There was a time when I was all about rolling the windows down and blasting music during my after-work commute. But lately I've been sharing a lot of this time with podcasts. I find myself sitting in parking lots, unable to even get out of the car until I finish listening to whatever interview or conversation has me hooked for the day.
One of my favorites is called Cocktales: Dirty Discussions, hosted by Kiki Said So and Medinah Monroe. Kiki and Medinah are two HBCU graduates and career women who use the show to openly discuss their crazy experiences, dating, and sex. What I like most about the show is the authenticity, the ladies and weekly guests are super honest and don't hold anything back. In just one episode, topics can range from first date and threesomes to masturbation, period sex, baecations and more.
Recently, I had the chance to chat with the two co-hosts about their poppin' podcast and some much-needed tips for great sex:
What made you start 'Cocktales: Dirty Discussions'?
Courtesy of Cocktales
Kiki: I work in radio and at the time I was hearing so much about podcasts. Everybody was beginning to start them and it just sounded like a good idea. Medinah and I have been friends since high school and I knew her personality would be great for the show. We already always talked about the craziness of our dating life anyway, so it was like why not?
I remember hearing that you both are dating now. How has that experience been with the success of the podcast?
Medinah: It can be weird; I was in a long-term relationship when I first started the show. Now I'm newly single, and whenever I meet someone I'm always wondering if they've heard the podcast and what they're thinking.
Kiki: Same here, guys ask questions about the show, or wonder if I'm talking about them on it. At times, they've even tried to "step up" sexually after listening.
One of my favorite parts of the show is the “Cocktales” segment. What are your personal favorite "cocktales"?
Kiki: I remember once I was leaving a wedding and it was an open bar, as all weddings should be. I ended up Uber(ing) and eventually hitchhiking (long story) to an "appointment" to see a guy. Once I got there and we started having sex, I felt my wig slipping. I was on top, and it just kept moving. Eventually I had to tell him, and he snatched it off and threw it across the room! (laughs)
Medinah: A few years ago, I was at an Atlanta strip club we used to go to all the time. I always had an interest in women, but there was a stripper there I really liked. I was with a group, but I felt like a boss because she only wanted to dance for me. Fast forward, we ended up exchanging numbers. Later that night, she sent a car to my house, wined and dined me, and ran me a bath. To date, it's probably one of my favorite girl sex experiences ever.
See, stories like that are what make me ask my next question. What are a few tips for women who crave more from their sex life?
Courtesy of Cocktales
Medinah: Communication is one of the best ways to have great sex. Whether your mate is or isn't giving you everything you need sexually, they don't know it unless you speak up. I like nasty sex and that's not for everybody, some people just aren't as comfortable. Try asking questions to relax them. For example you could ask, "What's your fantasy, or is there anything sexual you've always wanted to try?" Questions like that can make him or her more comfortable.
Kiki: And get a sex toy! Although we live in a time where women feel a lot more free to discuss their sexual desires, there are a lot who are still uncomfortable. Whether you're trying to get out of your own head or experience a more powerful orgasm, the key is learning your body. A sex toy is one way to learn what you enjoy, or dislike. Also you can try a new position with your partner.
Don't be afraid to suggest things that may work better for you, and respond back when they try something new. We have to change the stigma that comes with wanting a good and healthy sex life.
There's nothing wrong with discussing it. There's nothing wrong with having it. As long as we are making decisions based off our wants and desires, it's not bad to want the most from your partner. You can be a career woman and still have good sex!
Want more cocktales from these ladies? Cop some tickets to their live show on May 18, 2019 in Atlanta here. In the meantime, you can always get your life from the weekly episodes of Cocktales every Thursday via Soundcloud and Apple.
Kirby Carroll grew up in VA but now calls Atlanta, GA home. She has a passion for creating content and helping brands grow through storytelling and public relations. When not immersed in work, you can find her sipping a mimosa at brunch or bingeing a new TV drama on Netflix. Keep up with her on social media at @askKirbyCarroll.
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image courtesy
As little people – as children – we tend to grow up idolizing our parents. And, for better or worse, we tend to emulate them in so many ways. But the truth is, we cannot be sure which point of view is steeped in our parents' belief system and those that are our own until we do some living. Soul searching, if you will. Arguably, many children (especially teens) have an innate curiosity about the world and may begin to slowly realize they’re not interested in sharing their parents’ P.O.V. on topics such as … let’s say…parenting. But I’m not entirely sure you can fully self-actualize until you’re an adult.
This is the developmental stage where you’re allotted autonomy that prior generations (sans conscious parenting) of children haven’t had access to. According to Allison Sharp, this is a spiritual process known as “decentering” our parents–particularly urging women to decenter their mothers. You’ve probably never heard this language, and that’s because it’s unique to Sharp’s work. And, with its impending popularity, she recently sought out a trademark to ensure she is properly credited for the phrase.
Now, before you get ready to tussle under the assumption that this is a diss track to all the healthy, happy mother-daughter duos. This is not that! In fact, decentering our mothers is a process that should happen regardless of the dynamic of that relationship, according to Sharp. And if we’re being completely transparent, I can attest to the fact that our mothers are our mothers no matter how much of a headcase they also are – and with that comes a desire for approval. So now imagine you actually come from a mother who is loving and not at all narcissistic – frankly, I’d imagine that I’d value her opinion all the more because I’d idolize her even more.
