It wasn’t the news that Beyoncé would grace the cover of the coveted September issue of Vogue magazine that caught my attention. Even the news that she would be photographed by 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell,
the first black photographer to shoot the cover in the magazine’s 126-year history, didn’t pique my interest much (though it absolutely did touch, move and inspire me). It was the announcement that Beyoncé would have “full control” that intrigued me. The announcement itself was no surprise; fans and critics alike have watched Beyoncé exercise control over her chart-topping career and personal life over the last two decades. As a thirtysomething year old woman ready to make her own mark on the world, I hoped the article would shed some light on how Beyoncé mirrored the success she found in her career in her personal life and how I could do it too. And, did it!
The first time I read the article, titled “Beyoncé in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage” , I was awestruck by the authenticity and maturity in her candor. By the fourth time I read it, I got a clearer picture of how Beyoncé matured into the gracious, dynamic, powerful woman that we know and love. In her own words, Beyonce shared sage advice for how to take control of your own life and create extraordinary results. These are the 12 most powerful life lessons I learned:
1. Be open and honest about what’s not working, then re-evaluate and readjust.
After the birth of my first child, I believed in the things society said about how my body should look. I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it. Looking back, that was crazy. I was still breastfeeding when I performed the Revel shows in Atlantic City in 2012. After the twins, I approached things very differently.
2. Find a solid support system.
My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU. My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me.
3. Self-love, self-care and self-acceptance is the best medicine.
After the C-section, my core felt different. It had been major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that. I needed time to heal, to recover. During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. After six months, I started preparing for Coachella. I became vegan temporarily, gave up coffee, alcohol, and all fruit drinks. But I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves.
4. Love every inch of your body, even that stubborn bit of belly fat.
To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.
5. Learn from others.
Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like.
6. Respect everyone. Period.
Everyone has a say. Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.
7. Do your work. Transform your life.
I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust. Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship. Connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful.
8. Express gratitude often.
I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar.
9. Joy cometh in the morning.
I have experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms. I have had disappointments in business partnerships as well as personal ones, and they all left me feeling neglected, lost, and vulnerable. Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow.
10. Be authentic. It’s “so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.”
I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.
11. Know what brings you joy and do that. Often.
I don’t like too much structure. I like to be free. I’m not alive unless I am creating something. I’m not happy if I’m not creating, if I’m not dreaming, if I’m not creating a dream and making it into something real. I’m not happy if I’m not improving, evolving, moving forward, inspiring, teaching, and learning.
12. Be open to change and the extraordinary possibilities it can bring.
One day I was randomly singing the black national anthem to Rumi while putting her to sleep. I started humming it to her every day. In the show at the time I was working on a version of the anthem with these dark minor chords and stomps and belts and screams. After a few days of humming the anthem, I realized I had the melody wrong. I was singing the wrong anthem. One of the most rewarding parts of the show was making that change. I swear I felt pure joy shining down on us.
I got even more gems writing this! Have you read the article? What did you think?