Between growing up in an entertainment industry home and then getting my start as an entertainment industry writer, there are always a few things that I make sure to keep in mind when it comes to that particular world. One, celebrity worship is ridiculous, even though our culture is basically obsessed with it.
Two, popular people are people who are just known more than the rest of us; never forget that we’re all human and we’re all gifted in some capacity (which is a huge part of the reason why my first point is a very valid one). Three, don’t put anyone on a pedestal; famous folks aren’t always what they seem. Four, no matter how much you think you know, you will never know as much as you think you do about celebrities. And five, rather than trying to model your life after them, use the things that you do discover as lessons or takeaways.
Omarion is no exception to all of this. When he comes to mind as an artist, B2K’s “Gots Ta Be” (which is the best song that they ever did, in my opinion), his song “Icebox” (which a few of my friends argue is his best solo effort to this day) and his visual “Touch” (the choreography is dope and you can definitely tell that Pharrell produced it) are what I think of first. As for his personal life, I remember thinking that it was not on my bingo card that he and his then-girlfriend Apryl Jones would go on Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood (he touches on why he/they did here); that all of the, umm, stuff that evolved from it isn’t shocking because, well, it started on Love & Hip Hop.
I know that (sidebar) his brother, O’Ryan is fine as hell (and it seems like Jhené Aiko has a type when it comes to men — and the fathers of her children — because he and Big Sean somewhat favor). I also know that Omarion, as a person, has definitely played out to possess some of the qualities that are associated with his zodiac. By that, I mean he seems brave, mystical, determined, creative, calculated, explorative, potential for wanting full control, deep, and — I didn’t know they, Scorpios, were considered to be “the sex symbol” (pun/no pun) on the zodiac chart; I always thought that was reserved for my people, Geminis, yet he exudes sensuality nonetheless, so…that’s noted too.
So yeah — between all of the rumors surrounding both B2K (if you know, you know) and his relationship, through all of its roller-coaster-like-a-mutha stages, with his now ex-Apryl — the woman who is the mother of both of his children (Megaa and A'mei) who you can definitely tell they made together — it’s been a little challenging to not keep them somewhat on my radar…which is why a recent interview that he did on Sway in the Morning caught my attention; especially as it relates to what he had to say about co-parenting and where he and Apryl are finally. FINALLY.
Here are my six takeaways from a famous person that can hopefully help others who may be on a similar journey.
1. Please Don’t Resolve to Be “Unteachable” in Your 20s
A lot of us either watched Omarion grow up or grew up with him. And from my calculations, back when he and Apryl went on Love & Hip Hop, he was in his late-20s. They were in a relationship when he came on, and so, yeah, this point is a very relevant one: even though being in their 20s makes people “grown,” sometimes folks can be worse than teenagers when it comes to not listening to the wisdom and insights of other individuals (especially who are older than they are). It’s almost like folks act as if it’s some rites of passage to make reckless or unhealthy decisions during that decade, only to look back and blame it all on “being young” when some humility and discernment could’ve avoided a helluva lot of drama, to begin with.
Listen, I’m speaking from personal experience here because all four of my abortions were between 19-25, and although the reasons behind the decisions can’t all be chalked up to age, I do know that if I had followed something that my mom used to say often, life could’ve been less, at times traumatizing and at others counterproductive and straight-up foolish. What she used to say is, “Discernment prevents experience from being your teacher.”
So yeah, if you are in your 20s and reading this, please don’t be so “I’m grown” that you end up doing things that result in you needing to use your 30s to heal, only to look up and surprise, surprise — you’re in your 40s (or even 50s). Omarion said, more than once, that he and Apryl were young when they were together. Again, “young” was in their 20s. And also, again, 20s is adulthood; still, brains just stop fully developing at 25. Apply some humility to your grown-ness. You’ll thank me later. Trust me.
2. SEX. MAKES. CHILDREN.
Just yesterday, I was having a discussion with a friend about the fact that folks who act shocked when they get pregnant are kind of comical (me included). Why? Because if you really don't want to have kids, you'll either A) live a life of abstinence (which is the only full-proof approach) or B) be birth-controlled up. And since I am well aware of the fact that only ONE-THIRD of Americans uses condoms (SMDH) — it looks like my point is far from being just an opinion or even a theory. Yes, sex feels amazin' but good enough to make children before you're ready or without fully considering who you are making them with? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
And this is why I will forever rock with the elders' wisdom of "If you wouldn't want to have a child with that person, don't have sex with them." Hey, roll your eyes if you want to, but since a lot of people don't want to use birth control and also since sex is the conventional way of conceiving a child, it needs to forever go on record that when you "engage" — especially raw and sometimes even with birth control, especially if you don't use it correctly — a child could come from that; a child who didn't ask to be here or navigate through parents who initially only had sex for…fun or casually which is what a lot of people do (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Keeping all of this in mind, Omarion and Apryl appeared to have been in a serious dynamic at the time of creating their children; however, I do think that something that Omarion said in the interview needs to be kept especially in mind:
“Not to generalize women, but you know, umm, sometimes women think that you know, love stories are supposed to be this kind of like, happy thing and this, ‘Oh we vibin,’ and you know, we, we get married, and we have a family,’ but it’s really, it’s really not like that. You know, umm, that wasn’t my experience. Looking back on the history of how I viewed relationships, like, my mom is not married, you know, my Nana was married at a very young age…like, steppin’ back and realizin’ like, ‘Oh, your love style, your support, the things that you actually need, you know, is different from what you perceive. And it allowed me to really see, you know, what it is that I truly want, and it is acceptance. It is love. That’s what love is.”
One of the things that I gathered from this is Omarion and Apryl wanted very different things from each other. Whether they knew this before having their first child and ignored it, knew it right before conceiving their second and downplayed it, or hoped that kids would change things (children don’t fix issues; they oftentimes amplify them) — children are permanent.
And so there really need to be serious BEFOREHAND conversations about 1) what you want from the people you choose to sleep with — short- and long-term; 2) what your plans will be for your child should you choose to become pregnant with one, and 3) if you and the person/people you have sex with are strong enough to walk through that life experience together. It really is time-out for the “we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it” approach.
One of the best things that you can do for future children and your future self is to take sex seriously before children exist…or you arrive at your future self.
3. It’s Okay, Welcomed Even, to Go to Therapy Re: Healing from a Break-Up and/or Co-Parenting
Fight me on this if you want to, but I personally believe that therapy should be mandatory for single parents — single moms and single dads alike. Not forever, but initially, once the baby is born because, while some people plan to have kids outside of a two-parent nucleus (now more than ever, actually), there are still many — tons even — who didn’t. And so, whether it’s therapy in order to mentally and emotionally prepare for such a major life shift and/or therapy to process what co-parenting needs to look like for the sake of your mental and emotional health as well as your child’s…yes, do it.
Because it is triggering AF to watch so many people either weaponize their children when it comes to dealing with their child’s other parent or the child having to go through the emotional roller coaster ride (or is it a hamster wheel?) of watching their parents not really know the difference between what they need to own about their relationship with their child’s parent and/or what they need to deal with on the day-to-day, strictly as it relates to co-parenting.
Honestly, I think that Omarion and Apryl’s journey in the spotlight helps to prove this particular point because I watched more than a couple of videos where Apryl was in a lot of pain and processing (rinse and repeat for a few years) when it came to how she felt that Omarion (mis)handled the situation. Not only that but now that I’ve watched the Sway interview, even Omarion has owned that he can get why that was the case (like when he said that they had different interpretations of their future and relational needs; he even owned in the interview that he somewhat abandoned her emotionally as well).
Even watching this throwback video (here) where Apryl talked about dating Omarion and his bandmate Lil’ Fizz (Fizz eventually publicly apologized) — how can pain not be a part of that kind of decision?
