Take a basic biology class and the first thing you will learn, is that we're all animals.
Of course, we have forgotten this as we discovered long ago that, in many ways, we are better than those who crawl on all-fours and lick their babies clean. However, there are some primal instincts that we may never evolve past, and I'm curious as to whether non-monogamy is one of them.
After all, there's no cuffin' in the jungle.
We sigh and roll our eyes when men plea that monogamy is not a natural way of life, but are they reaching or being real?
Now, before you curse me, know that I am, and have always valued and preferred monogamy. The problem is, that for every one man who values the practice of monogamy, there are two who would opt to creep around.
Many of you will probably read this line for line, shaking your head and mumbling, "Nah sis." I know this because that's been me, as I have also secretly judged and dismissed the success stories of those who practice ethical non-monogamy.
However, the more I learn about ways we've been socialized and how most of said socialization has hindered us, I can't help but wonder if monogamy, a social construct, has been holding us back from our best and happiest lives yet.
Disney Princesses, fairy tales, and commercialized holidays such as Valentine's and Sweetest Day, have conditioned us to value a lifestyle with "the one" rather than the real thing. Even if it's only "the one" for the moment and not forever, there are bragging rights given to couples lucky enough to find out what a monogamous relationship actually looks like...even if that monogamy isn't reciprocated.
But what if these rigid social constructs were never put in place? What if we challenged ourselves to understand that we can never be everything and all to one human being? What would our fairy tales look like? What would the idea of heartbreak come to be?
As someone who has been cheated on multiple times and settled for subpar relationships, I've been asking myself each of the above questions.
Specifically, I've wondered if there would be more intimacy and less deception if we were to model our our perception of relationships in the image of non-monogamy.
Practices like polygamy, polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are forms of non-monogamy, and are being practiced by couples everyday. Each of these archetypes can be altered to meet the needs of each individual within that relationship. I've vicariously learned through others who practice non-monogamy that however you choose to operate, the big key is communication. Some might even say open relationships require more communication than those that are monogamous.
If I could find the gumption, my ideal non-monogamous relationship is practiced through polyamory.
I would have a primary partner and we would grant each other the freedom to date others. Don't get me wrong, this is not to be confused with casual f*cking. But I can say that I would like to know when my partner meets someone who they feel is worthy of splitting our time. I would personally prefer that my partner keep the details to a minimum. Although some couples like to meet their primary partner's secondary partners, it's definitely not my style.
As disheartening as it is to speak this truth, I must admit that I've come to expect men to cheat, but would never privy a potential partner to that information. There is logic that states that a man who lies is a man not worth forgiving. There are exceptions to this rule however, particularly when we hear the truth from the horse's mouth.
These are real thoughts that I've heard from a number of women, friends and strangers alike. Whether that includes you or not is unbenounced to me. What I do know is that the struggle that comes with turning a blind eye, meanwhile crying into a pillow, also comes with an alternative that might just be ethical non-monogamy.
My vision of polyamory involves a relationship where I don't feel jealous and possessive in learning that my partner shares chemistry and attraction to others...naturally.
I would love a brunch bae, a vacay bae, and someone else with whom I connect to supplement the experiences, desires, and even intimacy that one partner may be lacking or unable to fulfil, no matter how much they wish they could.
Without the pressure of being someone's everything, I think that I would be able to embrace connections as they were, instead of whipping out my thorough-ass checklist to make sure that my man has it all going on.
This standard is impossible and will only lead us back to disappointment.
If I'm really to believe that we as human beings cannot be everything for one person, I then have to believe that both my partner and I could be more wholly satisfied in love by pursuing this unconventional practice. But this can only happen if we detach ourselves from the ideal that we're only entitled to one.
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Featured image via Shutterstock
Originally published July 26, 2018
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
What would you do if you just got laid off from your corporate job and you had a serendipitous encounter with someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime? Tamara Taylor was faced with that decision in 2013 after she was let go from her sales profit and operations coach job in the restaurant industry and met a then-up-and-coming stylist, Law Roach, on a flight to L.A. She and Roach struck up a conversation, and he shared how he was looking for someone to run his business and was impressed by her skills. While she took his business card, she was unsure if it would lead to anything. But, boy, was she wrong. Two weeks later, after packing up her home to move back to her hometown of Chicago, she called Roach; he asked if they could meet the following day, and the rest is herstory.
Taylor founded Mastermind MGMT, an agency that represents some of Hollywood’s best “image architects” like Roach, Kellon Deryck, and Kollin Carter, who are responsible for creating unforgettable style and beauty moments for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, and more. Taylor and her company possess an array of functions, but her biggest role is to be her client’s advocate. We hear endless stories about how creatives aren’t paid or underpaid in the entertainment industry, but Taylor ensures that her clients get their piece of the pie. The entrepreneur opened up about her company and her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, in an exclusive interview with xoNecole.
“I always say that I'm an artist advocate first, deal closer second. So my primary focus is to just make sure that the artist is getting everything that they deserve, whether it's compensation or, you know, certain accommodations, but just making sure that they have everything that they need to be able to show up and provide the best service that they're hired for,” she explained.
“So you know, in the beginning, it was hard because I didn't have any experience, and the artists who I was working with at the time–we were learning together, meaning neither of us had assisted anyone. We didn't have mentors in our specific fields. So every deal was like a new learning experience for us from the styling side and also from the business side, and so it took, you know, doing some research, using some very creative tactics, to find out information in the industry and just starting to request accommodations that I knew other artists were granted, who maybe didn't look like my artists.”
Photo courtesy of Tamara Taylor
Ten years later, there’s still not many people who are doing what Taylor is doing. However, things have gotten easier thanks to the research and connections she made in the beginning. During Mastermind MGMT’s ten-year anniversary celebration, she announced her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping young entrepreneurs through a 12-week program. The program is divided into “two routes.” The first route is for aspiring creative artists who want to start a business from their talent and all the things they need to learn about business, such as taxes, life insurance, etc. The second route is for practicing creative artists who are already in the industry but need resources such as how to plan for retirement or how to sustain themselves if they can’t work for a short amount of time, i.e., the pandemic.
“I just feel that I'm able to have a business and be successful because of their art as well. And so there are things that I know, I tried to teach it to them but understanding that I can only do so much because I'm not a subject matter expert in those fields,” she said. “So I at least want to be able to provide the resources, and then if they make their grown decision not to do it, then that's on them. But you know, I could be guilt-free and taking advantage of the resources that I'm also providing to them.”
Taylor continues to be an innovator in her industry by always pushing the boundaries of creativity and thinking one step ahead of everyone else. The Chicago-bred businesswoman is moving into the tech space thanks to a new invention created with her clients in mind, and she is looking forward to bigger collaborations in the future. Follow Mastermind MGMT on Instagram @mastermind_mgmt for more information.
Feature image courtesy of Tamara Taylor