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Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.
But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.
To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.
Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.
What is Systemic Racism?
A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.
Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution
In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.
To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:
The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.
These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.
We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.
Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.
We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.
In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.
The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.
Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.
Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.
To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.
Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits
The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.
To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.
We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.
The Long View
For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.
Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.
In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.
Featured image by Shutterstock
If there's one thing Historically Black Universities are known, it's fostering a sense of interconnectedness for collaborative genius to thrive. Of all campuses, it was on the soil of The Mecca, Howard University, where She'Neil Johnson-Spencer and Nicolette Graves rooted their friendship and aligned their passion for beauty and natural brains. Today, the two have founded a skincare brand of their own, Base Butter, that has not only carved out their niche space in the market but rallied a community of women to glow from the inside out.
It all started with a Facebook message. In the midst of the buzzing anticipation of her inaugurate college year, She'Neil was on the hunt for a roommate with a particular aptness to live with, "Someone who was clean and possibly a Leo because I'm a Leo. And [Nicolette] answered my call."
When the two graduated, there were few Black-owned indie brands on the market, which compelled She'Neil to develop one of her own, "I was really inspired to create something for us, by us with clean, safe, and effective ingredients and celebrated our beauty," she shares. As an escape from her mundane work life, She'Neil followed her curiosity and began to explore her true passion: beauty. What she landed on was a quaint makeup line called, Color Cosmetics, which, although short-lived, led her to the real winner, "I had all these raw ingredients in my apartment and I was like, what am I gonna whip up with this?" What prevailed from the leftovers, was a homemade, natural butter that serviced the body from head to toe.
Photo Credit: Taylor Nickens
The roomies turned business partners when She'Neil sensed that her multi-use skin butter line, Base Butter (the product), was in need of some serious scaling. Meaning: it was time to call in reinforcement. Recalling Nicolette's background in product development, She'Neil knew there was no better person suited for the job than her bestie. As Nicolette recalls, "There was an interesting interaction between wellness and beauty at the time. I was consistently sending [She'Neil] trends and data that I was seeing at work then coming home and being her guinea pig."
The two knew that it was time to develop a product that would keep customers coming back for more, and looked no further than their growing community for the answer.
She'Neil and Nicolette conducted a survey called, Skin Struggles, which accumulated the insights of over 3,000 women to learn not only what ailed their skin, but how they could create a solution. "The women ended up sharing what their skin struggles were, what products they're using, what they hate about the industry, what they loved, and that was the beginning vision of the Base Butter 2.0." What they landed on was their "Hero Product," the Radiant Face Jelly, a staple for their oily, combination, and acne-prone skin to rejuvenate and restore.
xoNecole chatted with co-founders, She'Neil Johnson, CEO, and Nicolette Graves, VP of Product, to learn the secret sauce of running a successful business with your bestie.
xoNecole: For those creatives who are looking to find their business partner, what are some traits that you would recommend them looking for in that person?
Nicolette Graves: You need the Yin to your Yang. A lot of people will say, don't get into business with your friends, but I think when you're very clear on what your strengths and weaknesses are, and the other person's as well, it creates space to have a level of trust. Early on, when She'Neil brought me on, I would always joke like, "Oh my god, [Base Butter] is like your first baby." And I felt really protective of her first baby. Therefore, I was very clear on being intentional about how I came into it helping. You have to trust that the person you're working with has the appropriate decision-making skills in general. There's also the spiritual component.
It's the trust piece and having faith and knowing that person is going to pull up and show up when you can't and that you can be honest. There were some points in time where She'Neil wasn't feeling it and certain times when I wasn't feeling it, so you have to be able to communicate that and know that there's no hard feelings. It's being able to flex between those things and I think we've been successful because of the love that exists in our friendship and the level of respect.
She'Neil Johnson-Spencer: And you have to know that people's track record. I was able to officially live with Nicolette over the past 10 years because we were roommates in college together. So I knew at the end of the day, Nicolette would get it done - she graduated with a 4.0. She knew when it was time to work and when it was time to play. I think that's really important because there are signs when you meet someone and you want to work with them, and sometimes people ignore those times. So since I've been, I guess, "interviewing" Nicolette for 10 years, I know who she is, in and out.
"You need the Yin to your Yang. A lot of people will say, don't get into business with your friends, but I think when you're very clear on what your strengths and weaknesses are, and the other person's as well, it creates space to have a level of trust. There's also the spiritual component. It's the trust piece and having faith and knowing that person is going to pull up and show up when you can't and that you can be honest."
Photo Credit: Taylor Nickens
I’ve heard the term “Hero Product” come from entrepreneurs who describe the product that changed the game for their business. For you two, it’s the Radiate Face Jelly. How did you all know that you had something special with the Radiate Face Jelly?
She'Neil: When Nicolette came on, we were really like, "OK, what problem are we solving?" So from the Skin Struggles survey, we knew that 50 percent of our customers had oily, combination, acne-prone skin. We knew that we needed a solution for at least those skin types. It was also great because it was the type we also identified with and so it was kind of like a personal decision as well. For those with acne-, oily-prone or combination skin, a lot of times we're really scared to moisturize and hydrate our skin because either it's going to leave us oily or greasy or clog our pores. It was that revelation that led us to create Radiate Face Jelly.
She’Neil, you’ve once mentioned that at one point of your journey, you challenged yourself to just put things out there and not be such a perfectionist. What were some steps that you took to overcome perfectionism and how has that paid off in the long run?
