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Lessons My Parents' 10-Year Separation Taught Me About Love

Love & Relationships

Admit it, we all hate when our best friend gets a new man or woman, while we stay single and left in the dust. I was recently faced with this abandonment two times over. One of my best friends, who just happens to be my mother, found love again with my other best friend, who just happens to be my father, and I was shook.

My parents have been separated for nearly 10 years, and now, after more than a decade, they've decided to rekindle their relationship and try again.

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Their relationship was the first example I had ever seen of love and set the stage for my future relationships. All of the ideas I had about love, I had developed from the paradigm of my mother and father, and it was harmful to my romantic life. Watching their partnership, which was once so beautifully bloomed, disintegrate into busted windows and hurt feelings made me question the validity of love. What the f-ck does it really got to do with it?

I couldn't help but wonder how two people who had initially been so perfect for each other, could now be so toxic for one another. Love doesn't mean sh-t if it wasn't enough to keep these two people who fit so perfectly, together, I would think to myself.

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My mom and dad are my two favorite people in the world, and during their separation, I developed very separate and individual relationships with them both. When they announced their reunion, I couldn't help but to be happy for them. But if I can be real with y'all for a moment, I was salty.

I knew that my relationships with both of them would change because that has always been our dynamic. When I was younger, it was hot and cold. Either they were mad at each other, or they were both mad at me. There was no in between. Either they were a united front, or separate entities altogether, and I had grown to prefer them that way.

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The day my mom packed her things and decided to separate from my father was a day that all of our lives changed.

This family unit that they had fought so hard to keep together was being stained with their own romantic missteps, and something had to give. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to watch them both grow wiser and stronger, and the two people that I had once known as co-dependent were now free of each other. But something was missing.

I could hear it in my mom's voice when she asked how my dad was doing, that the love that she had in her heart for him was as strong as the day she left. When they saw each other for family events and holidays, their eyes would still meet in a way that said, "I love you," and it made me sick.

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I was sick thinking about how I would feel if my dad hurt my mom, or my mom hurt my dad. I was afraid that our relationship would change and the two best friends that I had grown to know and love had now left me for one another. I was scared that everything would change and I would be abandoned, and things would return to the way they were 10 years ago.

And then, I stopped and realized it. Their love was not about me.

The thing about love is, you can't do it for anyone else. All this time, I had been griping and moaning about their relationship in the past, I didn't stop to think that they were working very hard to create a future together now, and it was time that I let them. Even if that meant the beginning of a new relationship between my two best friends that would change everything. I know now that many changes happen for the better.

Watching the fall and rise of a love as great as the one shared by mom and dad taught me a few things about love and now I want to share them with you.

If You Love It, Let It Go

My parents weren't just separated, they were exiled from each other's lives for a great deal of time. It's true that distance makes the heart grow fonder and sometimes that distance means time apart. No love was lost, and only wisdom was gained by their time spent away from one another, and now they're blessed with the opportunity to get to know each other all over again. That's a beautiful thing to watch.

Keep It Corinthian

Love is patient, love is kind, love keeps no record of wrongdoings. Even if you aren't religious, this verse in Corinthians is a good one to live by. There's no doubt that my mom and Dad hurt each other badly in the past, but it was only when they were able to forgive and move forward that their relationship could truly hit the reset button.

F-ck Timing

Whether it's 10 years or 100 years, love knows no timing. My parents were apart for nearly a decade and there was no "right time" to make things work. When the universe says you're ready, love will fall in place for you.

Both of my parents are in their 60's and it took them years to develop individually before they were ready to become a duo again. Don't rush love just because you think it's "time." The man of your dreams is out there growing, thriving, and preparing to be everything you ever wanted. Just wait on it.

Love Really Does Conquer All

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Hurt people, hurt people. Things fall apart. Love conquers all. Three cliche statements about love that I've found to be all very relevant in my mom and dads romantic life. Regardless of the pain, trauma, and depression that my parents have seen in their lifetime, love always came out on top. Forgiveness is key, and refusing to do so is like drinking a bottle of poison and expecting someone else to die.

After raising seven children, gaining a combined total of four degrees, and developing a six-figure career path, you would think that my mom and dad's story would have come to a close, but it's far from over. They are now living their best lives in the Virgin Islands and after some serious reflection, I am salty no longer.

For so many years, I rejected love and conceptualized it as pain because that was all that I knew. I was distraught in thinking that this thing that everyone was obsessed with, in actuality was a huge scam.

My parents rekindling their relationship is a sign that I was wrong, and watching their relationship develop almost from scratch is a reminder that it will never be too late for love to find me.

Featured image by Shutterstock

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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