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The Unsealed wants you to write a poem or letter about your best day of 2023

All submissions are due by 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on December 22nd, 2024. Winners will be notified via Email by March 1st.

PLEASE READ THE RULES BEFORE ENTERING (You must be a member of The Unsealed)

After you submit your entry, sign our release here to allow us to publish your poem in our book (you will remain the owner of your work)

This contest will be decided by The Unsealed NOT by votes, but you can still give your favorite story a vote just for fun!

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  • Simple Days

    Lifting weights first thing
    I just love the feeling it brings.
    I learned a new skill,
    rolling cappelletti
    What a calming thrill.
    Two hours lead me
    directly to a nap.
    Upon rising,
    We packed the car and
    grabbed the lil chap
    Headed out for dinner surrounded by the sap.
    Nothing but trees, him, you and I.
    Can’t forget the calming night sky.
    The grilled burgers were delicious
    Hungry bears woulda been vicious.
    Loved this day,
    The work, the chill.
    Time to finish it off with a hot shower and
    clock in for a quick croissant drill.
    Back at it in the morning
    I don’t care
    A life like this keeps me from scorning.

    Karissa Howden

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Karissa, I love this! My favorite days are the ones like this. Good food, good people, and just enjoying the day before us. It really is the simple things in life. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being you. <3 Lauren

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  • “Weeping may endure for a night But joy cometh in the morning.”

    25 December 2023
    Christmas Day

    “Weeping may endure for a night
    But joy cometh in the morning.”

    Psalm 30:5

    My Dearest Sean:

    As I was reading our friend Lauren Brill’s website, the community was invited to reflect upon and write a letter about our favorite day of 20
    23. Sounds easy, right? Sometimes, as we enter the holy season of Christmas each year, we often reflect on the totality of the year. However, as a grieving mother, I found myself a bit challenged to write this missive as just 18 months, 13 days ago, you left this earth and transcended through the clouds, the galaxies, and the stars and onto God’s Paradise. It almost feels like a betrayal to feel joy but the reading of Psalm 30:5 lifts our spirit to do otherwise.

    After much reflection, I chose Wednesday, 23 August as the day and date as the single day that brought much joy and therefore my favorite day of 2023. This summer day was the selected day that the inaugural Sean Scott Strother Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser was held. The scholarship was created in loving memory of you as a beloved son and amazing father. Additionally, you were such a “teckie” and enjoyed all that technology had to offer and that was manifested in your home life, your professional career as a software solutions engineer and in your extracurricular activities, including using technology to track biking with GPS. So it was apropos that we had envisioned a bright future for young scholars who plan to pursue a career in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) field, with College Now Greater Cleveland Inc. managing the fund.

    The event Committee consisted of members of your family and dear friends. We had methodically and meticulously planned out all of the details for an outside event on The Bluff at a venue along the breathtaking shores of Cleveland’s beautiful Lake Erie! We were ecstatic!

    Thumbs up! The day prior to the event, we checked the weather forecast and had expected good weather on Wednesday. However, on the day of the event, we woke up to gray skies and gentle rain which progressively became worse. There was significant flash flooding and thunderstorms and the hardest hit areas were along the lakeshore, with five to seven inches of rainfall. You know what I was thinking – that the expected guest list of 50 plus would begin to diminish.

    Good news! As we entered the venue, a young server introduced himself to me and shared an inspiring word. He said, “Is this your event?” I answered affirmatively, apparently with a look of pensiveness. The server continued, “Don’t worry. Your event will be just fine! And, we’ll have a bit sunshine.” Unbeknownst to me, the venue staff had transformed the mansion to accommodate my event to a glorious indoor event! With that, guests who were not deterred by the ferocious storms, gray skies and flooding began to trickle in. Close to 80 individuals joined us – family, friends, colleagues, and your BFFs. Miraculously, at one point during the event, like magic, the sun was shining which afforded our special guests to venture out of the mansion and onto “The Bluff” overlooking the picture perfect Lake Erie. I believe that there was divine intervention. What do you think?

    The fundraiser was awesome and successful! Every single one of your amazing friends, colleagues, family, new friends as well as event staff contributed to the success of this event! They showed up and showed out! Your closest friends created the most amazing silent auction baskets, lovingly entitled “Sean’s Favorite Things.” These unique baskets each reflected things that you enjoyed – Scotch, Date Night Basket, The Edible Art Experience Cookie Basket, Tech, Travel, Mobile Detailing and a magnificent piece of art by a Cleveland artist.

    The keynote speakers, all who knew you personally, shared remarkable stories about your kind attributes, your education at Cuyahoga Community College and its impact on your career and weaved in the importance of education, technology and the STEAM areas as it relates to the economic development of our community. Your unique gift of being able to meet people where they are and go from “the mailroom to the boardroom” was just as important as your technology education.

    We raised over $17K which was 59% over plan. As a result of such a successful fundraiser, in 2024, we will be able to offer a selected scholar from the Cleveland Now Strother Scholarship Fund a renewable annual scholarship!

    August 23, was indeed my favorite day!

