With so much negative space and energy on the Internet, reading the refreshing words of wisdom from Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross is always a welcomed change. Basically, she's my girlfriend in my head.
Tracee is constantly offering up some great words of wisdom that any woman can turn into a daily mantra to help themselves live their best lives. From loving yourself as you are today to embracing fear, check out her wise words to anyone looking to live and feel whole.
1.Stop Worrying About What You're Supposed To Be
In an interveiw with Motto:
We spend so much time as women in our culture being told that we are 'supposed' to be something: 'Supposed' to be married, 'supposed' to be a certain weight, 'supposed' to do a certain thing. There's so much that gets left out. If you're so focused on the scale, you'll miss a lot of other things. I'm known for my style, I love beautiful clothing and makeup. I love all of those things, and there's space to be all of those things as a woman. There's space to be sexual and beautiful and intelligent—all of it. And I think any messaging that limits it, it's time for it to be done.
2.Have An Unconditional Relationship With Yourself As You Are Right Now
via Tracee's sit-down with Huffington Post:
This quote changed the direction of my life honestly: 'Right now, can you make an unconditional relationship with yourself? Just at the height you are? The weight you are? With the intelligence that you have? And your current burden of pain? Can you enter into an unconditional relationship with that?' And it changed the course of my life because I felt like so often it's, 'How can I be something other than I am?' There's a lot of ways that I make myself happy and I think, for me, happiness is not always the goal, but joy more. Happy is sometimes is a little fleeting for me and I think we can be as happy as we make our minds up to be. It was said to me, and it made me roll my eyes, 'It's about the journey.' But it really is.
3.Celebrate The #BlackGirlMagic Within Yourself And Others
via The Cut :
I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay....I really feel like there's a paradigm shift that has occurred in the last ten years for how black women in this country are seen, the voice that we have, how we see ourselves, how we - our images are portrayed. I want to see images that remind me that I am beautiful and I am enough, so that I don't have to waste any energy feeling ashamed of myself or any of that, so I can actually go out and do extraordinary things. Using my voice to recognize and celebrate other women is a joy for me.
4.Find Your Truth By Surrounding Yourself With Like-Minded Friends
That is a daily exercise big and small, finding one's own voice and finding your truth. There are a ton of tools I use. I think, first and foremost, having a relationship with a core group of like-minded, supportive, compassionate humans that become your counsel is extremely important. Having your own tribe of people, some of which are in exactly the same place as you, that mirror your own experience and help you to see your own experience in a loving and compassionate way.
5.Listen To Fear And Learn From It
via her speech at the Essence's Black Women in Hollywood luncheon:
"We should remind ourselves in daily life to make space for selfhood...Boobs don't belong up here, they belong down here. This is where God put them. I am human. I listen to fear and lean into it. I don't always feel fierce but I do feel human."
6.Embrace Your God-Given Beauty
via The Cut;
I used to try to beat my hair into submission so that it could look like other people's hair. The moment that I stopped doing that and allowed my hair to be what it is, I came alive. If how I do my hair inspires them to find a new style for the way they want to do their hair, then God bless. I didn't love my hair growing up, I didn't love my body growing up, all those kinds of things. To then have people mirror back that it's good — it's really nice. I feel like our culture is so good at pulling other people down and being so judgmental, but there's space for all of us to be who we are. There's space for us to celebrate each other and root for each other and not take each other down.
I feel strongest when I'm practicing self-acceptance. Allowing myself to be myself makes me feel really powerful...I think it requires a sense of community. You have to unplug from what our culture and our world tells us is strong, is pretty, is better. It opens up the door for some fun, because otherwise it all becomes so serious. Strong can be serious, but there's also some play in just allowing.
No one is going to feel joy if they're always hungry. That's why it's great to have a diet that tastes as good as it makes you feel.
Tracee told People that she doesn't restrict her eating to "firm meal times," but at the same time she eats using the same philosophy that she lives: joyfully.
I have this philosophy on eating that it not only has to taste good in my mouth, but also feel good in my body...So, a lot of things that taste good in my mouth don't feel good in my body.
I'm pretty sure that Tracee was a spiritual leader in her former life, because she's always speaking the gospel truth!
Featured image by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
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.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood