Last week, when I found out J Cole was dropping a new album, a certain thought went through my mind. " How different will I feel listening to this album?", If you didn't know, earlier this year I wrote an article addressed as a letter to J Cole (http://www.afropunk.com/m/blogpost?id=2059274%3ABlogPost%3A1391634). The previous article expressed how 2014 forest hills drive, helped me through some of my toughest, and darkest days of depression.
However, I'm in recovery now. I'm a different version of me, but that doesn't mean the story ends. Some people think recovery means "cured", and that's far from the truth. While I'm no longer depressed, I will still have to monitor my mental health for the rest of my life. As time goes on, I still continue to get pieces of my life restored. Recovery isn't always easy. It's like you're trying to find a new form of normal for yourself. To be honest, I'm not sure if normal is actually a real thing for me, I'm still looking for the right word to describe me as time moves forward.
In recovery, when my mood changes I sometimes have a slight fear. I wonder "how much will my mood change?", I'm human, so of course I have good days, and bad days just like everyone else in the world, but I sometimes fear, "what if the bad days get REALLY bad again?", It's natural for me to feel this way though. I've only been in recovery for a little over a year. I'm still going strong, but I still find myself seeking different forms of therapeutic activities to help me along the way.
By Jasmin Pierre*, AFROPUNK contributor
Which leads me back to J Cole, I was so excited about this new album "4 Your Eyez Only", that I woke up in the middle of the night just to hear it. I was eager to hear the beats, the artistic expression, and the woken baritone of his words. As I sat cross legged on my bed, with the lights still off, I let the music fill up my ears, and my heart. From the very beginning of the album, I knew once again, I would be able to grasp, and even at times personally relate to what Cole was saying.
The intro "For whom the bells toll" reminded me that I'm still on a journey. A verse in the intro captured me so much, that it's still replaying in my mind over, and over again.
"I’m searching, and praying, and hoping for something
I know I’m gon’ see it,
I know that it’s coming Lord"
That's how recovery feels for me at times. I'm better, but I'm still searching, praying, and hoping, for continuous progress in every area of my life. I know that it's coming, but it still takes time. It still means taking care of myself, and letting life continue to move me forward. Everyday for me is a step into that direction, even on the hard days.
"4 Your Eyez Only" is filled with little reminders throughout the whole album, it reminds me that chaos, and murder still broadcasts on our TV screens, that sometimes isolation from the world, and it's madness is needed for our mental health, but we still can't hide from the world forever, that love still needs to be a continuous, and growing force within our lives (whether we have it, or we are still searching for it), and that better is coming. A better life is coming, and nothing can stop that.
So once again, I just want to tell Cole thank you. Even In my recovery I find that his music continues to lift me up, and to answer my own question from the beginning of this article, I do feel really different while listening. I realized when I began listening, I didn't feel hopeless like I did two years ago. I'm healthier, I'm better, I'm stronger, and I've become a fighter. Even on the bad days I find strength to carry on, and I continue to position myself for all the good that's to come. I Praise God I feel the difference, because the difference has been good for me, and it's been good for my mental health.
*Jasmin Pierre is a mental health activist and the author of “A Fight Worth Finishing”. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those suffering from major depressive disorder. She aspires to become a life coach and continue writing to encourage others to never give up.
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