As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Poly Patterson's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
Kel and I are girlfriends. And we just so happen to share our boyfriend, Tony, as well.
Wait, soooo you're in a polyamorous relationship?
He gets to have two girlfriends?!
You mean you guys are like the Sister Wives or something?
We consider ourselves to be in a polyamorous triad, which means the three of us equally share an intimate relationship with one another.
We are by no means sister wives.
Television shows such as Sister Wives show a patriarchal version of polyamory. The women on the show are all sharing one man, but aren't in relationships with each other.
And because people largely believe that F/F/M triads are only male-serving, we often find ourselves explaining (and defending) the difference between our love and theirs.
Whatever the difference, this is how we have chosen to love. And our arrangement is what works for us.
I grew up in a very conservative town in South Carolina, the middle of three siblings. My parents divorced when I was 9, but both were very present in my life. Kel grew up as the only girl in a two-parent Guyanese home in Houston. We each had amazing childhoods: heavily involved in church, did well in school, and was active in our extracurriculars (dance for Kel, viola and other sports for me).
We had never witnessed poly arrangements before, but each of us certainly witnessed infidelity and dishonesty in many relationships as we got older. Actually, our opinions of poly relationships didn't even develop until we were in our 20's. We would sometimes see them on social media accounts and/or various entertainment outlets, but nothing too crazy.
Each of us honestly always thought poly relationships were interesting, but never something we imagined for ourselves.
Pictured: Cam (L), Kel (R)
Tony and I were together for six years prior to meeting Kel and we even had plans of marrying. Despite this, I was still "bi-curious" and I wasn't quite sure how to express my desires while being in a committed relationship. I talked to Tony about it—and we had casual conversations—but we didn't think too deeply into it for a few years. And since I had never been with a woman, I was somewhat terrified of the mere thought of it all anyway, so we dropped it.
Once we graduated college and moved in together, I brought it up to him again and told him that if I explore this side of my sexuality, I don't want to ruin our relationship by dating women and having connections without him.
We decided to try dating apps to find someone that we could build a trusting friendship with first.
This quickly got old because as we all know, after a while, scouring these apps became a chore. I was completely over it, so we gave up. But just as I was about to delete all of my apps, I divinely met Kel. It was her first day on the app and my last.
We met in person a week later.
Tony and I immediately connected with her and wanted to continue to hang out. We didn't know what we were in for or that we would end up in a throuple, but we were all just obsessed with each other and hung out every weekend after that. As time went on and feelings got deeper, we sort of just fell into this dynamic.
We've been in our exclusive relationship since.
And the journey has been great. Good and bad times, many ups and many downs. Poly relationships are more than an immature fetish. Triads are tough.
It would be irresponsible to tell you how happy we are without being honest about the hard times too. We struggle with the same situations that any other couple would.
There have definitely been times when we've questioned everything. And because we're in a nontraditional relationship, the smallest of ticks can have you questioning the entire arrangement.
For example, Kel and I argue the most because we are so similar. We are still adjusting to the relationship dynamic with another woman. We are also the same zodiac sign, so it causes us to mirror each other often. But our love for one another is so strong; we can't give it up. We've had to take the time to remember that any relationship, no matter the details, can feel like it's too much because humans are so complex.
And we're just human.
As for our families, most have questions, most are confused. But overall, we have their full love and support. They are supportive and trust that we will make the best decision for our lives. We're sure it took some adjusting as I had been in traditional female/male relationships throughout high school and college, and for most of them, this is their first time hearing that we are both bisexual and in a poly relationship, so I'm sure it can be shocking at times.
But as long as we're happy, they are happy, even if they don't agree.
Regardless of it all, we've found our rhythm and don't allow anyone's outside opinions to influence us. In fact, we always get a good laugh at others' curiosity, if anything. Something as small as checking into a hotel with one king bed and seeing absolute confusion, all the way to going out with friends/colleagues who don't all know we are in a poly relationship; maybe they know two of us to be together, but when the affection switches to another person, glances change.
