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All Entries must be in by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

Those moving on to the next round will be announced on February 15, 2024

Voting will go from February 15th to March 15th (11:59 PM Eastern Time).

Our Winners will be announced  on  March 18, 2024

Read the Challenge Rules before you enter. For your work to be considered to get published in one of our books, sign the release after you post your entry here (you will still own the copyright to your work).

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Justina M Torres

mercury’s sincerity

Kristen Moxley

A Second Chance
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  • Grateful

    It’s easy — isn’t it
    To look back on our life & remember all the worst
    All the worst times of our life that always seem to come first

    Like the first time — I experienced racism
    The first time — I experienced bullying

    The first time — my love was used against me
    Or the first time — my heart was broken

    There was a lot of first of “THE WORST”
    But likewise — there were many first of the best

    Like the first time — I got the job I really wanted
    Or the first time — I graduated

    Or the time I won my first real fight with ease
    Or the first time a family member came home from jail surprising me

    There’s been a lot of good moments
    but I seem to have forgotten a lot of them

    I’m doing my best now — to live in the present moment
    —To soak it all in

    Cause I know there is so much to be grateful for
    —There’s always been

    Like my mom choosing peace & safety over toxicity — for her children

    No matter what — she never let fear stop her

    She was unbelievable
    She was unstoppable

    She did the best she could with the hand she was dealt

    Like getting that job that not only paid the bills
    but also provided us with a warm free house

    Or that one time she pointed out to her lawyer — how she was wrong

    That was only one of the many steps she took — to obtain our freedom

    I still remember the first time she met my little boyfriend

    She offered to give us some money
    —then suggested we go to Barnes & Noble
    to drink some coffee

    At the time it was so embarrassing—
    But looking back now— She’s so funny
    We were like 14 — Not 40

    I still remember — I tried to avoid repeating history
    but somehow history didn’t escape me

    One day — I had to text my mom discreetly
    I asked her to please come save me

    I won’t go into detail — but that day she rescued me from hell

    I remember the times my brother and I would go skating

    Or this one time we decided to try out this game — where he had to try to make me pass out

    & it actually worked — he did

    Except I think he thought he killed me
    I don’t know — but that shit is funny

    Some of them were good memories
    & some were bittersweet

    I wish I could remember them all
    but disassociation got the best of me

    So here’s a few more that easily come to mind

    Like when my first love never made me feel pressured
    — Simply loved

    Or when my second one spoke a prayer over me
    That felt majestic & empowering
    — Like freedom

    Or when my friends and I thought we were cute — walking around the east side

    Just waiting on the cute boys to drive by and say hi

    Haha— those sure were the good times.

    Then there was that time an important figure in my life somehow ended up in jail
    Managed to post bail & still make it back in time to my baby shower

    Or when that amazing teacher who quickly became family
    Went out of her way to pick me up for school daily

    Or when another amazing teacher who often went above and beyond

    Was touched by some writing assignment I did
    & surprised me with an unexpected gift

    So yeah—

    It is easy to remember all the worst — but there is also so much to be grateful for

    I’m grateful for every glimpse of heaven I’ve ever received

    I’m grateful for a badass mom & her vision to always
    Push forward & succeed

    I’m grateful for the village that helped raise me

    I’m grateful for any friend who served a purpose in my life
    Even if at some point — our lives no longer aligned

    I’m still grateful for the good times & the memories left behind

    I’m grateful for the short-lived respect & pure love I received —from my first love
    My impossible baby

    I’m grateful for the amazing son — my second one gave me

    There is so much more to be grateful for
    even from all the worst that were followed by the best

    Or I don’t know — maybe fue al revés

    Either way— I thank you God — My best friend

    May I always be able to shine the light on the better side of perspective

    May I continue to be able to see all the good that still lives within the broken world we currently live in

    May we not only see the trauma we’ve endured through our struggling

    But the perseverance & resilience we received simultaneously

    So for both the good & the bad

    I gotta be grateful for it all — and I am

    BeyondMe

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    • You have been through so much in your life, and yet your heart is still so warm and loving. That is a gift to yourself and to those around you. While you are grateful for the good and bad, always be most grateful for you. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our family. <3 Lauren

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    • Dear Beyond Me,
      Your words are so powerful. You have had a challenging yet good life and your Mom sounds amazing. Continue to be blessed and grateful!

      Shelley

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    • Dear Beyond Me,
      Bravo! This poem reminded me of Faiz “My heart, my traveler” and especially of the line “I would gladly welcome death if it were to come but once,” You’re so talented ! Can’t wait to see mroe of your work!

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  • karens005 submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a poem about what you are grateful for in your lifeWrite a poem about what you are grateful for in your life 5 months, 3 weeks ago

    This post is viewable by the Unsealed community only.

    Gratitude for Life and Dependency

    This letter is only available to The Unsealed subscribers. Subscribe or login to get access!

  • Sunbursts

    a little toddler dabbles her toes in the Oregon coast waters, giggling and running from near her mamas.
    her Portland cousins play near here with Auntie creating castles, jungles and rivers that flow the waves of the ocean waves and ecovillages below – the land, the sand interconnected to the depths of deepness below.
    the sunbursts softly touch the reunion moments that cannot occur all the time.
    sunbursts.
    small joyful stands cheering for their favorite college teams,
    swag outfits of hopes to hoops of dreams – we all have our shots.
    for the beats that native musicians drum up to bless, to heal and to cheer the crowds to love,
    the therapist who sits in her own softness after healing handing out hope through listening and assisting struggles of pain, finding laughter and humor to balance out the darkness.
    the sunbursts come through the bubbled grey clouds that temporary pop up as life below saunters in shimmers to only be captured in the seconds that exist.
    no tomorrow is promised.
    no big kiss, no big hug, no sounds — so soak in it all.
    soak in the life that leaves us to grow embedded in mother earth- panchamama and inti love – quechuan indigenous circles lift up and offer munay – deep love- where sunshine spreads limitlessly.

    Christina Mitma Momono

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    • Christina, This is a wonderful piece. It really captures the idea of processing, being present and appreciating the little but oh-so-beautiful moments of life. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our family. <3 Lauren

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    • Dear Christina,
      What a beautiful poem. Your words touch my heart. Thank you for sharing!

      Shelley

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  • Grateful

    WHAT AM I MOST GRATEFUL FOR?
    We Have A Technology Allowing Meaningful Interactions, Making Ourselves Share These Gifted Realities, Also Too, Especially For Unconditionally Loving Families, Our Roots.
    What am I most grateful for?
    If you’ve woken up and chose to keep going. Whether you’re in the calm seas of peace, or you’re riding the lows and highs of the waves that never seem to sleep.
    What am I most grateful for?
    To be able to create poems that explain the emotions I’ve grown in a strange dream that dreams to explore and release more. I’m grateful for my eyes, because there was a time in my life where I was legally blind for a week, and I remember thinking “how will I ever see what my drawings look like?” I’m grateful for the advances in modern medicine, for without it I wouldn’t have lasted past a few months without the creation of insulin. I’m grateful I’ve made it to 14 years past my date of diagnosis, and I plan to keep on goin, despite the lows of highs of these waves that never seem to sleep. (But always seem to dream) I’m grateful I’ve been able to come across the unsealed letters that reveal the real miracles that have survived and thrived through all types of weathers.
    What am I most grateful for?
    The family that’s handed me a purpose to see the dirt and to keep planting these seeds for you to read and examine, and to hopefully inspire a type of higher connection to yourself to seek the life that you deserve, and to know that each and every one of us are worth way more than worthless.

    Afton Villanueva

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    • Hi there, Afton. Aiša here. Thank you for sharing your admirable attitude towards gratitude with us all. I don’t think I’ve ever read or heard such beautiful words of encouragement than those you’ve penned here.

      “ […] keep going. Whether you’re in the calm seas of peace, or you’re riding the lows and highs of the waves that never seem to sleep.…read more

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      • Hello there Aiša!
        You are most welcome! I’m glad that some of my sentences could resonate with you like they did with me!
        Thank you for your words of kindness!💕

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      • @aisatheauthor what a sweet response <3 <3. @poeticdiabetic Afton I agree with Aiša, your words are absolutely beautiful. Diabetes is a tough condition to manage, and it sounds like you are doing so with grace. You are learning and sharing so much about your own strength and heart. I, too, am grateful you found The Unsealed. <3 Lauren

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    • Dear Afton,
      It sounds like you have been through a lot but you have come out stronger for it. Keep up your amazing positivity.

      Shelley

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  • Drowning On The Surface

    My Faith Is Being Tested
    The Enemy Wants To Ensure That My Meter Reaches Restless
    Oxygen At 100 But I Have A Slight Confession
    I’m Drowning On The Surface And I Could Be Gone In Seconds
    I Just Need One Reason To Keep Fighting These Demons
    To Make It Through My Season Genie In A Bottle Give Me Something To Believe In
    The Surface Is Uneven And That Hole I Filled Has Steepened
    Life Keep Throwing Punches And This Is A Brutal Beating
    Life Is What You Make It But Theres A Deeper Meaning
    End Isnt Final Just Next Step Of Completion
    When God Is For You Who Can Be Against You ?
    Tell Me Whats The Issue
    Statements Sounding False And The Facts Look Artificial
    If I Gave You This Size 7 And I Made It Fit Your Feet
    Could You Handle All The Pressure That Comes With Being Me ?
    If I Wrote It Step By Step Would You Understand Directions ?
    Or Give It What You Got And Just Wait For The Corrections
    See I Have To Be Direct Cause I’m Not Good With Rejection
    I Had To Bite The Bullet Where’s The Love & Affection ?
    They Told Me Use My Voice To Build Better Connections
    But Left Me 6 Feet Under Without Air Or Protection
    The Enemy Whispered “Will You Float Or Will You Fall”
    I Replied With Grace
    “God Is Light In Him There Is No Darkness At All” 1 John 1:5
    My Strength To Shake It Off He Helped Me Walk Before I Crawled
    It’s Time To Take A Bow How Bout A Round Of Applause
    His Preserving Power Allowed The Force From Within To Not Just Move Mountains But Forgive Me For My Sins
    The Devil Tried To Shake Me, Forgetting He Who Made Me And I Know This May Sound Crazy But He Does It On A Daily
    Grateful To Be More Than A Name In A World Full Of Pain Where The Things That Keep Me Sane Are From Things I Cant Explain
    Faith Leads To Victory And I Am On A Mission
    Breaking Every Barrier With God As My Witness

    ShalisaMonique

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    • Hi there, Shalisa. Aiša here. Thank you for reminding us all of the power of gratitude.

