Category Archives: Inspiring

Book Review [A Book For Creatives]: “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon

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Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon is a quick read, you can probably sit down and read it in an hour. However, don’t let the size fool you, this book is filled with a lot of great informationfor creatives trying to make a living out of their art. Show Your Work gives tips for the “starving artist”; it also is a great guide for people who are passionate entrepreneurs. The book is inspirational, but without the fluff, it is very to the point. The chapters are two or three pages long, with drawings and photographs, which makes reading the book go by so much faster. Definitely a must-read for creatives, or anyone who is passionate about branding themselves and starting a business. It is not a necessarily a step-by-step road to success guide, somethings will apply to you and some may not. Yet, the book is like a great pep talk, Kleon gives 10 easy tips on why and how you should share your art with the world. Kleon really understands the struggle of creative artists, because he is one. Reading through the book, I often said to myself, “How did he know I was thinking that?!”.

I will definitely keep Show Your Work on my bookshelf and refer to it often as I try pursue my side passions. It is also a great book to give as a gift to a fellow creative!

My Grade: A+

 

“Thank God for the Bad Ol’ Days!”

​”​Like a plant that starts up in showers and sunshine and does not know which has best helped it to grow, it is difficult to say whether the hard things or the pleasant things did me the most good.​”​ ​–​Lucy Larcom

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Have you ever heard someone say “thank God for this horrible day/week/month”?

Or someone refer to Monday as their favorite day of the week?

It’s in our nature as humans to complain.

It’s normal to not be grateful when something bad happens to us.

Yet, we can change our perception and the way we go through a bad time in our lives.

It’s beneficial to change one’s perspective on bad days because they are inevitable. So your mindset is the only thing that will limit bad days.

Here is my guide to turn “bad days” into “growth days”:

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1. FIND REAL “PEACE OF MIND” 

People think being at peace means a comfortable life with no worries. However, life never calls us to be comfortable. We are never promised a life with no hardships. Everyone has struggles or moments of discomfort. It is actually in that discomfort that change, growth and greatness happens. We are pushed to take risks and go outside of our “comfort zone” in order to be great.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us –they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” – Romans 5:3-4

People often preach that they enjoy being pushed out their comfort zone, but do they really? We are pushed outside our comfort zone often, but people usually complain about it instead of embrace it. The truth is getting pushed outside of comfort zone is not that inspirational, it’s annoying, it disturbs our definition of peace, which is a stress-free life. Living “stress-free” is an illusion. But we can live a less stressful life–and that begins with YOU.

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Francesca Reigler 

REAL PEACE OF MIND is trusting yourself, and trusting God, that everything will work out in your favor despite discomfort, despite your hardships and turmoil. When you build a better relationship with yourself and a better relationship with God, you start to take the right risks, you believe that the bad days will one day work in your favor.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

2. EMRACE BEING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Risks are uncomfortable. Taking the right risks are those which may not bring you peace at the moment, your intuition might even be in turmoil– but the right risks will bring your heart, mind, and soul peace in the long run.

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

It is easier to take risks when we are young. The older we get, the more comfort we desire. We live our lives chasing comfort– the perfect job, dream house, and the perfect husband or wife, not realizing that life will throw you curve balls in order for you to grow. We never stop growing, therefore we will always have new challenges and obstacles.  Growth is essential for greatness. Growth is what brings a fulfilled and purposeful life.

“Life’s challenges aren’t supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”- Bernice Johnson Reagon

3. BE FEARLESS

You can’t fear. You can’t fear death. You can’t fear love. You can’t fear hurt. You can’t fear having a bad day. Because all these things are inevitable so why fear them? Fear only hinders you from living.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Hellen Keller

The day you become fearless (not YOLO kind of fearless but nothing can stop me from being great type of fearless) is the day you start to live a full life. 

