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20 Lessons In Love That The Women I Admire Showed Me

The lessons in life and love three generations of women in my life taught me.

Inspiration

Growing up, if you asked who my idol was, I'd die on the hill that was my mother. But as I came into my teen years, I found that there was a distinction to be made as there were only parts of my mother that I idolized. It was her ability to survive trauma (not to be confused with overcoming it), her drive, her business savvy, and overall cut throat nature in a capitalistic game that has been rigged. I admire these parts of her and I arguably wouldn't have any of that if it weren't for the parts of her that I find less palpable. Maternal love is not her forte and although it has been difficult for me to accept, I'm starting to realize that it's fine. That I will be fine!

Her maternal love is wrought with survival--it's half-assed love, muddled with fear and anticipation of abandonment from those she loves the most. It's tough love and the breeding of what the folk are now referring to as hyper-independence. It's baggage so abundant it would make a bellhop wince, packed up with trauma and mystified beliefs about the logistics of parenting.

Despite all that I described, I've realized that there is no one idol. In the same way that I feel we shouldn't hold celebrities to a paradigm of perfection, I'm beginning to see this paradigm is unrealistic for any one of us. And a constant setup for failure. There's community in our growth and wellness. No one person can be everything and therefore, no one person can teach us all the things. Especially if they have yet to experience it for themselves. After years of concern that I might never be able to fill the void of the types of love and affection I missed out on in the ladder stages of my life, I realized that it really is a village effort.

There are so many beautiful, strong, loving brilliant women in my life (including my mother) that have taught me the value in loving all sorts of things in abundance and what that looks like. I have woven together with the best of the many women who make up my community and strived to mirror them and their influence. May it be their belief in sisterhood, pursuing passion, or family values. Here are 20 lessons I learned from the mothers, aunties, sisters, friends, and mentors throughout my life.

20 Important Life Lessons I've Learned From Women

Life Lessons on Romantic Love

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  1. Figure out what you can live with and which quirks you absolutely cannot live with...find a partner based on that.
  2. You can't change anyone but yourself.
  3. Your partner should add and multiply from you, not divide and subtract. And vice versa.
  4. Forgive, but don't forget. Both are imperative checks and balances so that we don't make the same mistakes with future romances but also so we don't take our past grievances out in those new romantic partnerships. And even when we choose to move forward in current relationships after mistakes have been made.
  5. Get to know yourself first. Use tools like journaling and meditation in order to bring more introspection.
  6. Men/Women are not necessary, they are accessories. We live in a world where women can be anything including happily single. Gain better understanding of your "why" if you're seeking out the love of a companion because it seems natural, it's likely a response to socialization. So figure out what it really is that you want, you might be surprised.

Life Lessons on Platonic and Familial Love

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  1. Whenever possible you help family…especially your children. This seems like common sense but in the Black community we see it all too often where we're brought up on "tough" love. Parents require children to struggle simply because they struggled to get to where they are and that's not necessary. Nor is it how we achieve generational wealth.
  2. When friendship is authentic, it is healing.
  3. Family are those who you choose.
  4. Coparenting harmoniously and prioritizing the child's happiness is important. Even on the heels of a nasty relationship ending.
  5. Parents are just people with seemingly important titles. Doesn't mean they're good at the job, doesn't mean they're bad at it...they're just doing the best they can with what they have. Which leads me to this…
  6. Family is not exonerated from boundaries simply because you know their history with trauma. You can be understanding without being a martyr. We have our own work to do in this lifetime, so saddling ourselves with the job of unpacking and carrying the trauma of our mamas, sisters, uncles...it's not our job.

Life Lessons on Self-Love and Image

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  1. Set, establish, and maintain boundaries within all of your relationships. You cannot do one without doing the other three. But this is the only way to create healthy relationship dynamics with yourself and within your friendships.
  2. Sometimes it's cheaper to just pay for it. Cheaper for your well-being, peace of mind, etc.
  3. Dream big, dream hard. Your career doesn't have to be practical to everyone. Just you!
  4. Survival and healing are sold seperate. Persevering through trauma doesn't simply mean surviving it.
  5. Black people do luxury. Black people are deserving of luxury. Hell, we are luxury.
  6. We are too blessed to be stressed. As much as people hoot and holler about manifestation being ungodly, this popularized phrase says otherwise. Have faith that even in moments of difficulty, things will work out in the end. All you can do is try your absolute best and know that the Universe/God will meet you the rest of the way.
  7. Take pride in your appearance.
  8. Invest in your wardrobe. As great as fast fashion can be in a pinch, you should start building a collection of clothes that are timeless and can actually withstand time.

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

Featured image by Shutterstock

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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