FatCamera/ Getty Images
Still, this work may feel extremely challenging if you happen to come from a toxic upbringing. Sharp explains, “it is challenging for a woman coming from a narcissistic [and/or] toxic mother because you were told every day to go against your own spirit, and if you follow your spirit, you must be punished. The soul is seen as a liability to a mother who wishes to dismantle you.”
With all of this in mind, it sorta does make sense that the evolution to centering self begins with decentering our mothers rather than men or anyone else. If one is able to “identity outside of the woman [she] shared a body with, drank milk from and came out of, what makes you [men] think [she] can’t find identity outside of you? There is a beautiful confidence that is born from that realization.”
The unfortunate reality is that by seeking her approval, you’re not actually living authentically. Because how could you live in your truth if you value her opinions above all else.
Sharp goes on to paint the picture of how we even come to center our mothers, referencing Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book “Women Who Run with Wolves.”
“It talks about how ‘the Ambivalent mother’ is taunted for having a daughter who is different, and because she is divided emotionally, she eventually gives in and bends her desires to please the village instead of aligning with her daughter. This is oftentimes a pattern within motherhood.” She goes on to add, “For us daughters, we are taught to center our mothers and to center the needs of the village while neglecting ourselves. We begin to grow with a distorted self-image, confidence, and self-esteem because we spent our early womanhood building and tending to others rather than ourselves.”
1. Reflect on Your Beliefs
Take the time to reflect on your beliefs and opinions. Consider which ones align with your authentic self and which ones may have been inherited from your parents. This self-reflection is crucial in understanding your true values.
2. Establish Boundaries
It's essential to set boundaries to ensure that your decisions and choices are guided by your own needs and desires rather than the expectations or desires of your mother. Clearly define what is acceptable and what is not in terms of influence and interference.
3. Seek Independence
Embrace your autonomy as an adult. Make decisions independently, and don't let the fear of disapproval dictate your choices. Seeking independence allows you to live life on your terms, fostering personal growth and self-discovery.
4. Communicate Openly
Engage in open and honest communication with your mother. Express your thoughts, feelings, and perspectives, even if they differ from hers. Healthy communication is key to building understanding and breaking free from the pattern of centering your mother.
5. Forgive and Let Go
Holding onto resentment or an idealized image of your mother can hinder your journey to authenticity. Forgive past misunderstandings, acknowledge imperfections, and let go of unrealistic expectations. This process is liberating and allows you to reclaim your own narrative.
6. Focus on Self-Care
Prioritize self-care and self-love. Redirect the energy you might have spent seeking approval toward nurturing your well-being. This includes physical, emotional, and mental self-care practices that contribute to your overall happiness and fulfillment.
7. Build a Support System
Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, mentors, or like-minded individuals who encourage your individuality. Having a strong support system outside of the mother-daughter relationship provides additional perspectives and validation.
8. Embrace Your Individuality
Celebrate your uniqueness and embrace your individuality. Understand that it is okay to have different beliefs, dreams, and goals from your mother. Embracing your own path allows you to lead a more fulfilling and authentic life.
SDI Productions/ Getty Images
Though doing the work on your own is possible, if you’re anything like me, you may want a therapist to help the process along. Frankly, I imagine this is actually the perfect nontraumatic scenario to reach out to a therapist. In fact, I spoke with Nicole Lewis, LCSW, a Mental Health Therapist and Coach for Black women, and she was able to provide insight on what therapy surrounding this topic may look like. Lewis says, “I approach the concept of ‘decentering’ when a client tells me they're ready to work on that. Some clients are not aware that their relationships with their mothers could be causing them so much distress. Once they acknowledge that this is an issue that they want to work on, we explore the roles that family members played in their lives. We especially focus on the mother-child relationship and how that dynamic has had an impact on them.”
Though each therapist is different, Lewis shares some of the approaches she might take if any one of us were sitting on her couch or telehealth session.
“A few therapeutic approaches that I use to help support individuals through the process of decentering include Family Systems Therapy to understand the dynamics and interactions within the family. Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) helps process emotions, memories, and beliefs related to the mother-child relationship. I also connect clients to other communities or support groups to build their support systems, as it is difficult to work through this alone.”
What happens if there’s a bump in the road? Well, “there are many ways to address potential challenges or resistance that clients might face in therapy, including building a rapport with the client so they can feel safe while discussing their thoughts, normalizing and validating their feelings, identifying core beliefs that produce internal conflicts about the mother-child relationship, collaborating with the client on the goals they want to reach when decentering their mother, and providing plenty of psychoeducation on codependency, attachment, estrangement, and fear of abandonment.”
Whatever you take away from this, please keep in mind that decentering your mother is not about severing ties or disrespecting her. It's a transformative journey towards reclaiming your own identity, making choices that resonate with your true self, and living authentically. And, the consequence of never knowing you outside of her – of never removing her from “the pedestal,” Sharp continues, “you will go your whole life searching for answers outside of you that only lie within you.” But more than anything, I encourage everyone in the process of or beginning the process to give yourself space and grace to feel all the things that may come with that – especially those of us who come from toxic or narcissistic mothers. Remember that every time you’ve attempted to “follow your spirit,” you were likely punished.
She adds, and I think this piece is really important in the sentiment of being gracious with yourself, “A woman who is resurrecting is unlearning all the things that once rang as truth to her. That kind of work is incredibly hard and heartbreaking.”
Feature image by FatCamera/ Getty Images