“My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” – John 10:10

4. FIGHT THE FEELING OF SELF-PITY

Loathing in self-pity, makes you miss out on the good opportunities. When we drown in self-pity we block things like love and happiness, which makes us miss them when love and happiness do come along. Trusting that God is working in your life is like finding new self- confidence and strength.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

5. HELP OTHER PEOPLE WHEN THEY’RE HAVING A BAD DAY

How can you make someone else’s life a little better?

It often makes us feel good when we do good to others. A lot of people suggest to volunteer when you’re having a bad time. Because GIVING makes you feel good. Put your heart in it. Positivity has this ripple effect that comes back to you.

“We rise by lifting others.” – Richard Ingersoll

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SO SMILE! YOU’RE HAVING A BAD DAY!

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Embracing the bad days does not necessarily mean be happy that you’re having a bad day, it’s having the peace of mind by knowing that your struggles will bring about something great. We can’t live life playing it safe. We can’t go through life numb. We have to experience life. Enjoy both the highs of life and the lows of life. Live passionately. Be humble. Be bold. Forgive those who hurt you. Learn from your bad days. And you’ll see that it is easy to be thankful for the bad days. Enjoy every. single. moment. of every. single. day. Life is teaching us many lessons. 

“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Asking the Question: “What Is My Purpose in Life?” + Giveaway

Six months ago, a friend from California sent me a Purpose key. She told me that someone gave it to her because she was searching for her purpose, but now she has found it she decided to pass it on to me, and suggested that once I’ve found my purpose I should pass it on to someone else.

I pinned the “purpose key” to my vision board, along with my goals, and didn’t think about it again.

Until today…

I recently glanced over at my vision board, saw the key, and knew that after numerous times asking myself, “what is my purpose in life?”, I finally knew. I finally knew the answer to that infamous question.

I had found my purpose a while ago, without even realizing it.

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THE “AHA” MOMENT

Every person I’ve talked to who has found their purpose has usually found it to be a “duh” or “aha” moment.

I read inspirational books. I spend lazy Sundays binge-watching Ted Talks. I also follow people like Deepak Chopra and Oprah on Twitter. All has helped guide me, but none have helped me answer the question “What is my purpose in life?”. Ultimately it was me who had to open my eyes to what my purpose was. I had a hard time finding my purpose because it’s not something that you go out and look for in a book or YouTube video, it’s something that you pray/ask/meditate for, and it finds you.

Because one’s PURPOSE is: 1. Simple and natural (nothing they had to learn how to do) 2. Tied to something greater than yourself (like helping others, standing for a cause, or sharing your talent in order to serve God, serve others, better the world.) 

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THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER IN SEARCH OF PURPOSE

Everyone is different, therefore everyone’s purpose is different. Yet on your journey to find your purpose remember these three things.

  1. No need to look anywhere else, just inside self. You were born with your purpose, it is already in you, you just have to discover it.
  2. Let God guide you. I know I’m speaking on a very spiritual level. Yet if you’re asking yourself questions like “What is My Purpose in Life?” you’re probably a more spiritual person than you think. That is a deep question. And it requires us to go deep within ourselves to look for the answer. Yes God helped me find my purpose and God is the only one who can help you find yours. Like an inventor who is the only one who really knows how his “invention” works and why it was created. God created you, and it was no accident, He created you for a purpose.
  3.  The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment. I used to tie it to selfish motives. I used to ask self-centered questions like “What are MY goals, MY dreams, MY wants?” Your purpose always involves something bigger than you. It’s not about you.

Because when you ask “what is my purpose in life?” what you are really asking is “what can I do with my time on earth that is important?” 

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO FIND PURPOSE?

Have you ever heard someone say they’re living a “purposeless” life? It usually means they’re feeling down and worthless. Knowing your purpose gives your life meaning. Knowing your purpose simplifies your life, you realize life was never complicated, everything happened to bring you to this moment. Knowing your purpose focuses your life so you won’t get distracted by minor issues. Knowing your purpose motivates your life.

It gives you a sense of peace and fulfillment.  It makes you stronger. It also helps build a relationship with God (which to me has been the most rewarding part!).

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P.S. Almost everything pinned on my vision board has come true and I’m eight months into 2015. So I think this key can definitely help you! I WANT TO GIVE AWAY MY PURPOSE KEY! So comment to be entered to win and let me know if you feel like you may need it. I would love to send it to a reader! 🙂

#SoulfulSunday: Book Recommendation 📖💛

#100DayProject Day 7 is dedicated to author/poet/entrepreneur Alex Elle. (For more on my project check to my Instagram page).

Blessed rising! ☀️ Just a #SoulSunday book recommendation: Words of a Wanderer and Love in my Language poetry books by Alexandra Elle. Writer to writer, she’s great and her words are healing. 💛 

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“Wake Up” Poem #100DayProject

“We were trying to wake up the country and wake the world up too.” – John Carlos & Tommie Smith

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 Wake Up

I hope for a world where Love overcomes Hate.

Where we empathize with each other’s pain,

And Compassion runs through our veins.

Where the hunger for money doesn’t blind us

Into believing we can’t make this world a better place.

Because it’s possible.

Just like it’s possible to have a good Monday.

And moments when we’re too grateful to complain.

Where we truly believe that today is a good day,

If I‘m blessed enough to wake.

If I’m blessed enough to dream.

I have faith in humanity.

And

It hurts me,

To have to tell my little brother

All the things he needs to worry about.

And as he looks at me, confused with doubt,

I say “That’s right,

You should be cautious of everyone around you,

Especially if you’re walking alone at night.

Especially because you’re not whi–.”

And that’s enough to take his innocence, his light.

Because we’re living in 2015 with this plight.

And it’s been 50 years since Dr. King’s fight,

For the future young boys and young girls.

I too am using the power of words.

Because if the world refuses to wake up,

We need to wake up the world.

-jessmialma

#The100DayProject – 100 Days of Doing Something You’re Passionate About

This blogpost is to invite you all to participate in the 100 day challenge starting Monday April 6th!

What are you challenging me to do exactly?  The project encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making, creating, or doing. It can be something you are passionate about or like doing. The challenge is to show up day after day and dedicate time to something you enjoy. It is not about the end product as much as it is the effort and the process.

Why? Because I love a good inspiring project. It really motivates you to think and act outside the box. And as we all know, great things come from outside of one’s comfort zone.

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More about the project. The creators of the challenge are artist/author Elle Luna and magazine The Great Discontent. I first found out about this 100-day challenge from Elle Luna’s Instagram page. Elle is a painter and author. I first started following Elle after she shared her inspiring story at a Millennial’s Wisdom 2.0 conference at NYU. You can read her talk here. (It is worth the read). Check out Elle’s new book too “The Crossroads of Should and Must”, where Elle expands on her ideas. The book is very visual and is great for recent grads, creatives, artists, career changers, dream followers, etc.

So are you up for the challenge? #100daysof_______

This may be a jump start to something great!

Sign up for the project’s official newsletter and find out more details on The Great Discontent’s page.

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#CurlyHairTalk The Deception of Dominican Hair Salons (in regards to natural curly hair).

9a4df01329ab108b30d577d3079ff055[I want to start off this blogpost by saying that my mother’s side of the family is from the Dominican Republic and this article is in no way meant to slander that amazing country/culture of mine. I am no expert. This is sharing my personal experiences.]

Along my self-love journey wanting a healthier mind, body, and soul, I also wanted healthier hair. Growing up all I knew were Dominican hair salons, and I mean they should know how to take care of hair like mine right? Not necessarily.

I recently went to Hair Rules Salon in NYC, which specializes in ALL hair textures, to get a haircut. I also went to ask all my curly hair questions and learn more about how to best wash and take care of my curly hair. They cleared up a lot of misconceptions. I’m here to enlighten and demystify!

1. When they say…“Tu tiene pelo malo.” (You have bad hair.)

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NO SUCH THING. LOVE YOUR HAIR AND ALL ITS GLORY. #FLAWLESS

In reality, there is no such thing as having “bad” hair.

