If you are new here, WELCOME! I could not help but notice the sudden influx of a few new faces! I would love to hear your story, a little about your blog and how you discovered Authenticitee Speaks!

I’ve thrown Blog Parties in the past and found it to be a wonderful opportunity for bloggers to meet one another. Though Authenticitee Speaks has been an awards free blog for a couple of years, I still remember my first nomination! Blog Awards are also a great way to discover great writing. So feel free to share, reblog and invite others! Don’t be shy. Thank you for stopping by!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

e

I first introduced Emmanuella Raphaelle to this space over a year ago during my 2017 #WriterCrushWednesday series. Much of what I shared at that time, such as my admiration and respect, has only increased after reading her first book: After The Affair – Re Membering.

I don’t remember finishing a book and immediately flipping to the front cover to begin reading it again. It’s. That. Good.

An autobiography. Truth encapsulated. A lover of words and master chef in serving them well. This memoir has fed me and yet I wanted more.

When I first met Celestial, as I often call her; I discerned a weight that could not be denied. She garnered a depth that casual glances could not pinpoint or ignore. Reading her work always felt inviting; as though I had stumbled across a flowing discourse midstream that I was welcome to dance in. However laced throughout the 388 pages of robust writing is a story that deserves to be felt over and over and over again.

It’s my favorite kind of writing. Raw. Honest. A gift. Published by a publishing company Emmanuella created to house this first fortune of many to come. Do get it. Do read it. Do get it when you read it.

Oh and be blessed…’cause I was.

e

Thank you for being here! To learn more about Emmanuella Raphaelle, link directly to her social media accounts or purchase her work visit https://www.ermsjournal.com/.

Blessings!

@authenticiteespeaks

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Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

The photos and quotes included in this review are the exclusive property of Emmanuella Raphaelle. No copyright infringement intended.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

ARE YOU HAPPY?

Someone I hadn’t seen in years. Maybe like 8 years. Asked me if I was happy this past weekend. My usual response is “Happiness is based on happenings.” See I’m all heart, a skeptic, very guarded, an introvert and very private in nature. I find that because I’m kind and give direct eye contact; it’s often interpreted as being “open”. I am not.

But I like this person. A lot actually. Though mere acquaintances; I wasn’t offended. Though many go by what they overhear or what they try to piece together from social media; I believe this question came from a genuine space.

There was a time I would really ponder that question, which is bizarre to ask when just “running” into someone. I’m deep. A thinker. So the question felt very intrusive to me. Though I genuinely do not feel it was meant to be. No love lost. No grudges held. No overthinking will overtake me. But I do know this. Every question asked does not have to be answered.

I chose however to respond honestly: “I’m in a good space” and the response was, “You look like it. You look good”. I know there are many who are not happy. They ask my secret. The joy of the Lord keeps me in moments where happiness has failed me. Praying your happenings evolve into happiness and your joy remains.

Thank you for being here! New here? Welcome!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

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Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo credit Unknown: No copyright infringement intended.

Super excited about this #WriterCrushWednesday featured poet! Unlike most of the writers featured I did not meet this poet via Instagram’s thriving Writing Community.

I can’t really say how I learned of his work. I’m guessing the occasional “scroll, skip, skip, scroll” method of discovery served me well the moment I landed in his world here on WordPress.

Surely this is not a teenager writing with this much depth, I thought. Mesmerized by his gift, I instantly became a fan. Devereaux Frazier is a genius. Yep. A genius. After all that’s how I chose to rationalize the indelible impression he had made.

Scroll, click, click, scroll.

Um wait there’s more? More than a genius? Oh. A genius who had recently learned that he was autistic.

He Speaks…

I Have Aspergers, And I Hate Myself Most Of The Time

So, where did we leave off

My eyes always drift

to the edges of the room

which is probably why everything

always seems to end so soon

Oops, I guess I forgot to say

that I have Aspergers

so I really don’t understand your way

I’m on the autism spectrum

and I hate myself most of the time

I hate having no intuition

and struggling around my peers

While others are deep in conversation

I sit in a corner, trapped by lumbering fears

I hate not looking into your eyes

and as you wonder what’s wrong with me

I wonder why

I hate being the last to speak, the last to be heard

because I hate the crowd, and stray from the herd

to the edges of the fields to think

I hate being so obscene in the wake of surprise

awakening a manic rage

and other times, I cry

But over it all

I hate how helpless I feel

being so unable to control my emotions

and my motions

drive people away

Tap

tap

tap

I hear what you say

but don’t hear what you mean

Tap

tap

tap

I hear what you say

but is it what it seems

What is a birthday suit

Why did he can a human being

I seem stupid and clueless

helpless and hopeless

weak and weary

and at times I’m all of those

and none

at the same time

e Speaks….