    Sean, your influence is enduring as well as impactful.

    I love you dearly and you are missed immensely.

    All my Love,
    Mom
    (Janet Banks)

    The Strother Scholarship Fund

    Sean Scott Strother was born on Valentine’s Day 1982 during an era of the creation and proliferation of the first personal computer, the release of Nintendo, Game Boy, and the rise of the Sony Walkman. Sean’s expanded curiosity into the world of technology began with the arrival and opening of large box, designed with the iconic rainbow apple, containing the hot Apple IIgs, a powerful personal computer! With that, began his successful foray into the field of technology and its impact as well as application in everyday life.
    Sean attended Lutheran High School East and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School. Sean served in the Ohio Army National Guard First Battalion. 145th Armor Company while pursuing an Associate degree in applied science from Cuyahoga Community College. While employed as a lifeguard at Beachwood High School, Sean was offered the opportunity to join Tremco, Inc. as an intern and later as a desktop support technician. From there, and with increased responsibilities, he joined Novelis, and Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. Sean achieved his life’s career goals, by obtaining his dream job at BMC, a Global Software Company, as a Senior Solutions Engineer.

    Sean was a proud dad and loved being a “Girl Dad” to his beautiful girls – Jada and Chloe; stepdaughters, Kamari and Kaliyah. One of Sean’s proudest achievements was raising funds to fight childhood cancers through the Great Cycle Challenge with his employer BMC Inc. team members where he was one of the top fundraisers. Sean was passionate about the Great Cycle Challenge because it enabled him to do what he loved to do, cycle, and raise funds to end childhood cancer and save little lives. Sean earned the respect of his colleagues who shared that he “was extremely smart, dedicated, super fun to be around and overall great person.” Sean had a unique quality in that everyone with whom he came in contact felt special, family, friends and strangers alike.

    Applicants for the Strother Scholarship Fund must attend a College Now served high school in Northeast Ohio and graduate in the spring of 2024. The selected student will receive up to $2500 annually. This scholarship is renewable.

    Mom (Janet Banks)

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Janet, this letter is absolutely beautiful. You capture both your love for your son, as well as the strength and grace you’ve shown in your grief. I think Sean had a lot of you in him in terms of the way you both deal with adversity and find positivity in the most difficult circumstances. I am certain there was some intervention that day and I am…read more

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  • Unexpected Love

    Started the year manifesting love and success
    I had my share of failed relationships
    So finding love in 2023 came unexpectedly
    Our 1st official date just so happened to fall
    On my mom’s death anniversary
    What a hectic day
    After my hair appointment
    We went to the cemetery to visit my mom
    How different that was
    I’ve never taken anyone to visit my mom’s grave
    If my mom was alive
    She would have so many questions
    So it was only right
    A dinner reservation at Carmine’s
    Because we both love Italian food
    The rain couldn’t put a damper on our mood
    Even though my silk press became frizzy
    We took pictures to capture the night
    Along the time square bright lights
    Honestly that had to be the overall best day of 2023
    As the month of June is often bittersweet to me
    That day I forgot about the past pain that plagued my mind
    Instead I celebrated new beginnings
    And toasted to a brand new love that would continue to shine!

    Tracy B.

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • This is a compelling piece. I love how you wrapped a day full of emotion into perfect words. I felt that emotion of the love you experienced at same time as you were experiencing grief. Thank you for sharing this with our community. I would love to see more of your writing. LeahLives

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      • Thank you Leah, I appreciate your kind words and your great analysis of my poem. I enjoy sharing with the Unsealed community and plan to write more on here this year 🤗

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    • Tracy! This is beautiful. I do not doubt that your mom was watching over you on this day. In fact, I think she had it planned :). And I love Carmine’s too! My dad used to take me to the one on the upper west side when I was little. Nothing but happy memories from there. Thank you for sharing and congrats on finding love. <3 Lauren

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    • Your words are so felt here !! I love this ❤️

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      • Rayven, thank you for being 1 of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders; I didn’t know what 2023 would bring I’m glad it brought you: I love and appreciate you 🫶🏾😘

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  • Queridas Madres

    Wow! You’re a mom now, and you’re 18 years old. Who would have thought that?

    You just left high school and now you’re getting ready to be a mom. How is that even possible?

    When you’re in high school, you have dreams of who you want to become as an adult. Being a mother at 18 wasn’t the plan.

    July 30, 1994, your first son was born. February 15, 2002, your second son was born. Two sons and they are both great bundles of joy.

    The day comes and your son decided to get married. He gets engaged and you’re so happy for him. Celebrating your child being engaged is totally different than actually seeing them get married.

    Your son planned a wedding for May 2024, and decided last minute that he will have a small ceremony in City Hall beforehand. He calls to tell you he is getting married a little early.

    Wow! Is this really happening? Your son is getting married. Your baby. He’s getting married in 2023. Right now? Today? No way!

    Watching your child grow for 25 years and then seeing him carry his dresser out into a moving truck to go on his own. The tears roll down your face. You wipe it with pride. You’re okay.

