Self

by Jon Watts

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about

SELF is a puzzle.

It is a book with pages ripped out and tossed into the air, left for the listener to reassemble.

It is a vibrant, revealing, intense amalgam of dark, interwoven revelations and angry pop culture references, dropped into chaos, and lost in Boston.

It is an album to get you psyched before a swim meet. It is an album to debate contentiously with three friends in a car in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night. It is an album that will cause you to reconsider the value of albums as a whole work of art.

Jon Watts has grown in leaps and bounds since his last project, showing off his production and guitar work in songs like FLAS, in which his three acoustic guitars weave their way around a sneaking solid bassline, leaving just the right amount of room for the voice in his head to dance.

From the epic bridge between FLAS and LOST IN BOSTON in which Jon declares “There’s something in the middle of the sun for y’all” (a hint for the listener that he later develops upon at the album’s sweeping self-referential conclusion) to creative challenges like the parallel stereo verse in ONE FLEW WEST - a song constructed solely utilizing Radiohead samples - Jon indeed shows great development as a producer, a guitarist and a poet.

“Give me something to work with, I need to know its worth it. Beginning at birth, the whole world isn’t perfect,” Jon bellows over a 6/8 tabla beat in LOST IN BOSTON, simultaneously revealing the deepest nature of the album and telling the unrelated story of a homeless man who he passed briefly on the streets of Boston. “Born into a culture whose intentions are quite off, I’m hoping to mention to listeners: I write often. A Molotov coffin who’s lost in Boston holds a candle to the cost of one fallen offspring.”

Jon Watts’ syllables sympathetically sillouette spontaneous struggles to stay social and solicit his self, sending the listener spread-eagled, sprawling spiritually in the spirit of Slug and Saul Williams simultaneously.

You get the feeling that Jon is literally looking himself in the mirror as he lets drop power and self-revealing lines like “Sometimes I just cry and remember I’m alive/think of those I’ve loved and who’ve loved me/but above those I’ve loved is my self/I remember that you’ve got to love yourself to be something.”

With references to Atmosphere, Hansel and Gretel, The Great Mouse Detective, Radiohead, Dr. Suess, Saul Williams and 16th century English poet John Donne, Jon follows in the longstanding poetic tradition of giving his audience a stimulating piece of art that only becomes more meaningful with research and repeated listens. Listeners are still mining the material 5 years later, discovering new references and meanings in the project.

(This is partially due to the fact that Jon did not tour for or promote the album whatsoever, as he recorded it in his second year at Guilford College)

Above all, SELF is an exploration of the concept and role of the individual in an increasingly isolated and individualistic culture. How does one find the self-support needed at the same time as maintaining responsibility to others? What language should be used for discussing the love of Self without the risk of becoming self-centered? How does ego relate with the need for forgiveness and healing?

Unravel the story. Put the book back together. Assemble the puzzle.

Then write your own poems and send them to Jon Watts.

credits

released April 5, 2004

All songs written, recorded and produced by Jon Watts.

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Jon Watts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Quaker poet-producer-songsmith in West Philly.

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Track Name: Intro - Sign Down
I put a sign down, listen you're on my time now. I said my rhyme style is just something you'll find out. Real people aren't listening, let's define how we can get them interested with benign power. I reside now, going to shows, they're mine now. We'll decide how, pushing the limits; (a timid reminisce) holding a pose to throw stones at your innocence. Jon Watts synonyms: good, great, grand, and fantastic. Working the static thrones, behold: magic fanatical poems. I roam to get home because this is a no clone zone (it's jonwatts).
Track Name: Retreat and Withdrawal (Self)
Love: it's a thing of the past. No, I'm not talking about marriage. I mean loving your self. Look in the mirror. How's your mental health? Have you looked around and found a balance? I talk about my self in my music because music is a tool and I use it. I'm talking to my self and I'm telling me how I'm doing. I'm improving. It helps to spend time alone because I live in my self, this shell is my home and if I leave it too long I get sick while I'm gone so I drop breadcrumbs when I roam. I drop breadcrumbs when i roam. Listen:
(it's the breadcrumbs, falling on the ground.)