So why are Dominicans so obsessed with straight hair? Since the era (1930-1961) of the dictator Rafael Trujillo, a dictator that was obsessed with purifying the Dominican race by killing Haitians and darker-skinned Dominicans, beauty in the Dominican Republic for a long time was pale skin and straight hair.

Dominican people come in many shades, ethnic backgrounds, and to get to the point hair textures. Some salons treat all these textures the same. Rollers, blow dry, straight hair, done. BIG MISTAKE.

The first thing you should know is not all textures are the same BUT they should be given the same kind of love and treatment to be healthy.

No hay pelo malo!

2. Cutting curly hair while it’s wet.

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Most of my life I’ve gotten my haircut with freshly washed, wet hair. Imagine my surprise when I learned that a dry cut is the way to go for curly hair. Hair Rules salon in NYC blow dries your hair straight (with a comb attachment) before cutting your hair to be able to see all your damaged ends. If you get a haircut with wet curly hair, some of your hair will start to dry and curl during the cut! Cutting your hair while it’s dry and straight avoids unevenness and further breakage.

3. Washing your hair once a week.

Wash it everyday if you want to! Well “co-wash” it everyday.

Let that fear of wetting your hair go! I wanted healthy hair and I wanted to be able to wash my hair everyday so I can work out everyday. Dominican mothers would yell don’t wash your hair everyday! But you can co-wash your hair everyday.

Curly hair gals, conditioner is your best friend. The two to three washes that salons give you with sulfate shampoo is horrible for curly hair texture types. Hair Rules gave me some tips to washing curly hair.

-Was once a week with a sulfate-free shampoo.

-Co-wash during the week as much as you want to refresh your scalp and curls.

-Clarify once a month for build up.

It’s all up to you and what you feel your hair requires. If you’re co-washing and clarifying, there is never a need for sulfate shampoo.

 Free yourself!

ABOUT CO-WASHING:
Co-Washing is short for “Conditioner Washing” or Cleansing with a Cleansing Cream. Most Conditioners have cleansing agents in the ingredients that clean hair just enough without over drying. Co-Washing is a step done in replacement of Shampoo. It can be done on occasions or by alternating your wash days using Shampoo one day and using a cream cleanser or Conditioner to cleanse the next time and so on. Every head of hair is different, so do what works best for your own hair. If you like to Co-Wash frequently make sure you are also keeping a healthy ph balance by clarifying as well.

ABOUT CLARIFYING:
Clarifying is deep cleaning your hair to remove product residue and build-up from products being used over time. Clarifying is meant to be done occasionally because it’s Deep Cleaning so it’s not meant for frequent use or your hair may suffer dryness. You can eve do this naturally with baking soda or Apple Cider Vinegar or Dr. Bronner’s 18 in one cleanser. Or simple use a shampoo that suds up, but still look for one that is sulfate free.

4. When they tell you DON’T leave your hair curly all the time!

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…BUT CURLY HAIR IS MORE FUN.

Why not?!

They tell you it’s healthy to go to the salon weekly, and it’s only healthy for their pocket$$ really. You can’t walk into a Dominican hair salon and ask for them to style your hair curly because most Dominican salons will recommend your hair straight. Stop the curly kinky hate. Dominican hair stylists will do whatever it takes to get it straight: relaxer, texturized, more heat.

Heat damage is a bitch, trust me I know. I’m currently recovering from altered curl pattern and straight ends.

Most of the heat damage come from the typical roller set then blow dry combo. SURPRISE.

5. Under the dryer for 45 minutes, then blow dry, then maybe styling with a straightener or curling rod. YIKES!

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1 HOUR AND 30 MINUTES UNDER A DRYER: THIS IS MY LIFE AND I’VE CHOSEN TO ACCEPT IT.

That’s too much heat for your hair to take in one day.

Not all hair needs that. Not all hair should be treated the same. I do rollers mostly now but that’s it. If you have really really really kinky curly hair don’t do rollers because it causes breakage. Most Dominican salons, care more about the end result. You have to love your natural hair and know what is the best way to straighten it for your particular texture. Get to know your hair. I wanted answers and that led me to book an appointment with a salon that specializes in all kinds of hair.

