by Angela Khristin Brown

When I was growing up, my Mother told me that family was more important than any one relationship. Mom told me that a family’s love is deeper than any friendship. Mom told me that friends may come and go, but family will always be there for you. My brother was my closest friend. My brother is the one I ran to for advice. He was my mentor. I felt comfortable talking to him about anything. He was always kind and forgiving. I admired him because everyone loved him.

My mother did not choose one child over the other. Mother treated us the same way. Mother supported us by telling us to be our best. Mother said that she wanted the best for her kids. My parents cared for their children. They wanted our dreams to be realistic. The encouraged us to try harder so we could be good at our profession. They turned to God, when we were lost and weak. We were raised in the church. We went to church five days per week. We had church choir and my religious faith required for us to go to mass and Sunday school. On Sunday, after church, church music was played all day. We would go through the house singing church songs, while doing our chores. At night, we would get on our knees as a family, and read excerpts for the Bible. We would figure out how much those excerpts meant in our lives. Before bed, we would say our prayers to thank God for being present in our lives.

As a teenager my life began to change, the day I became a young adult. It was then I wanted to see if I could make it on my own. I made a sacrifice to alter my life from the things that did not matter. It was then I began to understand who I was with the wisdom. I refused to let away with the irrational episodes. I wanted to be more confident by discovering my own inner-self. My mother had a lot of patience in me. She wanted me to explain what I failed to understand. She felt that I was slipping out of reality. She was afraid of losing me. I had a lot of free time to search within myself to connect with what I believed to me was enough. I was hooked on a dream.

If I could look deeper into what it meant to be free from connections. I wanted to look until I discovered who I really was. I had a new attitude about how my life was going to be lived. I had a vision that was curious of what it meant to be me. I knew I existed. I wanted my voice heard. I learned my existence was broader than I dared to dream and it is from this dream I found purpose. If we discover our existence, we will find that, our greatness is an invariable difference of how we exist. We contribute our life to how well we define our existence to adversity. I have a place in this world in which I exist. I make choices that define my character in which I exist. If I turn away, my vision will obscure to limitations of thinking and behaving freely. Education was always challenging me to try harder. There were people always better at it than I was. I focused on learning. I found that education was inviting. Quitting was not an option. It was then I discovered my vocation. It was then I was motivated to understand how to solve difficult problems. I found that I could communicate by association. I could learn from others dreams how to dream effectively.

I became a professional student. Education became my passion to understanding who I was. I had possessed a hunger to learn. I stopped blaming others for my failure. I decided I was going to make a difference in my life. Education became my motivation to become my fate. It was then that I discovered that the unknown or the dark is where I found hope. Hope becomes imagination in who you perceive to become. When making choices, you have to re-evaluate yourself. You must determine your place in society. You must be ready to make sacrifices that will alternate who you are and what you become.

I made good and bad choices in my life. Some of the choices became greater implications of encouragement that brought tears to my eyes. Loss became an endless torture that mattered most. My flaws are the imperfections I face that are beautiful challenges in life that make me a better person as whole. I often find myself trudging in the wind, only to find myself back where I started. I invested my life on the simplicity of being who I am. I was always mindful of my own actions. I struggled with retreating what is on my mind. As I move forward, I find myself retreating backwards compensating lost time. Sometimes we grow old, but still inhibit the child within us. I challenge life by trying new things, hoping to find solutions to understand differences I have become. I made up my mind to try.

I discovered that I was blinded about the things I failed to understand. I found a need to understand things that I could not identify with. I had found the countenance in my demeanor. I discovered the dignity in reliability of respect. There is significance in relativity. I can become an adverse to the faculties of judgement. I learn from watching others react. I was in the presence of living history.

One cannot fear living. When we fear living we become separate from existence. Being frightened is living in denial. With denial there is no hope. When we learn to overcome fear we are equal. It takes courage to admit and question a condition that is wrong. Courage becomes free will to guidance and self-discovery. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. I come from a place on existence. I live free willed. I was taught to take advantage of the moment, to be eager and willing to make sacrifices on my own. I am affluent with my ability to take challenges. I was bullied. They always pick on the lonely and smart kids in school. It hurts. I cried, shouted and had thoughts of quitting, until I decided that my happiness mattered most. It was my dad who showed me the value of existence is the answer to survival. All great things live in the pursuit of happiness. The greatest inspiration is born from depravation.

