Episode Transcript (beta)

Dr. Ayo Gooden:
A Single Bracelet Does Not Jingle

Dating, Find True Love, Relationships, Online Dating, Divorce
Rob 00:00:03 Hello. We are the promise of bringing to you a podcast that brings you real insight and real stories about real relationships. Hello, good morning. This is Rob Hollis here with Winona and we are talking with Dr. Ayo Maria Casey Gooden, PhD, psychologist, and advocate for true love. Good morning, Dr. Ayo.

Dr. Ayo 00:00:32 Good morning to both of you and to the listening audience. Thank you for having me.

Rob 00:00:39 Well, thank you for being on our show with us. You know, you wrote this book. The reason why you're here is because I fell in love with your book. "A Single Bracelet Does Not Jingle". And as I read that book, I thought, wow, this is so... not just interesting, but insightful and practical. What inspired you to write this book?

Dr. Ayo 00:01:05 Well, I am a licensed psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania. I'm also a board-certified African centered black psychologist, and I've been practicing for over 47 years, working with children, individuals, couples, families, and I see the same issues being repeated in terms of both what adults say about what their childhood was like. That has caused pain and trauma and couples who come together and who have issues in the family. And so over the years, as I would provide them with strategies to heal, I realized that as an individual, it's impossible for me to reach all the people who need to hear the information. So, I actually was teaching a class at the University of Louisville, and at the time I was guided to write the book so that I could start teaching my students about this information. So I started off with a book many years ago and then decided that I needed to update it and make it more current. So I wrote this particular edition of my book.

Rob 00:02:25 Wow. And the title itself is deeper than it looks. Tell us a little bit about the title.

Dr. Ayo 00:02:33 Well, "A Single Bracelet Does Not Jingle" is an African proverb, of course. I use Proverbs with my clients. I use Proverbs in my family. And of course, I grew up with Proverbs as a black woman. Um, your mother might say things to you... well in my family, my mother might say, don't let your _________ write a check that your ____________ can't catch, right? Or it's a poor wheel that won't roll both ways. And there were all sorts of sayings that we heard. And in the field of psychology, we use Proverbs to assess a person's ability to think abstractly, which, um, is something that many times we haven't been taught to do. And if we haven't been taught, it's very difficult to do. And I see those challenges with many of the Black children that I work with or, or Latinex children that I work with. And so I said, you know, one of the things I have to make sure I'm doing is teaching them Proverbs and how to interpret them so that they can expand their mind.

Rob 00:03:38 Wow. That's really good. Excellent. So as you wrote this book, I mean, you mentioned that there was a lot of clinical insight that went into this. Were there any personal experiences that fed into this book as well?

Dr. Ayo:     Oh, that's a really good question. Hmm, absolutely. Um, of course, when you get trained and I'm trained in clinical psychology, one would think that that would provide you with all the skills you need to make a healthy choice when you're looking for a partner. And I found that it was woefully negligent in many areas. So I, um, I married, I, well, let's say I'm a Lincoln university of Pennsylvania graduate and I met my husband at Lincoln and I just, he was just so handsome and I, I fell in love right away, but what I didn't have is I didn't have a plan. I didn't have a plan to assess whether or not we were right for each other.

Dr. Ayo 00:04:44 So my husband and I married and, um, less than a year later, we divorced. Um, he didn't want to be married. I wanted to be married, but he wanted to be with me. So we lived together for a while. I didn't like not being married. So we split. A little while later we remarried. So we got married again. Um, he was still not happy being married. So we... actually I should say that before we divorced, we had a child together. And so, um, I decided a long time ago, I did not want to be married to somebody who didn't want to be married to me. And so I don't have a problem getting a divorce. Okay. It's not what I would choose to do, especially after having a child, but I wanted him to be happy. And then years later I married someone else and he married someone else.

