If there are three words that I personally think get abused (or misused) a lot, it's "love," "friend," and "know". I mean, think about it — how is that the same word you would use for your favorite flavor of ice cream is the same word you would use to describe how you feel about your significant other (love)? Or, when you think about all that you and your bestie have been through, how do the people you barely speak to — let alone see — on social media get the same title as they do (friend)?
Most of y'all probably feel me on those two words, but "know"? What's my issue with that?
I always found it interesting, and also pretty cool, that if you read the New King James Version of the Bible, when it talks about a husband having sex with his wife, "knew" is the word that's used (Genesis 4:25). He wasn't smashin' or hittin' — he was getting to know her better.
To me, it cosigns what I think about the word "know"; that, in many ways, just like when it comes to love or friend, it's a sacred word. Folks can't be out here just casually claiming to know someone. There should be a certain kind of criteria that qualifies them to say that. For starters, the five following things must apply.
What It Means To Really Know Someone
You've Had Bonafide Shared Experiences with Each Other
"Know" is a pretty layered word. Two of my favorite definitions of it are "to perceive or understand as fact or truth" and "to understand from experience or attainment." If you know someone, you've experienced some things with them. Experiences are personal accounts.
When I think of experiences, I think of good times and tough times. I think of the people who were there for me during my latest heartbreak or the ones who can call me when they are short on a bill. Even when I think about the people I've gone to the movies with or had lunch with, it served some kind of a purpose beyond the surface. So yeah, for someone to say that they know me, we've spent some personal time together. Definitely.
They've Consistently Communicated with You Within the Last 12-16 Months
How is it that supposedly it takes 21 days to break a habit, but someone who hasn't spoken to you in five years is able to say that they know you? Shoot, with all of the self-work I've done over the past year or so, I barely know me (that's a joke— kinda), so I know folks I haven't seen since college don't.
Even the guys who've known me in the biblical sense, because it's been so long ago, I don't profess to know anymore. I'm pretty sure their anatomy hasn't changed, but time changes people mentally and emotionally, so hopefully they've evolved to the point where it's more accurate to say that I knew them.
My point? A part of the reason why we call people on the phone or take trips with them, etc. is so that we can remain connected to them throughout all of the things in life that change us over time. Things that evolve us and (hopefully) mature us.
I won't lie. Being away from some folks feels like missing two years of a soap opera; you see them again and it's like you didn't miss a thing. But overall, if it's been 1-1½ years and you haven't been in touch with someone, it's pretty bold to claim that you know them. Same goes for them professing that they know you.
Because think about it — if someone knows you so well unless they are in another country without phone access, why haven't you connected with them on some level within the past year-and-a-half anyway?!
Your Relationship with Them Goes Beyond Social Media
Personally, I haven't been on social media for almost a decade, so I'll tread softly here. I will say that when I was on it, the platform was Facebook and my page was pretty much a place where folks would debate hot topics. Aside from counseling, I wasn't doing a lot of "caring and sharing" on there, though. I prefer to get on the phone to do that. To this day, my circle knows that if you have my number (which might be 10 people, literally), that means you know me; that we really are homies.
However, I do know a lot of people who will comment on celebrities or even just people they follow online like they are close friends with them based on what those folks post on their own pages. Listen, people show you what they want you to see. Don't let that make you think that you truly know them, though.
Just because you see things about someone doesn't mean you know them.
They Can Provide More Details than Gossip
Remember how one of the definitions of the word "know" is someone who has facts and truth? Chile, is there more that needs to be said on this one? Who can you say you know facts (opinions are not facts) about? Who can say they know the truth (opinions are not truth either) about you?
For the record, some gossip is truth. But if you let someone into your life to the point that they know you, they shouldn't be the kind of folks who would tell your business. Feel me?
If someone professes to know you and it's only based on hearsay, they don't. They know what they heard, and 7 times out of 10, either that has very little to do with the real you or the people in your circle talk too much and you need to set new boundaries when it comes to dealing with the people you know.
You Agree with Them
This one is my favorite. Knowing is about intimacy and it's hard to be truly intimate when it's one-sided. There used to be a time when, whenever someone would come to me with something they heard from someone who claimed to "know" me, I got frustrated. These days, I don't because no one can claim to know me without my agreeing with them that they do.
I say that because no one knows the truth and facts about me like I do. Therefore, I have a say on who thinks that they do.
Right now, I know who can confidently say that they know me. We've been through some things together, we've connected within the past couple of months (at least), they have my phone number, they've got facts on me (not all of them are stellar but I will admit they are the truth) and there is a mutual intimacy between us.
Yeah. It feels good to know and be known. It feels even better to know I've got total control over that being the case.
Sis, so do you.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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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.
The world is filled with tons of distractions vying for our attention. Our workloads can be demanding, social media chatter can be deafening, and it all makes you wish you could flip a switch and shut everything off.
But since life doesn’t come with a mute button, we have to find ways to turn the volume down so we can reset our mood and fade into the present moment. Interestingly enough, singer Coco Jones knows a thing or two about this.
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In a recent red carpet interview with Harper’s Bazaar, singer Coco Jones was asked by an interviewer, “What was the last song you listened to?” Ready for the R&B starlet to sound off a Billboard-charting banger, we were surprised and humored to learn that the songs to land in her rotation come from a more sonic style of music known as ambient music.
“The last song I listened to was probably ambient music,” she shared. “It be so loud in this world of mine, I just need to listen to a gong.” This had us thinking that maybe we too use a few gongs, harps, and xylophones in our music rotation, especially if Coco approves.
What Is Ambient Music?
Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes atmosphere, mood, and tone over traditional musical structure and melody. This vibe-setting, atmosphere-shaping sound is often described as "background music" as it’s designed to create an immersive and ambient sonic environment rather than being the primary focus of the listener's attention.
Ambient music has rich, audio texture while being shapeless in its melodies. Many songs in the genre tend to be minimalist in nature, with simple and repetitive musical elements. It often features long, sustained tones or chords, with lengthy compositions that listeners can get lost in — in a good way, of course.
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Why You Might Love Ambient Music
Taking your first listen to an ambient track, may take some time to adjust to. If you’re used to songs with structure and reliable flows and chords, it could take a couple of listens to ease into the amorphic style of this music genre. Its primary goal is to evoke a specific atmosphere or mood that can be calming, meditative, introspective, eerie, or even unsettling, depending on the artist's intentions.
As TikTok creator and DJ, Lovie shared in her video detailing the genre, “We also go through too much as a people to not be listening to some Tibetan singing bowls and some gongs, okay?” And we couldn’t agree more. Sometimes we need sounds to transport us from reality, even if that’s just for 30 minutes at a time. Life is tough enough, why not allow our music to feed into our escapism just a little?
Exploring Ambient Music
If you’re looking to give ambient music a spin in your playlist, your next question might be where to even begin. You might be pleased to know that as a beginner, you don’t have to venture too far to find that you may have already been introduced to the genre through singer and songwriter, Solange Knowles. Her fourth studio album, When I Get Home, features the atmospheric sounds of ambient music throughout.
Some of the pioneering artists in the ambient music genre include Brian Eno, who is often credited with coining the term "ambient music," as well as artists like Tangerine Dream, Harold Budd, and Aphex Twin.
The sounds of ambient music are unhurried and full of ease, which can provide the perfect momentary escape from the outside noise or as background music for your studies or creative processes. So if you're looking to widen your music taste and tune out this noisy world, take Coco’s advice to give ambient music a try because you can never go wrong with a gong.
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Featured image by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage