A spoken word piece: Above all else

Above all else, I must not forget who I am or where I come from. I cannot ignore the various truths that detail my character; however, I must embrace all of my characteristics in order to grow.
And in order to grow, I cannot deny who I am or pretend to be someone other than me.

True—I am similar to others in many ways. But it is also true that I am unique.
I am different in the sense that I am the only one who will ever have the chance to watch the sun rise or fall through my eyes. I am the only one who will ever experience my sense of touch, or understand the connection I feel with springtime and the smell of honeysuckles.
True—I am the only one that will feel the actual depths of my failure, but I am also the only one who will understand the resurgence of my success, which means, although I may fall down—I alone have the ability to stand up and rise again, if I choose to.

If I choose to, I can overcome my own boundaries, and what that means is I can conquer my own fears. I can overcome my own obstacles.
I can recreate my steps to evaluate the necessities of my own redemption.
And I say again; above all else, my redemption has nothing to do with your response.

If I choose to, I can face and understand my insecurity. I can resolve my concerns by acknowledging my doubts, and if I choose to, I can comfort myself by understanding my emotions and fears are not always fact.
If I choose to, I can refill the empty spaces in my soul with the benefit of positive action—because above all, an empty soul can care for nothing else but its own, which means I have the choice to fill and surround myself with love, or I can suffer alone and spiral into my own emptiness.

Above all else, I must remember the paths I have chosen. I cannot afford to forget the value of every step, or even my missteps that has either brought me closer or farther from my goal.
True—I cannot ignore the sorrow of my yesterday. But then again, I do not want to. Instead, I hold these tragedies the way a father would hold his child to ensure, “Nothing like this will ever happen to you again.”

If I am to rise above, then I must first be aware of my strengths. I must take into account my weaknesses and accommodate my fears by exercising my abilities while removing myself from anything toxic. And by anything toxic; I mean abusive. And whether the abuse is internal or external; if I am to better myself, then I must first put myself in a better position.

Above all else, I must realize the worst prison is not held in concrete, or enclosed behind steel bars where an outside source holds the key to my freedom. However, there are two different versions of freedom—one version is physical which I cannot always control, and the other is spiritual, which is the only control I have.
And though my space may be small, and my time is limited to that of a watchman’s clock—I can see no prison worse than the one trapped in the bondage of self.

If I am to grow, or remove myself from my own bondage, then I must understand these three things:

My level of intensity to change will equal my level of success.
That if I do nothing different—then nothing will ever be different.
And above all else, I must realize that I am the main link that connects the chain of events in my life, and you would have no power over my world if it were not given to you by me.

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