Dr. Ayo 00:05:45 And then a few years later I got divorced and he was still married. So I started looking at this experience of relationships and how to pick someone, because I said, I should be better at this being a psychologist. So I started looking at what were the things that I didn't do, what didn't I plan for? What were the characteristics I was looking for and what was it I didn't want? And so, you know, one of the things I would do is tell people, starting off, I'm looking for a father for my son and a husband. Let's be real clear if you're not ready to be a father and a husband. I don't even want you to waste your time because you'll be wasting mine. So I started creating this list and I started doing workshops and presentations on the topic of how to find your ideal partner. And so, as I continued to do those workshops, of course, I started putting together things. And then I ended up having the opportunity to teach a class on relationships at the University of Louisville. And I was advised, write a book for that class. So I wrote "A Single Bracelet Does Not Jingle". Um, but that was, gosh, that was back in the nineties. And of course, I had to update it for our current book because there's so many things that are now available, but that weren't available back in my day, like computers.

Winona 00:07:22 So

Dr. Ayo 00:07:22 Computer dating became something that happened. And so I wanted to incorporate that into my book. So my own personal experiences being divorced, uh, certainly played into it. And I must say, um, the last step was that my son's father and I remarried, uh, after I divorced my husband and he divorced his wife, we remarried and we'd been together ever since, quite happily. I might add, I have been...

Winona 00:07:55 Three times. Did I hear correct? Three times married?

Dr. Ayo 00:08:02 Interesting, absolutely! Different than most people, but it was all about, and it was just about respecting what he wanted and what he needed. He respected me and married me, but he wasn't satisfied. And it took him to be a little more mature, uh, to figure out that I was the right one for him. And, uh, so he came back and I was quite pleased because he was my first love.

Winona 00:08:32 So when did you all get married the first time? When... yeah. How old were you when you married her?

Dr. Ayo 00:08:38 I had graduated from college. Um, and he's... he? Uh, I, I must say this. Some might say I'm a Cougar. Uh, he's a year younger than I am. And so I had to wait for him to graduate from college. And, um, after he graduated, we got married the year that he graduated. So it was back in the day, back in the seventies when we got married the first time, let's see, I graduated in 74. So it would've been 75. Yeah. We got married in 75.

Rob 00:09:16 You know, as I read your book, I felt like, at least in this particular area, we're either kindred spirits or life has taught us the same lessons. That is in the area of finding your foundation in healing. Now, clearly you had to go through a lot of healing to get to a place where you could have a good, solid long-term relationship and marriage. But my question to you is whenever you meet someone, how can you tell if your love interest has gone through those steps of healing? And if they are ready, how do you determine that?

Dr. Ayo 00:09:51 You have to do an assessment. And that's one of the things that I teach people is that you have to be able to look at, first of all, who you are, you have to know as the ancient Kemets, or as most people know them, Egypt have said, know thy self that's the first step, because you can't really know your partner, or know what you want. If you don't know who you are first and foremost. So if you have hurts, if you have traumas that you haven't healed from, you're going to carry those challenges with you into a relationship. And it's going to have an unhealthy effect on the relationship. And many times, that's what causes many people to be attracted to someone else who is unhealthy is that once again, they're kindred spirits from the standpoint of I'm unhealthy and neither is healthy. And so it allows me to stay healthy.

Dr. Ayo 00:10:54 But if I heal myself if I get healed by reaching out once again and getting professional care to do the healing, because some people, and there are a few people who can heal themselves, no doubt who read the books, who do the work, who, you know, address their issues. But for the most part, we need to have a professional. And I tell people all the time for Black people, you need to have a Black therapist who is conscious, somebody who understands your culture and the experiences of Black people. If you're a Latinex, then you need somebody. Who's a Latinex. If you're Asian, you need somebody who's Asian. If you're native, you need somebody who's native. Somebody who understands and can be responsive to the cultural societal traumas that you've experienced. Now. I also believe that for the most part, Black and Caucasians, and I call them, Melanics... people of color, natives, Asians, Latinex, et cetera, are more appropriate for Caucasians because Caucasians don't understand racism and the impact of racism on them, or how it's played out with Melanics. And so when you're seeking a therapist, it is best to find someone from the same cultural background, with the exception. As I said, for Caucasians, who need to learn how to be anti-racist and who want to really learn some very healthy strategies, you need to go to someone who's African centered, because we have strategies that Eurocentric therapists do not possess.