I remember picking fresh fruit from grandmother garden. Taking the laundry from the clothes line and folding the clothes. Shedding the corn. Snapping the beans. Canning the fruit. How beautiful the cotton was when it was in season. I recall how the country outdoors looked in spring when everything was in bloom. I thought how peaceful nature is. I had a lot to be thankful for. I found happiness with the simplicity of life. Being able to communicate is a method of expression. When one holds back emotions they can feel and not speak, is a bitter empty feeling frozen in time and space. When you are able to express love, hurt, pain and sadness, you are showing an expression in a way others can identify with. Your conversation about life begins to unfold by showing others how you feel and it is when you begin to express this feelings you leave an impression on others to remember you by.

I feel insightful with the ability to create meaningful relationships. I feel connected with others by impression in how I relate to others. I have the passion for making a difference in the world. I have found my place when I can identify with others. My mother encouraged me to go out and try new things. Mom wanted me to ride on my instincts. Dad wanted me to be myself. I dare to be different. I agonize with the thought of turning away from things I am afraid of. I am terrified with the unforbidden. Not being able to imagine would make me complacent in society. I negate the thought that my voice does not matter. I hear a voice reminding me that I must live beyond death by fulfilling life as I know it to be.

In order to be accepted, you must like who you are. Being yourself is the best person you can be. Dare to be different is a method of expression. When you learn to identify with others, you become familiar with their literature and their way of thinking. I love to read books and watch movies. When I read, I learn to explore cultural biases outside my culture. When I read, I begin to associate with images of history. I can associate the similarities of our cultures and question the difference. Personal experience is how you view your character and how you identify with others values.

The biggest challenge in life is overcoming fear. You must take fear head on to learn if it was worth the fight. Until you challenge failure, you won’t learn how to cope with others. Learning to overcome failure will teach you how to tolerate it. My biggest fear was failing. I felt that if I tried hard in school, my effort will help me to succeed. I also found that if I fail to understand the lesson, I will fail. I can try my hardest to learn and not understand what I read. I have a learning disability, so learning is a challenge for me. It does not matter if you come in first place, what matters is if you pass the finish line at all.

I lived in a segregated community. It takes a village to raise a child. The average person either was a teacher, a nurse or made. The men were garbage people, gardeners and teacher. We all wore the same uniforms. Women were the same hue and all had the same dream of going to college. The drop-out rate was high. Girls got pregnant before completing high school. Young boys had a fear of going to prison. Only education would be the key to give these kids the skills to work a good wage to raise their family. It would take the community and the church to promote hope in the eyes of the children to making their dreams to become successful a reality.

You will find the answers too many questions as they develop before you. How you justify reason will enable you to complete the process of uncertainty. One must learn to question what he does not understand by finding solutions to his problems. A man’s ability to achieve is in his head. Finding the inner-strength will determine how he progresses. The only thing standing between a man and his dream is his will to succeed. You can do anything if you put your mind towards getting it done. You must learn to be twice as good and twice as best. The only factor standing between you and your dream is mind control that you can do it.

I fell down, but I got up. I sat down in gloom dreaded with the sadness of having my child taken from me. I was sitting in the seat of confusion and defeat for losing a loved one hurts more than having to return to an empty home absent from his father’s presence. I had only imagined what it would be like to hold my child and tell him I loved him. I wanted to teach my child the lessons I was taught. I was afraid of being a mother would transform my child from a boy into a man. I had the idea that I could help my child reach his dreams to see him graduate from college, to see him marry and raise his own son as his ancestors did before him. Every positive thought became a tragedy of what I became with the thoughts that I could not go on. I would want to share this valuable lesson of the price of life is more valuable than life itself. Even in doubt or discouragement, you have to pick yourself up and move on. The memories will not go away, instead it becomes a stepping stone to help others.

