Valentine's Day Series
Justice & Aaliyah have been best friends for the past 11 years. They’ve been through good and bad times, yet have always found their way back to one another. Justice Hirsch lives in Hamburg, Germany and is currently studying communication design. She is a creative person whose main interests lie in photography. Justice has beautiful 6 siblings - each one more crazy than the other. Her mother’s roots lie in Zambia and her father is Sri Lankan. Aaliyah Osuman is a 26-year-old student and host of a radio show. She is finishing up her studies while simultaneously training to become a journalist. Her father is from Ghana and her mother is German.
Tell me the story of how you met. What do you remember thinking about one another?
Justice: It’s funny to think back to the moment when we first met, because the girl I saw was very shy at first - the total opposite of the proud and powerful women I know today. I was introduced to her by a mutual friend, we met at an old hangout pot. That’s 11 years ago now - I can’t even believe it... Aaliyah will always have a special place in my heart.
Aaliyah: When we first met, I thought Justice was super cool and that we could never be friends (lol). I remember we met for the first time in a park in the winter. It was cold out, and my friends and I were making plans for the night, going out to have a drink or two. She came through with her cousin, who was a friend of friend. He introduced us to each other.
How would each of you describe your relationship? What’s your favorite thing about your relationship?
Justice: She’s like my sister. She feels like family to me.
Aaliyah: Our relationship is more than just being friends. We are like family. My favorite thing about our relationship is that I can be sure she’ll be there for me when I need her.
Compliment shower: name 5 things you love about one another.
Justice: I love her lively way of being and that she’s not afraid to speak her truth. I love rocking the dance floor with her all night long. I love how passionate she is about the things that interest her. I love the way we laugh together and honestly, I just love her for for who she is.
Aaliyah: I love her smile and the way she gives me advice. I also love how she treats the people around her; she’s so kind and loving! Justice is a great listener and can always make me laugh.
What is one thing you’ve taught/learned from one another?
Justice: No matter how hard you fall, get up and get your shit together. She taught me that you’re always going to make it in the end!
Aaliyah: She’s taught me that communication is the key and that I don’t need to worry about what other people are thinking about me.
Describe your favorite memory together, one you’ll never forget & why.
Justice: Oh, there are so many great memories we’ve had together. But a really funny one is this one time, we went out and pretended like we were American sisters - we spent the whole night speaking English (although our mother language is German) and just fucking with people. We invented the craziest (and most unrealistic) stories about our lives, but at least the sister part wasn't a lie.
Aaliyah: Ui, I really can't decide which memory is my favorite. There are so many! But maybe the surprise party that her and her mom threw me for my 18th birthday. That was so cute!
In what ways do you support each another? How do you inspire one another creatively?
Justice: Aaliyah has taught me a lot about my identity as a Black women in Germany. She’s inspired me to stand for myself and not get intimidated by others.
Aaliyah: We support each other in our work, in our ways of thinking, growing, helping each other out in situations that might seem hopeless. I even lived with her and her family for 3 months because I was having trouble with my parents.
What are some of your love languages?
Justice: We’ve never really been into love languages but I should tell her how much I love and respect her more often.
Aaliyah: We’ve had a lot of nicknames over the past 11 years - that’s one way we show love.
Do you consider your relationship to be romantic? What does romance look like for you?
Justice: I would say no. I do not love her in a romantic way but I love her in so many other ways!
Aaliyah: I wouldn’t say our relationship is romantic. But it is intimate. A romantic relationship for me is a relationship with my partner.
What color and animal do you feel best reflects the other person?
Justice: Yellow, just because it suits her so well. But also green like a rising plant. Her animal is definitely a lion - strong and proud!
Aaliyah: Yellow is a color that reflects Justice very well. She is very creative, she’s happy most of the time and gives me warmth.
How does your ethnic background / identity bring you closer? How does each of your upbringings effect your relationship?
Justice: I was the only Black kid in my class, at some points the only one in my whole school, and children can be very mean. It was hard for me to find my own identity while constantly comparing myself with the other kids. Although, I was a strong and confident little girl. When I first met Aaliyah, I just felt connected to her in so many ways, and all of a sudden, I didn’t feel so alone anymore. She was the first Black person I had to lean on in my circle of friends - now it was the both of us with our ‘loud voices’, ‘loud laughter’, ‘bad temper’ or other, shitty prejudiced things people said about us throughout the years. These experiences really bonded us. Everyday she brings me closer to finding my true identity as a Black women in Germany - I am still learning, still processing.
Aaliyah: Yes, our ethnic identities bring us closer together. We can talk about our experiences as Black women living in a white dominated country; she understand me much better than my white friends due to that shared experience. We come up with strategies on how to deal with racism – that binds us.
What are 5 qualities that you believe are essential to a healthy & happy relationship?
Justice: Trust, the ability to listen to each other but also giving space if needed, supporting each other, learning from one another and talking about your needs, fears, wishes and dreams - communication and love are key!
Aaliyah: Listening – reflecting – communication – being considerate – being loving
Have you ever fought? How do you navigate disagreements? How do you reconcile?
Justice: Just a few months ago we had a big fight, I think a lot of stuff had built up over the years. We both needed the time to get back on track in regards to our relationship. I’ve learned that a friendship requires work, its not something that should be taken for granted. Communication is something we should always be working towards - even in fights I learn so much about myself and how I can be more considerate of my loved ones.
Aaliyah: We’ve never had a huge fight. We’ve had a lot of serious discussions but we’ve always found our way back to each other. If we have disagreements, we talk about it and find solutions.
What does your love feel like to one another? When do you feel closest to each another?
Justice: Our love feels pure & long term. I feel closest to Aaliyah when we have a laugh attack and our laughter blends into one and the same.
Aaliyah: I feel closest to her when we are laughing & when we are talking about our problems.
Where do you see your relationship this time next year?
Justice: Hopefully shaking our asses on the dance floor, and knowing and loving each other the same way and even better than we have been for the past 11 years!
Aaliyah: Always there.
Do you believe that relationships between womxn/femmes are essential to each of your wellbeing? Explain why these kinds of relationships are important for growth & safety.
Justice: Yes!!! My girls are my therapists. They know me better than I know myself. I would be really lost without them.
Aaliyah: My friendships with womxn are more intense and emotional than with my male friends. It is incredibly important to create emotionally safe spaces for each other so that we can grow together. So yes, relationships between womxn are essential for our growth. If you don’t have those safe spaces, it’s hard to grow alone, without all that emotional support.