Tag Archives: love

Temporary empty bed


Sometimes it takes your partner being on vacation or a work trip for you to really embrace who they are.
I spend days coming down on my beautiful, witty fiancé about not reading my articles and our shared cleaning schedules.
Even though we are engaged, she’s still my girlfriend.
Through the years we’ve both developed new interests or firmly shaped old ones. When we first started dating, family, friends, feminism, social justice, human rights, plays, theater and movies were a huge part of her interest.
All of these things still are. It was easy to love this about her and came naturally.
In the mornings as we shuffle through the hour and a half before work by filling the 90 minutes in with our beautiful and thoughtful breakfasts, Stacy occasionally listens to podcasts.
Sometimes I come I from morning runs and take my headsets out and say baby, who is that? What are you listening to?”
The replies range from Marc Maron, to Terry Gross on “Fresh Air” interviewing Toni Morrison or Lena Dunham’s talk time.
These are some of her more recently expressed interests along with a huge love for comedy. I don’t overlook them when she’s here which is how I know all this by the way, but it took her absence and returning from a morning run on Friday and not hearing her podcast and seeing her prepare oatmeal with chia seeds to remind me of how blessed I am. Sometimes being in the midst of a blessing makes it such a norm that we fail to see how extraordinary it is.
She’s an Instagram and Internet surfer constantly googling the right way to do things (whether it’s tips for me about recovering from a marathon or tips for her how to join a college class late). She uses social media to embrace and experience individuals like Cheska Lee or “something badass” the first name slips my mind but after a little bit more thinking, I think it’s Nikki.
We talk about things, the Flint water crisis, health/education disparities, grocery lists, vilolence and the stupity of taking someone’s life, or intentionally hurting another person, Amy Schumer’s comedic genius, Kobe Bryant’s excellence as basketball’s greatest ever, Kendrick Lamar and Adele’s strong song writing abilities or Trumps rants, Sander’s place in politics, my family, her family, me missing my bestfriends or the cute pictures and videos of her best friend’s baby or brothers children who she refers to as her kids in an endearing tone.
We sit perplexed about talking about what’s next while sipping on Craft beers and excitedly talking about our new found shared interest in IPAs and stouts. We note our water intake, and smile at our discovery of Bok Choy and Swiss chard while talking about delights like Duck Donuts.
We laugh at movies, cry on them too. No offense to the scripts. All respect, we do this when they are good. She listens to me talk about documentaries like Spanish Land and sits down to check out “30 for 30s” like the “Prince of Pennsylvania” she explores movies like “Blue Jasmine” and encourages me to check out things that I consider questionable like Chelsea Handler’s alleged thought provoking serious where she has a segment on race. (I remain reluctant and refuse)
Right now I am in bed, thinking about my next move, coffee, getting the paper to see if my article on Petey Pablo ran, her and what’s she’s doing, if she is making Pumpkin pancakes (Mickey mouse shaped)for her nephew and two nieces, our wedding plans, the now, what’s next. I’m blessed, sometimes an empty side of the bed serves as the best reminder about how full life is.

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“And the Winner is? : Part 2”