      I’ve never met any Genies, but you certainly gave me something to believe in 😉

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    • Wow! I am sorry for the pain you endured but your faith and your grace, are leading you to both your peace and your purpose. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of The Unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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    • Dear Shadisal,
      Wow your poem is powerful. I am glad you found strength from above. Keep forging ahead!

      Shelley

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  • Unsealed Limitations

    Speaking to every fighter
    I’m so grateful that GOD took a chance on ME
    Thankful that I am his rider
    His unconditional love is beyond measures
    His unconditional love is so comforting
    Tangible and intangible
    I just love the way GOD loves me
    Don’t you see
    If giving up was easy
    Everyone would have took a backseat
    Including me
    I’m grateful for GOD’s presence
    Most importantly never leaving me
    Looking at my reflection
    I’m grateful the mirror is always in front of ME
    In the presence of darkness
    GOD’S love always trembles the unseen
    What are the fighters singing
    Worthy Worthy Worthy
    It’s a grateful human being

    Rayven Washington

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  • Gratitude

    I’m forever grateful
    That I am able to share my words
    With people
    And they often become inspired
    By my positivity and willingness to share
    Openly and comfortably
    Everything I’ve been through
    From heartache to heartbreak
    There is no shame
    Just lessons to be learned
    I’m grateful for them all
    Teachable moments that make me stand tall
    I practice gratefulness every day
    That’s why I’m grateful for everyone
    I encounter daily
    From strangers I meet on the street
    To inconnus that have become great supporters
    In any and everything I do
    I’m forever grateful for restored love
    Especially the woman that accepted me
    And made me appreciate love again
    Thank you for first being a friend
    I’m forever grateful
    For existing in a world
    That doesn’t want you to survive
    But I find a way to survive the odds stacked against me
    Blessed to be alive
    And continuously see
    That I’m surrounded by the people meant to help me navigate this life!

    Tracy B.

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  • anastasia_grieff submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a poem about what you are grateful for in your lifeWrite a poem about what you are grateful for in your life 5 months, 3 weeks ago

    This post is viewable by the Unsealed community only.

    Breathing Freely

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  • Words Of Gratuity

    What am I grateful for?
    Theres a lot you see
    I’m not the same girl in the mirror that I see
    I’m grateful that my past doesn’t define me
    Rather, I’m grateful that it has certainly shaped me
    I’m so grateful that I’m not as gullible as I used to be
    I can read people now, like I can with a book
    So that I can finally be free
    Free from the toxicity that used to capture me
    I am grateful for those around me now
    I am surrounded by love thats so loud that it resounds
    I no longer worry of what they think of me
    I am no longer bound by people pleasing
    One of the things I am grateful for,
    Is the realization that my life is mine to live and to adore
    I can finally be myself without a care in the world
    Having that freedom is literally a dream come true
    I feel like Boo in the factory of doors,
    All of these opportunities that are flying around me
    Like they have wings that are so majestic when they soar
    I never experienced anything like this
    This makes me to free
    My mind is finally clear
    I can focus on bettering me
    I am grateful that I still have my drive
    No longer procrastinating tasks because of fear
    Fear of failure giving people opprotunity abandon me
    I have no fear now because I have real ones beside me.
    I am really grateful for my job,
    Although its not where I want to be
    I work hard and earn the money that I need to be free
    I can buy simple luxuries that make me feel like a queen
    I am grateful for the little things like being able to eat and a warm bed.
    But as you can see, I wanted to go a little deep
    I will leave you with this
    My sincerest words
    My Words Of Gratuity

    Kalianah

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    • Hi there, Kalianah. Thank you for sharing your words of gratuity with us.

      “Although its not where I want to be
      I work hard and earn the money that I need to be free”

      I can’t express how especially relatable these words were to me.

      P.S. Happy new year!
      May it be the most freeing year yet 🙂

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    • Wow @kalianah This is so well written. I love this line, “I can finally be myself without a care in the world.” I hope to see you at more of our weekly events. I think you’d really like the vibe and people. I can tell you have had your fair share of disappointment with people, as have I. I hope you know you are a beautiful soul and the people that…read more

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    • Dear Kalianah,
      It sounds like you are on a very positive path in life. That is wonderful! Good luck!!

      Shelley

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  • Dear Incomplete Pt.One

    Dear Self,

    It is not often that we take time away from the sometimes uncontrollable spiral that is our life to think about the things that we are grateful for within it.
    And, now that I’ve taken time to think about it, I’ve come to the realization that most people aren’t grateful until they are given a reason to be.
    Maybe it’s my unhealthy obsessions with psychology and horror speaking, but he wasn’t entirely wrong in his thinking.
    People who have been in car accidents tend to be more grateful for life than people whose lives have never been threatened.

    Maybe that’s off-topic.
    What am I GRATEFUL for?

    I suppose I’m grateful for the interdependence of humans and trees.
    People don’t really think about small things such as these.
    I’m grateful for the way the wind blows through the leaves, and the way my son hugs me before he leaves.

    You know what?

    I’m grateful for life. My life. As it is now.

    Just last year, my mental health was depleting. My fiancé of seven years was facing several years in prison, and I’d lost my mind along with him. I remember how bad things got.

    Moment of silence to a dark past that led to a brighter future.

    Maybe I could have shared a story, but I’ve just been in deep thought. What am I grateful for?

    Everything. I remember having nothing like it was yesterday. I remember praying for something to happen any day. I remember hoping that I could find a way. I remember.

    So I’m grateful for every breath and every stomach growl. I’m grateful for feeling sick and smelling something foul.

    Things that people don’t think about. Things that people can’t do.

    I’m grateful for everything because I remember when I didn’t have anything.

    Love, Self

    Tiara Allure Smith

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    • Hi there, Tiara. Aiša here. Thank you for sharing your letter with us. I too, “[…] remember having nothing like it was yesterday.”

      “So I’m grateful for every breath and every stomach growl. I’m grateful for feeling sick and smelling something foul.”

      These words are so very needed!

      This message—
      your message—
      is needed,

      far and wide!

      The tim…read more

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    • Awww Tiara, Your gratitude for all the little moments and things in life is really inspiring. I love this part: “I’m grateful for the way the wind blows through the leaves, and the way my son hugs me before he leaves.” I hope your fiance is ok. And I am glad you have been able to take a deep breath and feel gratitude for all aspects of life. You a…read more

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      • Thank you so much for your kind words; My fiance is doing well. I often look back at the hard times, and I think I needed those moments. Have a great week!

        ❤ Tiara

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    • Dear Tiara,
      Your words express a positive outlook even though you have had some very challenging times. I hope your life continues to improve! Good luck!

      Shelley

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  • Life, Recovery, and Me

    The thing I am most grateful for in life
    is life itself
    my life. this life. me.
    this may seem obvious, mundane, oversimplified
    but not for me
    I have anxiety,
    depression,
    complex PTSD,
    and BPD
    I always sort of shrugged at the anxiety;
    worry is my natural state
    and it always has been
    it’s all I’ve ever known
    but the depression, the PTSD, the BPD-
    those came with time and unfortunate circumstances
    the way they blend together and feed off of each other;
    the fight is three against one and seems unfair

    The little me in the photographs
    she stares back at me so innocently
    so timid and scared, so wholesome
    she has no idea about all of the trauma that’s coming her way
    she is going to face abuse and neglect
    everyday for the next couple of decades
    and this will shape her forever
    I am grateful for this version of myself
    because she got me through the hardest time of my life
    I talk about her in the third person
    because I never felt connected to past versions of myself
    but especially the littlest version
    I had to cope with too much back then;
    I repressed so much of it
    now I can’t remember huge chunks of my life
    but they were too painful to experience the first time around
    without having to carry the burden of memory, too

    I neglected myself for most of my life,
    never stopping to ask what I wanted or needed,
    only concerned with pleasing others so I could survive
    my default setting was a blank slate
    ready to be molded into whatever the other person expected from me
    this was conditioned in me
    I was groomed to be the perfect victim
    for anyone who wanted to control someone else;
    a plague that would follow me well into my adult years
    ignoring myself became so normal that I forgot who I am,
    or maybe I never knew at all,
    I was never given the space to find out
    (hence the BPD)

    I looked death in the eyes that summer
    depression dared me to
    BPD agreed
    PTSD instigated
    and I gave in
    they convinced me that my life is worthless
    and that I am a burden
    how are they so good at that?
    the overdose felt like a slow death
    eventually I passed out
    I don’t know how long I was unconscious for
    definitely hours, maybe days
    when I woke up and realized I was still alive
    I was fucking pissed
    I was immediately prepared to try again
    I can’t really explain exactly what changed, or when, or why
    recovery was a slow, excruciating process that I didn’t want to participate in
    I guess I learned how to participate anyways
    little by little, one step at a time
    and the pain started to feel a little less intense, a little less often
    so to be able to say today that I am grateful for this life
    it is an accomplishment,
    one that only came after a long and gruesome recovery process

    I am grateful for the version of myself
    that packed up all of my things
    and moved out of my toxic environment
    not once, not twice, but three times
    in order to save myself
    I am grateful for the version of me
    that went to therapy for six years;
    the version that took the time
    to stare at all of my trauma,
    find its roots,
    and pour love into them
    the way I always deserved
    I unlearned a lifetime of self hatred
    and as a 23 year old woman
    I began to learn how to take care of myself
    and maybe even grow to love myself

    It has been a long, tiresome journey to this place of gratitude
    I could never see a future for myself before
    but now I’m starting to
    so this is what I mean when I say I am grateful for my life
    and I am grateful for myself
    I’m grateful for all the different versions of me
    that had to exist in order to carry me through
    a lifetime of trauma and neglect
    I got myself through everything
    the world had to throw at me
    without ever letting it take away my softness
    or my hope for the possibility of something better
    the fact that I am alive today is a privilege
    and that is what I am most grateful for
    I am grateful to simply be alive and to be me

    Marissa Maddox

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    • “I got myself through everything
      the world had to throw at me
      without ever letting it take away my softness”

      WOW! WOW! WOW! Marissa, this piece is so well said, and so powerful. I am sorry for what you went through, the pain you felt, and the trauma you endured. But to hit such a low and then come back and fight for yourself, your happiness and…read more

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    • Dear Marissa,
      I am so glad you healed and you are here and healthy. Keep up the good work. You will be successful at anything you do because you are strong.