After all, people have many ideas of what they think our relationship is but I can assure you that whatever you think, is not the case.
We just live in our truth. It's important for us to show representation of three young, black, educated millennials who have the ability to love and cultivate relationships with more than one person at a time.
So, we appreciate the people who take an effort to look at our content and ask questions to get a true understanding of our relationship. Our hope is that by continuing to educate people about relationships like ours and showing our dynamic, the F/F/M polyamorous relationship stereotypes will start to go away.
Ladies, if you are considering entering a poly relationship, or you're seeking advice on how to maintain yours, understand that our relationship take an insurmountable amount of self-work and self-awareness. You need to be secure with yourself, you have to be. Be good at sharing yourself: feelings, past trauma, your significant others, etc. Selfishness or strong jealousy wouldn't survive a day in a poly relationship. Learn to love yourself first. Be clear on your desires, understand that those desires may shift as you grow. Learn the practice of giving grace to yourself and your partners because perfection does not exist in humans.
As for what's next? Sustaining our happiness. We're often asked if we plan to get married, and the answer is yes. We plan to have a commitment ceremony, which will take place in the future. We also plan to continue our journey of destigmatizing our choice of love. Mostly because although we know quite a few black poly individuals, the masses still have a negative outlook on it.
We as a culture are still healing from the trauma of oppression. So many people in the black community don't have the capacity to explore the idea that genuine love exists beyond tradition, which is the reason it is so important for us to tell our story; this is why we use social media and other outlets to show what our love is really like.
We face so much judgement everyday, so much ridicule. We fight the very stereotypes that you reading this will likely have, every single day--just for choosing our happiness.
And that's OK, we are built for this.
We just ask that you understand that this happiness is ours. And that's OK too.
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Charmin Michelle is a southern native and creative spirit who works as a content marketer and events manager in Chicago. She enjoys traveling, #SummertimeChi, and the journey of mastering womanhood. Connect with her on Instagram @charminmichelle.
This New Scalp Care Line Is Exactly What Your Wash Days Need
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
DC Young Fly Pays Tribute To His Longtime Partner Jacky Oh After Her Sudden Death: 'You Are The Greatest Mother I Know'
Actor, comedian, and Wild 'N' Out star John "DC Young Fly" Whitfield mourned the loss of his longtime partner and the mother of his three children, Jacklyn "Jacky Oh" Smith, with a heartfelt tribute.
For context, Smith --who rose to fame as a model and participated in the hit comedy game show Wild 'N' Out for five seasons-- tragically passed away on May 31 at the age of 32 in Miami, Florida. Although Smith's official cause of death has yet to be determined, TMZ reported that the entrepreneur was in town to undergo a cosmetic procedure known as a "mommy makeover."
As the news about Smith's passing was officially confirmed by family and on Wild 'N' Out's social media pages, a magnitude of people, from fans to the couple's close friends and colleagues such as B.Simone, Jessie Woo, Vena "Pretty Vee" Excell, Lauren "Lolo" Wood, Odell Beckham Jr., Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and so many others offered their condolences while honoring the mother of three.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Warner Bros
Two days after Smith's death, Whitfield released a public statement to People magazine thanking everyone for their "well-wishes" and asking for "privacy during this difficult time."
The following week on June 8, Whitfield paid tribute to Smith by sharing a post on Instagram that featured various photos and videos of the pair and their children, daughters Nova Whitfield,6, Nala Whitefield,2, and a son, who was born in July 2022, named Prince Whitfield.
In addition to the upload, Whitfield revealed that he waited a while to post this because he wanted the tragic event "to be a dream." The 31-year-old would add that as the days go by following Smith's passing, he's "reminded of" the reality that she's no longer here, and he wanted to make sure to commemorate her in a "proper manner." Further into the post, Whitfield praised Smith for being the "greatest mother" and human being.
"I wasn't in no rush to post this because I wanted it to be a dream so bad, but every hour, I'm reminded of reality, so I wanna make sure I applaud you in the proper manner,” he said. “You are the GREATEST MOTHER I KNOW your soul was beautiful. You always wanted the best for others, and I admired how our family love each other!!! Never had to worry about our kids loving each other cause you were on top of Dat!!!"
