As the Managing Editor of xoNecole, I am often immersed in the stories of other women. Stories of resistance, of triumph, of love, of sexual healing, of healing in general, of trauma, of loss. The woman's experience touches multiple facets and I am constantly in awe of the courage these women exude as they bare their souls and reveal their truths. It's the essence of womanhood and the power of making others feel seen.
What I love about xoNecole is that we celebrate the fact that although we aren't all storytellers, we all have a story to tell. And it's amazing that we try to make our platform as accessible as ever to women who seek to reach an audience and have their voices heard. Hell, we have even have a couple of sections on the site specifically for it. Our recurring series "Her Voice" is dedicated to op-eds and personal essays on an array of topics and our newest series "As Told To" acts as an ongoing request line where women can write in wanting to share their stories can through a writer more masterful with the pen (we see you Charmin Michelle).
On xoNecole, we've published everything from saving your virginity for marriage and ending up with bad sex to being so burnt out from work that an ambulance had to act as your ride home. At its core, the premise is that we're every woman, and it's all in us. Yes, I stole that from Chaka but she knew a thing or two about our power. And based on some of your favorite personal reads on our site, y'all know a thing or two about us too.
Read on for the top 10 personal stories you loved from xoNecole.com in 2019.
For writer Ayana Iman, life changed after giving birth to her daughter. She realized that the things she settled for when it was just her was a reflection of how she felt about herself. Ayana learned that she couldn't love her daughter the way she deserved if she didn't know what true love was, and that started within. After leaving her toxic ex, the universe opened for her and with it, granted her happiness and a love she never imagined in her wildest dreams. This is her story.
As a black woman, one of life's toughest lessons is acknowledging and fully realizing that we are not superheros. It's a sentiment guest writer Iyana Robertson knows all too well. All her life, she noted that she aligned her value with her accomplishments, so much so that her mental health took a backseat to her achievements. She'd fight against her depression for the sake of work as long as she could, until she couldn't anymore. A two-month leave from work led her to a lot of gifts, the most important one being herself. This is her story.
Although I haven't quite taken a sip of the interracial dating kool-aid, I can respect opinions like the one guest writer Tia Gonzalez shared. She believes the reason that many of us have an aversion whenever we see a black man embrace his preferences, it's because it's viewed as more of a taboo for us to experiment and indulge enough to learn our own preferences outside of what's considered the norm. And now that she recognizes that, she's giving herself permission to date whoever she pleases, just like them. According to her, it's rather freeing. This is her story.
This op-ed is an entire word. What Ashley Kirkwood strongly conveys is the toxicity that the "work twice as hard" mentality creates in our community. What we end up creating is an unending cycle of black children who become black adults working at exponentially high levels for half of what they deserve. And really, what's the point when these rooms we fight to have access to weren't spaces created with us in mind to begin with? Well, Ashley has another idea. This is her story.
Writer Sasha White knows how to make her words not only hit but reverberate. In her personal essay, she reflects on how her dating experiences shaped her anxiety and depression. She found that she encountered men who needed mothering more than partnership, who'd hurt her so effortlessly, the audacity left her shocked. I think we've all experienced the song and dance of choosing the wrong men, the most important thing is knowing when to get off the ride. This is her story.
In this day and age, relationship gray areas are more common than not. And a lot of us are left reeling in the wake of these non-relationship relationships as we try to fool ourselves that we're OK with "keeping it casual" and not putting a "label" on it. But let's be real, 9 times out of 10, all we're doing is settling like a mf. In this installment of our "As Told To" series, Brittany Autry recalls her situationship with an Uncommitted Chad and how he put her through the ringer in his indecisiveness. Once she picked herself up from the heart, she got her groove back in a major way. One that helped her find her purpose. This is her story.
If I could summarize in one word the feeling of this piece, it would be freedom. Freedom to cuss, freedom to define what womanhood looks like to you, and freedom to of course be yourself, without the fear of not being "lady-like". Writer Sasha White recalls how she navigated being a smaller, quieter, more agreeable version of herself out of fear that cuss words would obliterate alladat. But one day, she got a wakeup call and it allowed her to redefine who she was on her own terms. The takeaway? As women, we can be whoever the fuck we want, yaasss! This is her story.
As more and more of us chuck the deuces to traditional beauty salon appointments in lieu of services like StyleSeat and the like for braided styles, a commonality tends to rear its ugly head -- one that differs greatly from the typical salon experienced. In the bio of most of these stylists, you'll see in all caps the words "COME WASHED". And you might side-eye it and then say to yourself, "Where they do that at?" Well, apparently there's a rhyme for their reason and in this story stylist Lakia Diggs puts us on to exactly what that is.
One loss that we will all experience at some point in our lives is the loss of our parents. I can't pretend to imagine the gravity of that sort of pain, but I can definitely empathize based on my feelings for my parents, especially my mother. In this piece, writer Jaz Taihreen describes how debilitating losing her mother felt and how an unlikely coping mechanism in reiki. 2019 was a difficult year for her and losing her mom to stage 4 cancer was even harder. Reiki would prove to be the healing she didn't know she needed. This is her story.
Motherhood can be a 'mother, especially if you don't realize the things you need to give up in order to truly gain. In Carlissa Shaw's case, being an alpha female has gotten her pretty far in life. Where it stopped though was in preparing to be and subsequently becoming a mother. Because when you're an alpha female who's also a mom, the person that gets left out of the equation is the dad. And how can you effectively co-parent like that? This is her story.
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