What does it take to find the love you want? To attract the love you want, to make the love you truly want to experience in this lifetime? Well, former Bachelorette star Mike Johnson says it starts with doing the inner work FIRST. And by inner work, he means rewriting and reflecting on the internal stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and using them as a springboard to attract the life and love that we deserve. And if you need help tapping into that side of yourself, look no further than his debut book, aptly entitled Making the Love You Want.
In it, the Texas native provides a toolbox for all those looking to genuinely level up their lives from the inside out through the practice of self-love. "I just want it to be a vessel that can help people with the issues that they're going through and the things that they're facing in life," he tells xoNecole in our midday chat. "By reading it, you'll be able to obliterate, and I mean, completely destroy those self-limiting beliefs. You will be able to have the courage and the strength to propel yourself to the next level of your life."
We recently sat down the 32-year-old self-love sage to talk about personal growth, romantic love, and why it's important for Black men to be vulnerable.
*Some answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.
xoNecole: In your book, you really harp on doing the inner work, particularly in the areas of self-love and self-worth. Personally, I tend to think self-worth is an inside job.
Mike Johnson: It absolutely is, it's in the name.
For Black men in particular, how can they continue to cultivate that sense of self-awareness?
[I think it's in] the strength that we have, the strength that we are blessed with and the strength that society makes us have. I think that we can take some of that strength and be vulnerable as well, because it does absolutely take strength to be vulnerable. And I feel that once we can see the strength, meaning vulnerability, there's nothing that we can't do. It's more of a mindset--it's funny because when I think of this topic, I think of Eminem and 8 Mile. If you remember when he did the rap battle, he said everything negative against himself, he put it all out there. And once you put everything out there, no one could combat you. It's already out there. So, I think that's something that we have to utilize to our advantage.
"I think that we can take some of that strength and be vulnerable as well, because it does absolutely take strength to be vulnerable. And I feel that once we can see the strength, meaning vulnerability, there's nothing that we can't do."
Why do you think it’s so hard for Black men to have conversations around self-love and personal growth?
I wouldn't say that it's hard. It's just maybe something that isn't as seen in mainstream media. And I can speak to why I think that is. I feel that in our community, we put on a tough face at times but I do want to say that the color of our skin doesn't dictate our emotional levels. I feel that our environments do. And we adapt to the environment to make sure that we survive out of it. I think people like Charlamagne are doing a wonderful job of spearheading how to get out of those environments, Derrick Jaxn on Instagram, someone like myself--since I'm trying to be in that realm as well. And if something is popular, more people want to be able to do it as well.
When men start to realize that, you know, it's OK for us to be vulnerable, it's OK to talk about real issues and you're not considered a victim--I think that people relate to that more. I mean, the reason some of our biggest musical artists are so big is because they have a creative way of getting out their emotions and they speak on what they're going through, through songs.
You seem to be a very optimistic guy. Every time I come across you on Instagram, you always seem to have a smile on your face. So I wanna know, is a positive outlook a deal-breaker for you when it comes to relationships?
Not having a positive outlook, yeah. If she doesn't have a positive outlook--I don't care how fine she is. I don't care how much money. I don't really care, if you [are] a Negative Nancy, I'm not with you. I am extremely strong with that. If you're just a negative-thinking individual, I'm not going to let your negativity interrupt my energy. It's too precious.
"If you're just a negative-thinking individual, I'm not going to let your negativity interrupt my energy. It's too precious."
Courtesy of Mike Johnson
How has your time on ‘The Bachelorette’ or ‘Bachelor In Paradise’ influenced what traits you now look for in a potential partner?
No, it hasn't changed whatsoever. I still know the type of woman that I love and adore, and quite honestly with me on TV-- it doesn't change my outlook because I was able to attract the woman that I like already. The TV doesn't do anything when it comes to dating, except for if you want to be superficial and get a certain type of chick, then you can do that. But my homies still know back in the day, when I was a teenager, we would call Walmart, Club Walmart. And if I go to Walmart to this day and I see somebody that I'm into, she could be the cashier. I don't care.
So, no TV doesn't do anything. All the TV does when it comes to dating is people feel as if they know exactly what you like. I know you didn't ask the question, but when I talked to my homies about when Black women say that I don't like Black women--I'm like, 'Why is it that way?' That's hard for me to hear because that's a damn lie. My ex was Black. And if the Bachelorette was a Black woman, no Black woman would say that. Right? So that's the only thing that actually hurts me, if I can honestly be transparent about that. That hurts my heart because I'm like, 'Hey, I love y'all period.'