    The day comes and now he is walking down the aisle of City Hall to get married. The tears start to roll down your face again. Your son growing from a baby to a man in front of you daily, is the best feeling ever. Tears of joy is inevitable.

    He holds his soon to be wife’s hand, and begins to say his vows. You’re looking and saying to yourself, “this is it; He’s all grown up. He is not a baby anymore. How?”

    He looks at her and says “I do”. Tears roll down again. It’s all joy!

    He’s married. He’s a man. He’s on his own.
    It’s now Mr. & Mrs. This is the best day of my year.

    You have nothing to worry about because he’s an amazing man, mature, loveable, ambitious, and resilient. Maybe you can put the mom
    guard down just a tiny bit. Relax your shoulders. Release!

    Moms, I want you to know that motherhood is ups and downs. It’s not always going to be oxtails smothered in gravy with rice and beans. But it will be delicious. Just make sure you have a tall glass of liquid to wash it down with.

    He’s married. He’s happy. He’s smiling.

    One of the biggest joys ever. I love you!

    This is the best day ever! Congratulations Mr. & Mrs.

    Janet Joshua

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Janet, I am literally crying reading your piece. Congrats to you and your son on your son’s wedding! You are such a warm, and loving person and mom. Your son is so lucky that you were his mom. I know he is definitely ready for this next chapter of his life. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and heartfelt piece.<3 Lauren

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      • Janet replied 2 weeks ago

        Thank you so much Lauren. I’m so happy that I touched you. You created this path for us. I’m so happy to be able to use it. I love my sons so much. Thank you so much for your comment.

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  • Unexpected but welcomed growth

    Dear friend,

    Is your time up?

    If you are a U.S. citizen like myself, it’s that infamous letter in the mail. ‘You have been summoned for jury duty.’

    Once or twice I had to postpone it due to life: a wedding, being out of state and such. But this time, this time. It was time.

    You know, it’s so true that something happens when you least expect it.

    I was called in for jury duty. The courthouse felt historic yet familiar. Those who weren’t excused for one reason or another were called into the courtroom by the judge.

    I remember entering the courtroom and the lights were bright. ‘In God we trust’ in silver letters behind the judge. All eyes on us—the defendant, the lawyer of the defendant, two prosecutors, several court officers and the stenographer—the 45 people moseying in the pews.

    Then we learned about the case from the judge. It was a criminal larceny case and the defendant was a young adult, 26.

    Before we knew it, it was then time to select individuals to be questioned to be a part of the jury. Imagine a ‘bingo-like’ machine that they used to randomly select cards which had our names on them. A hand reached in to grab the first one. My inner voice “Don’t be me, don’t be me…It’s not going to be me…” (a longer pause introspectively) “Oh wait, it’s going to be me.”

    They call out “Melanie” Juror number 1. (Me!)

    What are the odds?! Granted it was a one in 45 shot, but still.

    We were instructed by the judge to be fair jurors, judge the credibility of the witness equally regardless of their position in law enforcement or not, and that the defendant is innocent till proven guilty, among other points.

    All in all the trial lasted a week and we listened to four witnesses—and it was an emotional ride. The jury was made up of 12 people and we had 3 alternates. A diverse group of people in age, ethnicity, gender-identity, height, and those diversities unseen and not perceived by the human eye.

    Although we entered the room as strangers from different walks of life, we were all there united under a common cause for justice.

    When it came to deliberations, as juror number 1, I was the foreperson. Essentially I learned from the judge that I would be the person to ensure that everyone’s voice was heard, be the one to request evidence, and then… deliver the verdict in the courtroom.

    Oh gosh.

    After analyzing all the evidence, we eventually came to a verdict which reflected what we saw, heard, and felt.

    Guilty.

    I signed the verdict sheet and then the court officer validated what I signed. I was then handed a white envelope with ‘Verdict’ in black ink. I never knew a piece of paper could feel so heavy. Another juror asked me “How do you feel?” and I replied “The only way I can do this is by separating myself from my emotions.”

    My heart was racing. Pounding. Fast. The fate of someone was in my hands.

    Walking into the courtroom all eyes on us. Everyone in anticipation for the news that only the 12 of us in the entire world knew, and me the one responsible to share it. (Me!)

    ‘Please rise.’ When I stood, another woman, whom I have never seen before, started reading the first charge and then passed the ball to my court. My heartbeat was echoing across my entire body. I opened the envelope then the paper. Slowly and meticulously. I looked up and said “We the jury…find the defendant guilty.” I could hear and feel the nerves in my own voice.

    We were asked by both lawyers to repeat back if we all agreed with the verdict. A symphony of guilty. I got one last look at the defendant and my heart truly ached. I saw the humanity in the person and separated them from their crime.

    And that was it. We were thanked for our service and waited till we got our lunch that we so deserved. I wanted my cheese calzone. (Love a cheese calzone!)

    When I eventually got home, I popped. An emotional rainbow filled with many, many tears. Charged with sadness over systemic racism, lack of accessibility, access, and equity to name a few. Wondering why people make certain decisions and who they are impacted by to make those decisions. The empathic and sensitive person in me was emotionally exhausted. Praying that the defendant finds light at the end of the tunnel and has hope for better days ahead. As a multi-racial person and family, this all hits hard. I was, and am, so grateful to have been comforted by my loved ones when I needed it.