She'Neil: I came into the business with a very strong design background, so for me, everything is about design, aesthetics, and being perfectly curated. It would be terrible to the point where I would spend so much time on maybe one graphic just to post on social media. But it got to a point where our brand became a business and I had to really look at the numbers and the bottom line, and make decisions based on what was making us money. That's really when the shift came. Even to this day, I don't want to do anything design- or aesthetics-related with the business because I just don't want to go back there; to being a perfectionist.
At the end of the day, it's really just about the bottom line: what's going to make us a conversion or a transaction? What's going to win us a customer? What do our customers want? The industry has changed to where customers really want that more real and authentic experience. That gave me some room to chill out some. I also became the CEO of my business and learned that everything is trial and error. Nicolette and I really take on this mindset that everything is an experiment; we're either going to hit the goal, or we're going to have a lesson learned.
"At the end of the day, it's really just about the bottom line: what's going to make us a conversion or a transaction? What's going to win us a customer? What do our customers want? The industry has changed to where customers really want that more real and authentic experience. Nicolette and I really take on this mindset that everything is an experiment; we're either going to hit the goal, or we're going to have a lesson learned."
Photo Credit: Taylor Nickens
One common misconception about starting a business and working for yourself is that you have to quit your job and let your business catch you. But for you two, how did having a full-time job help you all build your business?
Nicolette: I'm a single Black woman living in New York and therefore, I need money. We've gone through all the phases of broke entrepreneurship, making money, and all the ups and downs. One of the things I realized is despite having the goal of building this business to be as big as it can be, there are other things I want to do and that takes money and savings and being able to use those resources strategically. In addition to that, I think people have the 9-5 game messed up a little bit. I don't think they realize that when you have a 9-5, you're getting paid to learn. If you're strategic, you'll make sure you're in a role that is consistently teaching you new things.
In my [current] 9-5, I do Product Marketing for a B2B company. Through that, I've learned a lot of interesting things that I get to bring back to our company. Because I've always worked in the startup world, it's allowed me the ability to think of solutions ahead of a problem that might present itself so we're not being reactive, and we can be proactive. It's been like a really interesting space to continue to learn and find inspiration in the weirdest places, while also making sure that I'm financially setting myself up for success as it relates to the wealth gap.
"I think people have the 9-5 game messed up a little bit. I don't think they realize that when you have a 9-5, you're getting paid to learn. If you're strategic, you'll make sure you're in a role that is consistently teaching you new things."
Photo Credit: Pierre Eliezer
She'Neil: I started Base Butter with a 9-5 and ultimately, that funded the start of the business. But when Nicolette and I were laid off, we lived there until our lease ended. I had to make a decision: do I go and find a new job or do I still take this risk and make decisions to still work on Base Butter. Ultimately, I ended up staying in Philadelphia because my expenses were cut a lot and I had the support from my now-husband to build my business. I had to give myself a better financial situation so I could be a better CEO, owner, and founder - if you're not good as a founder, your company's not going to be good.
I thought early on in my business, that I'd just never pay myself until that "one day" we make it big. I thought it would be OK to be broke, broke, broke until we hit a million, but it honestly doesn't work like that. I had student loans, some credit card bills. So I went back to work with the goal of paying down debt, and I had to get very real about the type of life I wanted to live. Nicolette gave me a book called Profit First and from that book we learned how to pay ourselves, no matter how much we were making. Through implementing that model, we were able to start paying ourselves and things got a lot easier from there.
"I had to give myself a better financial situation so I could be a better CEO, owner, and founder - if you're not good as a founder, your company's not going to be good."
Photo Credit: Pierre Eliezer
Most creatives and entrepreneurs are used to only having themselves to look to for support in difficult times along their journey, but you all are fortunate enough to have each other. How do you all affirm each other when in moments of doubt or when you’re questioning yourselves?
Nicolette: We have the advantages of being best friends. We've always said, "If this is not fun anymore, then we'll stop doing it." In addition to that, although we're not perfectionists, I will say we are committed to doing a good job. There's a level of loyalty and commitment to the idea and the vision. Just consistently being aligned or finding room to realign. And understanding that there's no one right way to do anything, so we have to be flexible.
She'Neil: And I also would say we have each other, but because the of the industry being a mix of beauty, entrepreneurship, creatives, [we] do have a community of people who provide insight and advice based off their own experiences.
What’s one thing that you didn’t know prior to becoming business owners that you would impart to aspiring entrepreneurs?
She'Neil: Pay yourself from day one. I feel like a lot of the stress that comes with launching a business and starting a business is really the finances. Like, how am I going to take care of myself? How am I going to feed myself or how to pay my bills? But if your bills are paid, you're eating every day, and have a roof over your head, you can really focus on your business without having to figure out, how am I going to survive?
You want to build your business around what's going to make you happy and keep you satisfied. It's just making sure that you're in a comfortable position so that you can really focus on your business because your business is going to need you to be present. It needs you to be healthy and for you to be wealthy. Build out your financial plan around your business as early as you can to make sure your needs are met.
Nicolette: And to piggyback off of that, I would say there is no one right way to do anything and you have to trust yourself. Going back to the idea of a saturated market, things will always be saturated because none of these ideas are new. It's understanding that whatever you're building is unique because you're unique and different.
But also, I've seen a lot of people taking any and everybody's advice as goals, but you're supposed to sift through that information and discern what makes the most sense for you and your life. In the grand scheme of things, 5, 10, 20 years from now, what do you want your life to look like? Understanding that as long as you feel OK with that, any and everybody else's opinions of the way that they've done it is irrelevant. You can learn things, but it's your journey.
For more of She'Neil and Nicolette, follow them on Instagram @sheneilmonique and @nicolette.camille. Also, check out their brand Base Butter by clicking here.