Devereaux challenges me as a writer all while invoking motivation to be a better human at the same time. He teaches me and I find myself learning in a space that feels safe and non intrusive for both of us. There are poets and then there are anomalies who embody poetry. Devereaux Frazier is the latter.

He Speaks…

Share a little about yourself:

Guess I can start off by saying I’m Devereaux Frazier. I’m 18 and a student at the Community College of Baltimore County. Just finished my first semester there, actually. I’ve been writing since I was 13, and while major publication has evaded me (for now), I’ve filled the time being published by Teen Ink magazine, Literary Arts Review, and SpillWords while being a member of Blood Into Ink and a guest barista at Go Dog Go Cafe, two exemplary literary collectives. At the forefront of my writing presence is my own blog, An Aspergian’s Chemical Romance. I stared writing for it two years ago with the intention of just having a place to write and talk about my life on the autism spectrum. What it’s become is a place where I dive deeper into my condition, really challenging the “why’s” of my actions rather than stating (rather boringly I think, though no disrespect to those who do) my symptoms and how my life fits around them. I never wanted to be another WordPress diary. My poetry is less about the aspergers itself, and more about recognizing the beauty that it creates. People seldom understand me, and so rather than giving them boring anecdotes and medical diagnoses, I turn to poetry to paint pictures of my existence.

e shares one of her favorite pieces…

The ABC’s of me

Autistic, because where else to begin

Broken from the people who discouraged me

Cunning developed from outwitting them

Dark lines brooding in irritated waters

Eventually becoming open to your company

Forever hating and loving it

Gone before you ever said goodbye

Headed to the outside of your inside

Incorrect politically because I like action

Juxtaposed is male strength

Kissed with emotion fragility

Lined inside a boy turned man still child

Made to write, man of words never enough

Not only written or spoken, but merely dreamt

Outstretched hands for a woman’s grasp

Perfectly aware of their unawares to my truth

Questioning why I just don’t tell them

Resting assured that they already know

Still afraid of what the future has for me

Testing my boundaries every day

Understanding growth is ugly and beautiful

Voicing my concerns with maturity

Warring to find the source of my strength

Xylophones were hated in youth

Zenith not nearly reached

How/when did you discover your voice as a writer and what inspires you to write?

I think it was about 5 years ago, at a Stevenson University creative writing camp. I’d never seriously considered a writing career beforehand, but when I came there and the subsequent year in 2014 I was shocked to discover not just how much I loved it, but how good I really was. (Or at least felt. I could post some of my old poems. Yuck. I really hate thinking about those) I think most things inspire me to write. I’m pretty observant, so I notice a lot of things, but rather than actual objects, I think emotions inspire me most. I like writing from regret and possibility.

Had you planned to ever share your story of living with Asperger’s or were you encouraged to do so?

I never planned to share my story. I mean, as a writer I knew it would eventually become a focal point, but when I started writing people started asking questions.

What makes your heart smile?

What makes my heart smile? This is such a beautiful question…Life. You never know when your time is up…my mom and sister. My mom is best person I know. She’s everything really, and I wouldn’t know what to do without her. My sister is much of the same, albeit younger and with less wisdom but sharing the same desire and passion for truth and right carried out. Juana is an incredible boss and somebody I can trust. Mary and I share a great passion for football, and we still share barbs about how good (or bad) Andy Reid actually is. Shoutout to my bro Ryan too. He got me into airsoft. Feedback from my writing. And anything written by Kindra Austin.

How has your transition to college life been?

College life…hm. I’m not actually “involved” much in it. I’m kinda like go there, do my assignments, go home. I’ll integrate more overtime, but as of now I’m just trying to get a feel for professors and becoming comfortable with coursework.

Where do you see yourself a year from today?

Year from today? Published. Paperback book. Doing book signings and author meet and greets. Going to New York. Going on live TV for interviews. Just telling the world a perspective that enough haven’t heard. Straight A’s. A girlfriend would also be great 😂😂😂.