By Sharieka Breeden
House vs. Field — “Part II of “And the Winner is?”
 Check out Part 1 of this two-part series for some insight and my reflections on “Forest Hills Drive” and “To Pimp A Butterfly”
These are my thoughts after reflecting on the current status of hip hop, it’s increased popularity, appeal and the way the genre has become widely embraced in homes where hip hop artist wouldn’t previously be welcome. For me, hip hop has always been important. Artists tell stories I relate to and respect. They tell stories that have helped to shape culture, paint the experiences of those from different cultures and help the blind to see. -Sharieka  
The match-up 
Who we choose in competition says something about us. As the Grammy Awards approach, Kendrick Lamar has wowed many by grabbing 11 nominations which he is well deserved of. The rapper who hails from Compton and has no problem delivering insight and truth through his music is a favorite for many. For some he may be kind of hard to take due to him never failing at being real.
For many years, darker-skinned men like Lamar were underrepresented in culture, the media and society. (Sidney Pottier and Mekhi Pfeiffer are exceptions)
 Lamar, a darker skinned brother with natural hair and an image that America for years rejected, possibly due to the “Field Nigga”  label seems to be widely accepted by many and renowned as a gifted lyricist who’s has appeared on late night television, is referenced in pop culture and even embraced in politics. (Yet there are still so many barriers to break). During slavery dark-skinned blacks spent long , hot days in cotton and tobacco fields doing harsh labor that often resulted in harsh punishment if the results were considered sub-par. It meant not being good enough or close enough to white and in the minds of many, it still does. The shades of darkness are true confirmation that darker individuals are farther away from privilege and closer to jail sentences along with not being viewed as societally acceptable. (It shouldn’t be this way. All of us possess beauty and the blacker the berry…). It’s messed up because this is much deeper and also is perpetuated in our own community where people shy away from spending too much time in the sun in fear of being black, hold their light skin relatives to higher esteems and say things like “ She’s pretty for a dark-skinned girl) (Ignorance is a weapon that kills our chance to exist)  The fear that arises in people when they see a black man who is unquestionably black is alarming. For in him, they can’t find a hint of themselves. As beautiful, gifted and essential to music and the world as Lamar and so many other dark-skinned brothers are, there worth and value should never be questioned. You can’t find a hint of anything else in them, but Lamar’s work and artistic ability can’t be ignored, nor can his message. He has been invited into the homes of many, breaking paradigms and eliminating some of the boundaries that “Light skin is in” and forcing us to embrace a more emcopassing and broader understanding for color, race, ethnicity and other identities.
Maybe his experiences as a dark-skinned black man make him go that much harder over beats and also shape his experiences and perspective in a world where being black can often mean being shot for no reason, lesser pay on a job, being imitated with no credit, real-estate discrimination, higher incarnation rates and other injustices in institutional systems like schools and workplaces.
“To Pimp A Butterfly” is an album well deserving of the nominations. It’s artistically genius, boldly truthful and dope listening. I see one man as a contender. It’s the lighter skin brother from Fayetteville, N.C. who spent time in New York for education and in pursuit of a music career.
J. Cole comes from a place where cotton fields and plantations really existed. There are still some in North Carolina if you travel in the wrong direction. They are just as present as confederate flags that people proudly wave and snarls that occasionally come when people think you’re going to snatch their purse on a morning run. Cole is a light-skinned brother with a multi-race makeup and while he can’t pass for white (in my opinion), for some he fits the mold for what was referred to as a “House Nigga” His music cuts and penetrates, forcing people to know what it’s like being from a tough city and in today’s America how black is black whether you’re light skinned or dark skinned. While he isn’t dark as Kendrick, you can’t say that the two mens life experiences have been much different. Both are faced with the same reality as me, knowing that we are losing count of the number of young black men shot down, tired of having to shuck and jive to be accepted and wanting more for our people than black on black crime in neighborhoods that are ridded with poverty and poor nutrition and a much-needed spark about education. Cole’s work relays a message and a reminder that things can get ugly and violent when people who are categorized as the minority want more. He also shows that he’s well aware of what it means to have skin color afford you luxuries and grant you the opportunity to take and shape someone else’s culture. He represents the black culture, because he’s black but he doesn’t permit everyone else to have the same pass.
In a world where it seems that dark skin or light skin doesn’t allow us to escape from the struggles that come with being black, we have an obligation to say claim all the homes and the fields in this land as ours (We are entitled to them as anyone, if not more). They belong to us, not to work in, be beaten and lynched on but to possess as places where we can grow abundantly in a country that should accept and embrace not only our music but us without second guessing their obligation to do so. Entertainers like Cole and Lamar both force us to think on this.
With Lamar’s Cali-style accompanied by the wisdom of Tupac and Dre’s deadly beats he’s the Malcolm X of the game right now. Cole is a powerful  voice as well though. With the influence of Jay-Z, advice from Nas and vision of his own, when he speaks into the microphone, he presents a different reality and tells of what struggles can result in while continuing to reflect on what it means to be human. He’s Huey P. Newton with his wordplay. Both are needed, both are essential.
To know that Lamar, is up for album of the year but comes from a genre of music that used to only be listened to and thought of as ‘just for some” is telling. What’s more telling is knowing that the only person that I see as a formidable opponent out of all the other artists at the Grammy’s is Cole who comes from a genre for the people that tells the stories that often go untold until they snatch national headlines.
And the winner is?
See Part I for my reflections on Cole and Lamar’s work.
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You Come Out

Is being openly gay a neccessity? Should people be required to state their sexual orientation? Men and women who are heterosexual have been relieved of the burden of  people working to expose them or forcing them to to state who they love and why they love them. In the world we live in, people don’t pry at a young straight woman to explain why she is into men. It’s what some consider natural and normal. It is what is expected of us. People set standards based on religious beliefs and personal opinions. Where do people find the time or the need to trouble others by deeming their self-righteous perspective  as valid?


More importantly, how can anyone determine that the traditions they’ve carried out and lived their lives according to are the universal codes of existence for all people? There are those advocating against people’s rights and expressing their disdain when it isn’t required. So I am thankful for individuals like All-american University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam who is willing to stand for a cause and stand for the right to be identified with respect, acceptance and without being treated unfairly or unjust.

Sam has helped to increase the visibility of the LGBT community. I thank him for not being afraid to be open and for allowing the world to get to know a man who is a force to be reckoned with on the field. His decision to speak out and answer to the curious souls who come expecting something that they are not entitled to have help to erase limitations and boundaries.  No explanation is owed about a component of someone’s life that has no bearing on the human being they are.

For some, there is a need to know and demand an explanation they feel they are owed. People tend to get fixated on defining and determining who they want family members, friends, and people to become. They are fixated on shaping the lives of others to resemble what they are used to looking at. Close your eyes and your mouths when an individual is involved in love that is not causing detriment to a helpless individual that is being victimized. Open your eyes to domestic violence, poverty, racism, sexism, prejudice, hatred—speak out against these issues. They are issues, they are battles that need to be fought.

When two people are invested in each other, it is their business. When another individual pursues someone (consenting age, consenting mindset, consensually) no one should stand in the way of the connecting of those individuals based on a difference in belief. Stand up and stand strong. Thank you Michael Sam for being an athlete and more importantly a human being who has used his voice to humanize what people treat like an unacceptable way to exist. You have become another face in the fight for equality. Because leaders come few and far between, usually the world of sports and entertainment lead and the rest of the world follows. No one is forcing the acceptance of anything that would jeopardize someone’s belief system. We are only asking that you don’t invade in people’s business or pass judgment or burden people to be who you think they are destined or required to be.


I respect and support the decision of Michael Sam to open up and share a piece of himself (certainly can’t define everything about him). It’s not something to hide. I force myself to think about why people need to know. Then I think of how important it is to have a voice like his be expressed. We need figures who can help erase some of the stigmas and the notions that come with being gay. Capable, smart, athletic, attractive members of society who love just as anybody else does. These are the people that Michael Sam represents when he builds up his courage to share his reality.

The relationships don’t change.  How could they. Two people, two hearts, two minds. Yet and still people work to find out the mystery between same sex couples. Members of society work to rally against rights of others.

We are not in a position to determine who someone should love. Comments and conversations where people dig to find out the components of same-sex relationships and their purpose. People are curious about what takes place. They feel like they are owed an explanation. I find people searching their minds frantically to try and force others into living the traditional lifestyles that they lived.  It’s almost as if there is a high sense of insecurity with knowing someone who is doing something that is considered unconventional.

So, do we need to answer the questions of when it started, how do we know, or listen to statements about something having to go wrong in life? What good does it provide to cater to curiosities of those who judge and want to hear responses so that they can try and correct and provide what they deem as a necessary cure. I congratulate you Michael Sam and for those who build their life around defining the lives of others-YOU COME OUT.

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To Do List…

By Sharieka Breeden

As people we are not in a position to know God’s plan. At the start and end of everyday our mind forms a to do list. No matter how minimal or frivolous the tasks may seem to others, the items on that list are top priority to us. For some the list may be finding a way to get their next fix and answer to the threatening calls of addiction. Then there are those who are thinking about their morning run or workout.

No matter what the task, we all consider what we want and need to do. Even if it’s very unimportant to our loved ones, coworkers and peers, we still are bent on dedicating our time and effort in putting all of our vested interest into it. On occasion, we consider what others may need us to do and we become consumed with feeling hassled about whether there is enough time in the day for us to pay bills, prepare meals, and make the money to do these things. We become fixated on fulfilling personal and societal expectations.

