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I don't owe you this but I'm going to say it one time, so you understand it for good.

I've had a past, haven't we all? But I won't dwell there, not for me and not for you.

Journeys are filled with many things, both good and bad -and I've shared both. What I've lived through was a story that I have gladly opened up about, to help heal myself and others. That is my choice. The roller coaster life hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows, but it's been my ride, just the same. You didn't live in it, cry in it, scream in it or get through it - so fuck you if you think you have the right to judge it. What you can do is have an opinion of it, but know that it's yours and yours alone. It will not own me and neither will you!

No one holds my permission to define, write, or illustrate my life - whether you give birth to me, employ me or marry me. That is a divine right that belongs to only me. So, if you think you are strong enough to own me, break me or hold me captive with your words and actions, it may have happened in the past, but I assure you, that time has come to an end.

The mistakes I've made, I own, and their power dies a little more inside of me every time I do. So, don't think you can use them to your advantage, because you hold no power over me. You can't poison your way into my life because there is limited space, only reserved for those who celebrate, enlighten and encourage me. I decide who I make room for - and no more.

You will not scare me with your noise or phase me with your disrespect - as only God can judge me.

Don't let my tears fool you, my illness confuse you or my past dictate to you my lack of strength or dedication to any cause. Do not look upon my walk on this earth in pity because my resilience will surprise you. You think because your life doesn't resemble mine that you are better and more worthy and that couldn't be farther from the truth. Oh, I've let you think so and even allowed your words to induce some melancholy in some of my days but, I'm not broken over that. Because you see, a true human being would raise up another, instead of feeling powerful over someone's losses. For this and so many reasons, I thank God for my heart every day. That he created me exactly as I am, so that I can heal others, rather than destroy them.

You will never know what my tears taste like, or what my footprints feel like - because they are not yours!

I gladly wear my weaknesses on my sleeve so you can see them. Of this, I am not afraid. Because what one may look at as defeat, another may see as an opportunity to do better. So, you should never count the number of times one falls. Falls don't always equal failure, for it takes many falls to get all you want, on your terms. But, it takes an extraordinary person to see that and well, you may not be.

What I do hide is the power I possess to keep fighting. I don't have to show you that. I'd rather you keep counting me out as you have been. And when the humble, silent girl raises the roof off this life, like a phoenix one day, she will smile back at you, watching you wipe the ashes from your face.

I say this once, so you'll never forget it,


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