I've got two part harmony, and one parts soul. I'm going to train my voice and make both parts whole. It's that elusive balance that I seek when I'm looking and I find when i close both my eyes. It's content versus happy so you'd better make it snappy and gratify me when it's time (instantaneous). My lamen name came in the form of pain saving, when the best I can do is get away and I'll talk to you now and perhaps even smile but there's that nagging feeling to get away. Just get a way.

Sometime I just cry and remember I'm alive, think of those I've loved and that loved me, but above those I've loved is my self. I remember that you've got to love your self to be something. You've got to love yourself to be something.

So I'll run past the borders till I can't be seen and there I stand knee deep in self. My family needs my help and so I help them, but it comes from a place that will remain my space because I'm selfish. Listen: most things I do are for me, that's true, but I compromise when I interact and I know that it's hard to seperate fiction from fact, so seperate your self. that's a healthy way to act.

Sometime I just cry and remember I'm alive, think of those I've loved and that loved me, but above those I've loved is my self. I remember that you've got to love your self to be something. You've got to love yourself to be something.

I may look like an island, but I'm really a man. So put down your books and just give me a hand. We need love and we look for it in all the wrong places. If we're horses, then we're walking around with long faces. I'm feeling alone again and that's a self-fulfilling feeling. When i kneel my self down, it seems real up on the ceiling. I'm looking to maintain self health through self help, so I discuss with my self all the feelings that I've felt. You can call me a loner and a hermit and reserved, but the truth is we all need some time to calm our nerves.

So sometime I just cry and remember I'm alive, think of those I've loved and that loved me, but above those I've loved is my self. I remember that you've got to love your self to be something. You've got to love yourself to be something.
Track Name: Intimate Details
I've got intimate details that hold you to Fiji. I'm bowling blue meanies. I told you I'm needy, impeding the meaning of keeping the reading in need of a meeting, careening the leaning to places unknown on a map or a globe. I got tackled ten-fold when I passed on a probe. Oh the places you'll go, but you're told 'slow your roll' as men sell their souls. the infinite froze. you're hung by your toes and left in the cold to give them the rhythm you have but can't hold. I could grow to be old and folding my robes and still have a clue as to what you've been told. It's incidious. the most is venemous, sounding hideous (slowly infringing us). they're living on ignorance, converting a verdict from guilty to innocence, outlawing friendliness, ending these synonyms and losing us in their long sentences.

I don't know why I try sometimes.
(and since we're on the topic, I figure I would drop some rock shit, reach inside my money and pull out my pockets. They say life isn't easy when you're trying too hard. Well, i'm trying too hard to remove these scars and a large part of life is just to live with what you're given. I've been given criticism and so that's how I'm living but i keep on working and I keep on learning cause I've got to be here for a purpose.)

Well it's us versus them now. Tell it to your pen pal. he don't know nobody that can get out of the hen house. Write rhymes for days, but nothings going to change. We're all brainwashed, it's got us stuck in a cage and I'm sucking on rage and nursing on the antidote. I ran a note back. It's withstanding no wax and it's stuck in your ears so you're having trouble hearing this. I'm feeling amiss and what's clear in the mist? There's nothing to know that television doesn't tell you. Why turn it off? their purpose is to sell truth. Don't listen to me. I'm not on an album cover advertised by your local big brother.
I used to write songs to be popular. But now I write songs cause I like to write songs. If you like them, sing along.

I don't know why I try sometimes.
(and since we're on the topic, I figure I would drop some rock shit, reach inside my money and pull out my pockets. They say life isn't easy when you're trying too hard. Well, i'm trying too hard to remove these scars and a large part of life is just to live with what you're given. I've been given contradiction and so that's how I'm living but i keep on working and I keep on learning cause I've got to be here for a purpose.)

Well I'm sitting in my room with the door closed (hormones). It's normal for me to be forceful. But I'm taking down the set. yeah. i'm stripping down the banners, a mannerless pan of insanity. Hold the vanity. you stand there, disbanded, see me, thinking 'can it be, please?' If you let me be free, it's so easy. All I have to do is try but i keep questioning why. I'm too fly not to cry. Well hold my album to a candle if it's more than you can handle. I'm enamored with vandals who amble to the center. I've got so many friends wearing sandals in the winter, a mandolin dinner. It's like a can of vanilla entered my psyche. I might be thinking boycott against Nike but even New Balance does that shit so I'm not going to sit here and list them, but instead I suggest that you remove your shoes and lets boycott the sytem.