When we make plans or set up a to-do list, we plant our minds firmly on it doing everything in our power to make sure that nothing comes between us and the completion of what we feel is top priority.

Then as the day journeys on we are hit with the unexpected and with a spontaneous act that takes up by surprise. The element of surprise is really something. It’s present in good and bad news. It lines our existence. A phone call about a loved one falling ill may take us by surprise. That same one elevating beyond the illness to greet life with a new ambition will surprise us as well. God’s blessings and will is beyond amazing when it aligns with a persons desires and ambitions though. Most of the time only something coming from God can put a stop in our plans and change our direction.


We have plans and aspirations but all the aspirations and plans of humankind combined can’t measure up to one of the highest powers plans and intentions to help shape and mold us. The to-do list that we have are great for organizational purposes but what God will have us to do and prepares us to to is not always listed in an orderly and structured fashion. As people are we ready to do what we weren’t aware we would be called to do before going to sleep and after waking the next day?

Are we prepared to arrange our lists and be spontaneous enough to explore the experience and journey that God wants to carry us on. Even if you miss your fix, or have to schedule a later run, go with God because you may be getting ready to engage in the process of evolution and progression right before your eyes. There is nothing that can provide anything more worthy for us to do.

To Do List:
1. Let go
2. Let God
3. I will
What’s on your to do your list?

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Personal Philosophy

By Sharieka Breeden
Over the course of the past two months, I’ve asked myself several questions.
How can we progress as a people?

Do dreams and reality conflict?

Do any two humans share the same passion for life?

How many times is the same truth presented to us before we accept it as the truth?

I have asked myself these four very different questions before sunrise and as the day shifts to night.

Whether it is our love life, our professional career or our religion, we have a vision for what is ideal for every aspect of our lives. With that being said, I arrived at this , the response for all of these questions is related.

My thoughts are as follows:

Progression comes from being our best selves and encouraging others to do the same. In order for us to progress we must live the dream of a perfect reality where all people are consistently reaching their goals and where dreams are not just visions of the night.

Humankind as a whole has a passion for life. Even those who can only see the darkness in this illuminated existence must possess some passion to continue on. There are various people who exist because the thought of doing anything else instills fear in them and then there are those who are able to open their window in the morning, let fresh air hit them in the face and watch the sun align with the soul. (They do it with a deep appreciation).

They are passionate about every breath-passionate because they’ve encountered another phase of life that isn’t worth being passionate for. They have encountered a reality that is not a dream so they can’t progress. They find their progression in looking out on life.

The truth is that we all want to dream up a reality that will present our best selves. We work to progress and help to shape a society that we are all passionate about building and being a part of.

What passions will we dream about for our perfect reality? Will anybody share our dreams?

I am still asking these questions.

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When We Talk: Scriptures and Solutions

By Sharieka Breeden

Galatians 5:22-5:23: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.”

My grandmother was providing words of encouragement as she is commonly known to do. As she did so, this scripture came to her. I  listened as she pieced together one of many bible verses that I can only refer to as poetic truths about the deeper messages that people often miss as they work to shove religion down as forced opinions, practices and beliefs. Galatians 5:22-5:23 was the scripture that she  recited. When she was sharing the verse, she was doing so to inspire and uplift. I was inspired and uplifted even though she was not speaking directly to me. I am also under the impression that I may have taken something away from those words that others may never even consider and that hopefully others may think on.

As she searched for the words to piece together the scripture verbatim, I found myself deeply interested in knowing exactly what they were so I did what anybody in the information age who wants to know more about anything does…(I drove to the library and took out every version of the bible (including King James) and took out interpretation books as well.) Of course I didn’t drive anywhere or take out any books, not even the bible right in front of me under my grandmother’s nightstand. On a serious note, I googled it.

After my google search I found the scripture and started to try and decipher the words that I was reading.

This is my take: In a world where we do everything to define the lives of others based on the limitations and constraints that come from societal expectations and religious beliefs, we should stop and take a look at the verse which clearly states that when it comes to matters such as love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance-THERE IS NO LAW. (Personally I felt like I was reading one of the which one doesn’t fit exercises when I read this scripture).

How can any man made law, man made religion or any practice prohibit others from freely living and loving if those beings are not posing any detriment to another person?

People who think in a close minded manner and refuse to expand their perception or consider anybody else’s circumstance or way of thinking torment the lives of  others. The bible is a book with great value with a wealth and knowledge. It is not a text that should be used to devalue someone based on their living. Scriptures such as Galatians 5:22-5:23 are underrated and they are not quoted enough. There is no power in words unless we speak them, then actively carry them out in our actions.

In my opinion, verses such as these are overlooked. Instead of finding beauty and uplift in any version of any religious text, people regurgitate leviticus and paraphrase verses for their convenience.

In the last line of the scripture, the words “there is no law” echoes loudly in my mind. There should not be any law that prohibits the fruit of the spirit.


We are all extensions of God and the concepts of love, joy and peace should not be unlawful unless they pose a threat to a defenseless group of people who can’t make decisions for themselves. (in my opinion)

When we are in our right mind, with our right heart and spirit why should we be limited to connecting and building?

Before 2014 was fully underway, Utah was already diligently working to overturn the rights of Gay/Lesbian couples who want to get married. Why? I am under the impression that lawmakers and a great deal of voters expect the rights of people to be denied because of close-minded perceptions of a few people. Hold tight to your beliefs, hold tight to your scriptures, but understand when we talk we provide solutions from the same book:

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.”

There is no law that should prohibit the union of two people who pose no threat to humankind. What is the threat? What is the argument? There are those anxiously waiting to stand defending their beliefs with the story of Sodom and the old testament. I don’t overlook their opinion or interpretation, but I also don’t accept it as anything more than that. Contradiction comes into play when we take some and not all, and in reading the poetically delivered, plain and clear text from Galatians which is in the same book that some cling to when denying the rights for other, I find the words “there is no law” echoing in my mind and something that can be applied to all.

Let’s at least talk before we just eliminate opportunities. By denying marriage and making laws to deny rights you can’t kill happiness that comes from the fruit of the spirit…

As a people it’s time to do better than we are doing. There is no need to carry out acts of denying rights and causing detriment to another human being by ignorant and hateful practices such as corrective rape. Hatred should not be practiced against anybody and religion is not an excuse to exclude. Lets just get together and at least say a few words.

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Worth More.

By Sharieka Breeden

Artificial accessories delivered on a doorstep. Visions of success interrupt night rest, so when the sun rises it feels like you haven’t slept.

Foreign policies on homeland. Bills and proposals put into place that we can’t seem to understand.

Rattled, out of place. Working hard to grasp the concepts that are presented to you. Born. Live. Die. The only thing in between it all is living.

We are infatuated with the breaths we take, unconsciously aware of their value. In the seconds where we acknowledge the importance of our existence, we count them as significant.

Memories are created as we live minutes that mean everything. Time is what we have. We are not owed it, but we are granted and awarded it.

Still we allow ourselves to become consumed with a system that counts our value in dollar signs. Limited amounts that decrease our values make it simple for systems to organize and monopolize our lives into meaningless frames where we can’t recognize the significance of our essential selves.

We are worth more than they all credit us for. We are time. We are valuable. In us, are memories worth gripping forever and time that we will never want to let go. Bigger than a system, more important than constraints and limitations that come labeled “In God we Trust.”

Valuable beings. Existing with a purpose. Standing tall, defining important, never letting dollar signs   count you as worthless. Bank accounts, can’t determine your amount, worth of self is defined by what you put out.

Put out genuine mindsets with your creative energy, visions of beauty that you want others to see.  Living in between the phases of our existence, taking away the power from that which is insignificant. We are worth more.

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I listened to Thelonious Monk’s Blue Monk when I wrote this: Play What you Want


Will the universe ever birth it’s greatest during our existence?

Where do we stand in the story of creation? In the scheme of things and the pattern of possibilities, where do we stand?

Movements in motion. History unfolds as we mark life by mourning the lives of legends.

Prayers sent up for enhanced circumstances. Rituals passed down through story-telling and dances.

Have I met a king; Have I talked to a queen?

Visions of forever, with a presentation that I have never romantically placed into the scheme of things. It just seems to look like forever when I try to glance at tomorrow but am still staring at today.

Restless hours: running through time as we dig through the pits of the earth anxiously trying to find what sleep means.