I left Hair Rules salon with my natural curly hair styled.

I recommend to free yourself from these salons and learn to do your own hair or go to a curly hair salon. If you must go to a Dominican salon: RESEARCH and bring your own healthier products for them to use.

6. Styling Curly Hair

Avoid styling products with alcohol like cheap mousse and gels. That dries out your hair. There are a lot of gels and custards now that are alcohol-free with good hold that you can use. Styling curly hair for wash and go’s really depends on your hair. Learn what type of hair you have (1a-4c) AND what kind of porosity your hair has. This determines the best styling products for your hair. I have 3b hair styling milks and creams work best for me and light gels. Some heavy products weigh down my hair too much. Depends what kind of look I’m going for. The best part is playing with different products as you get to know your true hair potential!

Porosity Hair Test

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I’ll post more as I embark on my healthy hair journey. Also some of my favorite products!!!!!

In the meantime here are some more HEALTHY HAIR tips for my curly hair gals:

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GIRL, WE GOT THIS!

-Always apply a leave-in-conditioner for extra moisture.

-Always section your hair when applying products for better distribution.

– Vitamins are okay but remember to eat healthy foods for healthy skin and healthy hair.

-For define curls rake the product in your hair with your fingers, raking means detangling with your fingers as you’re applying the product.

-Follow natural hair girls on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, the motivation and advice helps!

-To avoid curl clumping after putting in your styling product.put your towel in your face and shake your head from side to side to release curls. Part your hair how you want it then don’t touch it until it’s dry.

-When your hair is 90 percent dry, use a blowdryer with it’s regular nozzle to elongate curls if you wish to do so.

-Learn about the benefits of oils like jojoba oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, coconut oil.

-Learn the best way to straighten your hair. There are different ways that are healthy and no you don’t have to throw away your straightener. I saw women with 4c hair come out with amazing full straight hair looking like Beyonce but not damaging or chemically-altering their hair. Yes it can be done.

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WORK!

My Barcelona Journey: Lesson #2: Life feels like a maze. Find a beautiful place and get lost in it!

I got lost again.

This time it was in a cool maze!

Here are some pictures of my adventure at

Parc del Laberint d’ Horta.

Translation:

Labyrinth Park of Horta

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The story behind the Labyrinth is an interesting one….

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The labyrinth is actually located in the backyard of this amazing castle called Desvalls Palace. A palace owned by a noble family that was later donated to the city of Barcelona, because no one could afford to buy it.  😮

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I have a beautiful labyrinth and park in my backyard. No big deal!

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The backyard/park is divided into two gardens. An 18th century neoclassical (Ancient Roman and Greek style) garden, and a 19th century romantic garden. (Romantic, and yes I did see a lot of couples there, and lots of good ol’ PDA).

The first garden includes the labyrinth, a fun maze that I did get lost in. I felt like it was a metaphor for getting lost in the city of Barcelona.

But no the real story of the labyrinth deals with mythology. Minotaur (half-bull, half-man), Ariadne, and Theseus.

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According to Ancient Greek mythology, the Athenians were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens to the Minotaur. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus. Theseus volunteered to come through the labyrinth and kill the Minotaur. Ariadne fell in love at first sight, and helped Theseus by giving him a sword and a ball of thread, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.

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The start of the labyrinth. Ariadne giving Thesus the string & the sword.
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Eros (better known as Cupid) is a symbol of love, located in the center of the maze.
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Numerous Gods and Goddesses are located throughout the park, showing the Roman and Greek architectural influences.

 

Once you find your way out of the maze you go to the romantic garden with flower beds, gazebos, animals, and a waterfall.

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Waterfalls
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Water canal
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The duck that couldn’t stop “twerking” shaking his tail-feathers.

 

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Life feels like a maze.

Lesson #2: “Find a beautiful place and get lost in it.”

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Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Still I Rise 

By Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.