I don't know why I try sometimes.
(and since we're on the topic, I figure I would drop some rock shit, reach inside my money and pull out my pockets. They say life isn't easy when you're trying too hard. Well, i'm trying too hard to remove these scars and a large part of life is just to live with what you're given. I've been given television <i'm not sure if i actually said this or not, but i should have> and so that's how I'm living but i keep on working and I keep on learning cause I've got to be here for a purpose.)
Track Name: One Flew West
Raindrop pitter patter in the trees. this is the same spot, opened up against the breeze. there's no people here. The sky is wide open and it's equally clear that he's got his family hoping he's dissappeared. He's dissappeared. Models of his fraudalence envelope him, embellishing a fellowship that no one feels. Is no one real, taking time for him to heal. The place is like a ditch, it's in the middle of the forest. It's the place he escapes, it's avoiding the chorus. it's more than just a spot and it's less than a home but he's got to have a place that he feels within his bones.

About ten am the shell of a friend is telling him when he's got to cut up his skin. it's hanging from a lampost, every sample he gets... he wants another peice of it, he's throwing a fit. It's going to get him killed and he knows it.

It's darkness now. It's spinning around. the truck is speeding up and that's the only sound. The truck is speeding up, his mind is slowing down.

(making people help themselves, Central Center Mental Health)

It's pills out time, the nurse is smiles. It's the whitewashed walls and the cursed tile. Will he get
(Let's kill cloud nine, that's my first desire. it's quite posh squalls but the earth will die. Said)
help here, cause it's not the promises that cost him his feeling. It's not the the ditch, his place
(that it felt clear and it's got the amishness accosted the ceiling. It's got itch his case in)
of healing... stealing glances at the clerk. Cameras taking his soul, it's making a mole, forsaking
(clearing. Hearing dances in the work. Stamina's faking a role, it's taking it's toll, it's aching)
the poll, and faking a role. It's taking it's toll, aching his soul, it's making him old.
(his soul, it's taking his soul, forsaking the poll, making a mole, it's making him old.)

He hates you. You deserve it. You don't want to. It's not worth it. Don't tell him what you said, his side of the bed provided bread inside of your head inside of your head inside of your head inside of your head.

Ok, it's a good rule. He hates you. That was Ok, that was Ok. I'll make you a hunk of a man. You deserve it. It's a good rule.

"It's just you and me now, and that's it. You don't want to. James got hurt. Don't cheat on that test! It's not worth it. I am af@*ing disaster. How do you lose your watch when it's strapped to your f#@*ing wrist? Don't tell him what you said I'm so shaky. you lose Everything. his side of the bed provided bread it's pity puddles. I kind of miss you all the time. It pushes me down. why doHe n't you come by ever? inside of your head You cut yourself off. Sleeping on the couch. inside of your head Cold potato skins. inside of your head If you want more, there's more in there. your name is on everything nside of your head. You can do it inside of your head insid (fuck you, shut up.) ie of your head Shake hands, boy. If I was by myself... Shake them. inside of your head ,inside of your head. . I was getting kind of numb."
Track Name: Coming Home
Well is it safe to say that the state is taking over? Keep a chip on your shoulder, apathetic when you're older. Go to school and buy a diploma. Even if you don't listen well, you can get that middle class white collar prison cell.

People bleed to get you what you 'need.' We've got a system full of venom that abolishes freedom for some. You've got to run the gun, pay a lung just to see the sun... Already done, see? Put away your humvee. The way we're living isn't given to treating each other humbly. Come see everything I'm doing. I'm improving. We've got too much movement so I keep the music soothing. Life passes like a bullet, catch it in your teeth. I'm gonna write down every word that I'm beneath. In the right town, I'm gonna walk around in my nightgown, ask Virginia Woolf to put the light down, right now.

Skinematic: I'm adament for the Vatican manakins. I'll forgive the management of the mass shananigans and i'll ask the sanitary to ration medicinary cash and I'll send them all to Nashville cemetery. Every last one of y'all's asking to fall facts, skin and all that's gonna haul ass down the hall.

I speak to minds unlimited. At times, I'm ripping it. a fine line, isn't it, when rhymes are different. I'll find time listening to rhymes that are infinite but mine have a kind of time line that limits them. Listen in, because I'm smoking the pot that I'm pissing in and now line thiefs find me and ask if I'm with them then. My attention is exhausted from falling off from those on ridilan forget them then. I'll find a different school for little kids, walking a route between withdrawn and beligerent. I'm fitting in and the sad part is that I live with them. I've stopped picking my friends, now I'm inventing them. Their lives collide with mine at very minimums, and I scoured the world to find my synonyms, so f@* off.
Track Name: Flas
She loves me, she loves me not... etc

Well I'm sick and tired of these bullshit games. I'll tell you how I feel and then you do the same. If they don't coincide, it's alright, don't worry. I'm looking for a girl who I like, there's no hurry. Now surely you don't need walls up for me and surely you won't get hurt by yours truly and sure we didn't start off that smoothly but I'm sure we can find a cure... you're such a cutie. Well you play the game well, you're the MVP and there are guys out there who envy me because you're mine now, but you're not mine... wait till they find out. If this is a game let's take a time out.

I've got deep seeded feelings for you. No, wait, I love you. No wait, that's not true... i just want to be above you. (you fool, those aren't the words you say to her face) oh, do you want to spend the night at my place?

She's got flaws but we've all got them and she's got me in her claws and I can't stop them. I need a book of written laws to combat the problem but I'm holding up my hands and I can't stop the goblins.

She's pretty committed to indifference about me and my philosophy. It's obvious without her saying to me she doesn't care... I'm aware, because she's looking at me with blank stares. It's the same glare. I'm going to stick to her like glue, stick to her shoe. Sick, through and through... fit for the movement, flew the coop. Then, to the new friends through the hoop. when who are you is central to losing... I guess its true then, that you're moving on. I'm long gone. It hasn't happened yet, but I knew it all along. I wouldn't say I love you but i'd put it in a song. I was wrong. I was wrong. Look, I know you had to test me cause you've had problems with the rest of these guys. I suggest that it's wise to say it before I leave. I may not be appeased, but i've got love in my sleeve and I'm having trouble breathing. the reason I'm even here isn't even clear. I hold you close to see you're near. If I could tell you how I feel then i would do it but I'd lose it. I'm building a tunnel and one day I'll run through it.

She's got flaws but we've all got them and she's got me in her claws and I can't stop them. I need a book of written laws to combat the problem but I'm holding up my hands and I can't stop the goblins.
Track Name: The Middle of the Sun
There’s something in the middle of the sun for y’all

I once had a house that I felt in my soul
It was made of stones, very old
And when it got cold I would shiver in my clothes
But that’s not how I’d like to be known

I live for summer days that are Spring at night
with the moon coming in through the clouds
And I’ve avoided living my life just to fight
But I still haven’t figured out how

No one can express how deeply they feel
So all I can say is “I feel deep”
And I’ve climbed hills that are steeper than my depth
So sometimes my ends don’t meet.

I’ve put myself in so many other people’s shoes
that I’ve forgotten which ones are mine
and if I lived any longer than the end of this song
then I would say that I’ve lived past my time.
Track Name: Lost in Boston
Let me see the starlight again. I have a blind faith in you.

give me something to work with. I need to know it's worth it. Beginning at birth, the whole world isn't perfect. Born into a culture whose intentions are quite off, I'm hoping to mention to listeners I write often. A molotov coffin that's lost in Boston holds a candle to the cost of one fallen ofspring: born at age twenty-one to a widow and "god's" son, he'd love to cuddle up and befuddle the lost ones. He's tossed under a boss whose greek for thunder. He's lost his curiosity but seeks some wonder. He's got no limbs left, trading meat for lumber. He's trying to put the wood back, considering lovers.

so throw a penny his way as you pass by. he'll take it today but it's the last time. Hold him in your thoughts as you pray for his past crimes or let him live oblivious to that last line.

I had a boy. he had something that no one could see. He gave me a piece so I could be free. he said, "you are the world. You've got something that no one could see. Would you please give this out so we can be free?"

If he fell then he wouldn't be bleeding. You can smell it like it's ready to be eaten.

So throw a penny his way as you pass by. he'll take it today but it's the last time. Hold him in your thoughts as you pray for his past crimes or let him live oblivious to that last line. he wouldn't last nine lives so he's glad he's not a cat. In fact, he's not a kitten. It's quite fitting that he's a dog. You look up to see him glisten, but he's caught up in a fog. Trying to read whats written but he can't read. Man, please put down that book now before you get a cramp. these people all stare because he can't breathe but he still blows against the wind to stop this damned breeze.

I had a boy. he had something that no one could see. He gave me a piece so I could be free. he said, "you are the world. You've got something that no one could see. Would you please give this out so we can be free?"

His hands are out. his arms are open. His eyes are shot. His ears are broken. he knows you well and you've never met him. It's nearly impossible to upset him. It's some words of wisdom, and maybe 'good day' but he fought the system and here may he lay. Here may he lay until come along a brighter tomorrow, a world without sorrow: tomorrow.

i saw him once, watching the waves against the rocks. The poor man swayed and then collapsed and when I ran to his aid, he put his pen to the page and said, "son, sing this when you get back." he sang:

Let me see the starlight again. I have a blind faith in you.
Track Name: Your Happy Place
You're giving me provocation:
provocative apocalypse
in
sovereign nations.

We rocking it.

The talking lips will
turn into talking heads.
the walking dead will
hold
a place
above us
on the fog.

We said
we'd
live

our life

according to our
morals
and
values.

Put down how
you
count
two and two.

It equals five
but
by the time we
realize
there's more to life
than
what... dichotomous relationships.
Your faith insists you love thy neighbor, but not if he's gay?

I pray for rain <read: change>

but I'm afraid

that it already came.

The same day,
I
remain nameless.
I
speak
my peace
on beats
and then

retreat.

I believe
in the image
of a

Basil on Baker's street
but

I'm out of luck
when
we're ruled by Ratigan.

It matters

as a
fathom pattern.

Running at them you can sit and watch them

s c a t t e r .

That's the fact of the matter.

As a matter of fact,
the mad hatter is back.

It's tax cuts to corporation s; our patterns off track.

Go to your happy place,
I'll meet you there
(would you
share?)
and to vastly save face
I'm going to ask we
say grace.

It's a breath of fresh air.

You'd
best
look
both
ways
before
you
cross
me,
softy.
Fucking
with
me
can
be
costly,
honestly.
(look both ways before you cross me softy, fucking with me can be costly, honestly.)

JON WATTS BATTLING:
that's unheard of.

I hear
he cries


a lot
and likes
girls

above
our cultural norms.

His living informs
because
he's living in dorms
and he's
encouraging storms
to rain
down
a-
cid
and
soot.


I put
my
foot down,
living
around a
sound lounge.

His noun is hound.
His verb is swerve.

He's hit every curb you can think from here to merge.

My
change
in
rhythm
says
that individuals know to but I'm like,
"if i could leave it,
I wouldn't have to show you."



So few people are thinking things through.

So few of us are really in tune with what's true.

chase you in a golf cart yelling, "call the zoo!"

I'll do
my
time
for
ancestoral
crimes

and

still not really know what you went through.

Go to your happy place,
I'll meet you

there (would you

share?)
and to
vastly
save
face
I'm
going
to
ask
we
say
grace.

It's a

breath
of
fresh

air.






Take this.
Use it.

Come back and tell me why it's only my good
friends that listen to my music

and
if you've never
heard of
Jon
Watts
before, that's
because
I'm
not
in
stores

so come a knockin' at my door.



I'm


a whole lot stronger than I used to be

but

there's a couple of things in me that you don't see.

I'm not a failure
but sometimes
I fail.

I'm
out of
fantasies
I've got to
grab by the tail,
so it's
balls to the
wall and
face in
the dirt.


I'm wasting a w a y.
It tastes like it hurts.

What
I've
made
for
today
is
a
game
full
of
words
and
a
name
for
the
nerds
that
remains
unheard.


I prefer

to be

living



outdoors
and
performing
chores
that
are
mine
(not yours)

because

I'm bored of your life

so

I've stopped watching television


, telling the living to
LIVE their own story.

I'm
bored.

We sit around
and
talk about
nature
as if
we weren't
natural.


That's full
of
hate:
our insatiable
lust to
control
all
things not us
(indigenous cultures
and such).

Put em up

Politicians and
guns
for our
daughters and
sons
to
debate.