Featured image courtesy of Base Butter
Adulting is hard but packing up and moving from one living space to the next is even harder. As a young adult, leaving home to attend college 300 miles away, I was yearning for a change of scenery so much so I couldn't wait to pack my belongings and head to sunny southern California. With each transition, it wasn't an easy task, however, nine years and 10 roommates later, I finally have a place to call my own. As liberating as it is to be in a space that's all mine, this move is unlike any other. As a single woman, the responsibility of uprooting myself has been more challenging than I ever imagined. More than just saving dreamy home decor inspiration via Pinterest, making "my house a home" has been a process that's easier said than done.
As a professional fashionista, I'm naturally inclined to all that is aesthetically pleasing. While I've always envisioned the type of space I want to come home to every day, over the years how I see myself and the world has evolved tremendously. At the ripe age of 31, I want a personal retreat from the outside world and I'm determined to curate a space that is comfortable, inviting, warm and luxurious. At this moment in my life, a safe and tranquil environment is my top priority, one that is true to who I am inside and out.
To be at peace, I want to surround myself with furniture and decor that speaks to what inspires me.
Our home should be a true reflection of who we are and who we want to be but that's difficult if we don't know ourselves. Creating the perfect ambiance can be challenging so I enlisted the help of aesthetic entrepreneur Antoinette Arrington to help those of us on our journey by focusing on what matters the most when filling our space. When I first reached out to Antoinette, I was determined to find out how I can decorate my new apartment on a budget but as I began to speak with her, I began to focus less on saving money and more on personalizing my experience.
As an interior stylist and home decor expert, Antoinette shares tips on key elements that will bring life to any living space as well as inside advice on getting the home decor items you want no matter the price.
What’s the first step when curating the perfect living space?
"My philosophy as an interior designer and stylist is that you live in a house but you are home. The things that you surround yourself with need to be an outward manifestation of where you've been or where you want to go. It's helpful to hone into who you are inviting into your space and share the results of your standards with because not everyone is going to get it and abuse it. My home doesn't have an open door policy, that's rule number one. If you're cultivating a space that inspires you towards your intentions, you don't have to lay out the welcome mat."
How can one avoid being overwhelmed when starting from an empty space?
"[Your living space] should be for you first and if you keep that in the forefront of your mind, that will influence how you shop and what you spend because luxury is subjective. Quality is how well something functions, luxury is how it makes you feel. Before shopping, you have to decide how you want a space to benefit you."
"Take your time in curating. Live in your home without any furniture for three months. Figure out where the light is, how your place sounds, how the temperature changes and where you'll spend most of your time. Think of your perfect day and furnish that first."
"It may not be one room. It may be taking a hot bath, listening to music and afterwards putting on pajamas fresh out of the dryer and that you're climbing into bed wanting to watch a Netflix show so you buy bath sheets and make sure you have everything you need to enjoy a clean bathtub and a waterproof speaker. It also gets easier when those rituals start to change a bit, for example, going from a workout into the bath which may lead to investing in a corner of your home into a yoga studio or a gym. If you take the time to think of what you do, it's giving you an opportunity to figure out what you want. What's calling you?"
Speaking of shopping, any advice on how to avoid wasting money on items that we like at the moment but end up conflicting with the overall vision of what we want?
"The biggest waste of money is buying something because it's cute but it doesn't work or buying something that works but you have to hide because you don't want anyone to see it. That's how you end up with garages and closets full of clutter. Also, know that your home is an evolving space."
"What you like in this season may change. Don't shop with the idea that you have to keep something for 20 years because you don't. Think of it as a museum which curates art. The Mona Lisa bounces from place to place, she's there for a time and then she goes off to the next and it doesn't disrupt her legacy or the experience of the art."
"Changing your home decor is an ebb and flow. Don't walk in the store and buy the entire display or every trendy piece, take your time and curate your home. Trust your own voice and instinct. Don't search for validation for friends and family. If you like something, buy it and if you don't like it it's OK, be informed with the retailer's return policy."
Strategies for investing in high priced furniture?
"You need to be informed of what things cost, especially with COVID-19, like delivery and lead times. Also decide whether you want to assemble it because that goes into cost, everything can't be DIY. You need to buy your time back. Are you going to enjoy the thing you put together and it fell apart? Will you get frustrated and never finish? When making big purchases, looking into platforms like 'Handy' or 'Taskrabbit' are fairly inexpensive when putting together your furniture. Find someone experienced in a product that you bought and while they're there, have them put together a bunch of stuff. There are a lot of ways to make your money work for you."
How can we surround ourselves with luxury home goods within our budget?
"Deciding what you want your life to look like and who you are going to share or not share with helps set your budget. Go to your dream store, if money is no object, add everything to the cart as if you were going on a shopping spree then go look at the cart. That puts the object in the forefront. People tend to see something, fall in love with it but hear the price and decide they are not worthy. It's completely emotional, it may not even be that you don't have the money, it can be offensive just to see the price because they haven't made the connection between quality, luxury and cost. [The key is] changing your mindset to '[I'm investing in myself and my life and my experiences,' instead of, 'This couch is an investment.'"
Where do you shop for quality home decor?
"My couch is from Living Spaces and people don't believe me when I share the link. I routinely shop at Target, CB2, vintage, and Etsy. I don't own or wear anything that is exceedingly expensive, it's the combination of how you experience me that gives you the idea that I'm investing in myself. I go to HomeGoods for coffee table books and kitchen organization items, great national brands that are cheaper than other big box stores. They also have a great condiment and organic food section. You can find great lamps and rugs as well. Get to know your local store and ask when they restock. Introduce yourself to the manager so they expect you if you're looking for something. Bring a picture of what you're looking for. I like Costco, Sam's Club and Big Lots specifically for outdoor furniture."
