a 22-year-old fellow from Berkeley, California, United States

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"Die when I may, I want it said of me that I plucked a weed and planted a flower where ever I thought a flower would grow. - Abraham Lincoln"

With a lion's heart, I stab at the irreproachable fabric of reality cast in front of me. To transcend my weary skin, my tired eyes, my aching bones, I leap forward, faith in mind, hands outstretched such that my fingers may try and grasp the threads before me. Life is a web. Its seamless design so opaque that mortal sight cannot begin to fathom its joints. I try hopelessly to read the pages of my life as they become written, but the themes elude, as if I am trapped in a grand game of cat and mouse, never catching up to the race of flowing time. Questions ignite, linger, and fade before I have a chance to answer, the ink already dotted. All souls dance upon the face of the Earth, moving to the sound of a hidden melody, with each body writhing to the rhythm of their own song. There is nothing grandly inspirational about the hard-biting battle that permeates life other than being the one to fight it. I must face the demons that my life conjures, whether they are of family's design, a friend's design, or my own. I can pretend no longer to be trapped in an idyllic dream of another's fantasy or nightmare, my trials the joke of a jester's game. Fear has driven both my prowess and my cowardice. I seek no longer to love the music of a dreamer's whistle or the sight of his pointed brow. No longer will I look for the heart that beats for me, for it is my own heart that does so. Damn the world! Damn the smolder of my past embers! Reawaken in me now the fire of a thousand suns. The shackles that bound my ankles at birth will not slow me as I trudge forward. The arch of my back will not weaken my speed. The doubt in my mind will not kill my will. I am alone for now, but one day I will look at these pages and see the strength it took to write them

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