      Shelley

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  • A Thankless Act

    A Thankless Act

    I contemplate—
    in a grateful state—
    where to give thanks.

    And it’s not long before
    little me
    is all I can hear and see.

    Bursting with glee,
    she decrees:

    Wendy and Peter Pan,
    Neverland,
    those who lend a helping hand,
    those not afraid
    to take a stand.

    Pen in hand,
    flow-state
    is where I land—
    filled with child-liked wonder,
    and free of fears I’ve shunned her.

    A poem—
    this poem—

    slowly begins to take its form.
    Its words are ones of warmth
    that lull her,
    hug her—
    keep her safe from all-the-world’s thunder.

    And it’s reading
    better than planned.

    But in truth,
    I’m grateful for it all—
    the planned and unplanned.

    For every version of me
    I’ve met firsthand.

    Me when I’m mad,
    but what I really am is sad.
    Me when I’m glad
    that someone tried to understand

    rather than write me off
    as “bad.”

    The ability to feel—
    a chance to heal
    and give to myself
    the gift of being real.

    Grateful,

    for the voice inside my head—
    the one I used to dread.

    Oh, we’d go head-to-head.
    And if you asked my heart
    to tell you the worst part,

    it’d say
    that there was nowhere to hide.

    Hard to believe that nowadays,
    that voice is on my side.
    So, I’m happy-er inside.

    Because grateful is what I am
    for the will to survive,
    thrive,
    and come alive
    that it’s instilled in ‘we’.

    Today,
    it supports the best version of me—
    wants for me to get ahead,
    does things like remind me when it’s time for bed.

    Swoops in on a rope
    when I’m short on hope,
    when I’m hanging by a thread.

    But most of all…

    what I’m most grateful for…
    is every decision
    I can call mine—
    those made by me
    and me
    Alone.

    The ones I own.

    For to them,
    I owe this home—
    the home
    that is
    she.

    The only place I’m truly, finally
    free.

    Aisa

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    • Wow! Aisa, you have some serious writing talent. This is well said and creatively written. You are clearly stepping into your power and letting the whole world know. You are an absolute STAR! Keep shining! Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our Unsealed family. I love reading the responses you wrote to other unsealers. You are a…read more

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    • Dear Aisa,
      Your words show a strong person that kniws what is important in life. Good luck in your future!

      Shelley

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  • Why He Chose Me?

    What am I grateful for?
    Often I feel shameful for not feeling more grateful for my disability
    I am grateful to the Higher Power
    For instilling the motivation and strength
    Recognizing how I can use my disability
    Sometimes I make myself feel dizzy
    Trying to figure out why me
    he chose to be looked at differently
    I never think I will fully love my disability
    Because I do wish my disability wasn’t something you can see
    But when I look at my life now
    I am trying to see something new
    The good in why he chose me
    Being one of the people whose disability you can see
    So you see
    There is a responsibility
    To encourage others to see
    We all have a “disability”
    I don’t want self-pity
    I just want people to understand that
    “Your disability” just maybe
    Your greatest ability
    Thank you higher power
    And everyone that supports me!

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    • “There is a responsibility
      To encourage others to see
      We all have a “disability””

      Wow.

      With these words, you’ve captured exactly how I’ve come to feel about my own [invisible] disabilities.

      I feel the need to both thank and congratulate you, for putting words to the feeling—something I’ve long struggled to do.

      Happy New Year pal 🙂

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      • Aiša, this response LITERALLY makes me TEAR UP!!! I am glad with these words, “There is a responsibility
        To encourage others to see
        We all have a “disability” captured what you were feeling!! YOUR WORDS CAPTURED what I NEEDED to hear about this piece and for MYSELF!! A SENTENCE goes a LONG WAY!! Keep BEING YOU!!

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    • Jake!!!!! This piece is fantastic! Your best piece yet. Embrace yourself. You inspire so many. You are thoughtful and have such a wonderful spirit. You are perfect the way you are! Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our family <3 Lauren

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    • AND ESPECIALLY using YOUR WORDS!!! YOU TRULY HAVE A GIFT!! I am HUMBLED AND HONORED to be a PAL of YOURS! I took a screenshot of your response, so it’s there for me not just when I NEED IT, BUT TO START MY DAY!! This is MY COFFEE!!!

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      • Thank YOU for the kind words!! I certainly appreciate them and appreciate YOU!! Thanks for being a fan!!

        Best,

        Jake

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    • Your words show that you are strong minded ,wise beyond your years and determined to succeed. I know you will!