Scriptures from sacred texts, feelings of being blessed, empty refrigerators and world starvation that makes us second guess what it is that religion is trying to suggest?

Wrongful rights and righting wrongs. The intensity that can be felt when someone speaks a redundant cliche yet powerful term “Be strong.”

The universe has birth it’s greatest during our existence and while I have not met the king or queen of everything I have surely encountered the ruler of something.

We stand in the center of our own creation, moving in rhythm, off beat and off key as we do the same as the ones before us, yearn for intimacy.

Longing to feel the surface of the universe, we scratch, scrape and dig, never able to truly find the purpose. Useless fossils and bones that stamp the supposed begging of our existence.

Labels of ignorance placed on our foreheads as we champion in the fight to end oppression.

Throwers of stones doing our best to be the cause of someone else repenting. Modern day slavery coming through a jail sentence.

Sharecropping is nothing more than renting. Will the universe ever birth justice during our existence.

I have met fair treatment on several occasions. I have also been introduced to the backwards practices of those who think that solutions come from liquor stores being placed on every corner in the ghetto and in every shopping plaza in the suburbs.

Back to the scripture; proverbs.

Unhealthy drinking water in all of our glasses.

In the scheme of things and the pattern of possibilities, where do we stand?

Will the universe ever birth its greatest during our existence?

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Praying for a Dream

Desire flows through the veins.

People in a room often anticipate their exit. They open their hands and wait for an out. They close their hands, clasping them tightly together  preparing for prayer with expectations embedded in their spirits as they wait to see what they are left with.

Equal exchanges make for clear messages. Truths and the concept of an eye for an eye which we all subconsciously live with line our thoughts and emotions.

Sometimes truth resides in corners we don’t want to look in.

The first time we always miss it,  but if we are ambitious enough or have desire flowing through our veins we check again. We usually settle for the lies that are presented to us, letting them drape themselves in our acceptance and refusal to want to accept rejection.

Most of the time I wake up, full of energy and running towards the day and by night fall I find myself drained and longing for a sleep that will put me in a trance and carry me off to a land where I will manifest and explore my deepest thoughts and just dance truths.

Waking up is a reminder that sometimes it’s hard to reach ourselves when we have our eyes open to everything else. Desire flows through my veins. It does. It fuels me. It seeps through my pores. I suppose that I am different in a way. It’s a struggle for me to suppress that which I yearn for, but some how I find a way to do it very well, well enough that the struggle is not visible.

I cover you back up with sheets and relinquish in my efforts to place kisses all over you. Desire keeps flowing through my veins. I release you as requested. The truth is I am praying for a dream and the desire in my veins is different than yours.

Return back to my space and realize that the inability to be spontaneous kills the dreams and thoughts to enjoy the moment. In some way shape or form you’ve made every minute there after dull. You’ve made it clear that the desire that pumps through my veins should be redirected. It doesn’t belong here in an expressed fashioned, uncovered, and shared with you.

It belongs in my veins. Flowing in my veins as I become a person in the room, anticipating an exit, my hands closed, clasped together praying that when they are open again I will have an out.

Desire flows through my veins that’s what I am left with.

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Debt collecters

Screaming, scratching and yelling. My soul is doing all of the above. Care free , with human desires to be loved. Content with thoughts of being infatuated for a lifetime. Motivation to progress is my lifeline.
Intentions to move forward, aspiring for more. Visions of the truest and purest realities. Sure…. There are those doubts the underlying questions. Failed attempts, struggling days, prisoners of our minds. Limited and confined. Bills piling up. Depressions levels at an all time high, suppose drug addiction is the only way for some to get by. Feeling less than worthy because of your net worth, but we exist for a deeper reason… To admire the skies and embrace the earth. Understand the obligations that members of society have to create distractions and place value on the dollar. Selling souls, with no control of any dreams. Realities introduce themselves as vivid dreams. Standing on ovation. Applaud my attempts, clap for my ambitions, pat me on the shoulder for trying. Drop the bullshit. Offer me a job opportunity because my potential and abilities tell you that I deserve the position. Feeding my mind and my soul. Can’t lack nourishment but my heart naturally swallows every ounce of love and every rhythm that beats with this struggles. Screaming, scratching stretching to overcome this oppression.

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