My journey began with the cross stones of broken allies that defined my presence. It is through my existence that I could find my way. I was in a situation that altered my life that needed hope. I was willing to sacrifice my life to help others who lost their lives before me. It was the day I stepped foot on college campus that I overcame the obstacles of defeat with the determination of courage. It is when motivation became the reason for me wanting to learn so that one day I could understand the world through each discipline. It was the day I graduated that I earned the right to say I had received an education and the degree that accompanies it.

What does it mean to be an American? An American is an immigrant that understands the value of having the freedom. An American understands the price of having freedom. An American knows the history of our culture and this nation. An American believes in its history’s character in its place in the world. An American understands its struggle in wars and in the nation has changed and developed. Always be nice to someone, because you never know what they are going through hard times. Expect the unexpected from people you do not know. The people you do know understand the value of experiences you have shared. I lost my brother and when he died I felt cold. The moments we shared I reflected upon. I thought if I could have been nicer to him. I was nice to him. I thought if I listened to him and talk to him more. I always was there to listen. I thought if I could have treated him differently. I thought if I had been there for him things would be different. I fear that he would know how much he was loved. I was not prepared to lose him. All that matters is that I am thankful for the times we shared positive memories remain that I value most. His memory remains in my heart and I am thankful of the lessons taught me.

The ice long ago melted and turned into water used to quench my thirst. I stood idle because my Dad was outside facing the cold. Dad always provided for his family that his children took for granted. I recall the times he brought home a birthday cake, or the Christmas tree or he cheered me up while in doubt. The gift he gave of love was special. The times he taught me to ride a bike, or fly a kite or how to swim were meaningful. I was selfish never thanking Dad enough, taken his actions for granted. It was what was expected of a father to do. Dad was never bitter. Dad loved all his children. I hungered for the type of love he possessed. He showed me how to love and respect the lessons taught in life because of the strides my father made for me made me proud to have him as my Dad.

As one opportunity closes another door of possibility opens. Love is a balance beam of life. I have searched many miles before I sleep before I breathe again. I have been heart-broken more than once. I felt the snug that hardens death unto a cloud of smoke that nearly escapes without notice. I plea sobbing at the point of no return. I opened my heart to trust, without entry. I was the victim of not wanting to let go of what I so rightly deserved. I learned there is no measurement for love. The ability to love is a gift that takes time to grow. Harvest love for what it is. I have a monkey on my back. A load too hard to carry, but if I learn how to balance the weight I can carry it well. I have lupus. I first heard of the disease when the doctor saw the dark lesions on my skin. Lupus is a virus that can attack the organs harden and stop the organs from functioning. Lupus attacked my heart. I felt the pain. I had not slept. I could have died. My feelings were shattered when lupus warned me that I needed to change my diet, exercise or I won’t live. The hurt and despair I was going through with the disease became the mirror image of defining who I am. I learned I could not separate something I desired with something I needed to do to survive. I made a commitment to recover. I could never lead life without love. I learned how to communicate love. By caring for my body appearance, I am communicating love. By contacting my love ones, through a text, I am communicating love. When I tell my parents that I love them every day before I leave the house, I am communicating love. When I come to work with a good attitude and go beyond duty to get the job done, I am communicating love. When I reach out to someone and tell them good things, I am communicating love.

I savor the memory of the last time we spoke. Her chair is still empty, but her voice I remember well. Grandma had told many stories from her life and family. We would eat ice cream with our ankles swollen like it did not matter. We both had heart problems. She talked about how hard times were to be raised on a farm and her father would leave them to walk home. She talked about how she raised six kids and loved her children. She talked about her first job as a maid and how she was treated and decided to become a house mom. She talked about how she would help out at the church and raised her family in the church. She talked about the days she walked many miles to get to school. The time someone through something at her while walking and screamed bad words to her. She talked about her struggle in her culture and how much times had changed. She watched how history had been different from what she had grown familiar with. She spoke of the devil’s box, and of spirits through the radio, how she traveled through horse and buggy wagons that took three hours to get to town. How she had to prepare food herself, chopping the heads of chickens as they ran, stealing chicken eggs from their nest, skinning the meat off a deer to eat. Times had changed.

