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J. Cole's Lagos Performance and My Depression

After a suicide attempt, J. Cole became more than an artist to me. He was my life coach. One year later, he came to Nigeria.

"Why are you trying to kill yourself? What is so hard in the world that you want to end your life?"

I heard my rescuer asking as I sat on the waterfront, hot tears streaming down my face, mixing with the drops of water and ultimately dribbling into on my soaked clothes. I had tried to drown myself in Lagos that night in April 2017, and by some stroke of fortune, someone had dived right in to save my life.

At that moment, I wasn't grateful for the chance to see another day and breath the air. A part of me resented him for being a saviour, and not minding his business. Another part was filled with shame that I had let depression bring me to the edge of my humanity, and the final part was just bitterness from the pain. And so I sat on the floor and wept, while people gathered and gave me lots of advice and encouragement.

"Brother, there is so much to live for. And look at you, you are not poor. You are a fine young man," the voice of a lady hit me.

I returned to my office that night, and told my bosses that the resignation email I sent to them earlier was an error, withdrew it, and deleted all my parting letters to my friends and family. Not accomplishing a suicide felt like failure. I learned that day that rearranging the pieces of my existence back to how it was, was the morbid equivalent of a walk of shame. I did that walk of shame. On the drive back home in an Uber, I took the aux cord and played the first album that hit my mind.

It was J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hill Drive.

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