Naughty by Nature

 

picture of woods surrounded with lots of trees

 

What started as a simple hike in the woods

Ended up with me on the ground, and you getting my goods

We’re naked and ready as the day we were born

In such a rush to get busy some of our clothing is torn

I can’t believe we’re doing something so crazy

Our temperatures are rising, and your eyes are glazy

We’re communing with nature in our own special way

Let our bodies do the talking; I have nothing to say

Shhh do you hear that sound?

As our bodies gyrate wildly on the ground

Twigs under my body snapping and cracking

As you grip my hips and my ass you’re smacking

Outside in the open as we’re getting it on

Sexing each other from dusk to dawn

My hair tangled and sprinkled with fallen leaves

Sweat from our bodies for which the earth greedily receives

The songs from the birds adding to our music

Along with the squishing of our natural fluids

This is so wild, so fucking exhilarating

Our bodies colliding as we continue our mating

No one’s around to spy, just us and nature

We’re caught up in our love-making, we sense no danger

Dirt and pebbles cover your knees, because you’re hard at work

Every thrust you give causes my body to respond and jerk

Our moans and groans are carried away by the wind

You’re going so deep, my legs are spread wide and pinned

Squirrels skipping along from tree to tree

Glancing down with curiosity at you and me

This is something new, something we’ve never done before

The thrill of the moment is making me want more and more

I’m screaming your name, and I have no shame

I would say that our raging hormones are the ones to blame

Your pleasurable grunts as you drive yourself deeper and deeper

The feeling you are giving me is making me weaker and weaker

The momentum is coming; it’s almost there

As the scent of our love permeates the air

Just a few more thrusts, and we’ll climax together

This was the most daring sex session we’ve had ever

Our groans erupt as you explode deep inside

Damn I can’t believe we really had sex outside

 

 

 

Why His or Her Betrayal?

 

 

Book cover of His or Her Betrayal? A woman is looking into a mirror, but a man's face is reflected back at her instead of her own image

 

I often get asked the question,

 

“Why did you decide to write a story about a trans-gender person? Don’t you think people won’t read your book because of your topic choice?”

 

My answer is because it is a taboo subject in society. Especially in the African-American community. Most people don’t want to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. I am sensitive to everyone. I don’t hold ill-feelings towards someone just because of their sexual preference or gender identity. People who suffer from (GID), or gender identity disorder are just as human as you or me. I don’t discriminate against them or anyone else. I have enough that I am discriminated on myself in my daily life, so I am not one to judge or point fingers. I think of anyone in the LGBTQ community just as I think of myself. I am discriminated against just for being blind, so why would I put that same hurt and pain on someone else? I know how hard it can be. Our pain might be different, but we all suffer in one way or another.

 

I wanted to tell this story from the point of view of an African-American family. Because most African-American families grow up in the Christian faith, it is taught that homosexuality is a sin. In some cases, people believe it is a sin punishable by death. Some people in society are so homophobic, they believe that every person that is attracted to the same sex that they automatically are attracted to them. For instance, some heterosexual men assume that a gay man wants them just because he is gay. That is not the case. Just because someone is attracted to the same sex that you are, doesn’t mean they want you. That kind of thinking really gets on my nerves. As long as someone is not disrespecting you, then I don’t think that their sexual orientation should matter, but that’s just my own opinion. No matter what, people are going to be people. They’re going to think how they want to think, and there is nothing anyone can do to change what has been in-graved in them.

 

In the story “His or Her Betrayal?”, I wanted to depict a real-life situation that is happening in society today. Unfortunately, this is the time we live in. No matter how much we progress, there are still some who want to remain ignorant and hate people for one reason or another. People like to use the Bible as a source for why they think that everyone in the LGBTQ community are sinners and are going to hell. I don’t believe that. I think God made everyone exactly how he wanted them to be. Some think it’s a choice, but I beg to differ. In some cases it is a choice, but not in all circumstances. Personally I know of people who are Gay, Lesbian, or even trans-gender, and I know it wasn’t a choice that they made. Nobody wants to purposely be ridiculed and tormented all their lives. Sometimes you can tell when a child is young that they are going to be gay, lesbian, or trans-gender. Do you think children really choose that? No. As children we have no idea what sexuality is. So, how can they choose to be gay, lesbian, or trans-gender? Things people say sometimes just doesn’t make any sense. They just want to find a reason to shun someone.

 

Although my story didn’t end in a happily-ever-after, I wanted to depict a real reaction that someone would have when they found out the person they loved wasn’t who they led them to believe. My character Michelle had been degraded and ridiculed all her life by her father because of who she was, so she felt that the only way she could find happiness was by keeping her past a secret. It was the wrong thing to do, and the story ended in tragedy. I didn’t want Michelle’s life to end so soon, but the reality was more important than my fantasy. If I had made Jason react in a positive way to finding out about Michelle’s past, then the story would not have reflected reality. In this day and time, people are not fond of trans-gender people, so Jason’s reaction to the news expressed his hurt, anger, and feelings of betrayal. The second part of the story tells the father’s story. Now, I know it probably came as a shock to the readers when they found out why Melvin felt the way he did about his own child. The purpose of me writing this part of the story was to show how society sometimes forces people to hide who they truly are in order to fit society’s mold of who we should be. The truth was exposed in the end and lives were lost, but all secrets were revealed.

 

I feel things like this can be avoided if people would just stop worrying so much about what is right and wrong according to their beliefs. If they let people live their lives the way they see fit, then tragedies like this wouldn’t happen. I feel if God disagrees with the way someone is living their life, then he and only he can be the judge of that. It is not up to anyone else to tell someone how they should live life. I am a Christian and I do believe in God, but I also believe that he doesn’t make any mistakes. He made everyone different for his own particular reason, and it isn’t up to you or me to ask why. As long as someone isn’t harming you, your family, or mistreating you in any way, then they should be allowed to live life in peace. I am open-minded and I don’t believe that everything is black and white. We don’t know why God created the things he did, but it’s not for us to question. I just try to live my life as I see fit and worry about what is going on in my own life, instead of what someone else is or isn’t doing in theirs. When judgment day arrives, we will all have to answer to our life choices. Until then, live for you and not how someone else tells you you’re supposed to live.