How can one know their history without knowing who they are? One must learn to search the meaning of their background in how it relates to their own lives. When I went to college I was going to learn what it means to be different. I used college as my way of learning to write about my culture. I used my culture as a reference to study history of culture. I wanted to understand so I could understand who I am, where I stand in society. I began to question and compare notes of reference. As I began to study, I understood American culture with the types of foods we eat, the type of customs we believe in, the mannerisms in which we behave, the difference in how we dress. I learned that culture is relevant in society in how we cultivate our lives. I learned I am the mirror image of you. What does it mean to be me? I discovered what it means to be you. I grew up in a small school and small segregated community with enough room to grow. It was not until I became an adult that I saw there is a lot more than what I knew. It is from having relationships with these different cultures that I learned to respect others. In a small community we were all alike. The activities that we shared taught me valuable lessons on how to relate to things I did not understand. It was then I defined my place in the world.

You can learn a lot from others by having their company. How far you go in life depends on how you relate to others whether, young or old, in good or bad health, ignorant or intelligent. You will see yourself in how others perceive you to be. You might find yourself in the same positions that you judged someone else to be. When you are comforted with your own indifference you will understand the imposition made you deny who you are and where you came from. For that moment allowed you to understand how difficult it must be to be in that position. The way man succeeds is to manage their difficulties. Mom was the best cook. She would fry chicken in a skillet with seasonings that would make your mouth water. She would boil greens with a turkey leg or ham hock to season it, hand-picked from the garden with flavor that would make you slap your mamma it was good to eat. She prepared her meals with love. The special gathering for Christmas and Easter were a special treat. She would prepare a meal for twenty people to eat. As she got old, she was not able to cook. Who was to keep the family tradition, but the kids? Her children would prepare the meals and Mamma would sit at the kitchen table to taste the food. Mamma would nod her head, now, that does not have enough salt in the vegetables or that meat is not done enough or you have to throw that bread out its texture is too dry or the potato salad needs an apple. It was through Mamma conversations that we learned how to cook and it is from her loss we felt loved.

A man can pay all his bills. He can go to church every Sunday. He can give back in his community by doing community service. He can give money to charity. He can go to work every day and do a good job helping others in need. He can join an organization and attribute his life to caring for others. He can demonstrate love to his family caring for his family’s needs. He can give back to the community by helping others achieve their dreams. He can practice being nice to everyone he knows. He can stay connected with his hopes and his dreams. He can merit himself by being nice and kind to others. He can do everything to do what is expected of him and not be remembered for his good deeds but be remembered for how kind he was to someone in need. Every morning she woke up disturbed about something in her life. She would yell for no reason. Complain about the things that disturbed her. Cry that life is not treating her right. Feel frustrated that she was unhappy. Hate that no one cared to understand her feelings. Resentful that people do not treat her right. Angry that no one spoke to her. Have conversations with herself engrossed with lies of denial. She could endure her life with rage and anger and fail to understand how great it is to be alive. That she had lost touch with reality, with what is important to have love ones who are nice and care that are there for her and nothing else done or said really matters. To care for one health is the greatest gift of life.

There are so many personal attributes in a person’s life that is far greater than some insult someone said out of envy and hatred. Life is too short to be upset all the time. Go and smell the roses. Go outside and listen to the birds chirp. Notice how green the yards are. Look at the beautiful flowers in the flower garden are blooming because it is spring. Avoid all the bad things that surround you. Fill your life with things that make you happy. Do something for you that will bring back into your life how you felt before your experience of loss and regret. Love is something self-taught. Beauty is skin deep. People care for what is inside. When you open your eyes, blink, and you will find eternal peace. There is nothing to mourn over, celebrate life by making yourself happy. What is the purpose of trying to achieve at something you are not good at doing? It feels hopeless trying to be better and you fail time and time again. Until one day you plan of making the steps possible to achieve your goal in life. You set a time to practice. You build your skills each time you practice. You raise the bar to be better at it than before. You begin to see results. You include others with your goals of being better. They give you the moral support. You begin to feel better about yourself knowing you gave it a try and you made a difference.

