Women Heal, Men Hoe: A “Love” Story
I could have been a hoe.
As a matter of fact, if my memory and mathematical abilities serve me correctly, I was approximately three f-ck boys, two premature heartbreaks, and one motherless childhood away from choosing this said path.
I started dating in college, so when it comes to love and successful dating experiences, my frame of reference is limited at best. During that time, I'll be honest and say that I wasn't the best at selecting the men I gave my time to.
In fact, through a strange twist of role reversal, I did most of the pursuing, which led me to meet my first love; let's call him Zack. As life would have it, I met him through a mutual friend about a month after he had just gotten out of a year-long relationship. He was living up North at the time, so we were just two star-crossed lovers with nothing but space and starved infatuation between us.
His charm and sense of humor made falling for him easier than any of the subjects I was studying at the time, and before I could pick myself up, I was in love.
He was something new.
He was my little secret that none of my associates on campus knew about, just my dad and sister who were annoyed by the time that I spent talking all night on the phone with him. I was consumed by him. He was the first voice I wanted to hear when I woke up and the last one I wanted to hear at night, even when the two merged together.
He was my first everything. Before him, I had no idea the superhuman abilities that love could arm you with, how light and airborne you could feel even with your feet planted on the ground. But even with my newfound superpowers, I was left crippled with the inability to read minds.
Zack had a secret: he was still healing from his previous relationship and I was his kryptonite.
With all of the therapy sessions I committed myself to with him, I was unknowingly assisting him in an emotional suicide. I thought for sure that with enough time and effort, I would be the very thing to put him on his feet, nurse him to health, and have him back on the frontlines of love with me. But the opposite was true.
Only recently did it dawn on me that I was his rebound chick.
I was the vessel used to help him get over his previous girl by getting under, around, and through me.
At the time, I thought, "This is just how love is, this is just what happens when you're committed to someone. You love them through the pain even at the expense of yourself."
I wanted so badly for him to get better, for him to stop talking to me about "her." About what clothes she looked best in, about her pageant days, about her voluptuous physique, about all the guys he fought on her behalf. I wanted those stories to end so ours could finally begin.
I wanted him to see my value, to not refer to me as his "friend" when being introduced to his family on Thanksgiving. I wanted him to put a title on this "thing" we had and make me his girl. But after 10 months of love unloved, I knew my happily ever after would never come from him. So yeah, I would have been a hoe.
Looking back on this, I don't know why I chose to take the high road in my healing process. They say the best way to get over a man is by getting under another one, but that logic never seemed to add up to me.
How was this hypothetical new guy just supposed to swoop in and take all this pain away? What healing powers did his penis possess? How could he possibly save me?
In theory, after I broke things off with Zack, I should have been humping and bumping everything in sight as long as they'd sit still.
I should have had bodies on top of bodies for the sake of my heart. I should have experienced all the dick that my school, town, and the entire Southern border had to offer as long as I did it in the name of self-care. But I regret to inform you that I just didn't have it in me.
I couldn't see myself using another person's heart as a sacrificial offering to my grief.
I couldn't see myself choosing my temporary satisfaction over their long-term pain. I couldn't see myself doing them like Zack did me, whether initially or not. I'm not blaming him, heck, it takes two to tango, but he taught me a valuable lesson in self-love. I had to do the work myself.
My healing process was a one-woman job that only I had the tools to execute.
Maybe not at the time, but certainly in retrospect, I saw that only I could help myself out of the rut that love has placed me in. I had to love me, again.
So yeah, I should have been a hoe. Maybe for just a day, or a week, or up until this very moment, but I decided to heal instead.
*Article originally published on aleyarion.com
Featured image by Shutterstock
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
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.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images