Listen, I don’t know if Omarion and/or Apryl went to therapy or not. All I know is, as someone who used to be a teen mom director for the local chapter of a national non-profit, I dealt with generations of single mothers who had some really unhealthy and/or bitter and/or tunnel-visioned perspectives on relationships and men (not necessarily in that order) which is why I’m not shocked at all that there are plenty of studies on the fact that even adult children from divorce are a bit jaded when it comes to their views of getting married themselves (for example, they have more trust issues and are more likely to get divorced themselves, if they ever get married at all) — and since we’re seeing more single parents than ever…I’m sure you can get where that domino effect could possibly lead.
Relational pain going down from generation to generation is never good. So yeah, if you’re a single parent and you’ve got some unresolved issues with your ex when it comes to co-parenting or with yourself as it relates to both, needing therapy and getting some isn’t a gaslight or an insult. In fact, I actually salute the self-awareness and strength of individuals who take the initiative to get some.
4. Release Your Ex from Not Being What You Wanted. Or Needed.
A guy I know and I are both survivors of our parents’ divorce (get old enough, and you’ll probably come to see why I choose to frame it just that way). Something that he and I both discuss is how we both experienced so much… unnecessariness, all because our mothers didn’t properly heal from the divorces that they initiated (most divorces are initiated by women, by the way). My mom has even said to me that “being divorced is like living with a ghost because, if you had children with that person, a part of them is still living with you.” And if you don’t get whatever you felt/feel about your ex “in check” while knowing this, the children who you created with them can end up catching the brunt of stuff that isn’t their fault or even their business.
It could be abuse. It could be walking on eggshells. It could be serving as an emotional caregiver or counselor (which is another form of abuse, by the way). It could be constantly being compared to the other parent. Y’all, my mom said to me, just a couple of weeks after my father died (he took his life, in part, due to toxic female influences in his life; he and I discussed it for years), “I can’t stand either one of your fathers” (she was also referring to my brother’s dad). First, that was a super selfish thing to say at the time (timing much?), and second, umm, YOU CHOSE THEM…what do you expect the kids to do about it? Besides, I liked my father…a lot. Deal with your stuff…over there.
You know, when I take into account so much of what I’ve heard Apryl say out of her own mouth about feeling abandoned and alone by Omarion and now Omarion looking back and seeing that neither one of them was really meeting each other’s needs — and then I look at those children, and you can see hybrids of Omarion and Apryl’s faces…it’s a reminder that it’s so important to release what you thought you would get from your ex (relationship-wise), who you thought they were or even what you may still want them to be. Why?
Because I don’t care how popular single parenting may be in this culture, stats still reveal that it puts kids in a place where it is more challenging to overcome life obstacles — so the more you’re able to function from a place of forgiveness, peacefulness, flexibility, emotional maturity, and harmony, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR KIDS, the better.
And letting go of whatever narrative you had in your mind regarding your ex? That is a truly awesome starting point. Which brings me to my fifth point — and takeaway...
5. Yep. Co-Parenting IS a Form of Black Love
Although I think that the entire segment about co-parenting was good, probably my favorite part is something that co-host Tracy G. touched on. It’s when she said that co-parenting is a form of Black love. Yeah, that is truly powerful because imagine how much drama and trauma could be spared if more people approached raising children with their ex (or exes) from that space and place.
And here’s the thing about this particular form of love — I actually disagree with something that Omarion said when he was in the midst of defining love. He said that love isn’t about judging someone but supporting them. I’ll say this when you sign up to be TRULY LOVED by people, a part of what comes with that is accountability: people holding you fully accountable, and that can come with “judgment calls” being made.
Yeah, it’s kind of another message for another time that a part of the reason why so many people end relationships — personal, professional, familial, platonic, romantic, etc. — is because they think that folks are only supposed to be their cheerleaders and not their accountability partners too (yes, love includes telling you about yourself when you need to hear it).
On the flip side, what I do totally agree with is people need to intentionally build with individuals who accept them. Acceptance is about receiving someone and believing in them — not based on what you want them to do or think they should be but who and what they are. And Lord, just imagine how much smoother co-parenting would go if people took this approach to their child’s other parent. This doesn’t mean that acceptance is easy, either.
