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Oprah & Gayle: Living Proof That True Friends Are Also Mutual Fans

"Be true to your work, your word and your friend."---Henry David Thoreau

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It's kind of rare that a day doesn't go by when there's not a headline that features Oprah, Gayle King or them both. But when I caught the one that I saw today on People's site, I immediately hit up my editor to see if I could expound on it a bit. The title? "Oprah Winfrey Says BFF Gayle King Has 'Always Felt Not a Shadow but the Light' from Her Success". I adore that because that is just what a friendship should be.

Since I wanted to hear more, first, I watched the feature interview with Gayle about how she and Oprah have been friends since 1976; how she was a production assistant at the time, Oprah was anchor and staying at Oprah's house during a bad storm one night solidified their friendship forever. How? Well, they basically had a "C.S. Lewis moment" based on when he once said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" For them, their ethnicity, being close in age and sharing similar philosophies (oh and agreeing on who they liked and who they thought were assholes; that's a direct Gayle quote, by the way) are the very things that still keep them so close even now.

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Something else that stood out to me is the story Gayle shared about the nicest thing that Oprah has ever done for her. She said that on her first New Year's Eve following her divorce, Oprah and Stedman drove four hours to surprise her. Stedman made spaghetti and they stayed with Gayle so that she wouldn't have to be alone. (So, Sex & the City fans, when Carrie did that for Miranda in the first movie, that wasn't original or merely fictional; Oprah and Gayle did it first). And now, some forty-plus years later, here Oprah and Gaye still stand. Strong and secure Black women. Powerhouses in their own right (let's not forget that Gayle negotiated a pretty impressive deal with CBS earlier this year). And, what I really admire, complete and total fans of one another.

So much, in fact, that for the first time ever, Gayle is gracing the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine in September, alongside her bestie.

As I went to Oprah's actual website to check out the cover story, this part, in particular, stood out to me:

For years, people have marveled at our friendship—and sometimes misunderstood it. But anyone who has a soulful bond with a friend, a friend who would do anything for you, who revels in your happiness and is there to comfort you in your sadness, gets it exactly.

In our friendship, they see their own connections. It's why people often introduce their best friends to me as "She's my Gayle."

Amen. Your friends, your true friends, won't only do anything for you, they will revel in your happiness. That includes your success. (Bookmark that for a moment. I'll be coming back to it.)

As I continued to read on, it's pretty obvious that Oprah not only adores her BFF, but she highly respects her too. It's evident in her words that if anyone saw Gayle's current success coming a mile away, and is totally thrilled because of it, it is her. Plus, I appreciate that Oprah addressed something that I'm sure just about all of us have wondered at one time or another—did Gayle ever feel resentment, envy or that it was some sort of backhanded compliment to be referred to as "Oprah's best friend" all these years. According to Oprah, absolutely not.

Now that Gayle's a shining star on 'CBS This Morning', people often ask her how she felt being in the shadow of my success. The truth is, she always felt not a shadow, but the light. We couldn't have remained friends if she'd perceived it as a shadow. I would have sensed that, and I wouldn't have been able to be as open.

A true friend can't be jealous of you, or want to take advantage of you in any way.

Rinse and repeat— A true friend can't be jealous of you, or want to take advantage of you in any way.

As I finished up, what I consider to be, Oprah's letter of deep love and profound adoration for her friend, I thought about some of my own relationships. Although I didn't plan for it to play out the way that it has, I also have friends who are in the spotlight. Sometimes people ask me how I am able to make it all work. If I were to offer up a bullet point list, here would be my top five:

Know That You Each Have Your Own Purpose in Life

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I'll be honest. Something that particularly impresses me about Oprah and Gayle's friendship is the fact that they are basically in the same line of work and there are no moments of competitiveness or jealousy; especially since the media world is naturally competitive on its own. For them to be able to navigate through all of that, it speaks to their own heightened level of self-awareness that they each have a purpose in this life. Oprah can't do what Gayle can in the way that she can do it, and vice versa.

And you know what? That point right there applies to all of us. One of my favorite quotes of all time is "If two people were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary." (A man named Larry Dixon said that.) By the mere fact that you are even on this site, I can only assume that you are a pretty ambitious individual. That probably means that some of your inner circle is pretty accomplished as well. No matter how popular, successful or rich one of you may be more than the other, that has nothing to do with the value of each purpose. God placed you both here to do something specific. Knowing this—and reminding one another of this too—can help to keep the green-eyed monster away. For good.

Be Intentional About Celebrating One Another

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The Greek playwright Aeschylus once said, "Few men have the natural strength to honor a friend's success without envy." I can see how that would be the case. In my world, a lot of my friends who are in the spotlight are musicians. I'm a writer. So, for the most part, there is no "clashing" to be had. But I will say that when one of them calls me up to say they won an award or they've landed a television special, I celebrate it. And you know what? When I got my book deals or even when I landed this gig with xoNecole, they celebrated that with just as much enthusiasm.

