Do you know me?

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I,
I am,
Because I have been,
I was born to hard working parents,
Parents who struggled their way to
Stability,
Like their parents before them,
Like my ancestors who came to this
Great country across the Atlantic,
Driven by poverty and hope,
Driven by dreams,
My ancestors who made whiskey in
The Appalachian mountains,
Who struggled to feed their
Children,
I am,
Because of them,
It is in my blood to prevail,
I have struggled,
I have been young and angry,
I have been pushed down by the system,
I have stood in the welfare lines,
Waited for hours on end only to have my
Application for food stamps denied
Because my salary of $8.50 per hour pushed
Me over the limit,
I have gone without power in my house
And without food in my cabinets,
I have been robbed of what little bit I had,
I have been a single parent,
I have worried about feeding my children,
I have worried about keeping the heat on
And paying the rent,
I have,
I Have struggled,
I have considered desperate measures,
Instead, I decided to try harder,
I have been tested
I have faced trials that most people couldn’t
Imagine,
I have succeeded,
And I have been pushed to the ground again,
I have been up and down,
The economy, the market, the president,
I have worked hard to obtain,
And I have lost it all in the blink if an eye,
I,
I am me,
I am me because I do not put my problems on
The man or woman beside me,
I know that I am not the only one with problems,
I know that the world does not revolve around me,
I am a speck in the cosmos,
I know that things happen,
I know that God is watching me,
Me, a tiny nothing of a speck,
Who feels great emotion,
Who loves deeply,
Who tries to change every day for the better,
Who struggles every minute,
Who faces the world,
Who works hard for what’s his,
Who makes mistakes every day,
Who makes his own choices,
Who is responsible for their outcome,
Who believes all humans are capable,
Who is,
Are you?
Are you capable?
Can you tell me what I am?
Can you tell me where I’ve been by looking into my eyes?
Can you tell me what I’m thinking based upon the color of my skin?
Can you tell me how much money I make?
Or how well off I am?
Can you tell me that I don’t deserve to be happy?
Can you blame me for your problems?
Can you determine that I am the cause of your struggles?
Can you tell me that I don’t know what its like?
I suppose you could say all of these things,
You could make that choice,
But you will know deep down that you are wrong,
Because you don’t know me,
You only see what I choose to show you,
You only know about me what I choose to tell you,
You know me about as well as I know you,
Do you know me?
Does this matter?
Do I?
Do you?
I think so,
However, I cannot make your choices,
I refuse to suffer your consequences,
I have my own to deal with,
I was not taught to hate,
Nor was I raised to judge,
I was taught that this world is cold and hard,
That I have to make my own way,
That my life will be what I strive to make it,
That in the real world no one is going to care about my problems,
That I have to work hard to live,
That every other human with functioning arms, legs and brains should have to hold their own,
That no one else is going to hold my burdens,
That I have to choose whether to be bitter and cold, or to love and be loved,
Its not easy,
This life,
And no one can tell you why or how,
You just have to do your best every day,
Even when you don’t want to.
And one day
When its all said and done,
When the troubles of this world wash away,
I will be able to face my maker,
And hopefully God will smile
And say
“You did OK kiddo.”

©2015 Brandon Hildreth

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