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You Got What You Prayed For…Now What?

I have what I asked for. Now what?

Inspiration

Throughout the better part of my life, I've heard the saying: “Ask and ye shall receive."


The idea that whatever we desire is just waiting on us to claim it through the words out of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts has been a welcome companion in good and bad times alike. However, like most simple steps, it was the hardest one to commit to—the total reliance on faith, God and energy. So, I first took my semi-commitment to social media because, as we all know by this point, social media is where we go to say the things that our close friends are tired of hearing.

I started to be upfront with the “world" about my desires with hopes that the Universe would respond to me and let me know I was on the right track. So I'd tweet this:

I half-believed it and half expected it to happen about five to ten years from now.

Fast forward three years and I am here: a working actress, a writer, well-traveled, and a boyfriend who—you guessed it—loves loves art and hip-hop. We're holding off on the kids for a while, but I have it; I have what I asked for. Now what? Often times, we arrive at our proverbial destination and have no idea what to do in order to keep climbing. We either become workhorses who have no time to enjoy the blessings we prayed for or we become complacent and forget that our dreams must be fed consistently.

So here are seven answers for the question, “Now what?"

Get Specific

Now that you've laid the foundation, it's time to build on it. Generalizing your dreams is not enough. You want to write a book? What kind? Do you want it to be a NYT bestseller? You want to own a business? Where? For how long? Do you want to be on the cover of Forbes when it's all said and done? Details will save you energy in the long run because you'll know what to focus on every step of the way. Distractions and wasted time are like poison for dreamers.

Be Bold

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This is not the time to be bashful. You fought to be here, don't make light of your journey, and don't be afraid to share what you've learned. This also applies to tip one, ask God for exactly what you want. He knows your heart anyway, so why hold back for fear that you won't get it? Courage is such a huge part of success!

Stop Comparing

If you're worried about competing with the person next to you, you'll have less time to build your own empire. And trust me, they're just as concerned about tomorrow as you are. That's human nature. Your dreams, your story, your cornbread…it's yours. No one can take it from you. And the opposite is true: you cannot receive another person's blessings. If they have it, it's theirs, and it wouldn't fit you anyway.

Take Away the Ceiling

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One of my favorite teachers would tell us to never aim for an A because, "Once you get that A, you'll feel like there's nothing left to learn." If you tell yourself that there is a goal you want to reach and make that goal the ceiling for your dreams—you'll miss out on your ability to keep growing.

Make a New List of Goals

This may seem like an obvious step, but I'm always shocked by how many people never think to keep dreaming bigger. Chances are, if you're traveling, researching, meeting new people, and learning all there is to know about your particular field, you'll discover new talents—use them.

Sleep

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Listen, nothing will feed your dreams better than a well-rested mind. Don't believe the "they sleep, we grind" narrative; running your body into the ground in the name of your dreams won't get you there any quicker. What it will do is slow down your progress. Sleep deprivation directly affects your central nervous system, aka the place where your ideas come from.

Live

No, really. You must find time to live. Take some risks. Break some ties. Form some new relationships. Read some books. Spend one too many hours on Tumblr. Go to a museum. Post that selfie you were going to post, but then thought it was too much. Do absolutely nothing for an entire day. Whatever makes you feel alive, do it. Do not become so stifled by success that taking a step away from your work riddles you with fear of being left behind. This is very important for all of you creatives out there—the best thing you can do for your art is to be a well-rounded person with life experiences.

Cut yourself some slack. Enjoy what you have right now and keep going!

Featured image by Getty Images

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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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