Courtesy of Antoinette Arrington
What are some accents that can elevate your at-home experience?
"Art can be expensive, however buy your favorite prints for a fraction of a cost, go to Michaels or IKEA for frames or get the piece professionally framed. When it comes to oversized art, paint it yourself for an abstract piece. If you see art you like but don't like the frame, change it or repaint it."
"You can buy a nice set of dishes which are inexpensive at places like CB2 or Ikea. Vintage cutlery from Etsy or really cute forks from Target. Cloth Napkins from World Market or CB2 are a couple bucks. Glassware is not expensive at all, they can be $10. You can buy really nice inexpensive glassware from CB2. You can start small. If you really want a nice plate setting, do it for you and eat lunch on it every day. Buy yourself nice forks and a couple cloth napkins and a pretty plate. You don't have to use champagne glasses for just champagne. Make yourself accustomed to using nice things and normalizing it. You wouldn't go to Crustaceans and use paper napkins and plastic forks. Hotels have glasses on the counter for you, nice lotions and pretty soap, do that at home."
When seeking inspiration for the overall aesthetic of our place, how can we bring our ideas together into one cohesive look?
"Having a design plan, the colors and textures you like as well as what you're drawn to. If you saw something in a store and thought about it all night, hopping in your car early in the morning hoping it's still there, what would it be? Buy those things. If there's a place you want to travel to, research how people there live and what their days look like. If it was Tulum, I'd have a hammock in my living room and no one could say anything to me about it. A corner with a hammock and a bunch of plants that reminds me of Mexico."
"When you travel, bring back a piece of art, a cup, mask, pottery or wall hanging and display it in your home. You can share experiences with your guests. Your home should be ground zero for everything you need to be. You shouldn't have to code switch in your house or put on armor. You should be exactly who you are. Recognize yourself first at home and then go out in the world and introduce yourself to her."
"If you don't know who you are, you're going to let everybody tell you who they think you are."
I bought a Fiddle Leaf tree recently however I don't want to go overboard with taking on too many new responsibilities at once. What is your advice for new plant moms?
"Be honest and be realistic. Go to a local nursery, not a hardware store, even if you don't buy anything, ask someone who is accustomed to speaking with clients about their inventory and is well-versed on the types of plants and the type of lighting in your house that will help you make an informed decision. Tell them about your lifestyle, if you have air conditioning, if you're home a lot, will the plant get fresh air or if you'll need a grow light. All pretty plants aren't care-free. I would suggest something as low-maintenance as possible for your first plant."
"You will have to invest in plant food, repotting, and making sure it's watered. Start with one, something small that you access a lot so that if it dies, you'll notice. If your perfect day is sitting around with 15 plants taking care of their leaves and repotting, if that's calming, go ahead and jungle out. If that's not your thing, get an artificial plant that looks real. You don't have to have plants in your home."
Courtesy of Antoinette Arrington
What are gems to keep in mind when making a house a home?
"There is no one combination of things that makes a house feel like home. It's a combination of happiness, intention, patience and investment that's going to make it feel like a home to you. You took the time, spent wisely, and you're living a life that incorporates all of your belongings. Do your due diligence when shopping for your home, you don't always have to fill an empty spot. No more cutting corners, have an abundance mindset when cultivating your space, but take your time! Filling your space too quickly can be a sign that there's something missing inside of you."
For more of Antoinette, follow her on Instagram.
Featured image courtesy of Antoinette Arrington
Earlier today, I was talking to one of my closest male friends about some closure that he got with a particular woman in his life. She was someone he had met online and, although they were digging each other, she actually liked him more than he liked her. "Liked" in the sense that she wanted to move forward with the potential of it turning into something more serious and lasting, while my friend was fine leaving things casual. When he told me that she called him to let him know that she had met someone else who was on the same page with her and so she thought it would be best that she and my friend cool things off out of respect for what she was building with someone else, I appreciated my friend's response. He said, "Man, that made me respect her so much because a lot of women play games out here. She was direct, it was a 'clean close' and that makes me open to always staying in touch, no matter what."
What stood out to me about what he said was the term "clean close". I like how that phrase sounds because, at the end of the day, that's what I think closure should be about. At the end of the day, it's about two people getting the clarity that they need, so that they both can move forward with as much peace—especially internal peace—as possible. Because when there is peace, there is healing and when there is healing, you can get on with your life in a holistically healthy way.
Although I know that closure typically comes up as it relates to romantic relationships, I can tell you from very up close and personal experience that it can benefit you to get closure from any type of relational dynamic that has affected you to the point where not making peace could hold you back on some level. I've needed to get closure with friends, co-workers and even certain clients before. If you can relate and you'd like to know how I did it, it was by asking myself the following six questions — then not letting up (on myself) until I got the answers.
1. What Caused “the Break-Up” in the First Place?
There was someone in my life who had been in my world for years. She had also been taking advantage of me for all of that time. I kept trying to make excuses for her until we hit the final straw. You never know who reads this platform so, in this particular case, I'll leave the details out, simply because they are super specific. What I will say is it was so passively-aggressively-disrespectful that it definitely brought us to the point of no return — not that I couldn't forgive her mind you (I don't think anyone deserves so much power that they can't be pardoned and released); just that we could never go back to the way things were…in hindsight, whatever that was.