 

The title of the book is punctuated with a question mark because I want you as the reader to determine who you believe has been betrayed. That is a conclusion I want you to draw once you have read the book in its entirety. If you haven’t had a chance to check out my novel, “His or Her Betrayal?” Please do so and leave me your thoughts with a review. You can navigate over to my Blaque Diamond’s Books link where my published books are listed. There you can choose from which retailer you would like to purchase your copy of “His or Her Betrayal?” It is available in paperback and as an EBook. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

What is Love?

 

Picture background of pink, white, and red hearts

 

“Love is a verb that requires action to have true meaning. Without action, it is just another noun.” – Blaque Diamond 

 

This article is dedicated to the two people I love most in the world. The two people who helped me discover what love feels like.

 

Samantha Cunningham Jones

Quinton Terrell Jones

 

I decided to make this topic my writing prompt for today. Love. Such a small word, but it has such a big meaning. Love represents different things for different people, so what you think is love, and what I think is love, may be totally different. Neither one of us is wrong, we just see love differently. What is love? What does love mean to you? How do you know how to love? These are questions that I have been asked by several people in my life. Just recently, while walking with my walking partner during our break at work, he asked me,

 

“What is love to you? How do you know how to love?”

 

We have very deep conversations while we strive to get in our daily exercise. I love stimulating conversations, and I especially like conversations that make me think. Although, I didn’t have to think too hard about this subject. Love is something that has always interested me. There is being in love, and there is having love. Most people throw around the word love just like any other word because they don’t know that there is a difference in the way you use the word. You can have love for someone without being in love with them. When I use this way of speaking of love, I’m referring to relationships, friendships, family etc. Yes, I can love your new coat, or love to read, but that kind of love isn’t in the same context I am relating this article in. That type is more of a strong like for something.

 

I was also asked the same question while doing a podcast interview back in August of this year. Ms. Blue asked me,

 

“How can you love if you’ve never experienced love before?”

 

My response to her and my co-worker was the same.

 

“Love to me is natural. It isn’t something that I had to learn to do. I love because my heart allows me to. If you have to learn how to love someone, then you don’t know what love truly is. Love comes from the heart. It is a natural reaction. No amount of teaching can teach a person to love if it’s not in them to do so.”

 

To most people that may be confusing, but to me it’s clear as day. Growing up, I never heard the words “I love you” from my parents. I don’t think the word love was ever even mentioned in our household. There were no signs of love at home either. There weren’t any hugs or kisses, displays of affection, or words of endearment. So, as you can see, I never experienced love from my parents while I was growing up. At home is where love should first begin, but that wasn’t the case for me. I grew up in a loveless household. If love lived there, then it was well-hidden from my reach, or maybe it wasn’t meant for me to receive love there. So, I was thrust out into the world without ever once knowing what it felt like to be loved by someone.

 

As I journeyed into adulthood, I got into relationships looking for the love that I never received at home. All I ever wanted was someone to love me. One bad relationship after another left me still wondering what love was. What was so wrong with me that I wasn’t good enough for someone to love? Yes, guys told me that they loved me, but based on their actions, the love wasn’t genuine. To them, love meant me being pushed into a wall, or their hands wrapped around my neck if I didn’t do what they wanted me to do when they said do it. That was their version of love. Being a young girl out in the world by herself, I started to believe that maybe that was what love really was. My parents were supposed to love me, and all they did was abuse and neglect me. So, a man saying that he loved me right before he smacked me across the face seemed natural. It was all I had ever known. Love for me meant pain.

 

When I finally took a hiatus from dating and took time to delve into myself, I found my answer to what love was. Despite the hurt and pain that others had put me through, I still loved them. Even though I tried to tell myself that I didn’t, deep inside I knew I loved them. I couldn’t explain how I could love people who did nothing but hurt me. I tried for a while to define my feelings and pick a part my reasoning’s. But I was always brought back to the same statement.

 

“Love to me is natural. It isn’t something that I had to learn to do. I love because my heart allows me to.”

 

The lesson that I had to learn while searching for love was to learn to love myself. Even though I had never experienced love and didn’t know what being loved felt like, I knew that before I could truly love someone else, I had to love myself first. How can you expect someone to love you when you can’t love yourself? That was a question that I repeated to myself over and over again over the years. One day I sat down at my computer and opened a brand-new word document. At first, I had no idea what I should write, so I just sat there for a while. Finally, the thought came to me. I wrote this exact question.

 

What do I love about me?

 

Once I wrote that question, I began writing all the things down that I loved about myself. The more I actually thought about it, the more things flowed from my mind to the computer screen. Once I had listed all the things that I loved about myself, I sat back and went through the list. I was surprised at how much I loved about myself. Things that I hadn’t even thought of reflected how I felt about myself in my words. I couldn’t believe that there was so much about me that I could love. It didn’t matter to me anymore that I had never been loved by someone else. I had enough love for myself to suffice. Of course, I knew God loved me, but to know that I had so much good about myself that I could love actually brought tears to my eyes.

 

I worked on me over the years building up my self-esteem and my self-confidence in myself. Never being told anything good about myself had me thinking that there wasn’t anything good about me, but after making my list and frequently going back to look it over, I knew that I was worthy of love. While I was on that journey to self-love, I met some wonderful people who showed me what being loved felt like. For the first time in my life at the age of twenty-one, I knew what it felt like to be loved. Even though I was in a relationship at the time that was loveless, I had two people in my life that I knew for sure loved me without a doubt. There love had no limitations, and there were no boundaries that their love wouldn’t cross for me. I am eternally grateful to them for being the first people to show me true and unconditional love. Because of them and my own self-awareness, I now know what love is. I know how it feels to be loved, because I love myself, and they love me also.

 

What is love to you? Leave me your comments below. I would love to hear from you on the topic of love.

 

Evil is His Name

 

picture of a man with an angry expression on his face

 

This is an excerpt from my short story anthology of love gone wrong entitled “Love, Lies and Heartbreak Volume 1”. This excerpt comes from the story “No More Tears”, which is a story of domestic violence. Regina Harris is being physically abused by her husband Calvin, who vowed to love and honor his wife until death do they part. His way of showing his undying love is kicks to the stomach and angry, harsh words spewing from his lips towards the woman he is supposed to love.

 

“Owww!” Regina screamed as Calvin’s foot connected with her ribs.

 

Delivering another kick to Regina’s side, he yelled, “I’ve told you about running your fucking mouth so much.”

 

“Please, Calvin, stop!” She begged as she tried unsuccessfully to stop him from kicking her repeatedly.

 

“You think I’m fucking playing with you don’t you?” he screamed as he continued kicking her. “What have I told your ass about messing up my food?”

 

“I’m sorry Calvin. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to burn the rice. I’ll do it right next time.”

 

“You damn right you’re going to do it right next time. Right damn now.” He yelled as he dragged her up from the floor by her t-shirt and dragged her into the kitchen.

 

Calvin was upset because Regina had accidently let the rice cook for a little too long because she was on the phone talking to one of her friends. He liked his food cooked a certain way and if it wasn’t done the way he liked he had a problem. This was just one of the many ass whippings over the years that she had received for one thing or another. After that initial incident at the restaurant, Calvin did not keep his word. That was just the start of the downward spiral of their marriage. He beat her every opportunity he got. He was very jealous and any man that he saw talking to her, he assumed they were trying to holla at her and that earned her an ass whipping even if it wasn’t true. If she didn’t come home at a particular time, he would accuse her of sleeping with someone else, and he would beat her for that too.

 

He wanted to know where she was at all times of the day. He even popped up at her job just to make sure that she was really there. He monitored her phone calls whenever he could to make sure that she wasn’t disclosing to anyone what was going on in their household. Over the years, he had gotten so controlling and abusive that Regina could hardly leave the house to visit her parents. When they wanted to know why she didn’t come to visit like she used to, she would come up with excuses why she couldn’t come over. The real reason was she didn’t want them to see all the bruises that Calvin was constantly putting on her. He was beating her so much that it was almost on a daily basis.

 

She let out a shriek of pain as she grabbed at her stomach. She rolled around on the floor where she still lay moaning from the pain. She was three months pregnant, and she had a feeling that she was having another miscarriage. This would be her third one thanks to him. She had been pregnant two years ago but lost the baby when he threw her down a flight of stairs when she hadn’t answered the phone when he had called. Two years before that he caused her miscarriage because he pushed her out of the moving car while they were in the middle of an argument. She wasn’t seriously hurt since the car wasn’t going that fast, but when she landed on the ground she fell on her stomach, and she lost the baby. Calvin looked down at her in disgust as he saw red fluid leaking from between her legs.

 

Glaring down at her body sprawled on the floor, he demanded, “Get your nasty ass up and clean yourself up.”

 

“Help me, Calvin.” Regina whispered. “I think I’m losing the baby!” she screamed out as she felt another sharp pain shoot through her stomach and more fluid gushed from between her legs.

 

“It’s all your fucking fault,” he complained as he yanked her up from the floor and threw her over his shoulder. “You can’t do shit right. Can’t even carry my baby to term. Just fucking useless.” he continued ranting on.

 

He went to the kitchen counter, grabbed his car keys and walked out the door. He walked up the driveway to his car and unlocked the passenger side. He opened the door, tossed Regina in and slammed the door behind her. He walked over to the driver’s side and hopped in and started the car. The drive was silent except for the occasional moans from Regina as she continued to grip her stomach in pain.

 

“You better not tell them doctors shit either.” he warned as he drove to the nearest hospital. “If they ask you anything tell them you fell down the stairs. Do you hear me?” He asked staring a hole into her.

 

Mustering up a bit of strength, she squeaked in a small voice, “Yes.”

 

When they finally arrived at the hospital, Calvin got out and ran into the emergency room to ask for help with Regina. Two nurses came out immediately and attended to her. They lifted her from the car and placed her on a gurney. They rushed her into the hospital and behind the double doors. Once he parked the car he made his way into the waiting room and up to the front desk. He got the necessary paperwork that he would need to fill out and found a chair to sit in. Once he filled out all the papers, he took them back to the desk and waited to see if he could get any information about his wife. The lady at the desk held up a finger to him to wait as she dialed a number and waited for the call to be answered. She talked for a few minutes before she hung up. She filled out a visitor’s pass for him and gave him the directions to Regina’s room. He made his way to the elevator and pressed the button for the floor that she was on. Once the doors opened on her floor, he searched until he found the correct room. When he walked in Regina was lying in a hospital bed while a nurse was taking her vitals. There were tear stains on her face, so he knew she had been crying.

 

“Hey, baby.” He greeted innocently as he entered the room.

 

“Hey,” She replied solemnly.

 

“How are you feeling baby?” He asked as he walked over to her and gave her a hug and a peck on the lips.

 

“Well, I will leave you two alone. I will be back Mrs. Richards to check on you.” The nurse said as she exited the room giving Calvin a sideways glance of disapproval.

 

“I’m fine Calvin. I lost the baby, but you already knew that.” She said looking away so that he wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes.

 

“Well, if you didn’t make me do these things to you then this wouldn’t keep happening, now would it?” He asked as he roughly turned her face back towards him.

 

“No Calvin it wouldn’t–” Regina had stopped herself before she went any further.

 

He glared at her angrily and asked, “It wouldn’t what?”

 

“Nothing,” she replied, looking down at her hands.

 

“That’s what I thought. If your ass were anything of a wife, then I wouldn’t have to put my hands on you. Get your ass dressed and come on. I don’t have all day to be in here with you. I got shit to do!” he commanded.

 

In a weak protest, she said, “But Calvin, I just had a miscarriage. I can’t leave yet.”

 

“When I come back in here you better be dressed and ready to go, and I’m not going to say it again.” He said as he walked out of the room.

 

Regina began pulling the I V drip from her arm as she ripped off the heart monitor equipment. As soon as she did, a loud siren-like sound came from the device. The nurse ran in quickly in a panic to see what was going on. When she arrived, she saw that Regina had disconnected herself from the devices she had been hooked up to. She ran over and turned the wailing siren off and turned towards her.

 

With a frightened look plastered on her face, the nurse cried, “Mrs. Richards, you can’t go yet. You just had a miscarriage.”

 

“I know, but I got to go,” she replied as she spotted her clothing on the chair that was next to her bed.

 

The nurse took a deep breath before she said, “Mrs. Richards, I have to ask you a personal question. Did your husband do this to you?”

 

“No. I told y’all I fell down the stairs.”

 

“Mrs. Richards, the doctor and I do not believe your story. The bruises that we saw on your body do not consist of falling from the stairs. Some of those bruises are old, so they have healed.”

