlocking a deeper understanding of myself and being able to start the work of confronting parts of myself that I otherwise may have not been honest about. I was met with the pain of my patterns but also the freedom that comes with allowing myself to be really seen. Celibacy for me was a vessel for healing, for self-love, but also for self-development.
Viewing celibacy as a tool to deepen that journey into self doesn't just point to society's increasing desire to opt out of hookup culture, but the collective desire to opt into choices that reflect wholeness versus lack. For more insight on how to use your season of sexlessness for better self-love, creating rules on your celibacy journey, and tips on how to discuss being celibate, Jordan Jeppe acts as our guide.
Elevating Self-Love on Your Celibacy Journey
The intentional reframing of self-love as a throughline in her celibacy course was a component Jeppe felt was necessary because of her own experiences of attracting partners who ultimately acted as a mirror of her lack of self-love at the time.
She explained, "When you love yourself, you don't settle in relationships that are half-assed, or just meet the bare minimum." Adding that when "You know you are worthy of more, you don't put yourself in situations to be treated poorly, over and over and over again, because you have the confidence and the self-worth to know that you don't deserve that."
A lot of us are led to forget ourselves because we are taught at a young age to believe our worthiness can be found in others. Our tendency to self-sacrifice leads us to prioritize others before ourselves and struggle to feel worthy outside of our doing for others. Jeppe assures that this conditioning takes away our power. "What we start doing is we start looking for people to complete us and we don’t think that we are worthy of being whole on our own."
For her, self-love and celibacy going hand in hand is necessary in order "to step into what we feel worthy of, and what we know that we want and where what we need to feel seen and heard and supported by another person."
Setting Boundaries on Your Celibacy Journey
Jeppe encourages those embarking on a celibacy journey to implement a set of rules to help them stay on track and act in alignment with their goals and intentions for being celibate. Needless to say, the earliest stages of the journey are a person's most vulnerable so cutting communication with temptation is essential. "No communication with exes, flings, or situationships" is the baseline. She adds, "No communication is important because that's a practice of setting a boundary, the practice of showing yourself that you are worthy. And it also cuts out temptation."
Being honest with yourself about your relationship with self-pleasure is also a must. "I think it's important to understand your relationship to self-pleasure, and what you get from it, whether it's serving you as a distraction, or to not feel things on a deeper level," she says. "If your program of pleasing yourself is to escape an uncomfortable emotion or to not think about what’s coming up, because as you know, a lot comes up in your celibacy journey, it’s understanding there might need to be a rule set there."
A rule like this could look like removing self-pleasure from your celibacy journey for at least eight weeks so you're not avoiding the work of addressing shadows or using it as an escape. Self-pleasure can be a very empowering tool on your journey. Ensure you use it wisely.
In line with that is Jeppe's hard no to dating at the beginning stages of being celibate, for at least five weeks. Her course is structured that way, where you spend the first few weeks getting clear on your shadows, honing in on your tendency to people please, be emotionally unavailable, or be codependent. Whether you are enrolled in her course or not, saying no to dating in the early stages of your sexless season allows for intentional time and focus spent on self.
After those suggested five weeks or whatever timeline you feel works best for you, you can open yourself up to what dating while celibate can look like. Jeppe supports dating during celibacy "because that’s how you take what you are learning and you practice it and that is necessary because you cannot have change without having awareness and action."
The beautiful thing about creating rules for your celibacy journey is that it's your journey, so your rules can be molded to adhere to your values, your relationships, or any number of things that factor into your guideline needs. There are different strokes for different folks and her baseline for effective celibacy guidelines might look different from yours. To start your own set of celibacy rules, Jeppe advises looking at past relationships not necessarily at your failures, but the things about the relationship(s) that didn't work well for you.
"If you are someone that really resisted saying no to a past partner, had murky boundaries, or just didn’t feel comfortable communicating what was going on for you, that’s going to be a red flag of your own boundary-setting," she explains.
"Before you begin celibacy, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. What wasn’t working in your past that almost hindered you, from your growth into your success? And looking at those things and making those things your rules. It could also be, you know, poor sexual boundaries. Again, that self-pleasure aspect, the no dating [rule]. [If you] catch yourself on dating apps all the time, swiping to swipe, getting hits of validation, [tell yourself] no dating apps."
Dating with Purpose: When and How to Tell Someone You're Dating You're Celibate
When to tell someone you're dating that you're celibate is a common question for people who choose to date while they're celibate. "I usually recommend doing it [on the] first or second date because you don't want to lead anyone on. You also don't want to lead yourself on. And, if you are committed through the timeline of celibacy, then this is just how you set yourself up for success," Jeppe explains. "Remember those guidelines. That looks like being honest."
Jeppe adds that you should try telling the person you're dating that you're celibate in person. An example of what that looks like can be as simple as:
“Hey, I like where this is going. I am enjoying how I am feeling with you. I want to let you know before things progress that I am celibate and that I am committed to my journey. If this is something that you would like to know more about, I am willing to share that with you. If this is not aligned with you, then that’s okay. I wish you well and it was lovely getting to know you.”