He Speaks…

The Magic, The Misery

The magic

The misery

Of falling someone

Never meant to be

With you

For you

Forever you wonder

Why the universe hates you

All I’m asking for is one

Just one chance being loved

By somebody special

Somebody true

One to write me and you

In the bark of our long-lived tree

And in the kisses blown

Upon warm summer breeze

Seeing everyone else with somebody

Reminds me how I’m nobody

And knowing I won’t ever

Even though I try

Is the worst part of all

What do you want your legacy to be?

My legacy? A male from my family who really stood out from the crowd. Redeemed some of the things that have plagued our family. Finally made enough to let my mom stop working. Let the world know what life with Aspergers and autism is really like.

e Speaks…

Thank you for joining us here at http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com and stopping by the #WriterCrushWednesday series Devereaux!!

SUPPORT DEVEREAUX ONLINE!

@dev_writes (Instagram)

Or on (Facebook)

Visit his site here!

Poetry, bio and photos included in this piece are the exclusive property of Devereaux Frazier . No copyright infringement intended.

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

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Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Welcome to Day 25 of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on the rules here!

Day 25

To The Person One Who Has My Heart

Dear Jesus,

I joyfully remember the day I gave you my heart and sadly the day I took it back; or so I thought.

I let so many things come between us. Tired of being passionately on fire for you while being called a fanatic by some family and a couple of friends made me choose them over you. I eventually became embarrassed about my insatiable hunger for you after Tondelayo died. Always being teased about my faith and lonely when my best friends didn’t want to go to Christian events was a bit much for someone in their late teens. Friends were either God fearing but non religious, non believers who greatly respected my faith but not interested or believers who didn’t want to cultivate a relationship with you beyond Sunday morning service, Saturday Sabbath or Midweek Mass. It was lonely at times and though you said you’d never leave me nor forsake me; I could only see them…and I never saw you.

I remember the night a few years later that I was trying to go to a Sunday night concert at the late Rev. Timothy Wright’s Church that my friend now Minister, Tyrone Pittman told me about. Tyrone had begun making cassette tapes for me and I learned about a lot of gospel artists through him. From the Rickey Grundy Chorale to countless others, he kept me in the loop. Well, unfortunately Tyrone couldn’t go that night and I couldn’t find ANYONE to go to the concert. I was so frustrated that night rushing out the house only to be thwarted by my well meaning, powerful woman of God grandmother: Grandma Dora. She kept trying to help while fussing with my hair and clothes. I would move one way and she’d try to adjust a strand of hair out of place in other direction. I’d speed walk to the left and she would yank my slip to the right. She loved you Lord and I loved her but she was not my age, you know what I mean?

And that’s when I heard you say, “I’ll go with you“. And I sighed heavily and angrily blurted out, “I DON’T WANT YOU TO GO!!” A gasp of air shook my lungs. I immediately regretted my words but weariness and young adult pride tied my tongue as I flew drove through the streets of Brooklyn. I was in a hurry to get to your house God; all while ignoring you.

Fast forward to the many giving and taking of my heart pivotal moments in my life. To the many sins and transgressions I sometimes intentionally did because of a false sense of entitlement. Sinning like it was my turn, you know? Like, how come they can do it and I can’t.

Lord Jesus, I’m so glad you’re not like me. I’m so glad you went to the concert with me anyway that night. I’m so glad you were already there when I got there. I’m so glad you were and still are patient with me. I’m so glad for your mercy and your grace. I’m eternally grateful that you know all about me and still want me.

And just in case someone else comes across this letter, I’m so glad…you knew that they would.

Love,

Ericka

*****************************************

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits Google Images – the late Lester Kern. No copyright infringement intended.

Welcome to Day 22 of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on the rules here!

Day 22

To Someone You No Longer Talk To

They say we are better off letting

Sleeping dogs lie

But being lied to by a dog

Pretending to sleep

Felt like a nightmare

But I love to dream and I believed

Your lulla-lies would make

them come true

So I let my guard down to rest

Rested my eyes long enough

To trust

Trusting you to navigate

Our self inflicted course

Palms gripped

Teeth clenched

Drive on driver

Drive on

Drive me mad with desire

Intrinsic race

Hurry the pace

Creative is our space

W a i t!