 

“Well, I don’t know what else to tell you. I fell down the stairs, and that’s that. Y’all can think whatever y’all want, but that’s what happened.” Regina said as she put on her clothes in a hurry.

 

“Mrs. Richards, if your husband is abusing you we can help. We can get you into a shelter, and we can file charges against him. All you have to do is say that you want our help.” the nurse pleaded looking at her with sympathy.

 

Used to this normal line of questioning Regina recited, “No. My husband doesn’t hurt me. He loves me.”

 

She didn’t believe her words, but she said what she felt she had to, to get the nurse off her back. She hated the ground that Calvin walked on, but she kept her true feelings to herself. Every time she showed up at a new hospital with injuries they always said the same thing to her. If she wanted to, she could have recited the words right along with the nurse. That’s how often she heard them.

 

“Mrs. Richards, I can tell that you’re lying. I would advise you to get some help before it’s too late. Men like that don’t change. If he promises you that it will never happen again, it is a lie. I would hate to see you on the eleven-o clock news because your husband has killed you. Please let us help you.”

 

“As my wife says she doesn’t need your help.” Calvin interrupted glaring at the nurse angrily as he stomped his way back into the room.

 

“Well, Mrs. Richards, I will need you to go to the front desk and fill out the paperwork stating that you willingly signed yourself out of the hospital against medical advice.” The nurse said as she looked at Regina with pity and walked out of the room shaking her head.

 

“Let’s go.” Calvin demanded as he gripped Regina’s arm tightly and dragged her from the room and over to the receptionist’s desk for her to fill out the papers.

 

Once that was complete they got on the elevator in silence and rode it down to the ground floor. They walked out and headed for the car. They both got in, and Regina closed her eyes and laid her head on the passenger side window as Calvin started the car and drove away from the hospital. He glanced over at her several times during the drive home, but he didn’t say a word. Once they arrived home, they went into the house and she went straight to their bedroom. She laid down on the bed and cried herself to sleep like she did just about every night.

 

 

If you enjoyed this excerpt, find out what happens next in the story by purchasing your copy of Love, Lies and Heartbreak Volume 1 from a EBook retailer near you. This book is also available in paperback as well. Visit my Blaque Diamond’s Books page and click on the retailer of your choice to purchase your copy today.

The Triumph in Me Book Review

 

Picture of The Triumph in Me: Living to Die, but Decided to Live book cover

 

The triumph in me: Living to Die, but Decided to Live

 

By: Kashinda T. Marche

 

While at a book-signing event this past weekend, I was given an autographed copy of this book. The author talked a little about the book during the event, and I was intrigued to find out more about it. Because of my visual impairment, the print book wouldn’t have done me any good since I can’t read the words. I did appreciate receiving a signed copy from the author though, so I added it to my library in my home-office for safe-keeping. I didn’t want to wait to have someone read it to me, so I went on Amazon to see if the book was available as an EBook. Yes!!! It was available on Kindle, so I wouldn’t miss out on a great read. I immediately downloaded the book to my Kindle library and began to read.

 

I was drawn into the story just by the first few lines. Tharisse, the main character was a young girl growing up in the urban streets of New Jersey. The story talked about her life growing up and the things she and her friends got into as young teens. Her parents were on drugs, so Tharisse was practically raising herself and her younger siblings. She became promiscuous in her teen years, looking for the acceptance she always yearned for.

 

When Tharisse is fifteen-years-old, she meets Eugene, who is twenty-seven-years-old. He treats Tharisse like she has always wanted to be treated. He buys her the latest fashions, he chauffeurs her and her friends around town in his car, and he even gives her money. To her young mind, this is love. Love is something she has always been trying to find, so to her, Eugene is her knight in shining armor. Her mother has a problem with Tharisse dating Eugene, but she continues to date him anyway. Tharisse falls head-over-heels in love with Eugene, and she doesn’t care who doesn’t like it.

 

At the age of seventeen, Tharisse finds herself pregnant with Eugene’s baby. When Tharisse tells her mother that she is pregnant, she walks away disappointed in her daughter; even though she was the same exact age when she gave birth to Tharisse. Eugene never reacted to the news of Tharisse’s pregnancy either way. Tharisse’s pregnancy was a hard one filled with sickness and misery, but thankfully she delivered a healthy baby girl. Tharisse strived to be the best mother she could be to her daughter. She didn’t want her to grow up in the life that she had, so she did what she had to do to show her daughter a different way of life. When her daughter was just eleven-months old, Tharisse got some devastating news that would change her life forever. She was diagnosed with HIV. Somehow, Eugene had contracted the virus, and he had given it to Tharisse. She wasn’t sure how long she had the virus, but when she went to be tested, she was told that she was infected.

 

Tharisse hoped and prayed that her daughter had not contracted the virus, and by the grace of God, she had not. Tharisse went into a deep depression after finding out the news. She couldn’t figure out how she would raise her daughter when she had been pronounced with a death sentence. The story goes on to describe Tharisse’s life and struggles of dealing with her HIV status. There were plenty of ups and downs as she comes to terms with her illness. Tharisse instills positive skills and inspirations in her daughter as she grows up, trying to guide her in the right direction. She didn’t want her daughter to make the same mistakes, or worse mistakes than she did.

 

Tharisse deals with low self-esteem issues, so she makes her daughter stand in the mirror every day and tell herself that she is beautiful. Tharisse is later diagnosed with mental illnesses as well, and she attempts suicide when her lover exposes her condition to another of her lovers. Tharisse was truthful to some people about her condition, but she kept her status from others as well, so when her lover exposed her, she fell over the deep edge. She didn’t think that life was worth living anymore since she was already dying from HIV. Thankfully, Tharisse was not successful in her suicide attempt, and she got the help that she needed through therapy. She decided to turn her life around in a more positive direction for her daughter. She didn’t want to traumatize her child for the rest of her life, so she started living her life with a purpose instead of living her life recklessly.

 

This was a story that really hit home for me. Having a family member who died from HIV, made this story so real to me. The fact that Tharisse contracted the virus at such a young age, brought tears to my eyes. All she ever wanted was to be loved, and the one man she gave her heart to, gave her a death sentence. She was looking for love and thought she found it, but sadly, she was mistaken. Growing up in a world uninformed and uneducated, caused Tharisse to go down the wrong path in life, searching for the love she never found in herself. What she hadn’t been taught, she tried to teach to her daughter. She wanted her to have a better outlook on life than she did.