What you feel about yourself matters the most, than what others feel about you. You have to comfortable what skin you are in. Some people label you for your qualities of what you have. I have come to understand that I will always be shy, poor with a learning disability. It took me years before I liked me for being me. It was then, I became confident at what I do in life. People may put me down for being different and I am no longer embarrassed about who I am. My parents pointed out to me that I am challenged, but a good fighter who had overcome a lot of obstacles in life. It is with their love in my life that counts more than anything any stranger can say about me.

I have always been sensitive to the things people said about me because I wanted to be liked. I was easy to take advantage of that led to problems later on in life. The elements of being loved and the feeling of being treated right, were both stimulating and challenging. Without love and recognition, I would feel insecure and disturbed. I am a manic depressive. How I handle stress is irrational. I became the center of others humor that had become an illness. When I learned to channel my anger by using the anger doing a skill I loved doing, I learned to foster my tension towards something positive. I was a brownie in elementary school. I learned how to invest my time by doing something positive. I learned a lot about becoming a team player. I learned about my civic duty of being committed to my dreams. I learned how good it felt helping others. We sang at the nursing homes during Christmas. We fed the elderly during Thanksgiving. We gave charity to the homeless. We spent time with the mentally ill during Easter. We sold browning cookies to the community. I learned that giving back is important. We prayed together, supported one another. I began to open up and I learned how to maintain a strong competent human being. I was able to become someone special by trying. I was not expected to finish high school, because they thought I was retarded. I was born with a learning disability, but I graduated from college. I was able to work as a teacher assistant at an elementary school and never had taken a class in education. I became a gaming lab assistant without any prior training experience on how to deal a casino game. I became a local artist without any resources. I became a poet and I taught myself to write.

I faced death with an iron sword. I have had some close calls to death. I had elevated enzymes in my liver. They wanted to put a stint in my heart due to lupus. I was rushed to the hospital for dehydration. I waited on a decision to have a brain operation. I suffered from a fatal car accident that totaled mey car. I felt as if I plunged into darkness. The injury was very painful, but each pain was different in a different area of my body. I felt powerless. I could not move. I held my pillow and would not move all day, not even to eat. My parents were worried when they took me to urgent care and held me for five hours, with four shots of morphine as I lie in critical condition. I had undergone much suffering, but I am okay. There was a light shining and I am lucky it worked out.

I found my relationship between organizational climates began with writing for the disciplines. Today, my poetry books is distributed to libraries in schools and universities. I fight for diversity in school curriculum. I write about social conditions in society mores and social norms. I did not decide to become an activist by writing. I decided I became a poet when I decided to identify with who I am and where I stand.

Your tears are both wet and salty. I grew up in the heart of the ghetto. I have seen women hawking their body in the streets. I watched how boys became men being house in jovial halls then jails. I have witnessed young girls having babies when they were babies themselves. I watched how pimps treat their whores by beating them. I witnessed gun shots being fired all through the night in the neighborhood from sun down to sun rise. I have seen kids held back in school because their parents could not pay to send them to school. I saw kids who dropped out of school to become drug addicts, drug dealers and gang bangers with three strikes you are out facing unemployment. I saw college hopefuls become victims of disability checks or welfare checks where families lost everything and became dependent of the government to survive. I have seen the poor go crazy trying to survive the harassment, not being able to deal with failure. I also witnessed strong people come out of poverty and do something positive with their lives. I have seen college educated people come back in their community and church and help other hopefuls achieve their dreams. I witnessed role models in the community doing positive things in the community because they remember how hard things are for their culture and want to make a difference.

A statistic is a person who lives up to the prejudices of society by being what is taught them. When a person is held to the constraints that society dictates nothing else matters and things become worst that could have been prevented. Things are not always what they seem. There are choices to be made that not everyone supports choice. They come in our communities and explain that you are a statistic because that is what image we want to believe, not knowing there are alternative that can make things better if we are mentored. A child who is exposed to poverty, will know poverty. A child who is exposed to many things will see there are alternative that he that influenced him to make things better.

