10K80 by Julia Ismail October 1, 2018
For some, mental toughness is equivalent to flexing a muscle, something that needs to be built over time with reps of patience in order to get where you want to be.
The capability of handling situations depends entirely on a person’s mindset and sensitivities. We all go through hard times, but have you ever been around that one friend who shrugs casually while recalling details of the unfortunate experience they went through last week?
Or that other friend who’s been there, done that, remaining effortless in their usual tenor? Some of us just are built that way, while others still struggle with balancing the cyclical and monotonous tasks of everyday life.
At the end of the day, there’s always someone who has it worse and is overcoming their situations quicker. It’s not a super power, they are not immune to emotions or trials, they’re just better at going about their day without allowing the past to weigh them down.
And many of these people go on to do great things? How many celebrities have you read about who have come from a background of hardships?
Rihanna sold her clothing to make ends meet on the streets of Barbados, Cardi B started stripping to escape an abusive relationship at the age of 20, and Oprah found her way out of sexual abuse and poverty.
The stories of these women are as inspirational as they are brave, united by the same common theme: they never gave up, no matter what experiences they went through. They surpassed their hardships by grinding through the struggle, eventually persevering on the other side.
Much like our leading lady figures, Princess Nokia’s childhood wasn’t a typical one. Born Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, she alternated between the LES, Harlem, and Brooklyn as a kid.
Losing her mother to AIDS at a young age, Princess Nokia grew up with her abusive foster mother who worked at the school she attended, limiting her chances of getting faculty involved with her home life.
At the age of 16, shortly after recognizing that she was being abused, she ran away from her foster family with only $3 and a cell phone in her pocket.
“I fucking ran out the house and never went back.”
These days, Princess Nokia is heading down a path that starkly contrasts her younger years.
Widely successful in the underground music scene, she has decided to remain an independent artist and work on her sound and image on her own time, without the pressure of being attached to a label.
Known for her perfervid views on feminism, Princess Nokia displayed signs of heroism many times before. She punched a man in his face at a Cambridge University show after hearing him shout sexist comments like “Show me your tits!” After the show, she said,
“I’m so sorry, but when a white boy (in this particular case) disrespects you, you punch him in the fucking face.”
And who can forget that time she threw soup at a belligerent racist on the subway? She tells Tidal that she’d always been a warrior for the people.
“I forget that I’m Princess Nokia all the time.”
Now, I’m not saying square up every time something difficult comes your way, but if there’s something you deeply believe in, you should approach the situation with the pride and confidence it deserves.
If this means punching an ignorant ass hater spewing racist vitriol, so be it.
If Princess Nokia’s artistry and success have taught us anything, it’s that it’s more than okay to be who you truly are.
Her song “Tomboy” focuses on pointing out her perceived ‘flaws’ and placing them in a sexually empowering paradigm.
With my little titties and my phat belly/ I could take your man if you finna let me/ It’s a guarantee that he won’t forget me/ My body little, my soul is heavy
“Typical” would be the last word used to describe Princess Nokia. An Afro-Latina revolutionary with a thirst for challenging the construction of gender and race, signing to a record label would only deter her of her individuality, so instead, she’s turned down five record deals. Five!
That’s a whole lot of opportunity strewn to the side in hopes of allowing your inner self to shine through and do the work for you.
Of course, we have no doubt this will happen. Embrace what you have and abandon the idea of “changing” who you are. And if you don’t fully know who you are just yet, that’s okay too — some of the most fun you’ll have on your journey is during the trial and error of becoming who you need to be.
Practicing self-love and compassion is harder than it sounds. We are our toughest critics, our own insecurities often limit our potential if we allow them to.
Recalling the moment she recognized there was something wrong with the relationship she had with her foster mother, rather than blame herself for the events proceeding, Princess Nokia sought out to make a change.
She explained in her documentary with The Fader titled “Destiny,”
“I remember it was picture day. She beat the shit out of me. I had a black eye. And she made her sister put makeup on me. At 10-11 years old, I had to get put makeup on that morning. By 15 years old I realized it’s not okay to abuse a child. That something is being taken from me and I didn’t want to be silent anymore.”
If you’re capable of showing others compassion, let it align with your practices of self-love and care. Just because you’re going through a rough time doesn’t mean you have to suffer through the pain. If something isn’t right, it’s time for a change.
If the universe is shooting blaring hints at you and you’re doing everything in your force to ignore them, don’t.
Your intuition is your best friend. It tells you when it’s time to take a look around at the situations you’re in and what to do about them.
It tells you when you need to move, when you need to take a different approach, and to pay closer to your situations.
The only failure is not trying. When you fall, you pick yourself back up again and come back with your focus even stronger than before.
There’s no room for failure when you’re following your passions. If plans don’t turn out the way you expected them to, consider yourself being steered into a different direction.
Princess Nokia, much like the other empowering women challenging the constructs of our media and continue to be pioneers and role models, upending the typical perceptions of women we look up to.
These women give everyone hope that forgoing all that we’ve been taught and following ourselves to the ends of our journey is all that we can do to ensure our own happiness.