 

What I took from this book is, nothing is promised to anyone. In the blink of an eye, your life as you know it can be swept up from under you without any explanation. Good health, life, wealth, love, or anything else isn’t promised to anyone, so you should live your life to the best of your ability. When Tharisse finally decided to change her mind-set, she saw the world through different eyes. She was able to see positivity where she once saw only negativity. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story of strength and inspiration. It will allow you to take a look at your own life situations and possibly change the way you do things.

 

None of us is perfect, and we all have done things that we are not too proud of, but the only way we can get pass them is if we change. We have to change our thinking, change our attitudes on life, and change the way we react to situations. We can’t wait around for someone to change things for us, we have to be that change we want to see in our life. It was unfortunate what happened to Tharisse, but in the end she changed. She changed for the betterment of her daughter, and she changed for the betterment of herself. She began to live, instead of living to die.

 

 

Rising Star: Maureen Mckenzie

 

Hello everyone, today, I am featuring rising star Maureen Mckenzie AKA Rosy. She is an up-and-coming poet from the United Kingdom. She is very talented, and I see her going far with her unique poetic style.

 

Blind Seasons

By Maureen Mckenzie

 

What a thing the spring

The pretty daffodils … where?

If only for a few days and hours

The lovely smell…

That newness

The dew, the damp, cool rain…

To whirl and bring warmth again

I feel it, not see it

It’s ok. I love it

I know it’s spring…

Now, it’s summer

There’s a bummer!

It’s too hot. Is it not?

No air conditioning here

Oh, dear!

The warmth through my feet

Wearing sandals, what a treat!

Walking in the sea

As the tide comes in

Now, there a thing

I feel it, not see it

It’s ok. I love it

I know it’s summer

So, autumn

Here you are

The door is ajar

The leaves are rustling

Everyone is hustling!

Getting ready for Christmas!

No! It’s too early

But the leaves are all twirly

Colorful aren’t they?

I feel it, not see it

It’s ok. I love it

I know it’s autumn

Winter, oh burrrr it’s cold!

It’s grey out there

So I’m told…

It’s all festive with Christmas joy

I love that feeling … oh boy!

Snow crunch on ground

Ok it’s found

The white stuff under my toes

With cold it glows

I feel it, not see it

It’s ok. I love it

I know it’s winter

I can feel it, hear it

Touch it

Sense it

it’s here

it’s ok.

Isn’t it?

What’s that you are saying…?

You don’t need sight to have vision

But isn’t that a division?

Though

Between light and dark

What a lark!

But I’m ok…

 

 

 

Globalization, me dear!

By Maureen Mckenzie

 

I think the time has come near

When we must hold dear

This much we must dare

And be bold and to share

Every creed, color, religion, and nation

Without any frustration

Good will and love

Does shine down from above

But our planet is heaving

And no one is leaving

There is no escape

We have made many a mistake

In our evolution

Without thought or solution

The planet needs saving

Whilst new IPhones we are craving

The water is rising

The sun hotly shining

As icebergs melt

Depleting ozone is felt

People rush round

Much importance is found

In activity trivial

Nonsensical ritual

Wars never ending

With no peace transcending

Nuclear war could transpire

That would destroy every desire

In one moment we’d be gone

There would be no song

So, wouldn’t it be better for us?

To not make so much fuss

And our differences put aside

So no one need hide

Globalization must bring us together

Because none of us are really that clever

So, do you have an idea?

To work this all out me dear!

 

Bio:

 

I was once a visual artist who painted. I still have my art displayed in galleries as a visually impaired artist today, but now since losing most of my eyesight over the past few years to glaucoma, I have started to write poetry.  People often said to me it would be a good idea to write a diary to share my feelings of sight loss, but I feel writing words in prose is more effective and a better way for me to portray my creativity. Some say poetry should always rhyme, but I think this is true to a certain extent, but not necessary all the time

 

My poem Blind Seasons has to do with the four seasons… and sight loss… reality, and that is mine. I have 10% optic nerve left in each eye.

 

If you would like to check out more of Maureen’s work, visit her blog at Rosy Poems. I’m sure you will find a poem or two that will pull at your heart strings.

 

Forever Angel

 

Picture of an angel in a blue gown with white angel wings

 

This is a poem I wrote for my best friend who was having a hard time dealing with the death of her mother. The two of them were very close, and she was having a difficult time dealing with her loss. I wanted to find a way to bring her a little joy in her life, so I wrote this poem for her. I knew that it wouldn’t bring her mother back, but I hoped that it would help ease some of the pain she was feeling by allowing her to see her mother’s passing in a more positive light. If any of you have ever lost someone near and dear to you, I hope this poem brings you just a little comfort to know that your loved-one is now in a better place. They are now a forever angel watching over you from up above.

 

Forever Angel

 

You are no longer here with me

But in my heart you will always be

My love for you will never change

Even though my memories are all that remain

 

The times we spent together

Will last in my thoughts forever

I miss you each and every day

But I know you are in a better place

 

Your memory will never die

Even as the months and years go by

It hurts sometimes when I think of you

Because I think of all the things we used to do

 

It brings tears to my eyes

And I have to question why

Did you have to leave so soon?

When so many people were loving you

 

I know it’s god’s plan

But sometimes I just don’t understand

Why my heart aches so much

And I yearn for your gentle touch

 

You are now resting in peace

Your pain on earth has ceased

Gone but not forgotten you are

Because you will always live in my heart

 

Even though I wish you could’ve stayed

I would not have wanted your suffering delayed

So, go now and embark on your new journey

As you enter the gates, oh so pearly

 

I trust that we will meet again

So we can continue where we left off when

God called home his oh so faithful

Heaven just welcomed a forever angel

 

 

Valarie’s side of the Story

picture of a hand holding a microphone

 

Welcome everyone. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Valarie Williams. She appeared in the story “You’re Not the Father”, and I wanted to give some insight into why she did what she did. At the end of the story, it was found that Marcus also was not Devin’s father. I hope Valarie will finally reveal who little Devin’s father is. If you would like to read the story, it can be found in my short story anthology entitled “Love, Lies and Heartbreak volume 1”. You can purchase your copy from Kindle, IBooks, Barnes & Noble, and any other EBook retailer out there.

 

******

 

Hello Valarie. It’s nice of you to join me today. I didn’t think you were going to accept my invitation.