    Having come out of jury duty weeks ago, this experience taught me that you are put in situations that you may not be mentally prepared for, but there are bigger plans and powers at work. I believe that.

    I kept questioning “Why me? Why was I assigned to this case and randomly selected to be the foreperson?” Perhaps it wasn’t so random. I guess it was written in my stars. You know what, “Why not me?” I was so nervous and scared… yes…but I did it. I did it anyway. And now it is another layer to the person I am. Another experience that makes up the mosaic of me.

    For me, this jury duty experience was a culmination of all that I was challenging myself within 2023: strengthening how to trust my instincts, nurturing myself out of my comfort zone, and embracing the rainbow of valid emotions.

    Progressing in growth and wisdom, Melanie

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Melanie, this is beautiful. I too am a person looks beyond the surface and asks questions like “Why did this happen?” “What led them here?” and also, “Can I help?” It’s an emotionally exhausting perspective. But also one that comes from a place of love for all people — the ability to see humanity in all people. And while it can be exhausting at t…read more

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  • Witness to our Love

    I look back to that photo,
    The one that’s framed above my desk.

    It’s not because we ventured out,
    Or because we loved the art.

    Could it be the night-lit sky,
    Musicians, the star-lit vibe?
    Or perhaps it was blatantly
    our anniversary.

    Looking back I know
    it was just that moment.
    The passerby, the photographer,
    became a witness to that instant.
    Capturing the moment, the glim in our eyes.

    Arms around my hips
    Eyes locked into mine.
    Smile awakening dimples
    Lashes rising to the sky.
    Hearts beating peacefully
    yet excitedly.
    Yearning to be confined in this moment,
    My favorite moment of 2023.

    Avoiding my departure,
    Detached from visa concerns.
    Come to think of it,
    The origin of our flags.
    Both holding stripes,
    same direction, towards the horizon.
    Different colors,
    apparently a huge difference.
    They want red and white.
    While his, nature green and sunny yellow.
    Stars, same placement
    But his, missing only 49.
    I think about that every day
    Painfully waiting for the approval.
    But I didn’t dare to think that night.
    It would’ve tarnished that moment.
    A perfect moment,
    One where we are together.
    Better together, just like the song.

    Not thinking about our LDR.
    Only 2 strangers that had just met the year before.
    Look at us now.
    2 souls forever in love,
    Carrying that moment,
    Our favorite moment.

    Darlene Cervantes

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Darlene, this sounds like an absolutely magical moment. Congrats on finding love. Is LDR along distance relationship? Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our family. <3 Lauren

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  • Just One Good Day

    Endless days bleed together
    Troubles run one into the next
    Drowning in a flood of bills
    Home a run-down prison I can’t fix
    Watching, waiting for December
    To slow the hardships’ steady parade
    Biding time to take my flight
    And seize just one good day

    Tossed and battered by life’s unyielding storm
    Guided only by my siren’s soothing song
    Twelve months fighting a constant battle
    Brought me back where I belong
    If I had to starve, beg, borrow, steal,
    Or sell all I own, it’d be worth the trade
    For this moment shinier than diamond,
    Worth more than gold, just one good day

    Dying fires of hope rekindle, burning bright
    As the lights against a New York skyline
    Evergreen eyes outshine the decorated trees,
    Seeing past my flaws as they gaze into mine
    Those kind eyes and encouraging words
    Sustain me until I can find my way
    Back to this place in a different time
    Reunited for just one good day

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Wow. This is powerful and real and vulnerable. Thank you for being part of this community, yo have a special way with words. I especially loved the quote
      “Guided only by my siren’s soothing song”
      This was very much relatable.

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    • This is really powerful! Keep fighting for yourself. More good days will come. Sending you a big hug. Thank you for sharing. <3 Lauren

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  • I set myself free

    My favorite day in 2023 is the day that I realized that I was free. I took a long hard stare at the picture on my wall , which were two birds, breaking free from a cage. I thought to myself, “was the cage ever locked? could they have flown out at any moment if they wanted to? , were they ever trapped?” I jumped from my daze at the correlation that I had made, comparing myself to the birds. For a long time , I played victim to my circumstances and I felt nothing short of stuck up until that very moment. My mind had been in shackles , I had become my worst enemy; bringing myself lack and limitation; it wasn’t physically, it was mentally. I closed my eyes and thought of everything and everyone who I had felt defeated by ; from people to mistakes and I said aloud “I am free now , I am free” I repeated “I am free now, I am free, no more chains on me.” From this very moment , I decided to change my script, forgiving those that I had felt resentment toward because it was me all along who had given away my power and it was me who had sat in the cage; so now it was the time that I got the key and set my own self free.

