Self-love starts with an irreversible decision to be better. It's a self-kept promise to put in the necessary work to transcend your current situation. Here's part two of my soundtrack to self-love.
6. Through The Wire - Kanye West
"I'm a champion, so I turn tragedy to triumph"
After I was finished with my shift, I bought a notebook and went home to plan my exit strategy. I could pay off the bill by Christmas Eve and still have money left over for myself. I committed to December 30th being the last day at my job. I would spend New Year's Eve at church with my family and be back in school on January 11 for the Spring semester. I challenged myself. I saved my money. I acted on bettering my situation. My consistency resulted in victory. I walked through a negative space to arrive at a new positive. I was secure. I valued life in a different way. My appreciation was on another level. I was a lot more serious than before. I grew.
7. That's How I Knew - Nipsey Hussle
"Now I got a different goal, 'cause I reached all my old ones"
That semester introduced me to a lot of experiences that changed my view on my own abilities. I was selected to be in music ensembles that I hadn't been in before. I was in a theater giving a concert for four nights. I was traveling just to play music for people I had never met. My reality was my fantasy. Anything was possible. I started doing weddings and getting paid for my public performances. I was now living the life that I spent so many nights dreaming about.
8. Biking - Frank Ocean ft. Jay-Z & Tyler, The Creator
"Life goes in cycles, what goes around comes around"
As I was elevating, so was my ego. I became engulfed in my own abilities. I believed that each accomplishment derived from my own doing. I was like a helium balloon, lost in the atmosphere. On May 26th, 2016, I fell ill with a serious case of pneumonia. My fever was 104 degrees with high potential of brain damage if my temperature been just two degrees higher. To make matters worse, I was just offered a job as an administrative assistant for an artist management company the day before. The pneumonia was so bad that I couldn't work or even play my saxophone for a month. I used that time to reflect on all the things I was doing wrong up to that point. I realized that my relationship with God wasn't where it needed to be, nor was I as grounded as I needed to be. I viewed my pneumonia as God's way of humbling me. On June 25th, I was well enough to play my horn. I had a gig where I performed Mahalia Jackson's rendition of 'The Lord's Prayer'. From that day on, I decided to put God first. I let go of trying to control everything and believed in Him. If something bad happened, I would rest assured knowing that I was in His safety.
9. Love Yourz - J. Cole
"For what's money without happiness? Or hard times without the people you love?"
Lately, I've noticed that the beauty in life is found in the balance of ambition and appreciation. I still have professional goals, but I also make time to FaceTime my little sister. A direct deposit doesn't mean as much as a two hour and fourteen-minute conversation with my mother about life and God's plan. I still feel like a helium balloon, but my loved ones keep me from drifting too far away. Their love is what pushes me to go further. I practice self-care by being loyal to them.
10. Rolls Royce ***** - 2 Chainz
"Believe in yourself, who else gon' believe in you?"
I've been through quite a bit in these past two years. The main lesson that I've learned is that life has its ups and downs. Not everything is my fault, but everything in my life is to help me grow from where I was. Self-Care is a practice that never stops. It's a journey of checkpoints. I practice self-care by meditating every morning. I have a journal that I write in every day. I practice self-love by believing in myself. I purchased a domain name and published my own website. I released my first album. I have my own radio show. I'm a writing contributor for this website. All of these things were deferred dreams until now. I acted and started moving toward the lifestyle that I wanted for myself. There's a lot more to do, but I'm growing. I can feel it.
I wrote this article to help anyone who was like me and was unsure about the concept of self-love. What songs would serve as your soundtrack to self-love? Let me know in the comments below. Peace and Love.