 

Thanks for having me Blaque Diamond. Well, at first I wasn’t going to come, but I changed my mind at the last minute.

 

Well, I’m glad you decided to come. My reason for contacting you today is because my readers wanted to know why you cheated on your husband and had another man’s baby.

 

Um . . . Well, I’m sure they have speculated and come up with their own versions of what happened based on Davon’s side of the story. I never got to say anything on the subject. I know I was made to look like the bad guy, but I’m not a bad person.

 

I don’t believe you are a bad person. You just made some bad decisions, but we all have at one time in our lives. Would you like to tell your side of the story?

 

Yes, I would. I want people to know that I just didn’t go cheating on Davon for no reason. I’m not excusing my actions, but he has blame in this as well. He pushed me to do what I did. I’m sure he didn’t tell you guys that.

 

No, he didn’t. By the way, how is Devin doing?

 

He’s doing quite well. He came out of his coma a few weeks ago. He’s still in the hospital, but he is recovering nicely.

 

Did you guys get him the blood he needed?

 

Yes, we did. We ended up having to get it from the blood bank.

 

Oh, ok that’s good. I send my prayers up for a speedy recovery for him.

 

Thank you so much. It is greatly appreciated.

 

So, according to the story, Davon was found not to be Devin’s father, right?

 

Yes, that is correct.

 

Did you know that he wasn’t Devin’s father?

 

No, I didn’t. I was just as shocked as everyone else when the results came back.

 

You said that you had an affair with Marcus because Davon and you were having some problems. What kind of issues were you guys having that led you to stray from your marriage?

 

I felt that Davon worked too much. He was hardly ever at home. I got tired of always being in the house by myself.

 

Don’t you work as well?

 

Yes, I do, but I don’t work nearly as much as Davon does. Sometimes it felt as if he worked all those long hours just so he didn’t have to be at home with me.

 

What made you think that?

 

It was just a feeling I had.

 

Did you tell Davon how his long hours made you feel?

 

Yes, I did, but he always brushed aside my feelings. He told me if I was feeling lonely, then maybe I needed to work more hours, or get a hobby.

 

Hmm . . . So, you complained to your husband about his long work days, and he told you to get a hobby, or work longer hours?

 

Yes, it was as if he didn’t care how I felt. I work as a receptionist, so my hours are fixed. There is no overtime at my job.

 

Ok. So, how long after this conversation did you seek company from another man?

 

It was about six-months or so. I kept trying to get Davon to see where I was coming from, but he wouldn’t budge. He said if I wanted a man to be up under me all day, then he wasn’t the one. He had to work to pay the bills, so I would have to find something else to occupy my time until he got home.

 

Interesting. Based on Davon’s story, I couldn’t picture him acting like that. I guess the saying is true. There’s always three sides to a story. Your side, his side, and the truth.

 

Yes, that’s true.

 

What were you wanting from Davon?

 

I just wanted my husband to spend time with me. Whenever he got home from work, he would jump in the shower and plop down in front of the TV. It was like we were living two different lives.

 

Do you think he was having an affair?

 

Oh, no. I know he wasn’t cheating. All he ever did was work and come home. It’s just when he was home, he never seemed like he wanted to be around me. I tried to figure out what I had done wrong to make him behave that way towards me, but I couldn’t figure it out.

 

So, Marcus, the guy you ended up having an affair with, how did that happen?

 

Well, at first it just started with a little flirting back and forth. I thought it was harmless since we had known each other for so long. Besides, I was happy to be getting some attention from someone for once. Marcus would always compliment me on my looks and my cooking.

 

Oh really?

 

Yes.

 

So, you enjoyed the attention that you were receiving from Marcus?

 

Yes, since I was practically being ignored by my husband, I reveled in the attention I got from Marcus.

 

When did the harmless flirting turn sexual?

 

Like I said before, it started about six-months later.

 

Who initiated the affair? You or Marcus?

 

It was mutual. We both saw an opportunity, and we took it.

 

Did you feel guilty for sleeping with your husband’s best friend?

 

Yes, I did. Every time we got together I felt bad afterwards.

 

And that didn’t make you stop?

 

No.

 

How many times did you and Marcus sleep together, and how did you do it without your husband being none the wiser?

 

We hooked up about six or seven times all together. I was able to do it because Davon ignored me. He never asked me where I went when I left the house. It was as if I was invisible to him.

 

So, let’s fast-forward to the pregnancy. How did Davon feel when he found out that you were pregnant?

 

He was ecstatic. His whole demeanor changed. He became more attentive, and he showed me the attention he wasn’t showing me before.

 

How did that make you feel?

 

I was happy. This was what I had wanted all along.

 

So, it didn’t make you feel some type of way that the only reason why Davon was being so attentive to you was because you were pregnant?

 

No, it didn’t. All I wanted was my husband’s attention.

 

Once Davon started giving you the attention that you sought, did you and Marcus continue to see each other?

 

No. Once the state of my marriage changed for the better, I cut all ties with Marcus.

 

So, in the back of your mind, you didn’t for once think that there was a possibility that Marcus could be the father of your child?

 

For a little while I did, but even though Davon and I were having problems, we still were being intimate on occasions.

 

So, you were sleeping with your husband and his friend at the same time?

 

Unfortunately, yes. I never slept with them on the same day though, but I did sleep with both of them around the same time I got pregnant.

 

Weren’t you afraid that Devin would come out looking like Marcus and Davon would find out?

 

At times I did, but once Devin was born, my fear was put to the side. Devin looked like me, so I didn’t think a matter of paternity would ever be an issue.

 

Marcus knew that Devin was born, but he never questioned paternity?

 

No, he didn’t think that Devin was his child. I didn’t either, so I didn’t think that there was a reason to say anything if it wasn’t necessary.

 

Ok. So, the truth comes out when Devin is injured and needs a blood transfusion.

 

Yes.

 

How did you feel when the nurse revealed that Davon was not Devin’s father?

 

My heart literally dropped in my stomach. I couldn’t believe what she had said. I thought the tests were wrong, but when she said that they had done the tests several times and he wasn’t the father, I had no choice but to believe what she was saying.

 

We all saw how Davon reacted. Were you scared he was going to hurt you?

 

To be honest, I thought he was going to kill me right there in that bathroom. I was frightened out of my mind. I had never seen him so angry before.

 

Wouldn’t you be if you found yourself in that situation?

 

Yes.