Aids is an epidemic that has spread through our community that is caused by unprotected sex. People have a fear of contracting aids. I watched it spread from one donor to another as their condition worsened. I had seen people die of the disease. My brother had sex with a girl with aids. He did not think he would catch it too and he did. I was fearful of touching him. I was not educated on how the disease spread. I watched as the disease began to get worst. How ill he felt. I did not care to see him that way. He said he had sex with her because he liked her. She had sex with others without telling them. Aids was passed to everyone who it was exposed to.

Who degrades a person freely? When the community begins to identify whose skin is superior within their own race there is a problem. How can any race say that someone within their race is better than another person because of the hue of skin? Every race has multiple skin tones. We are all one race of people. I have seen many people successful all hue of skin. One must be comfortable in the skin they are in. One must not judge another by the character of their skin, but by the content of their character. Why should I be ashamed of the skin that I am in? God made me this skin tone for a purpose. Why discriminate within your own race by a hue of skin. We are all in the same struggle together. When we begin to separate and divide one another according to skin tone or skin hue, we are being a racist bigot. It is from our own ignorance that we judge others by the skin tone or skin hue to be dumb, ugly and inferior. God says he made everyone beautiful just the way they are. Beauty is skin deep. Beauty is determined by what comes from the inside. You can be the most beautiful person by the way you dress, or how you comb your hair, or how much wealth you have, but the real beauty comes from within in how you carry yourself. Personal attributes are far better than how much money you spend on luxury. You are smart, you are kind and you are nice is important in how you treat others, or how you use your intelligence. When you treat someone nice and they remember is more rewarding than if you buy things you cannot afford and live in debt trying to live up to societies trends of wealth. There is nothing wrong with being yourself. You can express who you are by defining who you are. We are motivated by the image we want to present. We dress a certain way afraid of the way others might look at us. We want to feel a part of things. We want people to like us so we pretend to be things that we are not proud of. If you are happy with who you are, it doesn’t matter whether you live up to others perceptions of what they want you to be. Do the things you like to do that make you happy? Living up to others want makes you insecure, especially when the things they perceive you to be will never make them like you any more or less and you will always be unhappy. Living up to others will make a fool of yourself. Being yourself will make you confident. I was a popular cheer leader in high school. I was in the in crowd. Everyone knew who I was. I made good grades. There were people who admired me. I had a lot of friends. I had a boyfriend on the football team. I had everything going for me. I had changed schools. I did not know anyone there. I was treated differently. I became an outcast. People walked by and ignored me. My grades dropped. People bullied me. It was not something that was expected. I became closer and closer to flunking school and degrading my family. Life was not the same. I had to learn to be different where I did not fit in. Until I began being myself, things changed. I found a hobby and I used it to my advantage. I became a writer. The image that I projected made me feel better about myself. I got myself back again. I learned that being different could make a difference if I embraced life differently.

With a learning disability, I was always told that I was not good enough. If the other students made an A grade I got a C grade. I became depressed because my work was not good enough. It never mattered how hard I tried, I could not be as good as them. Teachers told me with a learning disability, earning a B or C grade was good. I was insecure. I wanted to be like everyone else, but I always came in last. I felt uncomfortable about myself at their remarks because I felt it was true. I cried many times because my work was not good enough, until I began failing with an F grade. I was confused piercing with pain. My life was shattered. I built this defense to prove everyone wrong and now I am really failing. It was then I realized that my own insecurity was silent, because I found myself when I found comfort that I did my best just being at my best.

Do not limit your expectation of yourself by associating with what you are familiar. America is a melting pot. People come from all ages and all walks of life. Have you tried to taste new foods? Have you ever tried to learn new things? Do you limit yourself to study one culture literature? Have you ever tried to learn more than one language? Do you express only one political view? Do you constrict yourself to believing the ways that you are told to believe? Are you adverse with society? Do you commit yourself to one origin? Life is full of divisiveness. When you become familiar with other cultures then you will accurate with society and you will become more cultivated.