What's at stake
is their
lungs
and their
eyes
and their
lives
and their
love
and their
sun
and their
moon
and their
world
and their
squirrels
and their
parks
and their
homes
and their
art
and their
bones
and their
smart
and their
farms
and the
faraway
hugs
from their
arms,
not
explosions
of
ours
with
nuclear
arms
in a
faraway
fading
fast
future
of
stars.

It's guzzled away in our cars.

and paved over by shopping marts.

at least we're living

but barely alive

run to your happy place
got to survive.

got to survive got to survive
run to your happy place
got to survive.

got to survive got to survive


go to your happy place.

I'll meet you there
(would you share?)

and to vastly save face
I'm going to ask we say grace

it's a breath of fresh air.
Track Name: Ink On My Feet
Every
rhyme i
write
starts
with
you. you are him
and she her
he is
true.
but
how
do
you
do?

while
you’re
around
the
corner


waiting



to

surprise
us


with

“are “could
you and you use
alright?” another
iced
cappucino,
sir?”

Your wife’s
at
home
with your ancestor.
They’re
slimy little
bastards,
you know the kind.
But we’re looking for people

who have trouble with
rhymes.
They just can’t find the right word to
rhyme.
I wanted
to speak
my mind,
but I was
handcuffed
to the bed
with a gun
pointed at my head,
so I sang them instead.

It went like this:
“well i wanted
to know you
so badly that
I would have
forgotten my
self.”

(well i wanted
to know you
so badly that
i would have
forgotten my
self.) and
when I
closed the
portal
leading to
the short
hole
at the end
of the earth,
I wanted to scream my worth.
I wanted to give birth. I wanted to give birth
to
a
new
way
of
life
or
a
new
way
to
live.
My time to receive is over.
Now is my time to give. Ok,
number 1:
how do
you give
something
that
you
don’t have?
number 2:
what is a gift
if
it has to be
forced
on people?

why the fuck am i here
because it’s not to fulfill my ego.
That’s for goddamn sure.
I’m standing in the door between
Australia and Egypt and they’re starting to
look the same.
I’m going to
start
writing under a different name
like
Mark Twain
because
I’m tired

of
reading

my name
on
bad
music.
I have
a voice
and
everything
depends
on
how I use it,
and
I
try
to
make
my
writing
conclusive,
but no...

it makes
you
want to be
abusive, don’t it?
You want to pick me up right
now and shake me and say,
“how can you talk so
much without actually
saying a goddamn
thing?”
I can tell you,
I think.
I don’t put ink on paper,
i put paper on ink.
I pour some down,
place one on the
ground
and step on it
until it
speaks to me. No, I’m kidding. It doesn’t talk.

But words do appear.

man, I’m not fibbing.

I don’t do a damned thing.
I just say this stuff, I don’t make it up. And “god” makes me, so “god’s” fucked up.

He makes me say
it. He writes
these rhymes.
Line
after line,
I feel like I’m in
kindergarten
again
they’re so simplistic.
It’s nap time,
where’s my cot?
I’m going to bed.
I’ll write again later,
ink on my feet and gun to my head.
Track Name: I was afraid I was lost, Now I'm scared I've been found.
I was Afraid
I was lost,
Now I’m scared
I’ve been Found.

And the
air up
here’s
soft so
I’ve kept my ear
to the
ground.

Well I've been lost for a while
and now that I’m found I’ve
been looking for you and to me that’s profound.

It’s like,
“where
have
you been?”
Well I’ve been there too.

and,
“where
you
been since?”
I’ve been waiting for you.
I've
quite
thought of leaving,
but I believe
I’ve been left
and my beliefs
are
deceiving but
I’m deceived
by
what’s left.
I haven’t quite gotten the patience just yet for waiting around for you, now I’m hopeless. It’s been three times back and then forth... camp and then back, and so this is my fourth. If this telegram gets to you, I'm probably done, but I've left something else for you in the middle of the sun. I wanted to come down and tell you what I’ve found but I think I’ll just let the words talk for themselves now.

I'm just trying to do the right thing with the tools that I'm given. My thoughts are like lightening in this storm that I'm living. Sometimes I have a mission to guide in the children. Sometimes I know that I'm just a face in a crowd of millions. I don't know anyone who's not like me, and I can't think of someone who's exactly the same. I have a name that makes me different but remember I'm gifted with life, love, and expression.