Wake me

For the dream has gone cold

Awaken nightmare’s song

Of

you

letting

us

go….

***************************************

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits Pixabay. No copyright infringement intended.

“Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart.” – Jeremiah 1:5 CEB

I couldn’t find that journal entry even if I tried. I intentionally destroyed many journals several years ago because I didn’t realize how intensely personal they were until I stumbled across them in a forgotten pile of junk. Long before texts, screenshots and someone picking up the other phone in the house; marble or spiral notebooks and gifted journals held all of my secrets.

And they were safe.

Well except that time my little brother wrote back to me – IN my diary!! “That’s not how it happened!”, he scribbled. Ugh. The audacity of him; my fellow Brooklyn Brownstone Sheltered Creative. As if his banging on the drums at odd hours wasn’t enough.

Nonetheless I digress.

Fast forward to the year 2000. Married two years at the time, God had been seriously bothering dealing with me and refused to let a Sista go. Still adjusting to being married to a musician with a hectic touring schedule; I had just come to terms with my inability to have children. I remember God giving me instructions during a private moment of prayer one day and me being very blasé about them:

  1. Prepare to be a mother.
  2. Prepare to preach.
  3. Prepare to ________.
  4. Write it down.

Though every effort to help obey God was given; that third one still remains unfulfilled and has been kindly rerouted to my eye rolling “LORD YOU KNOW!” file. But the other two instructions were different.

When God said, “Prepare to be a mother” during my private moment of high praise His whisper was so strong I turned around! It was though He didn’t get the memo that I couldn’t have kids. And to boot, prophecies about me being a mom had been popping up so much I started tuning them out. They were frequent, always from strangers and always at the end of a church service or conference I sung at! One in particular was extremely specific…

I remember I had just finished singing and a few minutes later was called to the altar by the conference host and told to stand in a specific intercessor’s line. This was and is still NOT my norm. Never been quick to jump in a prayer line. I don’t play with that. I’m old school Honty. This means I ain’t eating everybody’s cooking and everybody ain’t laying hands on me either! Be done messed around and picked up something I can’t shake; Ok?! Anyway, the intercessor asked me where my children where as though I was supposed to bring them up for prayer too, so I explained that I didn’t have children. The intercessor immediately responded, ” I see three. A girl and two boys”.

You ever believe God for something for so long you either forget about it, question you heard Him or just turn that part of you off because it hurts too much to believe?

Who knew two years later I’d give birth to our first child Kayla; a preemie born 6 weeks early. Our second; Kevin Jr. was a 10 lb 7oz giant born two years later. And then our third child Kyle, the angel I never got to hold; passed away a year later. A girl and then two boys just like the prophetic intercessor said? The agony of being barren, giving birth to a preemie, a full term baby and then the devastation of a miscarriage? God who did I go through all of that for? Because that pain and uncertainty I endured could not have been just for me!

Wait and to think God said, “Prepare to preach” at the same time! He told me to prepare to be a mother when I couldn’t have kids. Huh?! It was like God was running a two for one special confirmation combo that day; so that if one word had been established in the mouth of 2-3 witnesses AND came to pass, surely I had heard God right! I mean I wrote it down in my journal and all but I wasn’t trying to hear that. I wanted to be a mother but I didn’t want to be a preacher. Who wants to be a preacher? Yes. Ok. Music Ministry. But please Lord not… preaching.

I was surrounded by so many opinionated people on both sides – I chose to share it with no one. Some felt women weren’t called to preach, others said Miriam, the sister of Moses, was just one of many female prophets God used in the Bible days. Others could care less but didn’t think there was anything wrong with women being Sunday School teachers, teaching Women’s Bible Study or preaching once a year on Women’s Day. I knew I wasn’t called to pastor a church so I enjoyed flying under the radar for as long as I could.

But God’s voice was so persistent I went to my father in law love who was my pastor at the time and told him I felt called to preach. He was supportive but made it very clear that he’d be in prayer for confirmation of my calling.

I closed out the year 2000 by preaching my first sermon: “Ready, Willing and Disabled. It was right on the heels of a terrible NJ Turnpike car accident my husband and I had survived only two days prior. I saw the front left tire of the car to the right of us dance across the highway before it crashed through our front windshield; stopping about an inch shy of my husband’s face. The glass that shattered on him from head to lap as we swerved across the highway, fell off his face like water. We walked away with not one scratch

I could go on and on but there’s only one reason I chose to share all of this today. It was just gonna be a two line Facebook post about me being my Mommy’s twin as seen in the featured image for this post but God kept laying you on my heart.