Who is Mike Johnson as a romantic partner?
Mike Johnson is a loving partner. I'm the guy that your girlfriends hate because you are going to be saying all of these positive things and they don't have a good man like that (laughs). I would say that I'm pretty damn good at relationships. I definitely have no problem with someone putting me in the check but if they do something crazy too, I'm going to let them know. I don't like that either. I'm definitely someone that will motivate you just by you just watching how I act and how I move in life. I have goals all the time and so that will rub off on my partner. And I am definitely a sexual being.
Speaking of, kind of. Do you know your love languages and if so, what are they?
Yeah. So at first, before I read the book by Gary Chapman--amazing book-- I thought my love language was physical touch. But after reading the book, doing the quizzes, I ended up going deeper and it turns out my love language is actually quality time. But my dialect is quality communication. So when you speak to me, tell me what your heart is telling you, tell me your thoughts, be transparent with me, be loyal to me, that brings that trust like nothing else.
Are you single? How would you like for a woman to approach you now?
Oh wow. Well, I will say I am dating someone right now. I'm making a love that I want.
Shameless plug. Lastly, what's one thing you know now to be true about love?
One thing I know to be true about love. If you're loyal to a person, that person is loyal to you, if you do everything to make that individual happy, and if you have an open communication, open dialogue--there's nothing that you guys can't get through.
Making the Love You Want is available now, wherever books are sold. And to keep up with Mike, be sure to connect with him on Instagram.
Featured image courtesy of Mike Johnson
Writer. Empath. Escapist. Young, gifted, and Black. Shanelle Genai is a proud Southern girl in a serious relationship with celebrity interviews, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and long walks down Sephora aisles. Keep up with her on IG @shanellegenai.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Recap: What You Missed On 'Love Is Blind' Episodes 6-8
The honeymoon’s officially over, and not every couple made it out of paradise with their engagements intact. However, for the Love Is Blind Season 4 hopefuls that did, episodes 6-8 are about cultivating a love that stands the test of time and reentering the real world as husbands- and wives-to-be. In shared apartments provided by the show, the couples will learn to navigate cohabitation, work routines, finances, family and friend dynamics, and most importantly, putting in the work to eventually make the commitment of a lifetime to someone in a matter of three weeks.
In case you missed our first recaps, you can find those here and here. Keep reading for a recap of everything you missed on episodes 6-8 of Love Is Blind.
Spoilers are most definitely ahead!
Kwame + Chelsea
Kwame is doing his best to get back into my good graces, and it’s somewhat working. In episode 6, after the real-ass conversation, he and Chelsea had in Mexico, where she urged him to let the Micah ish go, Kwame seems to be walking the talk of the man that said he was where he was supposed to be in regards to his engagement with Chelsea. As he basks in the glory of doing adulting to the highest level, he seems in awe and at ease and even tells Chelsea that walking into their place together makes him feel “at home in it.”
As they are enjoying their first takeout meal in their spot together, the two begin to talk about cleaning duties and how they should go about dividing chores. Chelsea expresses that she prefers going to bed with a clean kitchen, but Kwame is more 80/30 when it comes to clean dishes. Surprisingly, he notes that he would like for Chelsea to flush the toilet after she uses the bathroom every time. Chelsea makes excuses but eventually agrees. Come on, boo. We can’t be pressed about clean dishes 100% of the time and then leave pee in the toilet for our fiancé to flush for us.
Later on in the episode, the two explore each other’s apartments in real life. I loved the backstory of the healing nature of Chelsea’s decorating decisions and how her space was one of self-expression and fulfillment of her being her full self in ways she couldn’t be in a previous relationship.
Chelsea shares with the camera that things got really real for her that day because, during her single days, she was met with a lot of loneliness. She reveals being on FaceTime calls constantly to feel some kind of connection. “Everything’s different now,” she ends tearfully. “I get to come home to Kwame. And that’s a whole new feeling for me. I’ve wanted it for so long.”