And why bring up something if I'm just gonna be vague? Because the point here is, although we never had an official closure conversation, what did happen is I let her know that I wasn't thrilled with the state of our relationship and her random check-ins as if everything was fine, even though I said it wasn't, weren't going to work anymore. I never heard from her following that. One time I did run into her and we had casual conversation (I'm not gonna fight someone in a store…LOL). Yet the fact that she wasn't like, "Hey. What's going on with us?" let me know that she never really valued the friendship in the first place — because again, I had alerted her, more than once, that we weren't good (by the way, the reason why I didn't bring up the particulars is because, as a friend, I was trying to give her some space to work through some other issues that I knew she had going on at the time) and she did…nothing. A couple of years later…still nothing.
You know, I once heard someone say that some people will stop speaking to you, simply because they don't want to give you the apology that you are owed. Lawd, lawd. In this particular instance, there was no need to get closure because I'm actually more at peace with no longer participating in a relationship that was so disrespectful to me, my needs and my feelings.
So yep, if there is someone who you feel like you need to get closure with, first reflect on how the two of you got to where you are to begin with. Would a conversation actually hurt or help? Not so much them (because they have to figure that out on their own) — you.
2. Is There Anything Left That Needs to Be Said? If So, Why?
Some things literally kind of fade to black. There's no real fall out, devastation or drama. You just look up and daily interaction turns into weekly…then monthly…then annual ones. To be honest with you, if you're nodding your head while reading this point, the person you're thinking about probably isn't a significant other, close friend or anything serious. It's just someone you were cool with. For those kinds of situations, what's left to say? No biggie, right?
Then there are those like a luncheon that I went on, not too long ago. A guy, who I've known for a long time and have had a very unique dynamic with, took me out to share some big decisions that he's about to make. It was closure in a way because the new phases that he's about to enter into means that we don't need to be as close as we once were, for either of our sakes. And so, we both needed to discuss how our relationship influenced both of us to get to where we are and what our expectations would be moving forward. Had we not had that conversation and I had gotten blindsided with his news or one or both of us made assumptions about what our dynamic needed to be like in the future, it could've turned into a hot ass mess. Neither of us wanted that.
So yeah, that's my next suggestion. When it comes to desiring closure, oftentimes it's because one or both people either need clarity or want to get some additional things off of their chest — so that there is no drama, confusion or resentment in the days, weeks or even months up the road.
Now, what I will say about this particular point is some folks don't want closure. They just want to find a way to keep someone else in something that they no longer want to be in. Because of that, they will keep trying to have conversations to rehearse the same points over and over again. That is not what I'm talking about here. What I mean is, if you're genuinely clueless on a matter and/or you feel like if you keep suppressing something and you know that ignoring it is going to affect/infect you later on, those are the things that do need to be expressed. Because things that are left unsaid can mentally and emotionally alter us, if we're not careful.
3. At This Stage in Your Life, Do You NEED or Just MISS the Relationship?
Back when I went on my "get your heart pieces back" tour (check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour") in (wow) 2015, there was one guy in particular who, I won't lie — it felt good to reconnect with. That's because we've always had a very special connection (didn't hurt that he's fine as all get out and our past sex life was completely off of the charts as well). Even within that first eight-hour discussion in over, shoot, 15 years, while there was still a strong chemistry between us, it was evident that a lot of life had happened since we last spoke. After several weeks, I sent him an email and basically said, "It was good to reconnect. It's good that we can be peaceful in each other's presence. And it's good to really let it all go." I haven't heard from or spoken to him since.
Back when he earned the title in my life of "the one who got away", there was always a part of me who felt like I needed to find him and keep him around…because I needed him. After getting the closure that I was longing for (I kinda think he needed to do it as well because there was a lot that he got off of his chest that I did not know as far as how he processed me and our journey), I realized that I missed him more than needed it.
Another good example of this is, I recently watched a rerun of A Different World where Whitley's ex Julian came into town. He took her to an expensive restaurant to tell her that he was engaged to someone else. Dwayne wasn't thrilled about her going. Whitley was jealous that Julian had moved on for a moment (even though she was the one who had broken up with him). And then, something dawned on her — although Whitley was a pretty materialistic person and was somewhat envious of the life that Julian's fiancée, Shelby was about to have, Whitley didn't need Julian anymore. She just missed certain aspects of the relationship.
Let's look at this from a professional angle. I once worked with a non-profit that paid fairly well, allowed me to travel and definitely provided a platform for me to share my gifts and abilities. Still, there were some things about how I was overlooked and underestimated, time and time again (race played a big part in it), that caused me to resign. Because I was a part of the organization for so long, sometimes I'm asked if I feel like I made the wrong decision. While there are certain things about the gig that I miss, I don't need it anymore. Once you realize that you are being short-changed and you stay anyway? You are letting people know that you are OK with being disrespected. That's not good.
That's why, on the topic of closure, another thing that I recommend you do is ask yourself if you feel like you need what someone once brought into your life still or are you simply missing certain aspects of it. If it's Door A, you probably need to have a conversation. If it's Door B, all chatting is going to do is keep you in that emotional space. Give time the chance to let you miss someone less and less. Until you wake up one day and realize that "missing" is all it was — no more. No less.
4. Is Constantly Mulling over Things Keeping You Stagnant?
Ready to put your big girl panties on? A harsh reality in life is there are gonna be some times when you don't get the closure that you're looking for, even if, on some level, you absolutely do deserve it. Sometimes your boss won't want to discuss why they didn't promote you. Sometimes a person you're dating (or even a friend) may ghost you. A lot of us have been completely abandoned before without much of an explanation at all. And while it's totally human and understandable to want to know why things went down the way that they did, the reality is, if folks were more respectful of others' feelings, there probably wouldn't be much of a need for this kind of article, right?