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    • Wow! That is amazing. I am so glad you gave yourself the freedom you deserve. May we all have this moment where we release whatever it is that is weighing us down. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of The Unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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  • Epiphany

    My Favorite Moment of 2023 – a letter

    There are about 8,760 hours in a year, which we break down into 24 per 365 days. There’s a lot of time within a single year, and even as I’m writing this on December 21, there are still so many hours in which things can happen. Looking back at the year from the start to now, so many things could have happened, with many things that should have happened. Six months ago, had you asked me what my favorite moment of the year had been, I’d probably have told you something about a boy, a particular boy for whom I’ve kept my feelings hidden for a long time— naturally when I’ve feared rejection for many years of my life due to unhealed trauma. I spent so many moments with this particular six-foot-something, brown-eyed boy, not all of which were “good” that I could choose from. Perhaps six months ago, I would have told you it was the day I first laid eyes on him, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, my soul had recognized him. The attraction was strong enough that I’d be drawn to him like a magnet no matter how far apart we were. I may have said that it was the first time we ever touched intimately, and I discovered things about me that I did not consciously know existed. I can tell you that six months ago and even now, I would not have said my favorite moments were the ones in which the “friends” I thought I had betrayed me because, in a way, every single one has. I would not choose the moment when the boy whom I cared for so much and was willing to do so much for had played directly in my face and then justified his actions with, “You’re not my girlfriend,” even though the reason why I was upset had nothing to do with him being with another girl and all to do with the fact that he was comfortable enough to do something so disgusting when I was right there, meaning he had absolutely no regard or respect for my feelings, even if I tried to play it off like I had none. We all knew that wasn’t true. I will tell you that all of the “bad” things, the fake friends, the people who only stayed in my life because I had something to offer them but didn’t care about me at all, the boys who touched me without my consent, the ones that used me, that discarded me the second that I was no longer providing what they wanted, the people who would have left me out in the cold without second thought if it meant they’d be warm, were all essential people in my life who played major roles. I will tell you that I have forgiven every single one of them. Not because I believe they deserve it, though I do, or because I miss them, but because I learned that I deserve that same forgiveness from myself for allowing them to do what they’ve done. I can also tell you that it was tough to come to this conclusion, but I did it anyway. After I’d lost nearly everything: friends, family, material possessions, money, and time, I found that I had something even better. Love. Amid the chaos that 2023 had been, I always had a pure, kind, and loving soul. I had cried and questioned the Universe, asking why I had to go through what I did and why those things were happening to me, and for a good while, I hadn’t received an answer. I was close to giving up hope, close to becoming the people who’d hurt me, but I persevered. I wept, prayed, ran from my shadows, and then made the conscious choice to face them, to choose peace instead of chaos, stay true to myself and my heart, choose not to take revenge, and choose to be better. And on December 19, at around 4:25am, I decided to start listening. Not to what other humans would say, not to logic, not to the voice in my head that told me to hate and fear, but to the Universe. I fell into a meditative state, which, up until that point, had always been a little tricky for me. Of course, my mind first traveled to that boy, who’d, for the life of me, never left my mind for long since the day we met. My mind, or perhaps it was my angels, my guides, took me to a place where I talked to his mother, and she asked me, “What is it you see in him?” And the first answer came so easily, “his light,” it’s what attracted me after all, but that wasn’t quite deep enough; there was so much more to it, and so I tried a few more times, his soul, his spirit again— it was certainly not anything he had done for me when he’d done nothing at all, his reputation was never the case as he’s a known player, woman eater if you will. Though very attractive, his looks had nothing to do with it. Eventually, I’d told her, “I see myself.” This realization threw me into a rabbit hole of memories with and without him. I recalled every upset and jealous moment I had of him, seeing him with other girls, how he’d use me for the sake of pleasing others, and I realized that my problems had never truly been with him; I’d forgiven him every single time, but they were with myself. I just refused to see those hidden, shadow aspects that weren’t so hidden but were ignored. At that point, the questions to my prayers had been answered. “Why me?” because I was strong enough to face it; I was strong enough to endure. “Why did they do that to me?” because had they done it to anyone else, they would’ve been met with fear or hate over the kindness and love I’d shown them. I needed to learn to forgive myself, and the Universe used them for that lesson. It was me because my heart and soul are made of pure, forgiving love. I then understood that it was much bigger than myself; I could see how I was pure light for those people, whether they realized it or not, that I was their blessing and their lesson, and they were mine. So, my favorite moment of this past year was when I realized my purpose on December 19, around 6:22am.

    Danéa Summerford

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Wow!Danéa, this is so real and so powerful. I am sorry that boy hurt you. Remember, no matter how charming or handsome, never lower standards for anyone and never keep anyone around who disrespects you. I am glad through all these experiences you were able to realize your purpose. You are right. You are light. Thank you for sharing. <3 Lauren

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  • Best day of 2023

    Dear Reader,

    I trust this letter finds you in great spirits and with the same excitement that fills my heart as I sit down to share one of the most exhilarating moments of my year with you.

    As 2023 unfolded its chapters, there was a particular milestone that stood out, etching itself into the fabric of my memories. The journey leading up to that moment was a rollercoaster of determination, hard work, and unwavering belief in the path I had chosen.