In the episode’s cliffhanger, Kwame and Chelsea learn that they both have dads named Charles, but Chelsea is nervous about how her dad Charlie will receive the news of this very unique circumstance of falling in love, getting engaged, and married in a matter of weeks. While doing her best to combat her nerves, Kwame and Chelsea have a semi-passive-aggressive back and forth about who lectures who the most before Kwame waves his white flag to share why he should be on edge more than she should be on edge.
Despite some of his anxiety around the situation, he does his best to try to assuage Chelsea in her stressful moment, but Chelsea ain’t trying to hear none of that.
Courtesy of Netflix
As revealed at the top of episode 7, all the conversation leading up to meeting Chelsea’s dad was for naught because Charlie barely needed an explanation to get with the program. He embraced Kwame and Chelsea’s relationship with him with literal arms wide open! Later in the episode, Chelsea and Kwame head to Portland, where Kwame actually resides (not Seattle like the majority of the other cast members of the season), to visit his apartment and take some things of his to the shared apartment in order to really coexist.
It’s interesting to note that Kwame would have to uproot the life he leads in Portland to make the relationship and could-be marriage work with Chelsea. He tells the camera he has no friends in Seattle. He has things about Portland that are routines for him. Chelsea is dead set on having a life in Seattle. Kwame notes that he sometimes feels he compromises a lot, maybe too much even.
Later in the episode, when Kwame has the phone conversation with his mom about doing the experiment and moving forward with an engagement with Chelsea, the news is not received well. He tells Chelsea that his mom is a big part of his life and that it is tough to hear that she isn’t happy for him. It’s a stark contrast to the unyielding acceptance we felt from Chelsea’s dad.
Kwame seems to take things in stride, giving his super emotionally intelligent recap of the events to Chelsea, but I can’t help but think that it must be hard to always swallow your emotions and filter them in a way where you have to apply so much reason to the things you have every right to feel. He was hurt and disappointed but does his best to smile through everything. I thought that said a lot about who he strives to be in life.
Courtesy of Netflix
In episode 8, Kwame is making major life adjustments, from moving to Seattle for Chelsea to taking care of her dog, Rocky. When they have a conversation about having a family after bathing Rocky, I appreciate the seriousness of such a topic. It seems like it’s been broached before because Chelsea leads with reminding Kwame that he said three years into being married would be a good time to start a family. The pressure is on, and you can tell as Kwame seems uneasy while Chelsea is speaking her piece about always seeing herself as a mom.
He emphasizes wanting to have time to “enjoy each other.” He notes that Rocky infringes upon their ability to be flexible as it is, even if he sees himself and his future wife traveling the world together. Kids would add another difficult layer to that desire. When she notices that it seems Kwame is grieving a past version of his life, Chelsea asks a fair and important question, “Do you want to settle down?” Thank you, someone who remembers the point of this show.
Kwame tells her that he is compromising a lot. There goes that word again. I have a feeling that is more so what it is about than having kids versus not having kids. He ends the conversation by explaining that he just wants his feelings to be considered. “Considered,” Chelsea replies.
Courtesy of Netflix
As he opens up to Tiffany at Chelsea’s birthday party later in the episode, his issues with compromise and the potential of being too compromising are something that comes up again. In another inappropriate sidebar conversation with Micah, Kwame asks her if she feels she’s made the right choice. As usual, with their conversations, it feels like they are applying feelers to the situation to see if there’s smoke where there’s fire. I have my eye on these two.
He tells the camera that he will always have feelings for Micah, and he likes that their connection is “seamless,” and there’s no pressure to it. I rolled my eyes because he's not engaged to her and there are no ties, and that’s why there’s no pressure. You’re having to make these life-changing decisions about your partner in a matter of weeks. Of course, you’ll feel some pressure with Chelsea that you won’t feel with another woman not directly involved in that relationship.
The fantasy of what could be doesn’t always tell the story of what is and blatant acts of disrespect like this after the conversation he had with Chelsea about letting it go makes me feel for his fiancée. She deserves better than that.
Brett + Tiffany
The hygiene Olympics continue as Tiffany and Brett come onto the scene heading into their nighttime routine. They are sharing the bathroom while Brett brushes his teeth, shirtless, might I add (there was no need, but I felt like context would be a great addition here). Tiffany reveals to the camera that cleanliness might be an issue for them because she likes things clean, emphasis, and Brett is the type to exit the shower and leave water everywhere, which she says is a big pet peeve of hers. When she brought it up to him, he dismissed it as just being water. I mean, it does dry.