True friends are able to get excited about one another's accomplishments because true friends want to see one another thrive. Because really, when you truly love someone, why wouldn't you want them to win?

Unless you're not "in it" for the friendship, just the opportunities or the "perks" that come with being associated with you. That's not only mad shady but brings me to another point.

Test Your Motives (and Theirs)

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There's a Scripture in the Bible that serves as a pretty good character warning—"We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives." (Proverbs 21:2—Message) What I like about it is it's a reminder that no matter how good you may be (or think that you are) at hiding your true intentions about something, God always knows. And eventually, those intentions tend to come out. Although there have been times when I've used my media contacts to help out a friend, more times than not, they did not ask; I offered (because again, friends like to see their friends win). But the reason why I am confident that none of my inner circle has ulterior motives is because, unless we're trying to figure out a time to hang out or one of us needs some advice about something, our professional lives don't really come up all that much.

Just last night, I was hanging out with a friend who has an ever-growing platform. Do you know what we talked about more than anything? Past memories and our current relationships (which for me is nada). He wasn't looking to see how I could finesse him nor was I. He's my homie. His accomplishments are a part of him, not all of him. True friends embrace one another's totality. Do you? Do yours?

“Get Off of the Clock” Sometimes

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I don't do social media, but I will set a Google alert for some of my friends. Why? Because if search engines didn't tell me about some of the things they've got going on, I wouldn't know any other way. Why? Because most of our relationship consists of day-to-day stuff. We look forward to being able to discuss the things that are probably only truly significant to us.

You can't convince me that Oprah and Gayle don't share moments when they don't do anything but binge-watch television, crack jokes or hang out just for the sake of it. I doubt any friendship could last if all both people did was "talk shop" all of the time; shoot, that's what co-workers are for. Without a doubt, a great way to nurture your friendship is to be off of the clock more than you're on it with each other.

Friendships are supposed to be a source of relaxation and fun. It can only do that when both people are safe places to chill out.

Be Honest About Your Feelings

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A husband that I truly respect once said something about his wife that I will never forget—"My job is to present my wife in her best light at all times. She has flaws, but you won't ever hear about them from me." That said, there's no way that Oprah and Gayle—or any other set of friends—can be authentic and not have "moments"; it's just not our business to know about them.

At the same time, that's not to say that I don't have respect for "Kelly Rowland moments" either. Some of y'all might remember back in 2013 when the song "Dirty Laundry" came out and she admitted that she had times when she felt jealous of Beyonce's success. It's a reminder that another necessary component for a friendship's success and longevity is honesty.

And so, if you're feeling some type of way about a friend's accomplishments, don't tell someone else or be passive aggressive about it on social media—tell them directly. A true friend will love you through those feelings and support you in getting past them so that, you can stop feeling like you are in their shadow; so that, like Gayle with Oprah, you can beam in the light alongside them.

If you live on this earth long enough, you'll come to embrace that one of the best gifts it has to offer is a true friend. Oprah and Gayle just reminded us of that. So today, take out a moment to be intentional about shining some light on your besties—to be their fan as well as their friend. If they've been a true one, they deserve it. Right?

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Good Friends Are Hard To Find! Here's How To Show Yours You Appreciate Them

10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships

The Truth About Maintaining Friendships As An Adult

5 Signs You Are Living Your True Purpose

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

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:

Voting Rights

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.

Student Debt

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.

Postal Banking

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.

Fair Housing

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.

Broadband Access

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.

Reparations

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.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Every day, Black women elevate the world. We are trendsetters and visionaries; the shapeshifters that lead by virtue of presence alone. In a world that sells our identities for consumption, we remind everyone that joy is our birthright and the grace we carry will always be authentic. Our existence is not a social experiment but a crafted emblem of perfection. And for that, we deserve everything good this world has to offer.

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Mj Rodriguez has been giving us all of our lives since she emerged on our screens as the ever-so-fabbbulous Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose, in 2018. Since, she has captured the hearts of many all over the world, from LGBTQ advocates, to everyone in between. The beloved series officially came to a heart-wrenching end, after three seasons of tackling homelessness, sex work, the rejection that the trans community deals with on a daily basis and combined it with heart and dance to captivate millions around the world weekly.

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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

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I can honestly say that I haven't used Cantu since I went natural back in 2016. It's not that I don't like the brand — let's be honest, Cantu is the holy grail brand that a lot of us probably started our natural hair journey with. It was and still is affordable, accessible, and effective haircare. I somewhat strayed away though because it's very easy to get caught up in trying different brands that some products honestly just get lost in the sea of haircare. Nevertheless, Cantu has dropped a few collections that I couldn't help but try. One of their most recent drops is the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line which works for all hair types but is made with 4C hair in mind.

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Born between December 22nd and January 19th, these Saturnians are notorious for being pragmatic workaholics who are constantly striving to reach the peak of their proverbial mountain of acclaim and success. Ruler of the 10th house, Capricorn is no stranger to grind as they are internally driven by their duty to fulfill their obligations.

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"Now, the only label I've got that matters is God's: God's creation. God's work. God's child."

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