      Shelley

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  • Grateful Recovering Alcoholic

    When I first started attending alcoholics anonymous (AA) meetings, something I heard a lot of people say in their introduction was that they were a grateful alcoholic. I couldn’t understand why someone would be grateful to be cursed with this disease. It destroyed my life, my relationships, my will to live. Why on earth would anyone be grateful to go through life with this sickness? It wasn’t until I had a relapse that sent me to such a deep rock bottom, that I had to fully surrender myself to the program. Once I did so I started to push myself out of my comfort zone, making friends, showing up consistently to the same meetings, developing a relationship with my higher power and giving my all to the twelve steps. This is when I started to see the promises of the program coming true. My fear of the world, failure, rejection and judgement started dissipating. My heart started opening up again and it made space for true connection. I learned how to be vulnerable and share the things I held in so deeply with shame in the past. I have developed so much gratitude for this life of recovery. I understand now what it means to be a grateful recovering alcoholic. If I never had this disease I would never have met the beautiful souls I have in my life today. I would never have gone to the depths of my soul and discovering who I truly am underneath all of my fears and pain. I would never have felt the connection of such a powerful, loving and accepting community. AA is my family and I am so grateful to have been led here through my struggles.

    Lillian Gardner

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    • Hi there, Lillian. Aiša here. Thank you for sharing about those near and dear to your heart with us. Your perspective here truly is a beautiful one.

      But what really stuck with me
      was your mention of surrender—

      surrender to the pain,
      surrender to the process.

      When it became clear that I required professional support for various mental he…read more

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    • Lillian! This is so powerful, honest and inspiring. I love this line “My heart started opening up again and it made space for true connection.” When we truly face the things that hurt us in life, we some how find the most meaningful gifts. The way you wrote this story was so perfect and so insightful. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being…read more

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    • Dear Lillian,
      I am happy for you that you found some wonderful people who support you. I know you will continue to stay well and succeed in life. Here is to a healthy life!

      Shelley

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  • For Inspiration

    To the songs that soothe our souls—
    Birds, who give voice to the dust on butterfly wings,
    that set flight to hearts that weigh more, in life,
    than this human body can bring

    To the women, who hold me in their arms—
    Mothers whose love gives birth to all others,
    their lips, dripping with truths we crave to read
    in the lies of men that can’t, who weren’t made to, bleed.

    To the love rising from the ashes within me,
    turning dust to nectar, nourishing
    petals that sprout, even through fallen leaves.

    To the mind, that relentless dynamo,
    that wonders, even as I slumber.

    To these hips I haven’t mastered
    how to shake, that I call home.

    To these hardy bones
    I fear to break, that I know one day
    will wither away.

    To these eyes, I know
    take me deeper
    inside

    To the true me, myself, and I,
    I’ve always known.

    To the one who reads these words,
    a reflection, a shadow

    That, beneath a fruit tree
    already lived and died
    longer than

    You, or me,
    an extension of interconnection,
    sparks that lead us back to one eternal flame
    from which we all light, and delight,
    in one another.

    To the hands that type, these words
    into a device that may one day enslave me

    To pen and paper that cramps my hand,
    an addictive catharsis that gives semblance to

    This life, this foreign concept,
    a system my brain can’t think itself free from,
    a headache, a heartache, all at once
    felt and embraced,
    yet unbound.

    For all of this,
    I am grateful.

    Kaileia

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    • Hi there, Kaileia. Aiša here. Thank you for sharing your gratitude-inspired stream of consciousness with us all.

      “To the mind, that relentless dynamo,
      that wonders, even as I slumber […]”—‘thank you’ is not so easy to utter.

      Needless to say, I am humbled by your presence <3

      Happy New Year, Kaileia 🙂

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    • Kaileia, your writing always takes me on a journey — one that is peaceful and thoughtful. This is so creative and so real at the same time. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our Unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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    • Dear Kaileia,
      Your words show a strength of character that is very admirable! I wish you all the best!

      Shelley

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  • What if I wasn’t very grateful this year?

    It was hard to be appreciative this year.
    It is always hard to appreciate things in life when everything else becomes so heavy.
    I think maybe gratitude is just a way to remain hopeful through despair;
    to remind us that we should be glad that we even have the opportunity to feel those feelings and have experiences in the first place.

    Over the past year I was thankful for a few things;
    I was thankful that I got a new job,
    that my mom let me move home,
    that I am safe and healthy,
    and I can confidently say I was and am thankful for my cat.
    At the very least, I should probably be thankful that I am afforded the luxury of being able to not be super grateful.
    I suppose every day that I am alive, living and breathing, I should be glad.

    Although, I wasn’t the one that chose to be here.
    I have to face responsibility that I did not ask for.
    Truth be told, I don’t even choose to show up every day; some days I stay in bed and do nothing for myself.
    A while ago I just decided that I have to keep myself alive and learn the lessons of life.

    I wish I was more grateful.

    Maybe if I was more gracious of the good things, I would also react better to the negatives.

    This year I tried to force myself to be thankful even through the things that made me most uncomfortable:
    the things that made my stomach churn, my heart ache, and left the corners of my eyes stained red.

