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By , Arlington, TX
From helping my mother, stricken with paralysis, walk up the stairs, running to and from basketball practices, and attending Wednesday night services for a reason to carry on, life for me consists of the ability to overcome obstacles. The most important lessons I learned at an early age, to put the needs of my mother in front of mine. My ability to care for others out of love not looking for a reward or praise drove my reasons for helping my mother who gave me life.

My beautiful mother, Betty Denise, will always be my hero, despite her physical setbacks. I can remember the talks my mother and I have had about her Southern upbringing in small town, Athens, AL, watching her glow as she explains her love for tennis and her many boyfriends. I listen attentively at the early age of ten and dwell in her total elation. I smile. Now looking back to the bright sunny summer day in Alabama on my Grammy’s porch, I believe she is a better woman today than back then. I am inspired by her ability to overcome her physical, emotional, and spiritual obstacles. She gives me the motivation to reach for the highest heights, even if I have to struggle a little along the way. Looking at her life and her ability to wake up every day and have the energy to continue life, when her life has knock her down multiple times physically. Every time my mother rises above it and extends a little higher, surviving a stroke and a brain tumor, my mother is my living hero. Every day defines her greatness; she never gives up, and I follow her path and make the choice to stay on the right path.

However the real obstacles arise during the times of heart ache and pain. I can remember specific times, where my mother’s physical setbacks have saddened me greatly. It was my thirteenth birthday and I stood on the top of the world. I have my birthday dinner, as my Dad treats me with for my gift. We arrive back at my Dad’s house and I wait for my mother to call. Finally the phone rings and I sprint to the phone and smile when I see the caller identification with her number. I answer and we talk non-stop about our days and even the weather, without them mention of my birthday. We hang up and I burst into tears. I could not believe she forgot about my birthday. I cry to God and ask him why she was like this, and why he let her forget about my birthday when he knew it meant the world to me for her to remember. I lay into my father’s arms as he comforts me, drying my tears. It is times like these where I need an outlet to release these feelings and one day I find it. God sends me an outlet and enables me with a power of poetry. I am a poet. In order to overcome these obstacles, I write. Poetry enables me to release my inner feelings in a healthy way, which makes me stronger, healing my heart in the process.

Writing poetry allows me to escape from my life, keeping my focus on the positives in my life not the setbacks. My father, Vincent Ratcliff, encourages me daily to keep my mind on joy and never forget to be grateful to God for all that he has given me. Looking at my father he is a model of a Christian man, instilling me with the power to think positively not negatively about every aspect of my life. When other fathers were fixing cares or paying bills, my Daddy did all that and more. He is the only Daddy I know that can do my hair in pigtails; he has great talent! From him I know that I have a purpose for my life that God has given me. Through my poetry I can focus on the happy not the sad aspects of my life such as my God, family and friends. When I write the negativity leaves my mind and heart. I find my inner self and I go into an oasis of joy.


Poetry allows me to tell my life story. God motivates me to live and fulfill my God-given potential, echoing my sense of power by saying, “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). So when I prepared to recite my poem, in front of peers who will hear a glimpse of my present story that may surprise some. This story will grow, and later define my future. Anticipation builds up inside of me but I never think of quitting. I have made it this far. I have been quiet for too long, my time to speak is now. All of the ancestors who have sacrificed for my right to speak, I owe it to them to not give in. Slowly I move up in line. I am next. I am on. Now it’s time, I grab the mike and begin my poem...





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Linda67 said...
Oct. 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm
This is great! I love the metaphors and personal writing techniques you use to connect with the reader.
 
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