Fans of Mary J. Blige often feel as if they’ve been by her side as she’s publicly weathered storms. With a career that spans decades and has outlasted every shift in the industry, Blige regularly reflects on the upbringing that brought her to the successes she now enjoys. Good Morning Gorgeous chronicled the highs and lows that the Queen of Hip Hop-Soul has battled—from addictions to heartache to divorce from rebuilding, Blige has is laying all her cards on the table.

This hard work has resulted in TIME naming the singer one of its 100 Most Influential People of 2022. In an interview with the outlet, Blige once again spoke about being raised in a rough Brox neighborhood “where women did not feel good about themselves.”

Mary J. Blige
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“We lived in the projects. They put you in this experiment and they want you to survive. And I suffered a lot of damage from the hands of men and thank God I survived,” Blige said. “I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t want anything for myself. I wanted to die.” Through music, Blige found a space where she could let everything within be released.

“I had nowhere to put it so I had to find a place to speak. It was through the music where people said, ‘Wow, she’s suffering from the same insecurity’ or ‘She’s suffering from the same abusive relationship‘ or whatever she’s going through in her life, me too.’” Now that she has found peace within herself, the hitmaker shares what she would tell her 13-year-old self.

 “Thirteen-year-old Mary wouldn’t be able to hear this Mary. So, I can’t tell her anything,” she said. “Just go through the process. It’s gonna be alright. I know it hurts but it’s gonna be alright, and that’s what this Mary is telling her.”