    As I reflect on this best moment of 2023, I am reminded that dreams are not just figments of imagination; they are tangible, achievable milestones that one can reach with perseverance and an unwavering belief in oneself.

    Wishing you joy, success, and the pursuit of your dreams in 2024!

    Warm regards,

    Lisa

    Lisa Ashman

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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  • It Comes in Waves

    I found myself crying the other day as I walked along the beach. The sand of the violent waves fought hard to drown out the thoughts inside of my brain. I was fixated. I stared into the soul of the water, and it stared back… but then it blinked. It all went still, and so did I as I looked up to the sky to see the shades of blue dancing around one another and meshing into each other seamlessly and aggressively, yet so peacefully all at once. I saw the grey being welcomed by the blue and the cerulean making room for the other colors by lessening itself to make a whole new shade of wonder. And as my mind was processing the things stirring up inside, the sound of the waves crashing into each other and dancing around one another flowed back into my ears once again and I was brought back to reality and I found myself sobbing for that was the most at peace I had been in quite some time. And I blinked back at the water as droplets of my own longed to be a part of it’s mystery; and my brain began to search what could possibly be so wrong to make me cry at such a magnificent view as I stood there. The only movement was that of my eyes and the streams flowing from them like the rain from the skies… and that’s when it hit me, and the tears began to flowed even harder as I realized… in search of all of the reasons of possible pain, in that moment nothing would come up, but rather the antonyms of the hurt; all the ways life was so right. As the waves continued to crash, a rush of peace crashed into me. For the first time in a long time, I had felt free. I was content. I looked at the inward mirror of me band for once I was happy with what I would see. Not even happy, I was joyous. I rejoiced as the waters leapt off my cheeks as though they were celebrating too. And everything was right in that moment, for I was in a place I never dreamed I would be, and finally after a long intense storm, there was peace in my own seas.

    Truthie M.

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    • What a beautiful peace and a magical moment. I often go and sit by the beach just to let my mind be at peace. It’s so amazing what can happen when you’re able to just be silent and take in the environment and beauty around you. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our family. <3 Lauren

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  • To My Shelter Dog

    I walked into the shelter looking for a friend. I wanted a small dog because I thought I would be one of those girls to carry my dog around in my purse everywhere. I walked around and all the dogs were barking and running around their little enclosures. I stumbled upon you. They called you Oreo because you were black and white. You were curled up in a little ball, not barking, not excited. I thought, “she’s small.” I asked to see you more than through the bars of your enclosure. You stood up as I approached you and I noticed you were a little bigger than I thought. I didn’t mind, you were a gem. Coincidentally, you had a white diamond centered in the middle of the black fur on the back of your neck. We played and you seemed so happy now that you weren’t trapped in there. My little pit bull, so sweet, so sad and so sick. I decided I would take you home. For weeks you were on medication. You were coughing, so much snot was coming out of your nose. I diligently took you to your doctor’s appointments. I was worried and I hoped you would make it through this. Eventually you did. You became so strong and muscular. I wondered how since we went on the same walks, and my legs didn’t look like that. You were now 50 pounds, a long way from the dog that came in as a stray. People say, “it’s so nice that you rescued a dog.” No one ever said how nice it was of her to rescue me. I didn’t keep the name Oreo, you were a Marla Ann. You’re a diva. You sleep with more pillows than people do. You give people the side eye that are acting up. Bikes and skateboards make you feel on edge. You smile when you’re excited. You are always so happy to see me. You always want to cuddle with me, you comfort me when I am sad, when I am cold and when I am happy. You taught me how to be selfless, how to care about something other than myself. I was starting to slip before I found you. You keep me company when I’m lonely, you motivate me when I feel lazy. I may have given you a house to live in, but you made my house a home. I am so grateful for you, thanks for rescuing me.

    A Dog Mom

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    • Awwwww as a dog person and a dog mom, I absolutely love this. I am one of those people who carries her dog in her purse. But your baby sounds absolutely wonderful. She is a diamond — just like the shape on her back says. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece and thank you for loving this sweet baby the way you do. <3 Lauren

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  • Livesaver

    I can’t describe how it felt when we met for the first time
    It was like he brought color to my life
    All by himself
    And the trees started singing
    The wind was screaming
    The earth stopped
    I remember how nervous you were
    He asked me to see his fridge
    And for the first time in my life
    I laughed so hard, I had forgotten how good it was to laugh
    Meeting him became my favorite core memory

    Anastasia

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    • Aww this is so sweet! Laughter can really make you realize how much you love someone. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our Unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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  • Best Moment of 2023......Birthday Bliss

    I have to say that 2023 has been pretty kind to me. It’s been a good year and I’ve embarked on adventures that I never would’ve imagined in my wildest dreams. That being said it was difficult to choose my favorite moment of the year, however one rises above all the others.

    Picture this….

    It was my birthday. The July heat warmed my face as I woke to the sound of kids playing at a nearby park in the suburbs of Chicago. I was a long way from my home in Maine but it didn’t feel that way because my other half—my better half—my twin sister was sleeping in the room next door. I woke with gratitude for another day, for a new year of life beginning, for the life of my sister (who is my best friend), for the chance to do life together and much more. I say a quick prayer thanking God for these blessings as I soak up the rays of sun shining through the window and wait for my sleepy sister to wake up.