    I cannot be thankful for all of the negative things; I cannot be thankful for unkindness, pain, hardship, loss, and grief.
    I do not want to find the good in every situation because sometimes things just suck.
    I do not want to appreciate these things because I do not want to accept them.
    Sure I wouldn’t feel so sad right now if I was able to trust the process.

    How could I be glad that I don’t feel strong enough to accomplish any goals or that my family members are spending their nights sinking into depression?
    I felt weak a lot.

    If I was thankful for every obstacle I have faced, I fear that I might get used to living life in this way.
    I don’t think I would learn as much.
    I need to be uncomfortable.
    I need to wonder ‘Why me?’

    Apparently there is no good or bad way to live-
    there are only our feelings, decisions, and lessons we leave with.

    I am not grateful for the lessons I learn as I am experiencing them.

    A person is not grateful for air when they are being held underwater.
    Sure they want to breathe, but it is about the action, not the object.
    It is about figuring out how to take a successful breath,
    and only once a person is back above water, are they thankful for the air itself.
    When a person is left underwater panic instills and the individual is only thinking about the fact that they need to get above the water, not about why.

    I can’t imagine anyone in the middle of a crisis thinking ‘Wow I’m so glad to be here.’
    So what is one to do when constantly living in a state of dysregulation?

    I am suspicious that perhaps I am not finding pleasure or contentment because I am in the midst of one of those big life lessons;
    the kind that you look back upon later and see the change it forced you to experience.
    Am I supposed to be grateful now for the what’s to come later or am I allowed to be sad?
    Can I pity the world and still oblige to gratitude and hope?

    To be grateful is to express thanks and appreciate the benefits received.
    I was not very grateful this year,
    but I am thankful that I am able to grow;
    grateful that I get to try again.
    I am indebted to the world, but I have an obligation to myself.

    ‘She does not have to always be thankful for what has happened because sometimes she knows she deserves more, or at least she’s trying to,’ I often think.

    I don’t want to be grateful just because I am told that I have to be.
    I don’t want the people around me to think that their actions are okay because things can always be worse.
    I might be cynical, but I know that life can be a little lighter.
    I don’t want to be glad with what I do have just because some people have less than me,
    I want everyone to have more.

    Signed the girl sitting here grateful to be able to express herself (I am still learning how to communicate my gratitude)

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    • Hi there, Aiša here. Thank you for your brave share! While it’s quite the unconventional take, there’s so much truth to it.

      And if you haven’t read Tiara’s piece yet, run don’t walk! Because it seems to me like you two agree on plenty 🙂

      Of gratitude, you wrote, ” [it is] to remind us that we should be glad that we even have the opportunit…read more

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      • Thank you for your words Aiša!
        I am glad that you were able to relate to and reflect on parts of this piece!<3 I was definitely nervous to put this piece of writing out there as I had felt it might be too negative or miss the goal of the prompt. However, I found that when I was trying to write about specific circumstances of being grateful my…read more

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    • Sheesh! This is so real, so honest and so insightful. I love this line, ” I am thankful that I am able to grow;
      grateful that I get to try again.”

      It is real and it is something to be grateful for in the midst of a time in your life when things are tough. Keep asking for more. Keep holding your bar high. And don’t question your own gratitude.…read more

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      • Thank you so much Lauren!
        Thank you for your kind, inspiring, and powerful words back to me. I am grateful to be a part of The Unsealed!!<33 I am glad that others are enjoying this piece as well. In my response above directed to Aiša M I had said how writing this piece made me feel good. I have always been taught that negative emotions are bad;…read more

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  • Armani’s Eternal Love

    I will never forget the day I had four different doctors tell me that there would be no chance of me ever having a healthy pregnancy and have a safe delivery. The out pour of emotions I felt made all the color leave my body and I sat still in silence for a moment without ever responding to the doctors. More than anything in the world, I always wanted to become a mom. I was born with a nurturing spirit. Growing up as a little girl at the age of just two years old I took on the responsibilities of taking care of my younger sister Armani that was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called “metachromatic leukodystrophy” that causes loss of motor skills, muscle functions and memory loss. I learned how to feed my sister, change her medicine tubes, and keep her clean. Honestly, from what I remember it never felt like a job to me, I just enjoyed being able to spend time with my sister and making her happy. I was grateful to have her and I always cherished our time together. Unfortunately, with this disorder her life expectancy was cut short. At the age of five years old she took her last breath in my fathers arms and I prayed that one day I could become a loving mother and take care of my daughter the way I nurtured my sister. My health was declining significantly and the amount of stress i endured on a day to day was leading me down a path to destruction. I prayed constantly and asked God to guide me, to please take over. I didn’t have any fight left in me to bare anymore harm to myself. God spoke to me and reassured me that I will become what I was destined to be if I’m willing to sacrifice and start all over. Give up unhealthy eating habits, toxic people in my life, and looking for love in all the wrong places. I began writing in my journal more often and just about everyday I wrote at least one thing I’m grateful for to express my gratitude. Changing my perspective on life and letting go of all that no longer served me, elevated my life tremendously. I had no particular timing in mind. I was focused on the “win” and not “when” all that was promised to me would happen. I was grateful to be on the right track and getting back to me. Redefining my self worth and understanding what it means to love myself just as I am and how to be a better me. Yet, six months later I met the love of my life not knowing he would be more than I could ever imagine in a partner. My best friend, teammate, lover, and protector. We developed our relationship with peace, love, and understanding. During this time, my partner also respected and supported my healthy lifestyle and did everything in his power to ensure I was at my best. After a year of being together, we got the greatest surprise on his birthday. I was pregnant! We were so overjoyed and nervous all at once. Soon as we found out, i immediately thought about what all those doctors told me and I decided to erase that from my mind and speak life, peace, and love into my pregnancy. On March 13,2022 I gave birth to my beautiful healthy baby girl Armani. We both decided to name our daughter after my sister. My daughter has her own personal angel watching over her. Life has truly shown me that even in times of strife, to always be grateful. You never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of the storm.