As a poet and writer of “tastefully done grown folk-isms”; I know what it’s like to struggle with being called to ministry both in and outside the four walls of the church. It is not easy. It really isn’t. If you are questioning your calling because it doesn’t fit into a box and neither do you, I cannot stress the importance of knowing God’s voice for yourself. I believe if we weren’t so hard on those whose calling went beyond handing out programs, welcoming the visitors and singing in the choir; more people wouldn’t feel shunned or question their life’s purpose.

I’m GUILTY of at one time being ignorant of what some refer to as Marketplace Ministry (non traditional) life callings. I didn’t understand, know anything about nor understood ministry beyond churchdom. I really didn’t. And like most of us until we learn better; I was judgmental of what I did not understand. But I understand now; and it’s really important to me that I’m part of the solution, not part of the problem. Though eventually licensed to preach in 2010 and at that time a MDiv/MSW dual degree seminary student; my life has since taken a SERIES of twists and turns. After only one semester my whole life changed drastically.

Here I am a very different woman than I was 8 years ago. But even after everything I’ve been through, three things have remained the same. My love for God, my love for all races/cultures and my unwavering burden to help the hurting; not ostracize or further damage them because we think differently.

Maybe you know you’re built for so much more. But you have stopped dreaming, praying and talking about the things you want to do because nothing seems to be going right or you lack support. Maybe you’ve questioned your calling because you don’t feel qualified.

Well…

And…

So say it with me…

And then…

‘Cause um…

Love you to life & cheering you on from the sidelines…💫e

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits: My Mommy (holding me), Google Images, Pinterest Sopha Rush, Dharius Daniels, AC. Sparks. No copyright infringement intended.

Humbled By The Invitation!

Looking forward to sharing on Monday Night’s prayer call. Though it’s a call designed for women – ALL ARE WELCOME! Be sure to call in by 8:55PM EST at (302) 202-1106 • Access code is 765011. Please mute out your background noise!

For those of you who have been inquiring about my Inspiration With E Radio Show – thank you so much!! Links to hear Season 1 can be found here or by visiting GRINDHARD RADIO on BlogTalk Radio or iTunes and searching for Inspiration With E.

The show was on a scheduled hiatus during the holidays and is currently pending a Season 2 relaunch date! I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Feel free to introduce yourself below! Stats say you’re here and reading but just a wee bit shy! Welcome new faces!💫e

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

LIKE ON FACEBOOK! @authenticiteespeaks AND @InspirationWithE

Twitter | @authenticitee & @EAInspiration

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credit: Ericka Arthur

felt

I can see the face of each KING; some say ‘muse’.

This was never me..not the life that I would choose.

One where pain pierced boundaries,

cue shattered heart and a mind left bruised.

Spiritual arteries left clogged, arms found flailing,

grip on reality gone.

A SOULTIE severed only for new ones to be formed.

The Almighty the Gatekeeper – every time I chose wrong.

No longer haunted or tortured.

If you’re on my mind, I want you there.

To be tempted; a new normal.

To resist; a resolution for the NEW YEAR.

Thank you for every healing word; written or spoken.

It’s because of you my Authenticitee Speaks

and my broken heart’s unbroken.

@authenticiteespeaks

Saturday December 9, 2017 is Day 343

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!e of @authenticiteespeaks

Host of the Inspiration With E Radio Show

IG | FB @InspirationWithE

Twitter | @EAInspiration

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

Twitter | @authenticitee

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Rating PG-13 to 🔞

Welcome to Part 2 of my new poetry series comprised of pieces originally shared on my Instagram page! You can view the launch here! I’ll be sharing 10 pieces at a time. Let me know which one is your favorite! Welcome new faces!


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Thank you for being here!
Blessings!💫e of @authenticiteespeaks

Host of the Inspiration With E Radio Show


IG | FB @InspirationWithE
Twitter | @EAInspiration


Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com
IG | @authenticiteespeaks


Twitter | @authenticitee
Remember YOU MATTER!
© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Photos via Pinterest, Pixabay and original owners. No copyright infringement intended.