    Our first adventure of the day was to get to Starbucks to get our free birthday beverage. As she sipped on her iced caramel macchiato and I sipped on my honey flat white we walked to a nearby nail salon to get pedicures all the while chatting about our hopes, dreams and goals for the next year.

    When we reach the nail salon we settle in for some rest and relaxation. I choose a lighter purple color and my sister chose a pale blue color. The shades of nail polish we chose are total opposites, yet complement each other quite well just like my sister and I do. I look over to her as she’s getting her nails done and see her smiling and I smile too knowing that she is happy.

    With our tummies rumbling we head over to P-Quads, a deep dish pizza restaurant that both my sister and my dad raved about. As we walked in the heavenly smell of pizza cooking wafted its way to my nose. We ordered a pepperoni deep dish pizza and devoured several slices of pizza before tapping out.

    We headed back to my sister’s apartment and got ready for the main reason I was in Chicago (besides seeing my sister) to see Ed Sheeran perform in Solider Field. The previous Christmas my sister had gotten me tickets to the concert. I had waited for this for half a year and now it was here. The anticipation and excitement grew as I got ready.

    Before leaving for the concert my sister and I blew out our candles had a few bites of our cheesecakes that we had ordered from the Cheesecake Factory a few days before. Each bite was creamy, delicious and super rich.

    Finally we left for the concert. We arrived at Soldier Field and walked up to the humungous stadium. Khalid came out and the excitement was palpable. With enthusiasm and energy he worked the whole crowd. With the excitement at its peak Ed Sheeran came bounding onstage. I could not believe I was actually there, I have been a fan of his for a long time and here he was in the same vicinity as me. You could say I was a little star struck, even though Ed is such a humble guy. More than that a feeling of deep wonder and gratitude filled my being. How this birthday was so different than the last birthday I’d had where I’d spent the day alone, grieving the loss of my grandparents, wondering if I was seen or known. Ed sang his little heart out and the crowd shared moments of joy, laughter, tears as we sang along to his songs. As the concert was about to end Ed instructed us to take out our phone and use our flashlight on our phone and as he sang we waved our phones in the air as we took in the lyrics, the melody, the moment.

    I have to admit that 2023 has been kind to me and that there have been many good moments this year, but this one tops them all. It was a perfect day spent with one of my favorite people, treating ourselves, eating good food, and watching one of my favorite pop artists sending lyrics which encapsulate both the beauty and messiness of life into the humid night air. I felt at peace. I felt seen and known in the moment. I could not help but smile from ear to ear and soak in each moment. And even now the memory washes over me and fills me with a wonder and gratitude that I know I will remember for the rest of my life.

    Hannah G.

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Wow! Hannah! This is a beautiful piece. I love Ed Sheeran as well! And you are so lucky to have a twin sister who doubles as your best friend. I love everything about your piece – good family, good food, and good music sounds like a great day to me. Thank you for sharing. <3 Lauren

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  • MY FAVORITE DAY WAS MAY 2, 2023

    Dear Unsealed,

    My favorite day in 2023.
    I was still recovering from major surgery on May 2, 2023.
    I remember that day so well as we
    All will remember the day in Sacramento, Cali.
    The early flight as early in the am as it could be.
    This was my first outing since my surgery in April 2022.
    I was honored to be chosen to lobby,
    For women’s rights here in Cali.
    We met senators, all other elected officials of the beat,
    of the capital of Cali.
    My first outing had to be dramatic of course,
    As this was my first travel of the year
    To concur I celebrate May 2, 2023
    As happy as I could be,
    To spread light, love and peace for equality.
    It was a full day of speeches and shaking hands,
    Of important peeps as well as the immediate company,
    Of my sisters, who flew over with me.
    We flew back to Ontario airport.
    To confirm our day was complete.
    I was happy I must report.
    That was fun and work and play,
    On my favorite on May 2, 2023
    That’s all I have to say about my day.

    Sincerely,
    Vicki Lawana Trusselli
    December 21, 2023

    Vicki Lawana Trusselli

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • I love this. Thank you for advocating for women like me. It sounds like an amazing day. I hope you are feeling all better now. Thank you for sharing. <3 Lauren

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  • 2023

    2023

    So much happened to me
    In this year of twenty, twenty-three.
    I got new hips for which to run
    Each morning, each day, rain, or sun.
    An essay of mine was published in a book.
    I’m still quite sure I don’t like to cook.
    My father’s progressed illness made me see
    How unbelievably fragile this life can be.
    Miss Mollie my sweet yorkie-poo
    Turned six, in dog years, forty-two.
    I ran in many races at varying paces.
    And made friends with people from faraway places.
    But the absolute best part of twenty, twenty-three
    Was celebrating ten years with my wife, Sandy.

    Lorinda Boyer

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  • Year of the Rabbit

    Twenty Twenty-Three was the year of the rabbit, the year to break habits, no longer deal with havoc.

