I love NF's music from his early albums to his most recent, "The Search". His lyrics are packed full with emotion. Words slung together like a masterpiece. He has composed, rapped, and sung songs that help me process anger, negativity, and frustration. One of his earlier songs, "Paralyzed" helped me when I felt like I was completely numb and irrelevant. Hearing the song was comforting to me and assisted me in moving through some my lowest emotional moments.
Below I have shared a few songs from his most recent album. These have been especially impactful and meaningful to me over the past year as I continue trying to maneuver through negativity that resides internally within me.
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"I pray to God with my arms open, if this is it then I feel hopeless, and I wish I could help, but it's hard when I hate myself." - NF
"Hate Myself" sounds like thoughts that are cycling in my head as a result of trying to figure out how to "fix" myself when living with consequences of gastroparesis. I do want to help myself, hence why I listen to my doctors and attend therapy, but it's hard, somedays even torturous, because I do feel helpless and hopeless that I will ever feel better physically.
Why do I hate myself? I hate the way that I feel. Feeling bad day in and day out, fatigued at levels others don't understand, pain that comes and goes without any true constant relief. Tubes, bags, formula, etc that I use to extend and improve my quality of life can be disheartening. I am very thankful for them, but still hate the way my body looks with them and the fact that my body requires them. I hate myself because I should be stronger than all of this! I get frustrated and hate myself because I don't know what else to do with my life. "I don't see you like I should, you look so misunderstood" is what I'm thinking. I know I should talk and think to myself with more compassion and positivity - but at times - I just can't get past the constant negativity of chronic illness and its' impact on my physical and mental health.
"I lie to myself and I, I can't handle it
Why do I waste so much time on things that I can't fix? All these things I hold inside I just can't forget. Thought that I could let this go....
But I ain't know that it would be like this, yeah
Like this (Like this)" - NF
Sure as hell never thought that my life would be like this! Don't get me wrong, not everything is horrible in my life. There are lots of things that go right. I'm extremely blessed to have my kids' and parents' love surrounding me. My children are my life, they are my joy and my pride. This song expresses how I never expected to live with the strife of chronic illness, who does? When I became sick 7 years ago, I thought I'd eventually be able to improve and get well. As years went by, I realized that this wasn't the case. At that point, I believed that I could handle illness with grace, that I could learn how to live with it, get used to it, not let it bring me down. Even though I have come to terms with some aspects of the role of illness in my life, it still has a much larger impact on my life than I ever expected.
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"Grab my hand, I'm drowning
I feel my heart pounding
Why haven't you found me yet?
I hold you so proudly
Traumas, they surround me
I wish you'd just love me back" - NF
This song is another example of a conversation I might have with myself and/or God if I were able to find the right words, on the occasion when I am having extreme physical symptoms or in a dark emotional place for extended lengths of time. I do care about myself, I do want to love myself. Thankfully, I am not in this frame of mind too often. I do know that GOD is here by my side every step of the way and that He loves me unconditionally. I am not mad at Him, to be honest, I never have been. But I do hurt and find myself pleading at times to help me survive when I am feeling overwhelmed and alone.
"Pressure pushin' me from all sides
Insecurities of all kinds
Yeah, I'm a hostage to my own pride
Most important things in life to me are things I know I can't buy. Yeah, hit's me in phases
I'm not in the mood, yeah, to meet another stranger I'm not in the mood, yeah, to have a conversation And talk about a bunch of things that I don't feel amazed with Gettin' too close to me, whoa Could be dangerous. I don't like the energy, I leave the situation.
All this negativity, yeah, I can't get away from
All this negativity, I think I need a break from
I'm thankful but. Some days, I just wanna leave the negativity in my head I just want relief from my stress" - NF
One of my goals, since being sick, is to find purpose by helping others who are living with similar health struggles. I have spent time educating and advocating on behalf of those with chronic illnesses, such as gastroparesis, as well as those that depend on feeding tubes or need ostomies due to the way that there bodies function. Another goal of mine is to keep a smile on my face, do what's best for me, and try not to worry my family too much.
Sometimes though, I just need to sit in the negativity and stress that chronic illness brings. (Music helps me with this.) I get "burned out" being a patient, talking about symptoms, explaining to others how I feel when there's no way to truly help them understand. Sometimes I just don't have the energy or drive to keep going or trying to be "strong".
I just want relief from the stress that chronic illness creates in my life.
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"Take me back when, I was happy but I wasn't acting. Vulnerable but didn't see it like some kinda weakness, Or a thing that's unattractive. Had emotion but I learned to mask it. Didn't know what I was running after. Didn't know the older I would grow the more I lose control. And takin' all the baggage, it's really sad when Everything you thought was stable crashes, Everything you thought would take the sadness, Really only made it deeper, got me off the deep end askin' Will we ever feel like we imagine?
Will we ever feel like we adapted?
Will we ever feel like we did back then?"
I believe this song is quite evident. "I Miss The Days" of being healthy and active with my family, especially with my children. I miss the days of playing, teaching, and enjoying life without always having to deal with my health and the consequences that often accompany living with chronic illness and its' limitations.