When they exit the bathroom, Tiffany tells Brett that a TV in the bedroom would be great to have. Brett disagrees and lets her know that the only thing that should have her attention in the bedroom is sleep or him. She takes that as an invitation and coquettishly replies, “My attention is on you now,” before joining him in bed. “I’m really happy here. And I really mean that,” he expresses to her as she smiles.
Later in the episode, Tiffany introduces Brett to her chosen family of friends for food and drinks. And they started with some tough questions right out the gate, feeling him out for their friend. It was also cool to learn about Tiffany being an easy sleeper from her friends because it provided some context about that infamous night sis fell asleep on Brett in the Pods. Apparently, sir passed their “tests” with flying colors.
Feeling the love from her friends and how much they wanted to see that love epitomized in her partner and how much Brett seemed to exemplify that made for a very endearing scene.
Courtesy of Netflix
In episode 7, Brett takes Tiffany to check out his apartment because if they make it to the altar, it’s where they will be living. It is there that Brett gets coined the nickname “Bougie Brett” by Tiffany, who, despite going on about how clean she is, seemed super impressed with the look and feel of Brett’s uber-neat apartment.
Space, though, quickly becomes an issue as the couple tries to figure out where will things like Tiffany’s clothes fit or even a workspace for her to work. Brett reminds her that he is willing to upgrade to a bigger apartment in the same building if she likes the apartment. “I can see myself living here,” she says to Brett eventually.
As the episode continues, Tiffany is cooking a meal for the pair, and they embark on a conversation about their approach to finances and what their lifestyle will be like after their lives have effectively merged. It was refreshing to hear these types of conversations had between a couple on this show, as I don’t think it’s shown amongst the other couples if they are having these types of convos.
Tiffany references Brett’s expensive taste as something she doesn’t necessarily want to infringe upon, but she does want the bills to be taken care of without having to monitor how much he is spending and on what. Brett adds to that by saying that he is comfortable with doing a 75-25 split or a 60-40 split on some bills. I’m like, okay here. Love to see it. Brett and Tiffany are a beautiful example of what emotional maturity looks like and being on your grown man/grown woman ish. I think this show could definitely use a lot more of that. Cast more Bretts and Tiffanys, please!
Courtesy of Netflix
Nothing of real consequence happens between the couple in episode 8, just Brett and Tiffany being adorable and expressing gratitude about having found each other to be able to do life together. That’s the thing about being a pretty solid couple on the show. There’s no need to do extensive recaps on this couple because conflict doesn’t tend to occur unhealthily.
And that's also why they are my Unproblematic Faves.
Marshall + Jackie
Marshall is a grower, not a shower, it seems, because I felt his love for Jackie beaming through the screen as he talked about the joy he found in developing a routine. I was a little lukewarm on him, but I think when he is expressing his pleasure in doing things for Jackie, his inner light is glowing, and he seems that much brighter overall. He recounts the good things about doing life with her, like waking up to her, making her breakfast before sending her to work, doing his things, and then waiting for her to get home.
While they are on the couch together talking about telling their respective families about their engagement, Marshall shares that his family is "over the moon" happy for him. However, Jackie shared that she told her mom and dad and that their response was, "This is not Jackie." She says it with a laugh and reiterates that they were so shocked and she had to tell them that she was "dead-ass." She ends the story by saying that she still doesn't think they believe her, but they will just have to come to terms with her being engaged in their own time.
Jackie notes that she has to be "up to par" when it's time to meet Marshall's folks but says that she wants to hold off on him meeting her family for as long as possible. When Marshall asks if Jackie thinks her family wants to meet him, she answers, "I would hope so," and then details how her mom and dad are.
Later in the episode, we see Marshall doing his aforementioned favorite thing, cooking breakfast for Jackie. She greets him warmly and learns he is making pancakes with a strawberry raspberry compote. Jackie is so impressed by the initiative and the effort and says excitedly, "Wow, I feel like I'm in a restaurant!" and thanks him with a kiss. "I'm so blessed," she says to him. "You are," he responds.
Jackie reveals to the camera that she has never been loved like this or experienced anything like this before. And that explains a lot of the self-sabotage vibes I got from the previous episodes. She's never been treated like this before, so she might be combatting feelings of unworthiness and doing that thing where we fuck up things that we know are good for us because somehow we've convinced ourselves we don't deserve it. Self-sabotage is a mf.