I have an inactive thyroid. People can die if there thyroid is malfunctioned. It tampers with the heart. It can cause a heart attack. I also have had swollen ankles and feet for over ten years. I could suffer from diabetes or heart disease. I could have a heart attack at any time. The threat of having an anxiety or panic attack is slowly approaching with high blood pressure and if I do not do anything about it I will suffer a heart attack. I have hot and cold flashes from menopause. I loss hair and I wear wigs. I embrace life with love instead of blaming others for whom I am. I choose life.

Only you can determine the value of your self-worth but you. There are sunny and cloudy days in the forecast. The gray skies culminate regrowth. The sun celebrates rebirth. Some may view gray hairs as a sign of aging. I look at my gray hair as a sign of distinction. I have spotted gray hairs. No one ever compliments on it. I am too bashful to point it out. I am looking forward to going all gray. Then no one can say I look young for my age. Instead people will say I look more mature. I am aging not because of my age but because of my bad health and I am not ashamed of it.

I started having early signs of dementia. I would forget where I placed my keys. I would forget what day of the week it is. It was drama, until I started forgetting people’s names and places I have been. I would forget how to do things I memorized. When I started having de ja vu, I thought it was a joke until I found out the memories were true. When I was younger in my twenties, I had a good memory. I could tell details of history, people I met, things I did, places I went. I have problems remembering what I did yesterday. I cannot recall things people just said. I have problems following conversations I had. I struggle with my memory. I fear I have early altiemers disease. I feel frustrated, disgusted, confused and convicted. I feel intimidated I have problems following direction. I write things down in scribble and cannot read my writing. I make jokes about how bad my memory is. I do not mean to disrespect people by blaming them for forgetting. Forgetting is a place that I am fighting all the time.

Sometimes a person does not know where they fit in until they lost it. I knew a lot of people, but I had only one true friend. I spent my life probing for answers I did not have. I admit I was wrong, because what I had was a good thing. I never knew how a good thing was until years after I lost it to never return to me again. I turned to others wanting to make things sound more than what they seemed. A simple wave, a nod of the head if I only listened. If I only steered in the right direction to find the answer to my question. Many people search their entire lives without taking notice of their passion for finding truth. Most people remain addicting to making changes without identifying with what they have in the present. What is in the present is relative. Until you embrace you for who you are and know what you represent you will lose what matters the most of all.

You want others to respect you for who you are, for you speak from the heart. When you feel broken, you appear weak. You should know your positive qualities about you. You should be aware of what you are compassionate about. Understanding your culture is important. Once you find the reasons why things are the way they are, you will understand your purpose in life. I am a poet. I am consistently confronting racial tensions. I understand how values can dictate change. Real change is manifested in how we behave. I can be aware of my community by writing to support the cause. I send a message of healing across the bridge that divides us. I write from the voice within as I wait for their spirit to respond.

In the eyes of God we are all equal. Dad was in the hospital three times for bi-pass surgery on his heart. One of the three times he was operated on, I almost lost him. After his surgery, I held his hand as he dosed off and the heart monitor had shown a straight line. It was then God gave a nudge that opened his eyes. I trembled at the thought of ‘What if?’ Death is something we cannot divert to reason. Death is not something you get over. I take death seriously. The process of losing someone is painful, but until they rest they want you to not be sad but live to tell their story of how good they were and how much their love meant to be.

Love resonates from within. I have a fear of dying. I hear voices in my head threatening me. I am afraid if I go on someone will kill me. I fear deeply of anxiety. I have the drive to not quit writing. People may say things that are disturbing and rude. People are quick to judge. Some may look down to me because I am poor. For the first time I found myself through the voice of being a poet. I attribute my life through my lines of a poem. I feel something had to be said about injustice. I fear that I am not alone in my struggle. I share the same thoughts. I fear the same struggle. I fear I am not alone. When I found my voice the uncertainty disappeared. I am willing to take that risk fighting for what I believe. It is better to walk with others than to walk alone.

