20 Lessons In Love That The Women I Admire Showed Me
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
- Figure out what you can live with and which quirks you absolutely cannot live with...find a partner based on that.
- You can't change anyone but yourself.
- Your partner should add and multiply from you, not divide and subtract. And vice versa.
- 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.
- Get to know yourself first. Use tools like journaling and meditation in order to bring more introspection.
- 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
- 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.
- When friendship is authentic, it is healing.
- Family are those who you choose.
- Coparenting harmoniously and prioritizing the child's happiness is important. Even on the heels of a nasty relationship ending.
- 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…
- 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
- 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.
- Sometimes it's cheaper to just pay for it. Cheaper for your well-being, peace of mind, etc.
- Dream big, dream hard. Your career doesn't have to be practical to everyone. Just you!
- Survival and healing are sold seperate. Persevering through trauma doesn't simply mean surviving it.
- Black people do luxury. Black people are deserving of luxury. Hell, we are luxury.
- 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.
- Take pride in your appearance.
- 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.
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
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