    Symbolizing peace and prosperity, a time to cease the opportunities and highlight our original rarity’s.

    My year was a year of change, a year of vision, and a year of great decisions.

    Although there are so many memorable moments, the most fond would be the day I changed perspectives.

    I woke up one morning no longer in a mind that felt hazed, it was clear as day, I needed to change my pace.

    I longed for independence and self sufficiency, dealing with my inconsistency was no longer my consistency.

    I explored my passions with the arts.
    I will never forget the day I was accepted to exhibit my work at the tall building called City Hall.
    I was over the moon, so far beyond what I ever thought I could become.

    The same year I also took a leap and started my own business.
    Past me was there to bear witness to my accomplishments in astonishment.

    The joys I felt from a simple shift in mind, how devine to finally get rid of my mental decline, which realigned my dopamine to an all new high.

    As the theory of numerology states, the number twenty three symbolizes manifestation.

    I believe our greatest form of manifestation is to eliminate all our frustrations, and self preservations, and turn them into our future elevation.

    My best moment of twenty twenty-three was that of reincarnation.

    My twenty twenty-four will be of curation between all my new dreams, beliefs, and creations.

    Isabella Riesco

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Isabella!!! This is sooooo good. It is so well-written and powerful. Congrats on the business! You have so much more greatness ahead of you. Keep going. Thank you for sharing!! <3 Lauren

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  • Anyways, Life is Good....Gooder than Good

    To my Unsealed Tribe,

    Everyday is a favorite day for me
    I opened my eyes this morning and I could see
    I could move my legs and stand on my feet
    Wiggle my toes
    And touch my nose
    Use my mind to write this prose

    Running water, working lights
    Food in my fridge
    Roof over my head
    Despite my many obstacles
    I am not dead.

    I can put a smile on my face
    Even in the darkest place
    Because every day I breathe
    is my favorite day

    I remember the days
    when I didn’t think this way
    I remember wanting to hide
    And wish the world away

    I thought the only way
    I could find peace
    Is if I was laid in a linen lined box
    And placed in a plot
    While the words
    “With deepest sympathy”
    Are recited to my kids and family
    And I be laid to rest
    “In loving memory”
    Yes , everyday is my favorite day

    Even when it didn’t go as planned
    And even the days I was
    Surrounded by my enemies
    And out manned

    Through every experience this year
    I have learned life is grand
    And to push away all fear
    And run full speed ahead
    I dare myself to stay the course
    And in every moment, minute , hour
    Day and season
    That my breathe is more than
    Enough reason
    To let everyday be my favorite
    Even on the bad days I will claim it
    You will never grow
    If the sun is always shining
    And the sky is never raining
    This year I learned how to
    Not only love the rain
    But dance in it
    Everyday is my favorite day
    Because the breath in my body means I am winning.

    Peace and Love

    Dee

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Dee i love you so much! This piece is amazing just like you. You are so talented and you are soul is pure light for us all. I absolutely love love love this piece. Thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing. <3 Lauren

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      • Thank you Lauren that is so needed. I just appreciate you for providing the platform to share my gift and connect with others.

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  • Exist

    It was a perfect day. Full of bliss and uninterrupted catalysts.
    No walls and no towers, just ancient trees and clustered flowers.
    The sun was our only light, and soon come the moon to announce the night.
    But on this day, in this space, we can bathe in the rays.
    We can exist until the day chooses to desist, we can lay in the place mother nature has kissed.
    We can indulge in the beauty or divulge our perspicuity.
    Show one another how we view the thoughts of Carruthers and the colors that always manage to decorate our summers.
    Tree and breathe, gentle breeze, I relish in the wake of your expertise.
    The warmth of your essence filled the space with ease.
    And there we chose to be, as that is where we may find peace nestled beneath our feet.
    Not runners, no flutter, but a violent thunder causes the world to shutter. We’ve found one another.
    We resolve disunity with skulls of ambiguity and intellectual acuity.
    We release and resist, an id-driven egotist and her catechist, lost in the air of mindlessness and minds less missed.
    On this day, in this space, we simply bathe in the rays.
    We were the only light, and soon came the moon to announce the night.
    No walls, no towers, just burning trees and special flowers.
    It was a perfect day. Full of bliss and uninterrupted catalysts.

    Sole Lov3

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Wow, I could feel the peace you felt from reading this. This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. But just wondering, what does Carruthers mean?
      <3Lauren

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  • A Note of Gratitude

    To my love,

    When the year started, I saw the world through a filter of despair. One magical day, you lent me your outlook. And I felt joy that I feared had been lost to me forever.

    A part of my heart died when my dad did. You helped me see that I could heal. I will never be the same, but I will survive. I still have the privilege to draw breath. I will experience all the things I am not ready to give up on.

    Thank you for helping me want to live again.

    Unearthed Optimist

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    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. Sending you the biggest and tightest hug. I am so glad you found a friend who is helping you see the same thing I know your father would want you to see — and that’s that there is much joy and happiness for you to experience in life. Your friend and your dad are both rooting for your happiness and so am I. T…read more

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