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Tracee Ellis Ross Wants You To Have A Healthy Relationship With Loneliness

"I have learned to have a productive relationship with loneliness and an intensely juicy relationship with my joyful solitude."

Tracee Ellis Ross

If the pandemic has taught me anything, it's that being alone and feeling lonely are not synonymous. As an introvert who can admit to having my fair share of intimacy issues, solitude has always brought me a sense of peace, but something about seven months of being forced to be alone in my house just isn't sitting right with my spirit and I know at least, I'm not alone in feeling that.

Now that I've run out of exes to texts and old friendships to rekindle, I'm focused on fixing the relationship that I have with myself and luckily, Tracee Ellis Ross just dropped the sage advice that will help us all do exactly that. In a recent interview with Shape, the 47-year-old actresssaid that although she had previously adapted to her chaotic, on-the-go lifestyle, the pandemic has helped her find peace in pressing pause to focus on herself and the things that bring her the most joy.

"I used to spend so much time trying to be perfect, to get it perfect. But that's not realistic. Bad feelings come up. There was an element of risk to try something different — to try on the idea of: What if the universe is conspiring for good? Not necessarily mine, but what if I don't have the full picture here? What if this is all OK? And that was the start of a turning point. If you keep putting good stuff in your cup, eventually it overflows. And you'll be like, 'Oh, I need a new container.'"
"What I've realized during this pandemic is that my entire home is my meditation space. Look anywhere, and every touch is an ode to happiness. In one spot is a brass bowl from her best friend filled with crystals, many heart-shaped. I'm looking at a little chubby jade pig that I got when I went to Thailand with my mom. These are all things that bring me joy."

In the interview, Tracee also clarified what it means to be happily single during a global pandemic, which, according to her is much easier when you have a healthy relationship with loneliness and actually enjoy your own company.

"I am happily single, though that doesn't mean I am not open to and don't want a relationship. But in my wonderful and robust experience of being single, I have learned to have a productive relationship with loneliness and an intensely juicy relationship with my joyful solitude — I really enjoy my company."
"For example, one of the things I loved to do pre-pandemic is put on something cute and go for dinner and have a beautiful meal and a glass of wine. Well, can't do that. But you know what? I can do that at home. I make a beautiful plate. I set it out and have a glorious meal. I make my bed every morning. One of the things that's been lovely to discover is how I care for myself and how I actively love myself. And I believe that love is an action: You get back what you put in."

The actress told the publication that although she still has hope of finding love one day, she's spent her time as a single woman making sure that she comes to the table as a whole ass person.

"People can be in wonderful relationships but can't actually reap the joy of that connection. Because you can have all the good stuff, but if you don't know how to be with it, it doesn't matter. I realize that I hold the idea of wholeness with great reverence and respect because my goal is to have an experience with myself that is whole."

To read Tracee's full interview with Shape, click here!

Featured image by Instagram/@TraceeEllisRoss.

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

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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