With the script above, Jeppe notes that by approaching the admittance this way, your self-worth is saying, "'I love myself enough to say and express understanding my values of what I want and what I am experiencing and how the other person reacts has nothing to do with me."
You can also opt to explicitly say, "I am celibate." In either instance, Jeppe says to "pay attention to how the other person responds. Do they support you or do they try to gaslight you? Or say, 'Oh, why would you do that?' Or, 'What are you actually getting from that?' Or try to talk you out of it? Red flags."
But, What if You ‘Break’ Your Celibacy and Regret It?
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As with anything, you might make an attempt to try something new, make a misstep, and fall. But falling doesn't mean failure. Breaking your celibacy is no different, and having feelings of regret or shame often come with it. "I broke my celibacy for a one-night stand five months in [my journey]," Jeppe recalls. "I am someone that has been there and I have also [gone] through the shame and the guilt that you put on yourself after doing it, and I have felt those feelings." She adds, "Now how I see breaking your celibacy is an opportunity."
If you have broken your celibacy streak recently and are experiencing those inevitable feelings of guilt, Jeppe wants you to remember how you choose to see breaking your celibacy is up to you. Jeppe believes it is an opportunity to understand what you were attracted to in that person and what that says about you. There was a reason you put yourself in that situation and Jeppe says it is a brave act of courage to take accountability in that way. Ask yourself, "What was I attracted to in that person? How did that person make me feel? When have I been allowing myself to feel that with myself?"
"Oftentimes, the reason why we break our celibacy is because the ego will come up. If you don't do the ego work, the ego's like, 'I deserve it, I was just feeling it, it felt really good.' And you are not paying attention to all that other red flags going on, right? Your ego is saying, 'I deserve it, I just spent 10 weeks celibate.' If you can’t recognize that the ego is showing up in those scenarios, then there’s an opportunity for you to understand, 'Oh, what was my ego actually wanting?' Because it’s usually rooted in some source of validation."
Jeppe says that if you break your celibacy, that’s okay. Allow yourself to release the shame and look for growth. In removing the shame you are owning your decisions even if it's a choice you wish you didn't make. How can you give yourself permission to grow beyond and choose differently in the future versus allowing the moment to define you?
"We are so rooted in shame. Everything we do is the part of shame," Jeppe shares. "Women being in pleasure have already [been] shamed enough. We don’t need to shame ourselves. We just need to understand what it was that we were attracted to, and why we did it." And then, let it go and begin again.
Beware of the Celibacy Crutch
Similar to the way sexual liberation acted as a shield for me to avoid vulnerability, for some, vulnerability can also be avoided underneath the veil of celibacy. "There's a flip side of celibacy, that it's almost as a crutch, that it's like, 'Oh, I am so good in my own energy and my own power that I don't even want to bring anyone in,'" Jeppe starts. While she applauds people standing in their power, she questions whether being so "good" alone is a defense that manifests out of fear.
To truly heal, you must also be able to allow others into the journey and experience of you. Dating can be a self-development tool. In fact, Jeppe often encourages the women she works with to start dating as a form of that practice. "How else are you going to practice your boundary setting? How else are you going to be triggered? Because I am sorry, that’s what’s going to happen," she says. "So, how can you see dating as a continuation of your self-development? And when you see it that way, you are also allowing yourself to go deeper in your own journey."
When to Stop Being Celibate
Your celibacy journey is created by your timeline. It could be years, or it could be six months or less. The ending point is specific to the person and is contingent upon how the person on the journey is feeling with their goals and intentions. When it comes to knowing when to stop being celibate, Jeppe describes it as an innate inner knowing of, "'I have done a lot of work on myself. I am feeling confident. And I am ready to put what I have learned up to the test.'" She also notes signs like no longer having bitterness towards the ex and "receiving and practicing your own form of validation" are how you know that you are ready to end celibacy towards the end.
The way you navigate your world looks like really allowing yourself to be seen "and allowing this new version of you to be appreciated," whether that be in the forms of your relationships, friendships, or your career. In that way, you are no longer seeking outside of yourself to validate yourself, you have already established that for yourself.
In a sense, your celibacy journey might not "stop" as it is intentional time that you spend with self and it occurs that way until it doesn't anymore, to resume when you need to begin again. Dating might indicate you're nearing the end of it, yes, but in another sense, the journey is always evolving. "The work that you are doing on yourself, you will continue evolving and growing when you meet other people, and they are going to reflect back aspects of yourself and you are gonna be like, 'Holy shit, I thought I worked on that through celibacy.' And it’s gonna show up and if it shows up, it’s okay, because now you have the tools compared to when you didn’t."
"I think it’s a lot of perception shifting, not seeing the end of celibacy having to be like the manifestation of your partner, while it can be, that’s also what has happened for me, but I would never sell it like that because I don’t want to give this false hope. What it is, is you continuing that journey of understanding what you need and what you want," Jeppe concludes.
"And so it’s like, 'Wow, what a beautiful next chapter to begin exploring yourself again.'"
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