Whitfield would disclose that although he may not understand Smith's untimely passing, however, because he and their family are "God-fearing" people and "grounded by the spirit," they aren't questioning "the higher power" but rather rolling "with the punches," while holding on to their faith during this tragedy.
The Almost Christmas star went on to say that the pair's "strong" children will constantly be reminded of how great of a person Smith was, "especially a great mother."
Whitfield would wrap up the upload by mentioning how much he loved Smith and that, even though everyone is hurting right now, they would be okay because God covers them.
"The QUEEN of my children will always have a spot in my heart and the paradise (You gon get me for Dat but it's true). LOVE YOU FOREVER. Just know we going harder than ever, and GOD is in control, and he got us covered," he stated.
In light of Smith's death, xoNecole takes a look back at her relationship with Whitfield and the love they shared over the years.
DC Young Fly and Jacky Oh's Relationship History
Whitfield and Smith met in 2015 in a hotel lobby while working together at Wild 'N' Out.
At the time, Whitfield became a recurring cast member during the show's seventh season while Smith was one of the Wild 'N' Out girls. Whitfield and Smith would become an item shortly after the season seven taping of Wild 'N' Out wrapped.
In 2016, after dating for a year and a half, the couple welcomed their oldest daughter Nova. In addition to expanding their family, Smith and Whitfield would give fans a closer look into their lives through social media and the model's YouTube page, which instantly became a hit.
Smith and Whitfield would ultimately become couple goals because people enjoyed their honesty, interactions with each other, and their family life.
Jacky Oh On What Makes Her Relationship With DC Young Fly Work
In a 2017 interview with DJ Smallz Eyes, Smith shared that her relationship with Whitfield works reasonably well because they aren't afraid to have an open line of communication and are willing to address any situation head-on.
"I think communication, I know it sounds really cliche, but just communicate with each other. I think getting things off of your chest in a nice, calm way. You don't always have to be confrontational with the person. But letting a person know how you feel about something so they don't carry on doing it for the next three, four, five months, years later on down the line."
Smith added that another factor that plays a part in the couple's relationship being so successful is her selectively picking her battles and choosing to address the situation in a timely manner.
Jacky Oh On The Pair's Humble Beginnings As A Couple
In 2019, during a Q&A session on Smith's YouTube page, the couple opened up about their humble beginnings as they addressed the wild rumors that she was using Whitfield for financial reasons.
While responding to the remarks, Smith clarified that when she met Whitfield, he didn't have money "like that."
"He had no money. It's not like he didn't have any money because he was broke, but he didn't have no money like that," she said.
Following Smith's comments, Whitfield jumped in and said he was "up" $40,000 and still living with family members with the occasional "hotel" stays, to which she interjected and corrected the comedian by saying that the pair were staying at "motels" early on in their relationship.
"We didn't stay at hotels, get it right. We stayed at motels. Talking about hotels, hotels are nice," she stated. "We stayed at motels that the bed stunk... You know I really like love him. Like it was dirty."
Whitfield would add that although they stayed at motels several times, Smith "thugged it out" with him because she loved him. Smith also shared that due to Whitfield rarely being home due to his profession, the couple slept on his sister's couch and his niece's room.
But as Smith and Whitfield's careers took off respectively within the entertainment industry and the beauty world, with the star launching her eyelash and lip gloss brand J Nova Collection, they would ultimately settle down and purchase a home.
Years later, in addition to their professional success, Smith and Whitfield's family would expand even more following the birth of their second daughter Nala Whitfield in 2020 and their son Prince Whitfield last July.
Although it is reported that the couple never married after eight years together, their love seemed stronger than ever, especially following Smith's Mother's Day post back in May, which featured images of the couple and their family.
All of us at xoNecole would like to send our condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy. Rest In Peace, Ms. Jacky Oh!
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Feature image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images