Lemonade tore me apart and stitched me back together. I was enthralled. I was relieved. I was finally feeling something other than pain again.

When Beyoncé released her sixth album, Lemonade, last year, I was in the fog of one of my worst episodes of depression. I was mourning the death of my dog, who was my baby, and the PTSD I live with had me either feeling exceptionally anxious or numb and despondent.

I was already tucked in bed when I saw the complete visual album released on HBO, so I snuggled up under the sheets, pulled up my laptop, plugged in my headphones (my husband was asleep) and watched what I can only describe as an elixir.

Lemonade tore me apart and stitched me back together. I could feel my heart squeezing, my blood gushing through my veins into the capillaries of my fingers and toes. I cried. I felt an abundance of love and reassurance. I was enthralled. I was relieved. I was finally feeling something other than pain again.

Related: How “Lemonade” Saved My Marriage

The cultural significance of Beyoncé’s album is indisputable. Lemonade is Black as fuck. It is also for black women. It is an affirmation. It is a love letter to the multitudes of interpretations of Black womanhood. Lemonade is also a reviver.

I bought the album as soon as I could and I listened to it every day for months. It helped me wake up in the morning and get to work. I fucking put outfits together inspired by each individual song, I finally cared about what I was wearing again. I reveled in the ceremonies of being feminine and powerful.

Lemonade helped me regain the confidence I needed to shed the guilt I felt at cutting out toxic people in my life. I started to love myself again, find the confidence I needed to write for myself again. I had purpose.

I know that some people find elements of fan-culture ridiculous, but Beyoncé’s album made me feel alive when I thought the numbness and emptiness of grief was all I had to me.

At the anniversary of Lemonade, not only do I celebrate an artist, but I also celebrate a year of being a woman I love — and there is nothing more powerful than queer women of color loving themselves in a world that tells them not to.

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