No one but no one can make it here alone. You cannot fight a war by yourself. You will need others to help you along the way. A one man army leads to death. Where I am weak, he is strong. We need each other to survive and to thrive on. It becomes difficult to make decisions, to try new things, you will need someone to talk to in your time of need. You will channel difficulty when the time comes and you will need someone to lean on to help you through difficult times. No one but no one can make it alone.

You will not feel safe until you feel secure about who you are. The world is full of bitter and cold. Not everyone is willing to be your friend. You will come across most difficult times in which you will have to come to difficult decisions. You must understand that letting go is easier than losing. Take the time to believe so that you become functional in making decisions. I was in a conflict on if I stay in my job, or do I go. The new job was an invitation to do better things. The old job was more secure where I was good at doing. I made a choice. I packed my bags and paused to reflect. Life is a challenge. You must take risk in order to overcome fear. I knew nothing on the new job. I spent years developing skills I never had and I made something of myself. I was successful because believed in myself.

No matter how far you go in life never forget where you came from. It is where you came from is the reason why you are where you are today. Never forget your friend who encouraged you to be your best. Never forget the teacher who challenged you to try harder. Never forget your family who supported you when you were in need. Never forget the coach who taught you how to be a better person. Never forget the boss that help you make a difference. Never forget the friend who taught you the gift of how to trust. Never forget the person who hugged you and told you things will be alright. Never forget those who made a difference in reaffirming your dreams by showing you what it means to succeed then share it with others.

Sometimes I asked myself what is my purpose in life. Why am I unhappy with who I am? It was difficult hearing the voices in my head. It seemed that all my insecurities mattered more than life itself to the point I lost touch with reality. I became more disturbed with the way people thought about me. I wanted to be liked. Why does things that people say from people who don’t know me had meant a lot to me? I always tried being nice and polite. I wanted to do my best. I never wanted to get attention. A lot of people became upset with me for trying to be better than they were. Life is a challenge. People fight to be the best. I found in life that there will always be someone better than I am and there will be someone worse than I am, I had to try being better at something I am good at and try to be the best I could be. It is where I find my inner peace, being good at writing.

Schizophrenia can be stressful. Stress can make you lose your mind when you have too much to count on. Stress can come by making difficult decisions in life. Stress can come if you are afraid. It can be stressful if you are doing too much at one time. It is difficult doing things when you are stressed out. It is how I ended up in a mental home from being stressed out. Stress led me to having a seizure. It had been my senior year of high school. I had a 2.00 grade point average. I was doomed to fail school that hurt I was good at making passing grades. I was now failing out of school with progress report that read straight F grades in six subjects. I would pace back and forth talking to myself. I would wear my clothes backwards. I wore pajamas to school. I began to hear insecure voices in my head. People began to ignore me. I grew more and more paranoid about my surroundings. It is good thing I got help. I am able to function on a normal life with medication and therapy. Not everyone can live a normal life with schizophrenia.

What matters the most in life, means a least to others. I was told that I would never graduate from college. That I was incompetent to write a book. That I would never paint a picture. That I will never work. I was told I was too incompetent to learn. They thought I could not read or write. They thought I was too dumb to understand a lecture in class. They said that I would fail and wanted me to quit school. I was told I was too young to work. They said I could not handle a cash register. I was told I was too immature to raise my child. They thought I was so retarded that they could prove their theory. I proved them to be wrong because I believed that the beauty that lies between us begins within the soul.

I believe in the man in the mirror. I did charity work for the church. I made sandwiches for the homeless. I registered people to vote. I wrote news articles for the community. I supported the values I petitioned. I expressed my thoughts of adversity. I wrote about the lessons I overcame. I understand my culture. I identify. I heal. I proclaim. I feel experiences. I live for the moment. I have not forgotten history. I encounter change. I have made choices, good and bad. I spent many years in my journey in which I have become more secure with who I am.

With life consequences, I find I have something to prove. There is so much I want to say, with so little words to choose from. I am determined to share my culture. I ponder thoughts to question my ability to get ideas across to an audience of peers. My thoughts and words will continue to linger in the memories of young minds for generations to come. I do not want to give up trying to write, I want to be an inspiration for others to do the same.

Fences by Angela Khristin Brown

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