Rob 00:12:43 And that is pretty intense, intense. You had a quote in your book, and I really latched onto this because it resonated with me. You say, most people are taught to blindly trust people based on who they are supposed to represent. So whenever you first meet someone, you apply stereotypes that culture told you about that person, depending on how they identify themselves. And then you trust the stereotype as opposed to the person. I'm assuming. That's what you mean by that. What is the alternative whenever you first meet, how would you base your trust in someone?

Dr. Ayo 00:13:26 Hmm. Well, trust has to be earned and you know how we are as, as Black people. Um, sometimes the first step of trust is, do you look like me? Okay. That's level one. Okay. Then level two is, let's talk about some things and see if we agree on them, the less we agree, the less likely I can trust you, but it's also watching what a person does over a period of time. And that best period of time is over as my friend who wrote a book on relationships, um, Dr. Paris, Finner Williams said over four seasons. So a year, a lot of people want to rush. It's like, especially the young. People are like, I've known them now for a week. Isn't this appropriate now for me to just, I'm saying a week, I mean, what can you learn a week? Exactly. But that's why I put the questions I did in my book so that you can start knowing someone at that level. But even if I tell you, that's who I am, and I answer all the questions correctly, you need to see that that's who I am over a period of time. And so you need to see them in good weather, bad weather, good times, hard times with their family, without their family, with their friends, without their friends. Because all of these things tell you who a person is. How do you spend your free time? What do you do? Okay. So you have to experience that with the person in order to get to know the person and establish a level of trust.

Rob 00:15:05 Wow. So it's a matter of how they align with what they say, how their actions align with what they say, but also what I'm hearing is, and this one's new for me is its agreement. If they're saying things that may not be untrustworthy, they just might be things that you don't agree with. Sure. And in that disagreement, uh, you can agree to disagree, but you can also agree that we're not right for each other because my heart and your heart are not aligned in this area.

Dr. Ayo 00:15:39 Absolutely. And depending upon who you are, certain things can be used as deal-breakers right off the bat. So for example, a deal-breaker could be, I don't smoke, but you do. That's a problem, deal-breaker. You use drugs. I don't use drugs. That's a deal-breaker. I don't drink. You drink. That's a deal-breaker. You vote for 45 and I'm voting for Biden. So that's, that's a deal-breaker. Um, you know, we can look at certain behaviors and say, Oh yeah, that's not gonna work for me. Thanks. But I've got to keep it moving. And for some people, that's very difficult. If they see other things that they like about somebody, they want to cast aside, all of the reasons they shouldn't be with the person, because usually our loneliness drives us into relationships.

Rob 00:16:31 Indeed. Yes. Wow. And another thing that you said in your book was when you have a love partner, if your love partner does not make you a better person is not a healthy love. So at the beginning of relationship, you have that euphoria that makes you feel like a better person, but what's the difference between actually being a better person than just being happier.

Dr. Ayo 00:17:00 That's a good question. Well, you can feel happy because you have somebody in your life, but you may find yourself doing things that you don't believe are the correct things to do so that you may engage in behaviors that are unhealthy as a result of being with that partner, let's use drinking. My partner drinks. So I start drinking. My partner smokes. So he says, come on and have some with me. And so I start smoking or, um, he sits and watches TV all day and plays video games. And I never did that. I was very active. And so that doesn't fit with me. So it could be something as simple as that, or it could be something more complex. It could be that when we get together, this person has a temper. And if I don't wear the right clothes, or if I don't wear my hair the right way, this person goes off on me.

Dr. Ayo 00:17:58 And next thing you know, he's using physical force to express himself. Well, I could say, Oh, you know, I did that. I made him do that to me, by dressing like this, I knew he didn't like this dress. I knew he didn't like my hair this way. And so we make excuses for the inappropriate behavior of our partners. And we accommodate our partner in order to avoid the, either verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. Cause it could be just that I'm going to be called names as a result. And I don't feel good about that, but when he's treating me good, I feel really good about the relationship. And so I stay, or it could be that I now have a child by this person and I don't want to be a single parent mom. So it doesn't make me a better person. Now it started off really good. But now that I have a child he's changed his behavior and the relationship goes down. I'm not happy. He's not happy. We argue most of the time, but in public we can fake out an appearance of being happy and I'm doing better. Cause after all look, he's bought me this car. He's bought me this wonderful house and look at my clothes and my jewelry. So people think, and I also rationalize that I'm better off with him than I was before because I have all these physical things, these glitter and gold without the substance.