Whether you're an overthinker, a semi-control freak or merely someone who expects people to always treat you like you treat them, there's a pretty good chance that if you didn't get the closure that you longed for — and quite possibly may even deserve — you will find yourself in a hamster wheel of questions that can really keep you from making any personal progress.
So, what's the hack to break out of feeling trapped by a lack of closure? Accept that if someone really cared about you and honored what you brought to their life — whether it was personally or professionally — they would want to make sure that things were as clear as possible so that, again, there was mutual peace. And if someone doesn't feel this way about you, you've actually got your closure because there's nothing else that needs to be said. It's time to release it and put steps towards really moving on.
As a marriage life coach, there are some people who are very much so stuck in their divorce. They keep talking about what their former spouse should have done instead of accepting what they did (or didn't do). And it's got them so befuddled and or hurt and or bitter that you would think the divorce happened two days ago when sometimes, it's been years.
I wrote about a time when a close friend ghosted me. After almost two years of nothing, I wrote her. She was so patronizing and flippant that I had nothing else to question after her response. Yet you know what? Real talk? Because she had ghosted me and was apparently fine with that, we didn't really have anything to discuss anyway. I needed to quit pondering/overthinking so much so that I could get on with my life — and that included the people who cared about me in the present.
Going over things, over and over again, aren't going to change the facts. If you are so consumed with getting closure that it's preventing you from getting out of the past, embracing the people in your present and making plans for your future, a lack of closure isn't your problem. Choosing to allow it to hold you back is.
5. Will Closure Finally CLOSE “It”?
Now there's another side of closure that we need to broach; a side that doesn't get explored a lot and, if you're not careful, can end up giving you a lot more than what you ever bargained for. Suppose the closure that you're seeking has to do with a relationship or situationship from your past? One that has been so long ago, there isn't really much that needs to be said — you're just wondering about where the person is and what could have been. Chile, be careful of those. Thanks — or perhaps "no thanks" — to social media, sometimes our curiosity can get the better — or is it worse? — of us which can result in us looking for people, all in the name of so-called closure, that can end up opening things up all over again…when they shouldn't be.
Back to A Different World. The real fans know that "seeking closure" is what got Dwayne and Whitley to have sex, months after breaking up, and while she was seeing someone else. All it did was further complicate things between them. In real life, I've got a friend who, while married, had some questions for an ex — all it ultimately did was create an emotional affair and damn near a Lifetime-esque movie because while her ex was more than willing to reconnect, what he didn't tell her is he was engaged to someone else.
Moral to the story? Closure is supposed to close things. Some people manipulate the word in order to reconnect or reignite something. If what you want is another chance or if you're just being nosey — say that. Because if it's been quite some time, you've honestly been fine in your world and yet you're simply wanting to scratch some sort of itch — ask Whitley and my friend…sometimes you end up getting way more than what you've bargained for. In other words, sometimes your closure needs to come in the form of exhibiting self-control; the kind that will remind you to just leave well enough — alone.
6. Can You Get That Not Receiving Closure Is a Form of Closure?
Closure is about bringing something to an end. Closure is about shutting a door. Closure is about finding a conclusion. That said, while I know that some folks think that ghosting is an OK way to handle a relationship, I absolutely could not disagree more. I don't see what is respectful, mature or non-cowardly about taking that approach. After all, when a relationship — any kind of relationship — has ran its course, there's no way around the fact that since "it" started with two people, it should end with those two same people. Both need to get the questions, comments and concerns that they may have off of their chest. And so, if both folks have any kind of respect for what was once shared, closure should be a given.
That said, there are some people in this world who couldn't care less about handling things honorably. They have no kind of compassion, empathy or even basic-level decency to want to make sure that things end clean. And while you very well may deserve the closure that you seek, they may never give it to you. That sucks. That can be painful. And you know what? More times than not, it's such a high form of intentional disrespect that you honestly have the ending, shut door and conclusion that you need anyway because if they think so little of you and the relationship…what is there really to talk about? Their silence is their statement. And it's ringing loud and clear.
What you need to do is accept it and then take steps to heal (check out "Why You Need To Grieve Your Past Relationship" and "How To Heal From A Broken Friendship"). If that includes seeing a reputable coach, counselor or therapist, so be it.
I know. This was a long read. Yet since closure continues to be a hot-and-not-thoroughly-addressed topic for so many, I hope this all gave you a little more clarity if you need to "close some things" with someone. Because take it from me — it can be really difficult to start something new with someone unless you've ended things with someone else. Amen? Hallelujah, chile.
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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 Maya's story, written by Charmin Michelle.
I know this may come to a surprise so many, but here we are. Yes, I got a BBL. If you aren't aware, a BBL is a Brazilian Butt Lift, a cosmetic surgery process where the doctor uses a combination of liposuction and fat-grafting, transfers the fat into the butt, resulting in added volume, defined curves, and a lift. It is technically lipo and a fat transfer. But yeah girl, this has been on my to-do list for a while. And now that I am able to afford it, I went for it.
This was a really personal decision for me to get one, and I also went back and forth on whether I would share. In the end, I am in a position to share what I know, so I decided to do so. It could help other women who are considering the surgery make a more informed decision. So, here we go:
Why, sis? Why did you get a BBL?
For my surgery, I got 360 lipo, meaning the doctor took fat from my entire abdomen, my love handles, my entire back, my arms, and my sides. I got a fat transfer which means my doctor just took that fat, and put it somewhere else. The fat was then injected into my hips and my butt, creating the hourglass shape I was going for.
