It is the birthday of a queen, an international holiday, and a day for me to reflect on how impactful Miss Badu and her words have been throughout the most recent stage of my life.

In 1997, Badu released Baduizm—an album that has played a significant role in how I navigate life. During my time in Spain, I have made it a routine to play the Baduizm album each morning in order to get me through the day. The most important thing that I have learned through this album, her other pieces of work, and her overall art and lifestyle was to learn how to be the light of my own world and to keep moving forward.

As the daughter of two native Jamaicans that struggled during the majority of their lives in order to ensure that their children were able to start off on higher ground, these were two things that I needed to learn. It wasn't until I began maturing that I began to identify the effect that seeing my parents struggle while I grew up had on my personal life.

When money was low and tensions were high, things became complicated. The air was tense, anxiety presented itself, and discomfort was a common feeling. A lot of these exaggerated feelings of intensity and anxiety would follow me into my adulthood. There was too much of a reliance on material things and others to be the source of comfort and happiness. Material things and other people were dynamic—they were always changing, they weren't required to be static. There was no way it made sense to find happiness in things that I wasn't sure would commit to me. I had to be the owner of my happiness—the light of my own world.

I sought happiness from other people, and as a result, I was constantly unhappy. I unfairly tried to make it the job of my friends to keep me happy instead of taking on the responsibility to do it myself. My friends did all that they could, but they were their own people with their own lives. They couldn't do everything for me. It took some trial and error, including months of depression and unbearable anxiety, but eventually, I took on the job of trying to learn how to find happiness on my own and how to find the power to push forward when I couldn't even imagine how I would make it to the next day.

And that’s where I am now. I am still on this journey…with the help of Erykah and with the help of my family and with the help of my friends and significant other. Everyday I am practicing positivity and perseverance. Through her music, I am reminded that exerting and surrounding myself with positivity and kind, colorful words and images will only benefit me. In order to rid my life of negativity and tension, I have prescribed myself with her music as medicine for a fulfilling and beautiful life.  

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