I see glimpses of the self-sabotage threaten to reemerge in episode 7, where Jackie seems very anxious about something. It is revealed that the couple is talking about meeting his family plus her family's lack of support and that Jackie is stressed out because "it is a lot." Jackie wants Marshall to give her some space to get herself together, and Marshall agrees to take a walk to give her some time. He tells the camera that Jackie has a tendency to ruminate and stay in moods for a long time but that he is able to give her the space she needs to sort through her own feelings. "I can do that for her," he explains.
Jackie eventually opens up to Marshall about her emotions and feeling like she has to make a hefty decision at the end of this experiment that will not only impact her but her relationship with her family since they are not in full support of her and Marshall. She doesn't want to hurt her family, but she also doesn't want to hurt herself in the process. Her anxiety is getting the better of her and as a result, she doesn't feel like she is at her best to meet his family.
Great news, Jackie does decide to meet his family that day despite the emotional tailspin she was in. Marshall's sister and brother-in-law come through with his niece. And the vibe completely shifts from tears to all smiles. "I need to know everything from the beginning," his sister announces as they eat together. Marshall lets his sister know how much of an impact Jackie has made on him as a creative, as a man, and as a person, and breaks down how they bonded.
Marshall's brother-in-law notes that he feels a positive shift in his aura. Jackie speaks her piece about her connection with Marshall and how he's taught her to be more grown. "Marriage is biblical. That's serious. I need to make sure I'm the best version of me before I say yeah," Jackie admits to Marshall's family. I love that Jackie said that because it emphasized her values around the commitment of marriage.
Courtesy of Netflix
I still don't see it for these two. The pieces are there, but there's something missing. They kind of remind me of another couple on the show that I don't talk much about, Paul and Micah, in these recaps. Like they're trying to get pieces to fit, but somehow, it doesn't feel organic. I don't doubt that love is there, but I do doubt this couple and that couple's staying power, especially in terms of having very real sources of conflict but being reluctant to adequately talk through the issues before they build up to be more.
Jackie is downplaying the importance of her family's support or lack thereof and can also just overall feel like a walking red flag. Micah is downplaying the fact that she wants to be able to go back and forth to her place in Arizona, and Paul isn't having any of it. Whereas I feel like Marshall has enough flexibility for a relationship with Jackie to go the distance, I do wonder if it is indeed what Jackie needs. Despite constantly reassuring the viewers and herself, how does she really feel?
In episode 8, the relationship between Marshall and Jackie officially begins to unravel. I didn't think that my concerns about them would be validated, but one argument proved to be a turning point in their relationship and would eventually lead to a point of no return. Marshall tells the camera that the relationship is looking pretty "bleak" with Jackie and that during a conversation they had while the cameras weren't rolling, Jackie told Marshall he needed to "boss up." Now, I know that's one of Jackie's favorite phrases, so I could see her saying that.
Marshall didn't take that phrase very well and heard in her choice of words that he was not "man enough." I don't know if that's what she meant, but that's what he received from her communication, which is perhaps what matters. He apparently left her to stop himself from going off and the conversation from getting too heated. When he enters the house after being gone for 2-3 days (the timeframe isn't clear), Jackie is visibly upset as she is packing.
Marshall passively aggressively questions if she's packing her stuff and why. "I'm not about to play these games with you," she says dismissively as she brushes past him. She reveals that she is upset because she wanted to be able to talk to him in his heated moment, but instead, he leaves. His leaving was a problem for her. She clarified to him that she never said he wasn't man enough for her; she requested that he be more aggressive. "We don't have sex," she says before adding, "Do something."
Courtesy of Netflix
Marshall counters, "It's always what you feel and how you think." Resentment. I knew it was hard having a savior complex, but he was the one who decided to take on that role. You can't be mad at the precedent you set in a dynamic. The argument that follows is so unproductive. I was shook when Marshall did a clap during the back and forth and said he was "testing" her. It's unfortunate that a miscommunication uncovered all of this with threats for both parties to leave the relationship.
Eventually, Marshall speaks his piece about putting in all the work to be the initiator of their physical intimacy, which contradicts Jackie's complaints about him not being aggressive sexually. "You have done nothing to make me feel seduced or special or anything," he tells her. "Make me feel like something, Jackie."