Rob 00:19:43 Wow. That ties right into something. I wasn't even going to ask you about this, but you rolled right into it. You mentioned that when you make decisions based on things, people are readily discarded as empty containers, valuing things over people is an immature and limited way of functioning. Wow. That's that's that's that's that's awesome.

Dr. Ayo 00:20:08 Well, let me tell you that part of learning about our African heritage helps me to understand that process. Um, the highest value for African people has always been relationships. The highest value for Caucasians has always been things we have to keep in mind that many of our people who are here were kidnapped. Although not everybody who came here came as kidnapped people. But for those of us who are living here in the Eurocentric society, what we have learned is to start valuing what Caucasians value, which is things, whether it's a car shoes, a house, whatever it is, gold around my neck, whatever. And so that becomes the focus of life. We, we lack a spiritual connection with who we are as a people, which is why we engage in unhealthy behaviors is because our spirituality has been damaged or for some people they lack spirituality altogether. So Black people who are truly African centered value relationships over things. And that is how we start healing is to focus on each other and to focus on what's really, truly important, which are people, not things. Rob 00:21:48 Wow. Yeah. In that, in that statement, you have truly blessed me because as you mentioned, we are, as a society focused on where's the next thing I'm going to get. What's the next milestone. What's the next accomplishment that sometimes we steamroll on towards those accomplishments while forsaking the relationships that really make life worth living. Wow, absolutely. So as we close this out, I mean, I could talk to you all day long, but before just closing this out, I was wondering if there's one last tagline or concept that you would like to express get across to the people listening to this podcast.

Dr. Ayo 00:22:34 That's a good question. If I could leave people with anything, it would certainly be to be courageous enough, to seek out professional help to resolve any of those issues that you may have been holding on to for years or any new recent hurts that you're holding on to that interfere with your ability to trust your ability to believe in that you are a worthy person, because that's usually the beginning where something has happened to us. And as a result, we believe that we're unworthy or because something has happened to us, it makes us feel that that neglect was somehow deserving. And if it wasn't deserving, we want to get revenge. And so we go out into the world looking to hurt people because we've been hurt and we want to pass our pain along. And so I would say to people the best way to heal the world is for us to start off with ourselves and to look at healing strategies and especially for Black people to learn Black history, not since slavery before history and after slavery history, because our history didn't start with slavery.

Dr. Ayo 00:23:52 In fact, let me say that the first people on North, South and central America were Blacks. And I recommend people looking up the Olmecs, which is proof positive that Black people were here building pyramids long before slavery was created as a way to build up this country. So I would say, learn your history, know the truth, understand that you are beautiful. You are handsome, you are brilliant. And that we must change how we see ourselves by learning the truth and getting the support we need. And certainly I recommend, um, you know, the Black social workers, the Black psychologists, um, as a resource that you can go to to get the healing that you need. And of course our hosts are experts in that field. The Hollis's are experts who you can go to to get the proper spiritual and other healing that you need. Because if you don't start there, you're not going to be successful.

Rob 00:25:01 Well, thank you so much, Dr. Ayo, you have truly been an inspiration to us. And I hope that, uh, I hope that our listenership also receives at least a fraction of the inspiration that we received today because you're awesome. Love your book. I love your insights. And, um, I look forward to continuing to work with you in this field because you're, you're definitely a leader, not just in your community, but I believe nationally as well.

Dr. Ayo 00:25:32 Thank you very much. Asante Sana.

Rob 00:25:39 Hey, thanks for tuning into the love effect. Respectfully. We ask you to hit that subscribe button to help us keep this going. And if you'd like some detailed guidance on how to find and confirm true love. Come visit us at stepstofindtruelove.com. That's www.stepstofindtruelove.com blessings to you!