I am actually not one of those people who got a BBL to get a fat butt, to be twerking, as someone looking for clout, or whatever. To be honest, I didn't even do this for my career. I got a BBL specifically to have a more feminine look about my body. I wanted an hourglass shape, being that that's not something I was born with. And like most women, I've always have body issues, or things I didn't like, so the things this surgery did for me, I could not have gotten in anybody's gym. Plain and simple. I have been super, super, super fit before—working out, eating clean, all of that—and I had no curves whatsoever. Like...none.
So my decisions had nothing to do with anyone else—my friends, my family, my man. I wanted to look more feminine in my clothing and I just wanted to be happy with myself when no one was in the room but me and Jesus.
And I have been considering this for years. I know it's easy to say that I got one because it's trendy or popular, or whatever the case may be, but I have been researching this for a long time. This is nothing new, ladies. There is nothing new about it. And I had been researching BBLs hard.
Let's talk numbers:
If you are familiar with BBLs, or if you've been doing your research, then you are familiar with Dr. Fisher in Miami, who conducted my surgery. His prices are on the expensive side, my entire BBL surgery—minus the arms—cost $8,000. I added my arms for another thousand, totaling $9,000. This price includes the surgery, my post-op care, the first five massages at his facility afterwards, and more.
A little BBL preparation insight:
OK, so 30 days leading up to my surgery, I had to stop taking all my vitamins, I couldn't drink alcohol, no drugs, and no medications. I tried to eat clean because doctors advise you to be close to your goal weight before having the surgery to avoid trying to lose weight after (and potentially alter results). You have to get blood work done, and have approved labs prior as well. Sidebar: I was on keto but had to get off because they messed up my labs. Once I began eating food from all food groups, my levels were good to go for surgery.
Obviously, because of the times, I had to take a COVID test as well. You will also need excess fat for the procedure, which is another reason I chose not to lose weight before surgery. You will need a BMI of 32 or less.
Dr. Fisher took 4,000 ccs, the maximum amount of fat you can transfer, and put almost took exactly 2,000 cc's in each butt cheeks and hips.
How is the healing process for a BBL?
The healing process is...something. You learn the tips and tricks of many things that you've never even thought of before. Things like wearing foam boards under your shapewear to tighten skin, or drains, or placing a marble in your belly button to prevent the skin from hanging too low. I had on waist trainers (and more) all the time. The scars are everywhere your lipo entry points are for both removing fat, as well as taking it out. I couldn't take a bath, couldn't get in the pool for six weeks. And using the bathroom is a new normal (and super uncomfortable).
Everything is uncomfortable. Everything.
The bulk of healing or recovery comes from your lipo areas, not even your butt or hips. You can't sit down until three weeks after surgery, but when that period is over, it's important to ease into it to begin the softening process because you'll notice that it's not soft like a normal booty for a while. The sooner you start to sit, the faster it gets soft. Please keep in mind that doctors cannot change your genetics and they can only work with what you have. This is why BBLs look different on everyone.
I wore four foam boards in my faja (shapewear), and a triangle on my back to create the dip. It's important to note that you're not fully healed, or won't see full results, until six months later despite feeling normal immediately, or not feeling sick.
Also, there is no maintenance for BBLs, which is a perk.
Having the BBL surgery is something that is extremely personal for me. I did something to improve myself and this is a part of my self-love journey and it's all about loving on yourself, regardless of what that looks like for you.
Financially, I was more than OK, I made this choice when it was a good time for me.
Spiritually, I was a mess. I prayed to God that this was the right thing to do. Every little sign where I questioned if getting a BBL was a part of my story, I paid attention to. He and I talked a LOT. But he gave me the confirmation I needed to move forward, which is why I did.
And honestly, not everyone understands this. Many people questioned my integrity, or somehow thought I was above having cosmetic surgery, and it's so hard for me to rationalize why people were shocked. But, listen, I am a woman with her own personal body issues at the end of the day. I feel like, of all the things to discuss about my experience in having a BBL, that that isn't one that I should have to explain. This is a reflection of something I've been going through my whole life with my body, and it was a choice I made, that I'm super happy about.
This was self-love for me. I loved myself enough to get myself out of that negative space that I felt about myself and my body.
Maya is a social media influencer and has a beauty channel on YouTube where she sometimes blogs about her daily life. Follow her on Instagram @maya_galore.
Featured image via Maya Galore/Instagram
While I'm pretty sure that all of us get the gist of what body language is, if you're looking for a way to easily define it, it's when you use your mannerisms and expressions (including one's tone) to communicate with other people. Although it's been said for many years that 90 percent of communication is non-verbal, more studies are revealing that it is somewhere around 60-70 percent. Either way, what we do know for sure is, when it comes to how people respond and react to how you engage them, your body language plays a really significant role.
This definitely is the case when it comes to intimate relationships. That's why I thought it would be a good idea to share with you 15 different kinds of body language that might be sending up smoke signals that your connection with your partner isn't quite where it needs to be — whether you (or they) realize you are sending the message or not. Because the reality is, some body language is more subconscious than anything. That doesn't make it any less relevant, though. You ready to see what's up? Let's do this.
1. One of You Is Walking Ahead of the Other
Something that bothers me to no end is when two people who are clearly a couple are walking yet one is way ahead of the other. While no one has to constantly act like they are in a rom-com and hold hands everywhere they go, not walking in sync tends to imply one of two things — either there's a real disconnect between the two or one trying to passive aggressively prove who's in charge; not just to their partner but to the public too. Either way, it ain't a good look and it's definitely not something that should be seen as not that big of a deal.