Jackie, of course, then asks something to the effect of why are you with me if I do nothing for you. And Marshall drops the mic when he answers very coldly, might I add, "Because I see you as a project, and I saw potential." PROJECT?!?! PROJECT?!?! I don't like Jackie like that, but I felt for her in that moment because to hear that from someone who, in the same breath, claims to love you has got to be heartbreaking.
And then he repeats the "project" talk a couple more times as if he can't see how hurtful being on the receiving end of a statement like that is. He brings it back eventually by saying it was the emotions talking and that he doesn't see her as a "project"; he sees her as having "limitless potential." It's too late, my g. For me, at least, because Jackie ends up embracing him tearfully after that back peddle. Do I think some things get said in heated situations that aren't always indicative of reality? Absolutely. But I also think sometimes truths come out when the filter and facade come down.
Courtesy of Netflix
With Marshall, I always wondered why he felt like he had to "save" Jackie. It turns out I got that wrong. Seeing her as a project might point to the fact that he wants to "fix" her. Jackie isn't perfect. None of us are. But it's interesting how he went from a nice guy lover boy to a puppeteer who thinks he can direct how someone is by his involvement in their lives. If someone grows from being in a relationship with you, beautiful, but it's not up to you to dictate how that comes to be. More importantly, you shouldn't look at your partner from a lens of, "If this change this, then..."
And even though I don't think he maliciously went into their romance with that at the forefront of his mind, some of what was exposed in that argument spoke volumes for how he views them. I don't care what reconciliation goes down between this couple. I stand firmly in my belief that they don't need to be together. Not right now. They both have work to do. Marshall needs to figure out why he sees partners as projects and the unhealthy cycle of that, and Jackie needs to be more ready to say "I do" ideally to a partner that she likes a little more versus tolerating them because they're "a good man."
Just in case things weren't messy enough, in true LIB fashion, an obligatory get-together happens later in episode 8 for Chelsea's birthday with couples as well as a few contestants who didn't make it out of the Pods, like JP. Marshall arrives at Chelsea's birthday alone and says he doesn't know where he and Jackie stand.
Courtesy of Netflix
He later confides with Brett that Jackie wants him to be aggressive in the bedroom, which looks like slapping her around, and that's not him. My eyes were just widening in his conversation with Brett because that's not what I got from their argument, but perhaps they had a sidebar that was too hot for TV, and that's what sis meant by "boss up" and being "aggressive." Interesting.
He also relays to Brett that Jackie tells him she "fucks with him tough" but has never said she loves him. Wow. Just wow. It's two weeks away from the wedding, and this is the type of BS this couple is navigating. Despite what they have been going through, Jackie does show up to Chelsea's birthday party. And the messiness continues.
JP is there. If you can remember from previous episodes, JP was one of Jackie's connections that she had Marshall tell to step. She finally gets to put a face behind the name and voice. And JP seems dead set on making it known how he felt about Jackie, that he was in love with her, etc. Just to warn y'all, JP also gives cringe, but somehow I see somewhat of a vibe when he is standing next to Jackie and getting her to smile with his antics.
Surely enough, JP steps to Marshall in a drunken and passive-aggressive manner to talk to him about loving the same woman, Jackie. He refers to himself as "Mr. Steal Yo Girl," and Marshall replies half-jokingly, "If you of all people can steal her from me, you can have her." It's honestly hard to read the conversation, and even Marshall seems confused after JP leaves him alone.
Courtesy of Netflix
JP's liquid courage leads him to a sidebar one-on-one conversation with Jackie. JP then takes sabotage to new heights in this series by throwing Marshall under the bus to Jackie, first calling him "NBA Cryboy" and then revealing that Marshall cried with everyone he spoke to. The Micah-Kwame poolside conversation crawled so this one between JP and Jackie could walk. Jackie seems to really be invested in what he was saying, which is interesting because I didn't think she'd fall for it, but it seems like she might be.
She even mentions not talking about emotions with him in the Pods, which suggests to me that that might have been a reason she chose Marshall over him. Marshall wore his heart on his sleeves, while it seems Jackie might not have been sure if JP was serious or not despite the way they vibed. "We had a connection, but you never was, like, super deep with me, super open," she explains. Daaaaaamn. All this playing in people's faces this season, I tell you.
Once Marshall becomes privy to this conversation (if he ever does), I'm sure it won't be good.
New episodes of Love Is Blind are now streaming on Netflix.
Featured image courtesy of Netflix