Goodness, y'all. We're only on the second episode and my head is already spinning! Ambitions may technically be categorized as a ''nighttime soap" but back in my The Young and the Restless watchin' days (RIP Kristoff St. John), I was able to go weeks, months even, without watching it and still be able to keep up.This? I'm darn near scared to go to the bathroom during commercial breaks; that's how fast it moves.
OK, so let's do a recap of last night, shall we?
Evan & Bella
Erica Page as Bella
It picks up with Rondell, her (and Evan's) father, Senior and Bella's mom, Inez telling the police what happened when a goon broke into the restaurant with a bat and threatened Rondell by saying, "You know what time it is, bitch!" (That stood out to me because Rondell kept bringing it up.) Senior's shotgun is what ran dude off. Senior was still holding it in the police's presence. Who sent the goon? Sit on that for a sec. I'll be back.
While Senior and Rondell were semi-freaking out, Evan was in bed with Bella. Hmph. A guy I know once told me, "If you're gonna cheat, cheat with someone who has more to lose than you do." Yeah well, if that memo was on Evan's desk, he overlooked it because while he was sleeping, Bella was taking all kinds of pics of him and his, well, you know. She even used her phone to videotape them gettin' it in. Clearly, she doesn't have more to lose than Mr. Mayor does if—which really means when—he gets exposed. SMDH.
Titus & Amara
Meanwhile, over at Titus and Amara's house, Titus tried to convince his wife that he no longer has feelings for Stephanie. If you watched the first episode, you know that couldn't be further from the truth. Sidebar—Am I the only one who is trying to figure out how two married lawyers—Evan and Stephanie and Titus and Amara—can fully trust each other? They convince people to think how they want them to for a living.
Anyway, cutting back to Evan and Bella and here he goes having the nerve to be jealous about her having a relationship with Roderick. As he was letting the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head, I think what stood out to me most was, "The thought of you together makes me almost not want to touch you." Uh-huh. Almost but not quite. Less than a minute later, he's taking his clothes off again when he should be heading home…to his wife.
Stephanie & Evan
Robin Givens as Stephanie Carlisle and Brian J. White as Evan Lancaster
And what is Stephanie doing while all of this is going on? She runs by her mom—and dad's—house real quick to vent about not feeling appreciated by her father. Her mom basically co-signs by admitting that she wishes there had been "less Stephen and more Irene" in the marriage.
What does Stephanie get out of her mom's pearls of wisdom? Apparently to be reckless because she texts Titus. And who ends up reading it (how come no one seems to wake up when their partner uses their finger to unlock their phone?!)? You already know. Stephanie's ex-bestie and soror sister, Amara.
After what seems like a pretty long night for everyone, Evan and Stephanie begin a new day at their dining room table. It's weird because although they don't seem to be in love, they do seem to be genuine friends; at least up to a certain point. For most of the meal, things seem cordial, endearing even at times, until Evan gets up to leave and Stephanie says, "You've been putting in a lot of late nights lately. I'm not the only one who's been noticing" to which Evan replies, "You mean Saturday night? The same night you put a gun to my head?" (Checkmate.) Stephanie ignores his question and simply warns him not to disrespect her. Umm, I guess she means, anymore.
Evan, Stephanie & Amara
Essence Atkins as Amara
With political power comes enemies and Evan's got plenty of them. One is a man by the name of Councilman Kent Hamilton. As a prosecutor for the Department of Justice, Amara goes to meet with the councilman to see what he knows about certain shady dealings involving the mayor. He tells her that if she wants the dirt on Evan, she should—and I quote—"Talk to his mistress." Evan's mistress, that is. Messy, messy. No wonder Inez (Bella's mom) keeps trying to get her daughter to end her affair.
Back at Evan's office, he's just receiving the news about what happened at Thelma's Place. In between flirting with a blonde there (how many mistresses does he have? Hmm…) and planning his day, he finds the time to head off to see how he can help. Or further mess things up. It all depends on how you look at it, I guess. Once Evan arrives and he hears what went down, although Rondell is convinced that Greg Peters was behind the attack, Evan doesn't agree. He's right to think that. We'll come back to this in just a moment.
Lawd, lawd. Stephanie and Amara. Is it a shocker that, as Stephanie is hoping to meet up with Titus for lunch, Amara is who shows up? Oh, how I adore the subtle nuances of Black television shows. As Amara reminds Stephanie who Titus belongs to ("Who's fighting? Titus is mine.") Stephanie calmly claps back with "What is this? The old Brandy and Monica song?" (#cute) They go back and forth about who betrayed whom, then Amara lays down the law about Stephanie needing to keep her text fingers—and everything else—to herself. Good luck with that, sis.
Bella, Rondell & Evan
It's the middle of the day by now and, of course, Bella's out doing something for Bella. This time, it's a photo shoot for her fashion line Bella True. Problem is, she's in the park without a learning permit, so a cop is giving her a hard time about it. She calls Evan to handle it but—surprise, surprise—as the mayor of Atlanta and not her husband, he's tied up. She does the next best thing and uses Roderick's clout to help her out.
At the restaurant, Rondell is flirting with Councilman Hamilton who happens to just "drop by". Yep, the same guy who told Amara that Evan is cheating on Stephanie is who's winking at Evan's sister. Since he's over Rondell's mama's restaurant (district-wise), he works with her to come up with a plan to keep gentrification at bay. It doesn't seem like anyone on this show has pure intentions, though so, we'll see what he really wants. Other than to get underneath Evan's skin and a piece of Rondell's pie. (Take that how you will.)
The anger that Evan has towards Bella, he takes out on his in-laws. He believes that his father-in-law, Stephen, is the one who sent the goon to the restaurant but—gasp!—it is actually his mother-in-law, Irene. Her motive? To pressure Rondell to sell. Ugly.
I'm not sure when Stephanie actually does her job because after lunch, a man by the name of Nick comes into her office to let her know that he's got some dirt on Mr. and Mrs. Hughes. Actually, only Amara. Now Stephanie knows that Amara had an affair with her co-worker Damien Collins in the midst of getting a raise and promotion back when she was living in Birmingham. Ammo. BIG TIME.
Back to Bella. While she's thanking Roderick for helping her spoiled and entitled behind (I'm sorry. Did I say that out loud?), who shows up? Evan. Who's pissed to see her with Roderick? Evan. Who gets super-duper petty and invites Roderick to be a part of a city-wide campaign while not inviting Bella because she's not popular enough (yet)? Evan. Evan, Evan, Evan. Y'all know that Evan and Bella are not gonna end well…right?
I don't care if it's this season or five seasons from now, there's more passion than love between those two and too much passion without enough caring can get somebody humiliated or killed. Time will reveal.
After a long day's work (and dishing out vile threats), Amara comes home to Titus cooking. She lets him know that she met with Stephanie. Titus is still trying to convince the both of them that Stephanie won't be a problem. Denial is dangerous.
This episode closes out with Rondell asking the community to come together to join N.A.G—Neighbors Against Gentrification. Oh, and Evan bringing Bella's son—who calls him "Mr. Evan"—a toy. Only—dun, dun, dun, dun—the little boy is his son too. Chile, chile, chile.
Can I finally go to the bathroom now?
Catch up on all the intrigue of Ambitions every Tuesday night on OWN.
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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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Feature image by JD Mason/ Unsplash