2. Someone’s Body Is Facing the Other Direction in Conversation
It's pretty much a given that if someone is rolling their eyes or doing a lot of sighing while their partner is talking, it's a sign that they are disinterested in what is being said or that they are triggered on some level. Yet did you know that if your body is facing away from your partner during a conversation, it basically means the same thing? When we feel close and connected to someone, we naturally tend to face towards them — face, legs, chair, everything — because we want to be in their energy. When there is a disconnection of some sort, we will naturally turn away; kind of like a form of "walling up". Hard to reach someone if you've got to "scale their walls" first.
3. The Left Hand Is in Constant Use (When You Aren’t Left-Handed)
If you're one of the 10 percent of people who are left-handed, this doesn't (necessarily) apply to you. For the rest of us, when's the last time you tried to write anything with your left hand? It was uncomfortable, right? Same point applies when you gesture with your left hand a lot. What it signifies is you're uncomfortable with the topic or what is being said; that you'd rather change the subject, if at all possible.
4. Eye Pupils Aren’t Dilated
Wanna know if your boo is still into you, after all this time? Check to see if their eyes are dilated. No joke.
A sign of when someone is sexually aroused by another individual is they're pupils will automatically start to expand.
If that's not happening for you, well…yeah.
5. Arms and/or Legs Are Crossed
When someone has their limbs — arms and/or legs — crossed while they're talking to someone else, it's rarely a good sign. Not only is it conveying the message that they want to put some distance between them and another person, it's also a way of letting someone know that they are going on the defensive…and when is that ever a positive thing?
6. Hands Are in Pockets
A couple of years ago, I wrote "This Is How To Tell If Someone's Lying To You". One of the signs that I didn't mention then, that I'm going to now, is oftentimes they will put their hands into their pockets while engaging you. It makes sense when you think about the fact that a lot of us tend to use our hands while expressing ourselves. Hiding them is a sign of holding something back or hiding the truth. Hmph.
7. Someone Is Constantly Checking the Time
Out of all of the body language points that I'm hitting, I'm pretty sure this one is a dead giveaway. When you're trying to share your feelings, is there anything more annoying — and let's be real, disrespectful — than someone who is constantly looking at their watch or phone? It says just what they want to say and that is they don't really wanna hear what you're talking about; that they have much more important things to do. It's the absolute worst.
8. Hands Are on the Hips
Most of us have some woman in our family who would put her hands on her hips when she was about to make some sort of declaration. Along these same lines, when two people are having a serious conversation and one of them places their hands onto their hips, what they are saying with their actions is they want some sort of dominance in the situation. It's a bit of a control play. When's the last time you did that? Hmm.
9. Eye Contact Is Avoided
A body language habit that I know I've personally got to work on more is not always looking people in the eyes when they are talking to me. Sometimes it's because doing so feels mad intense. Other times it's because, like a male friend of mine tells me, I don't have the best "screensaver" (which is basically a poker face) and I figure it's better to do that than to roll my eyes.
However, according to the body language experts, when we avoid eye contact, we're ignoring someone, we're thinking really hard, we're hiding deceit, we're super anxious or we want to remove ourselves from the dialogue as soon as possible.
Definitely something to think about.
10. Physical Touch Is Minimal
Even if you and/or your partner's top love language isn't physical touch, people who feel truly connected to their partner are going to naturally touch each other. Some body part will be on the other's body while watching a movie on the couch. A hug or kiss will randomly happen while both are preparing for a meal in the kitchen. Spooning will take place at nighttime. Physical touch is a physical representation of feeling an emotional bond. That's why something is definitely up if one or both individuals in a relationship act as if they are trying to avoid physical touch as much as possible. It's sending a red flag that something in the dynamic is "off" and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
11. Somebody Is Touching Their Neck While They’re Talking
Have you ever been in a discussion with your significant other and, without even really thinking about it, you found yourself using your fingers to rub up and down the front of your neck? Guess what that represents? Because words come up through our throat, it's oftentimes a subconscious way of conveying that you've got more to say yet you're not sure if you should share it or not.
12. Brows Are Furrowed
Wanna heads up that your partner is about to criticize TF outta you and then some? Check to see if their eyebrows are furrowed before any words start to come out of their mouth. Furrowed brows are a sign of disagreement or displeasure with what is being heard with a touch of brace-yourself-now for some big-time correcting or even reprimanding.
13. Lips Are Licked
A surefire sign that you or your partner are nervous in each other's space is if one (or both) of you are constantly licking your lips. It basically means that someone is either anxious, uncomfortable or withholding some sort of information; the licking is a jittery reaction.
14. There’s Plenty of "Church Hugging"
C'mon. We all know that the ever famous (or is it infamous?) church hug is, for the most part, pretty disingenuous. While some may do it in public settings to express personal space boundaries, why in the world would that be necessary with your partner?
If you side hug, back pat or put your arms in front of you when they try to embrace you, you are saying (without saying it) that you want to keep some distance between the two of you which is basically an indication of a relational breakdown somewhere.
15. Orgasms Are Fake
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP" (men fake orgasms too, by the way). No matter how much you may try and rationalize it, faking means something isn't real, and nothing should be more honest and pure than the intimacy between two people who are in a relationship. Whether you're faking it to please him or he's faking it to hurry and get things over with you, both are problematic as all get out. It's far better to be upfront with your partner about how you're feeling and what you need — so that you can get to some body language that conveys all good things. If you know what I mean. #wink
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
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