 

So, you had to call Marcus to do a blood test as well.

 

Yes, I did. That was one phone call I hoped I never had to make. After we stopped our affair, I never really conversed with Marcus much after that. We thought it was best to stay away from each other as not to draw any suspicions.

 

And how did he react when you called him?

 

He was confused, of course. He asked me if I was sure, and I said yes. He was afraid of what Davon would do once he found out, but I didn’t care about that anymore. My son needed blood, and Marcus had what he needed to get well.

 

Well, it turned out that Marcus wasn’t the father either. How do you explain that?

 

Uh . . . Well . . . There was another guy. It was a one night thing.

 

So, let me get this straight. You cheated on your husband with Marcus and another man?

 

Yes. I know it sounds bad, but I was vulnerable. I was weak, and I wasn’t thinking clearly.

 

So, who is this other man?

 

Do I really have to say?

 

Yes, you do. You said you wanted to get your side of the story out there, so here’s your chance. You have to be honest.

 

I really don’t want to talk about this anymore.

 

Valarie, it’s time for you to be honest with Davon, Devin, and this other man. Do you know what you are doing to your son?

 

I know. I don’t want Devin to hate me.

 

Well, keeping the truth about his father isn’t going to make him not hate you. He is the innocent one in this situation.

 

Davon and I decided that we would wait until he was older to tell him the truth.

 

You can still do that, but Davon and this other man needs to know the truth, don’t you think?

 

Can we go on to another question?

 

No, we cannot. Avoiding the question isn’t going to make it go away Valarie. You need to be honest and say who Devin’s father is. You owe everyone that bit of truth.

 

Ok. Ok. Ok. I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell Davon. I want to be the one to tell him.

 

That’s understandable, but if he reads this first and finds out, it isn’t my fault. You should’ve told him the truth from the beginning.

 

Well . . . It’s Darious.

 

And who is Darius?

 

He’s uh . . . He’s Davon’s older brother.

 

Huh? Did I hear you correctly? Did you just say Darious is Davon’s brother?

 

Yes.

 

Well . . . I don’t quite know what to say. Wow! You just really blew my mind with that one. I definitely didn’t expect you to say your husband’s brother.

 

It was just a one-night stand. It didn’t mean anything. We were both a little drunk and things just happened.

 

Does he know he’s Devin’s father?

 

No, but he’ll find out in due time.

 

Whew! I think the temperature just turned up a few notches in here. I’m sure you know that Davon will not be happy when he hears about this, right?

 

Yes, I know. It was a mistake that I wish I could take back.

 

But sadly, you can’t. First you slept with your husband’s best friend, who is like a brother to him, then you actually did sleep with his brother. Man oh man. The drama you have gotten yourself into. So, Devin’s father is his uncle Darious?

 

Yes.

 

Did you think of how this would affect your son at all?

 

Honestly, at the time I wasn’t. Once things were all said and done, I started to regret my choices. I never meant to hurt my son.

 

Well, all I can say is I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I will especially pray for little Devin who is in the middle of all of this. I hope you can sort out your issues and provide a stable home environment for him. He’s going to need all the support he can get.

 

So, I’m sure you think low of me as well.

 

It’s not about what I think about you. You have to answer to your actions. I’m not one to judge. I just pray that everything works out for you.

 

I hope so too.

 

I think this will conclude our interview. Thanks so much for stopping by to speak with me. I really appreciate you giving me this opportunity.

 

You’re welcome. And thanks for getting my side of the story out there.

 

Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?

 

I’m not as bad as people may think I am. I made some mistakes in my marriage, but I don’t regret my son. He means everything to me, and I hate that I have caused him so much pain. I hope that he will one day find it in his heart to forgive me and love me despite my faults.

 

******

 

Well, there you have it. This was Valarie’s side of the story. I hope you enjoyed getting to know the back-story of how “You’re Not the Father” came about. Be sure to let me know your thoughts below. I would love to hear what you think.

 

 

 

I’ll Wait

Picture of an hourglass slowly counting down time

 

 

I’ll wait until you come my way

My true love that was meant for me

When we find each other our love will stay

With each other together for eternity

 

 

I’m in no rush to find out what’s out there

Because the one meant for me he will know

That all he needs is right here

Just waiting to tell him so

 

 

We will know that it is true love

Because the way we feel will make it clear

It will be blessed from the heavens above

Because god will always be near

 

 

Our hearts intertwined together

Will be the center of our life

Love, loyalty, and trust forever

You will find in me your wife

 

 

We will always make it through

All the stormy nights and rocky roads

Because you love me, and I love you

And we know how this love thing goes

 

 

Things won’t always be perfect

But we will stand together strong

Because in the end we know our love is worth it

Even when things are going wrong

 

 

We will always cherish the love we have

And never let anyone come in between

Because we are blessed with what we have

You’re my king and I’m your queen

 

 

Our unity, our partnership

Will reign like an empire

This beautiful, wonderful courtship

Will hopefully inspire

 

 

I will adore you, and you will adore me

Our love radiating through

Loving each other faithfully

As true lovers should do

 

 

So, I’ll wait patiently for you

Until it’s our turn for love; in due time

For things to fall into place the way they do

Then I will be yours, and you will be mine

 

 

Coming to the Light

A picture of open french doors with light spilling through

I never would’ve guessed that my last fight would be the very last fight of my life. On March 14th, 2005 was the day that my life would be forever changed in a dramatic way. I got into an altercation with my brother, and it caused me to be where I am today, and where I will probably be for the rest of my life. At the tender age of fourteen, I got into a fist fight with my brother, and this time it wasn’t like our usual fights. I would walk away the loser of much more than just the fight, but also my sight.

I was already partially blind due to mal-practice at birth, but I still had good vision. I was not considered legally blind because I still had perfect vision in the “good eye.” I wore glasses to keep that eye strong. My retina had been detached in the right eye during my birth due to the doctors mishandling of the forceps, so my vision was already delicate. I didn’t find out why I couldn’t see out of that eye until I was an adult. I had always been told that my optic nerves never developed in that eye. I also developed a cataract in that eye at the age of five due to the trauma to the eye.

