Once I changed my perspective, the narrative shifted in my favor. I made this adequate change of my thought pattern–this time, last year. My external life is a 180-degree turn from 2017. As for my internal warfare, it’s daily labor to improve. As writer John Irving said on behalf of his fictional character, Juan Diego, “behind every journey is a reason.”

I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, so far; it’s more than I thought I would accomplish when I was 18–fresh outta high school— with ambition but no direction. My writing has been acknowledged (validation does feel good), I changed career paths (Direct Support Professional), I’ve somewhat found a balance with my social life and I’m a year removed from running away from a vast majority of my life-threatening issues.

Over the course of 365 days, my faith, character, perseverance, and maturity have gone through battles; we continue this war. My senses have heightened and I’ve become more sensitive to my surroundings and those around me. If you knew me yesterday, you don’t know me today.

Writing has combated my overwhelming thoughts. I’ve been an open book to those I care about and those who share a commonality. Meditation has played a vital role in my wellbeing. However, I continued to neglect cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). I thought I could avoid CBT and just deal with my shit in my own way. Wrong.

During my first session with my therapist, I was not nervous but I did feel a bit of rush because I had a lot to discuss with him. After verbally piling up my gripes and what bothered me, he simply noted that I worried too much. Depressed? I was worried about the past. Anxiety? I was worrying too much about the future. What both of these have in common was the fact that I didn’t obey the present moment. It’s an ongoing struggle to come to terms with life always working out the way it’s supposed to. “But what if,” is my go-to question starter. No matter how long a battle last, everything will work out in the manner it’s written to be. I can’t make any changes to the past and the future doesn’t exist. The present moment is mine. 

Lil Wayne’s battle with Cash Money over the last five years have tested Wayne’s resiliency in ways he never thought about. Wayne is an artist first and a businessman second. When the business side intertwines with the music, then, there’s a problem.

I’m so into what I’m doing every day—meaning my craft that when I have to go too far into something else, I put somebody else in charge of it,” Wayne explained during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. “When that somebody who was in charge of it messes up, then that’s how everything blows up. And that’s how everything blew up. We just needed the debris to clear, then, Carter 5.

At times, it appeared as if Wayne was impassive in the midst of adversity. However, his emotions appeared in performances, songs, interviews, and tweets.

Throughout all of my time of listening to Lil Wayne, I haven’t felt invited into his personal life as much as I wanted—I have no right to be. However, I use the struggle I hear in music to get through my own daily battles. “Hustler Music” and “Money On My Mind” helped me exhaust myself to get minimum wage at one point, but I needed something deeper. Sure, “Something You Forgot” helped me get over middle school crushes and “I Feel LIke Dying” was the closest I felt to Wayne’s mental fatigue, but it still didn’t touch areas that Wayne has yet touched.

Tha Carter V is loaded with 23 tracks—plenty of music to digest. The tracks that had the most impact on me were the first and the last, sprinkled in with other offerings on the album. Lil Wayne’s mother, Jacida Carter, spilled her heart during the album’s introduction.

“I Love You Dwayne” features a mother full of anxiety and love—worried about a son—who will do anything for his mother; both, bonded together through God.

Mama tell me to be careful

Voice in my head give me an earful

But I got mind control over my control

I lost control but knew I’d find control

I let God control what I cannot control

Can’t control the tears, let ’em drop and roll – Lil Wayne “Don’t Cry”

Letting go and letting God handle all is the undeniable takeaway of Wayne’s C5. The final track, “Let It All Work Out,” sampling Sampha’s “Indecision,” is the conclusion to an ebb and flow of an album’s tone. Through the valleys that Wayne has traveled, he’s come out triumphant and victorious.

Lecrae’s “8:28” from his All Things Work Together album preludes Wayne’s “Let It All Work Out.” The similarities of these tracks cannot be ignored. Each artist dived into their faith-driven spirits and leaned on God instead of self.

For me, it’s the idea that God has a purpose and a bigger plan for everything that I’m going through so I just gotta get to the end of this and hopefully it’ll reveal itself. – Lecrae in Billboard interview.

My strength has weakened over the last year. Many say I’ve appeared stronger, but at what cost? I’ve become stronger through my own will—to win battles, but not to win the war. I can’t make it through on my own. Everything will all work out but on my higher power’s time. I stare at my own clock, drowning in my own misery. I can’t figure it out on my own and there’s just no way possible to move an inch without faith—faith in something more than myself. Forgive me, God, I’ve been a fraud, for way too long. I went astray for a year and damn near risked it all.

We all live different lives. We eat, different, live different, play different, work different and pray differently. The common battle is that we all go through trials and tribulations of our own. Life feels better knowing you aren’t going through the rough patches alone.

Every journey has a reason. Sometimes, if not most of the time, the reason isn’t evident. Trusting the process becomes the focal point.