    Stacee’ M. Wright

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    • Hi there, Stacee’. Aiša here! Thank you for sharing your happy ending with us all 🙂

      I came here to say, you may very well have defined my mantra for the year when you wrote, “I was focused on the “win” and not “when […]” !!!

      Happy New Year, Stacee’ <3

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    • Wow @mercedes3650 ! What an incredible story. I am so glad you did everything in your power to take care of yourself, and then all good things followed. I loved this part of your story, “I was focused on the “win” and not “when” all that was promised to me would happen. I was grateful to be on the right track and getting back to me. ” We can all…read more

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  • D. All of the Above

    My arms; they’re scrunched up to my sides as I thumb my way through this thought. We sleep in one big bed now. Our bed, we call it. As it turns out, sleepovers aren’t just for when you have company.

    It’s a feeling.
    It’s a spot.
    It was a time.
    It’s yet to come.
    It’s in my daydreams.
    It’s in my breath- coming in and out of my lungs.
    It lives in a poem my heart rewrites every trip around the sun.
    It lives at my grandmother’s kitchen table and in the hourly sounds her clock made.

    Sometimes it’s my feet in the dirt.
    Others it’s in low lighting, having tea with a friend.
    It finds me when I’m well.
    It guides me when I’m unwell.
    It’s what I didn’t know I needed.
    It’s what I don’t know how to ask for.
    It is peace, when I’ve surrendered.
    It is joy, after sorrow.
    It is laughter, while I’m crying.
    It is closing my eyes, then getting to open them again.

    It is in the seasons.
    Coming with the sun rising in the East
    And going with the sun setting in the West.
    It is fleeting.
    It is ever so slow.
    It is all of the seasons bound together.
    It is my life.

    That’s it!
    I found it.
    What am I most grateful for?
    My life.
    Their lives.
    Your life.
    All bound together-
    All of our experiences.
    It’s in the mundane.
    It burrows itself in my sorrow, just to bloom again with time.

    It is my fear unmasked.
    It is the ebb and flow.
    It’s every year wiser.
    It is slowing down, just to speed up.
    It’s in my friendships.
    My jobs.
    My family.
    My passions.
    My failures.
    My pain.
    It is worth all of it, all over again just to feel it again.
    It is in who I was when I entered this world.
    It is in who I am tucked into our family bed writing this poem.
    It is me, alive.

    It is D.) All of the above

    MJTaul

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    • Awww, the way you ended this piece is definitely a mic drop. This piece is direct but also insightful and powerful. I love it! Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of The Unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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  • Grateful for the Gospel

    I smile and say: “Good morning.”
    But everyone seems like they are mourning.
    Have they not heard the news of our Lord and savior?
    Who we will see one day in eternal paradise
    He died for our sins upon the cross
    Wrongdoing, he committed none.
    Rejoice! Be thankful
    Our Lord loves us.
    He brought me out of darkness
    And healed my broken heart
    Without him, I would be lost.
    Gratitude cannot repay the sacrifices he made.
    So I will spread His word until we are united at last.

    Jessica N Ireland

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    • I think faith is such an important part of gratitude… and it’s not so much exactly what you believe but that you believe. This piece is such a powerful reminder of that. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our Unseaed family. <3 Lauren

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  • August 28, 2021

    A sweltering Florida night
    A room full of twinkling starry lights
    The blonde in the little black dress
    In a crowd of strangers, looking to impress
    A year of joy merged into one
    That day my life had just begun
    On August 28, 2021

    Against all odds standing here
    In the face of doubt, mistakes, and fears
    Then suddenly my pain made worthwhile
    By ocean eyes and a benevolent smile
    The one who all the world shunned
    In that moment became second to none
    On August 28, 2021

    Out of that kindness came a vow
    To be something greater than I am now
    To rise from the doldrums of my malaise
    And become worthy of that glowing praise
    A promise burns brighter than the sun
    And I’ll remember until my life is done
    That day, August 28, 2021

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    • Hi there, Aiša here 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this work of (he)art with us. It was so lovely to read! <3

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    • Wow! This is so well written. What happened on that date that it was such a turning point? This piece is so creative. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our Unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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      • Hi, Lauren! Thank you for your comment. August 28, 2021 was the date I met my mentor, without whom my life would’ve taken a much darker path.

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