My brother and I got into the fight over a radio because of me changing the station that was playing. For most people, this is probably such a trivial thing to fight over, but in the violent household and environment that we were living in, this was the norm. Since my brother did not like the fact that I had changed the channel on the radio, he became enraged with me. We began to fight for the radio. He hauled off and punched me in the eye, and I immediately saw red dots. I thought that maybe my eye had been cut and that I was bleeding in my eye. I thought that it was just a minor injury and that I would be back to normal in no time, but I was wrong. That one punch caused me to be in darkness for the rest of my life.

After the fight was over, I tried telling my family that I was having trouble seeing, but I wasn’t believed. My sight did not go away right away, but it was the start of the damage. Losing the vision in that eye happened over time until I woke up one day and couldn’t see anything. When my mother finally did take me serious and took me to the doctor, it was found that it was too late. They could do nothing to fix my vision. Too much time had passed, and the tissue of the eye had already started scarring over. Since it took my mother seven months to get me help for my vision, the doctors didn’t hold up much hope of me getting any of my sight back. Surgeries were performed to see if it would make a difference, but sadly it was useless. From that one fist punch, my retina had become detached and the damage was irreversible. At that point, I felt life was now not worth living for me since I could no longer see.

My self-esteem took a huge nose dive. I felt that I would never be able to live a normal life. The only people that I had ever seen that were blind were elderly people and that happened with age. I thought that I was too young to be blind, and I went into a deep depression. So many scary thoughts were going through my mind. I kept replaying that day over and over wishing that I could rewind the hands of time and do it all over again. Well, my reality was that I couldn’t get a redo, so I had to deal with the circumstances that I was left to deal with. Not having any family support didn’t make the transition any easier either. I was left to deal with this tragedy all on my own.

Over the years, I learned to adapt to my new situation once I finally got out of my depression phase. It was a long and treacherous journey filled with many nights of tears and self-pity. I had to take a hard look at myself and my situation and wonder if I wanted to be that cripple or disabled girl that had to have someone do her basic needs for her, and I knew that was not the life I wanted for myself. So, I began to embrace my new life and learn all that I needed to know so I could live a normal and happy life. I learned braille, computers with the aid of text to speech software, independent living skills, and how to travel alone with a white cane. These skills were very necessary for me to live the life I wanted. I took on every new task with gusto because I was determined to be as independent as I possibly could. I didn’t want to feel like a burden to anyone, and I wanted to be able to take care of myself with minimal assistance.

There were times when I just wanted to give up, but whenever I would think of the outcome if I didn’t push myself, it made me go even harder to learn all that I needed to know. I would always think of people who had other disabilities that were worse than mine, and I would think that I was lucky to just be blind. Even though I could no longer see physically, I could still walk, talk, feed myself, think for myself, and all the other great body functions we take for granted. I felt that things could’ve been worse and I know that I am blessed. I eventually started mentoring people who were just like me. They were struggling with the life that they now had to live because of their visual impairment. Before going blind myself, I would have never known that there were millions of people all over the world just like me young and old dealing with the same situation. Some weren’t taking it so great like I was at one time and others were taking it in stride. So, I look at my situation as a blessing in disguise. I could’ve died that night, but instead god had other plans for me.

I enjoy encouraging other blind and visually impaired people to become as independent as they possibly can. I always like to say, “Just because society sees us as being handicapped and unable to do for ourselves, doesn’t mean that we must live up to that standard or stigma that is placed upon us.” I take pride in knowing that I can do for myself despite what others may think or say because they are not in my situation. It took a while for me to get to where I am today in my thinking, but I am glad that I experienced all that I have in life because it made me the person that I am today. I wouldn’t change one thing about my past because if I did, then I probably wouldn’t be the same person that everyone knows and loves. My faith has a lot to do with how I got through my situation and remain positive about it. I feel that god doesn’t make any mistakes in our lives, so what happened to me must have happened for a specific purpose.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that life is easy because of course it’s not. I still struggle everyday with the fact that I can’t experience some of the day to day activities that most people who can see take for granted. Driving for example; I would love to be able to drive myself to and from work every day. I would also like to be able to go into a grocery store and pick out my own items without the assistance of someone. Going out to a place that I am not familiar with without assistance from someone who can see is something that I also wish I could do, but I am thankful for the blessings that I do have. There are some out here in the world who have it a lot worse than I do. I get frustrated from time to time when I must depend on someone who can see to read stuff for me or help me fill out paperwork, but that is minor compared to the circumstances that others must go through on a daily basis.

As of right now, there is no cure or treatment for my eye condition, but I have faith that one day there will be a way for me to regain my sight. If that day never comes, then I am comfortable in who and what I am. I have adapted to my life just fine and enjoy all the many blessings that god has bestowed upon me. I do not let my disability stop me from living and enjoying all that life has to offer. My life had to be adapted to fit my new situation of being blind, but with the way technology is, it makes it a fun and great learning experience for me. I had to come to the light by accepting who I now am and loving myself despite my circumstance. Every negative occurrence doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Sometimes things happen for a reason because life is something we have no guarantees in.

As an author, my visual impairment does throw up some road blocks that I have no control over. For instance, I have to depend on people to design my book covers and my website for me. I tell them what I imagine my items to look like, but the fact that I can’t see them for myself makes me have to trust their creative skills. I do have someone close to me check them out for me, but in these instances I have to go on what someone else thinks. As someone who used to be into graphics and drawing, the fact that I don’t have that ability anymore sometimes does get to me. Being artistic was a gift that I was proud of, but now I have to use the artistic talents of someone else to get my message across the way I picture it. The fact that I have seen before makes it easy to tell someone how I want something to look, but it still isn’t the same as me designing what I picture myself. When you have a visual impairment, you have to learn to trust people. There are things in life that having a visual impairment will alter, but there are ways to get around it. Everyone needs someone else for something since no one is totally independent and able to do everything themselves. Having that knowledge brings me relief and makes it easier for me to accept my circumstances and live life to the best of my ability.

I shared my story to encourage and inspire those who may be struggling with circumstances in life that they may feel have made them lose hope in themselves. There is still hope if you have faith in god and in yourself. You may see a situation in your life as a mountain or hill that is too steep for you to climb, but all you have to do is step back and evaluate your situation and figure out a new way to accomplish that task. Look at your situation in a positive light instead of as a bad thing. What could’ve happened to make your situation worse? For me the other outcome would’ve been death, so for me losing my sight was a minor inconvenience than losing my life. Every situation won’t be that easy to look at in a positive way, but to grow and accomplish whatever you are trying to succeed at you must see the light at the end of the tunnel.