• Karimah Colden

Sentenced to Live


When we’re young, & unjaded by the things of this world, we tend to dream big & have some kind of course set out for our lives. But the older we get, the more life deters from this perfect sequence our mind has created. It often times ends up being more like an uncut gravel road through a mountainous terrain only to stop short at a sea shore with only a small boat (or in many cases, a waterlogged slab of wood) to get you across. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard that saying, up “the” creek without a paddle. Well yeah, I’ve landed in that murky stream of water several times during the course of my life.

I started dreaming from the moment my mind could hold a good thought, & my imagination often ran away with me no matter what I was doing. I could make eating a grilled cheese sandwich seem like the most exciting moment in life….seriously. My head was often stuck in a book, & all throughout high school I remained a little socially awkward. My apprehension toward & optimistic perception of life was somewhat fueled by the fact that I am the oldest of six children. The constant babysitting & overwhelming responsibility of my familial role is what planted the seed for what I wanted, & didn’t want, out of life.

That, unfortunately, is where the dream detoured. My reality was that I stumbled through life like a newborn calf. You see, I was so sheltered growing up that I literally knew nothing about nothing. My eyes did not begin opening until I was in my twenties, & by then, life had begun viciously throwing curve balls at my head. I still wanted my dream, but reality was already being adamantly cold & calculating.

Now, let’s fast forward to the dirty thirties (yeah I said it). I had managed to go thirty plus years with the amazing ability to dodge one curve ball: children. You see, that was another vision I had for myself; to not have kids until I was in love & married. Funny right? Well, I didn’t think so. I thought it was perfectly feasible to want love & happiness all wrapped up in a neat little bow. Then January 2011 proved that ideology was in fact, a lie.

In October of 2011 I gave birth to the most beautiful set of twins a mother could hope for. And, at the time, I thought I had a man in my life that was in it for the long haul. But that too was a lie. No, I’m not going to get into all the tidbits & details, but let’s just say I wound up hurt & devastated. However, even though my dream of happily ever after was doused in gasoline, vegetable oil & lighter fluid, it did not mean that my children had to suffer too. So I ended up being the single mother that smiled through the pain, because my children were worth every repressed tear & moment of heartache. I needed them to know they were loved & wanted, & my need for that is what gave me the strength to overlook & repress a lot of pain regarding my situation.

Then, the best moment of my life strategically preceded one of the worst moments of my life. A year after the twins were born, the matriarch of my family passed on. Since you don’t know me (yet), you wouldn’t know what a force my grandmother was. The feeling of her absence was like having my heart ripped out of my chest and left in the bitter cold. My saving grace was every time I looked into the eyes of my baby boy & girl; for them I had to continue on. Even though every day was a struggle, I made it, one slow step at a time.

So much has changed since the birth of the twins. Loss, pain, heartache, joy, hope, overcoming. I’ve even written a couple of books & explored a few promising options; oh, & their father is now married. That last part there, yeah, that stung something serious. But with time I got over it, along with everything else. I had to come to the realization that what is for me…is for me. I have never let my feelings affect the relationship my babies had with their father. As long as they were loved & cared for, that is all I sought after.

I’ve often cried at night because there is nothing I want more than to give my little people the life they deserve. I have, & still do, sacrifice so much to be their mommy; but that feeling that I could be doing more is always looming & whispering in my ear. The person I am today has evolved greatly from a decade ago, & I’m not scared to say am still growing. I have decided to no longer allow myself to be a presence; what I envision myself as is an undeniable force that the world has been blessed with. My dreams have become visions & I wear my mommy cape with pride.

Life, every aspect of it, is what we make it. Be bold & dare to dream even when the manifestation of it seems far-fetched. I may be a single mother, fighting poet & unseasoned author with the world throwing every ball imaginable at me, but I’m still here. And until my last breath is taken, I will continue to fight for a life for my children & I that exceeds every hope, idea, desire & vision. I will not survive, we…will…live.



#Singlemother #twins #Mother #dream #live #life #children #sacrifice #poet #overcome #death #faith #author

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