Accept that things didn’t go as you initially planned. Accept that your ex may not have ever wanted what you did. Accept that your expectations vs. your reality may be totally different things. Accept that your ex is not you, so their approach to parenting may manifest in a different way. Accept that your main focus should require putting your ego aside for your child’s greater good. Accept that it’s fine to have boundaries…so long as they aren’t walls.
Accept that choosing to not be petty, vindictive, or in a cycle of unforgivingness is always going to benefit everyone in the long run. Accept that the Plan A that you might have had for your life that didn’t work out can still manifest into a Plan B (or Plan H) that ultimately will be even better. And yes, ACCEPT that raising your child in a peaceful dynamic, even if it stretches you out of your comfort zone, is good for your child and ultimately the Black community, at large because…Black love always is.
Again, no one said that acceptance would be easy; it pushes back on the ego every chance that it gets. So yes, oftentimes love, especially co-parenting love, requires something else that Omarion touched on:
“There were some important conversations that needed to be had, in front of my children, between mom and dad. The kids need to see that…Showing up as a man for my kids means that we’ve got to have some tough conversations sometimes…consider your kids. Your kids don’t ask to be here. It is your duty to be in servitude to them, and you make sure you guide them, up until that point when it’s time for them to make decisions.”
Adding to that, the biblical definition of love should be taken into account too, knowing that God rewards those of us who do our best to do it:
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always 'me first,' doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
"Love never dies.” — I Corinthians 13:4-8(Message)
Okay, so as far as “puts up with anything,” even God has boundaries (or the Book of Revelation wouldn’t exist); however, the context is to be as merciful and gracious as you would want someone to be with you — in this case, your child’s other parent because neither of you is perfect…BOTH OF YOU are going to make mistakes along the way.
And finally, when it comes to co-parenting with an ex, it can be beneficial to apply one of my favorite quotes on why sometimes things don’t end up the way that we thought they would or wanted them to:
“As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.”
Love is continual becoming. That is so rich. And when you get that — when you get that sometimes the one who you created life with is, as Omarion so eloquently put it, a teacher and not your forever (not his exact words, but you get the gist), you can transition into my last point for today.
6. Celebrate Your Ex Moving On. For the Sake of Your Children.
Here’s the thing — if you’ve got some resentment, if you’re triggered, and/or if you’re flat-out pissed about your ex moving on with someone else, do yourself a favor and dig into why that is the case. Because another great takeaway from Omarion in the interview is what he said about Taye Diggs now being with Apryl:
“It’s a beautiful thing when somebody finds a good thing and you should be supportive of that.”
And indeed it is. My discernment says that as Omarion explained that he and Apryl are in more of a peaceful place and space now, her heart moving on with someone else (in what seems to be a much healthier way) probably plays a huge role in the…better co-parenting. And really, why wouldn’t you root for the fact that if your ex has more joy in their life, your child will feel the effects/reap the rewards of that as a direct result — and that ends up making your own life easier in the long run?
You know, I peeped that Omarion mentioned that, as far as Taye is concerned, he’s older and has his own kids (which sounds like he’s noticing that there may be some wisdom and empathy from Taye that he can feel good about), so yes, applying discernment with your own ex’s (new) partner is smart and necessary. Just make sure that the motive has nothing to do with you (other than them being respectful as the mother of your child) and everything to do with your child.
When that is the case, you can do as Omarion professes and have an “open arms approach” to your ex’s new normal — because even if things didn’t work out with your ex, you still want who helped to create your child to be good so that your child can be in a loving and safe environment…both in your presence and outside of it. You can say, as Omarion did about Taye, “I only expect good things from him,"…and actually MEAN it.
Can you tell that I could go on and on about this topic? I really could because I know too many people who are going through the PTSD of this topic not being addressed from this kind of angle. Yet as I wrap this up, I hope that you found at least a couple of pearls — and that you will do something else that Omarion says that he does these days: wish the people of your past well (not passive-aggressively but literally) and that you CHOOSE WISELY…yes, especially when it comes to who you make life with.
Yeah, good stuff from this interview. Good (and needed and relevant and lasting) stuff, indeed.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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