Take Me As I Am or Have Nothing At All

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I spent the first 16 years of my life living in a war zone on Chicago's west side. Then I spent the next 18 years co-raising a son and making sure that he didn't have to go through the same bullshit we had to go through. Then I spent four years helping put him through college. I am not going to sit here and listen to anyone tell me that I don't do enough, that I am not enough, or where I can or cannot be. No one has bent over backward for me for me or mine; I had very few privileges that I inherited from my family and community. I have always struggled and fought to keep up and occasionally get ahead. I have had no husband, wealthy family, academic accolades, politician parents, or good looks to fall back on or to ensure I always had what I needed. Like my immigrant mother, I have worked hard for everything I have. I have even paid the price for the shortcuts I tried to take along the way. I have given back and credit everyone that has ever been there for me though. I have apologized to most of the people I have hurt, and I do my best to be and do better every day BECAUSE I could not or would not apologize to people I have hurt and have lived with those regrets. I do not repeat the same mistakes so much that I lose myself and people that I love in the process. At least, I do my best not to as much as I did when I was younger. I'm not delusional about who I am or always the victim of other peoples bullshit. I am a survivor of every decision I have made. I have survived their bullshit, my bullshit, and random bullshit and will continue to endure it because unlike so many, I know when and how to fight. I know that love is the answer and key and I don't care what anyone has to say about it being otherwise.

I love without conditions, and I see the good in all people and circumstances. I am never going to be perfect, but I am perfect the way I am. I don't want an army of fans, fame, fortune, riches, possessions or status. I want to BE me. Fully and unapologetically ME without a worry or care that someone that does not understand or cannot handle me wants to get rid of me, judge me, discourage me, and hurt me to take away the love I have for myself and those like me. I want enough to get by and maybe a little more to help the next person BE and do better. My demons are afraid of me. My insecurities are my security. Depression is now a friend that reminds me to be grateful. I made it to 40 which was something I never thought I would see.

In 2019, y'all gon' have to come hard to break me. Y'all gon' have to legit prove to me that I ain't shit and don't deserve to be here, because let me tell you, it's not something I tell myself anymore based on opinions and think pieces and by comparing myself to anyone's social media posts. It's not a thought or a feeling I have anymore. I've proven it time and time and time again that I DESERVE TO BE HERE. Not a single solitary person that I have faced or confronted has taken away the fighter in me, and no fight has diminished the love I have for us all. I'm here, and I ain't going without a fight. All I have is my truth, my faith in God, my heart, body, and spirit. It's all I have ever had, and all I've needed, and it's gotten me this far.

I am going to stay strong and know that I am enough, and if anyone has a problem with that, they don’t deserve me. There is nothing to fight there. I can always find and be around people that will respect that.

lily be