Kaizen Love is an up and coming writer, spinning words into a beautiful web that should enrich the lives of all who read them. She has a positive and fresh take on life, and has mastered the art of storytelling. She grew up reading books by authors from every style, race, nationality, culture, and religious perspective; drawing inspiration from each one. Her greatest mission is to share love.
The weather is beginning to change. I lay in bed peeking out from under my covers, the sunlight barely making its way into the creases that I call my eyes. I can see the trees outside of my window, the way the wind rustles the leaves as their colors begin to change from bright green to a rusty shade of orange. All year I look forward to when I get to witness the leaves as they evolve. Watching as they dance around in the freedom of the wind, disembarking from their temporary tree branch home. Grateful that I get to witness their fall, landing softly on the ground, continuing the cycle that we call life. I miss the feel of the wind. Closing my eyes again, I wished that I were one of those leaves, able to disembark from my body and dance freely into the wind. Turning into soil so that my life would not have been a waste but a blessing. Adding to the richness of a newly birthed plant, or adding years to a tree that has witnessed as many years as the earth. The same earth that it ripped through to stand higher upon the ground. I grip my covers tighter. I can’t keep my eyes closed for too long anymore, without remembering. “Josephine,” I hear my mother screaming my name from the bottom of the stairs. She has been trying to get me to leave my room for almost two months, and now that school has started I may not be able to hide in here forever . I hear her heavy footsteps as they barrel up the stairs. She is either still drunk from last night or starting her day off like she normally does with a special kick added to her coffee. “Josephine,” I hear her screaming now from outside of my door, her voice piercing through my walls, and my ears. “Josephine, you stupid child, I don’t care if you want to sleep until you’re dead, but you are either going to go to school or live out on the street where you belong.” It’s sad, when you are so used to the viciousness in a person’s voice, that it no longer causes an effect. Your heart no longer hurts, and that rippling pain that one feels throughout their body when being screamed at, or confronted, no longer exists. I continue to lie in bed, shutting my eyes tighter, eventually pulling the covers over my head, shutting out all sights, sounds, and smells of the world that exists outside of my cocoon. In here I am safe. I am safe from my parents. I am safe from the shadows that do not belong to me.
As we drive, I notice out the dusty windows of Miss Felix’s old beat-up car that the scenery is changing. We driving out of the areas where the houses all broken down, where car parts lay scattered across the barely there lawns, dogs running recklessly after cars with people in ‘em they don’t even know. The longer we drive, the prettier the scenery get. We drive past big open fields with rows of Southern Magnolia trees, recognized by many round here as a symbol for gracefulness and strength, reminding me that summer is here and overflowing with flowers so pretty they making me blush. I ain’t never seen sights so beautiful like this before. The longer we drive, the more perfect the picture get as it unfolds right before my very eyes, renewing my spirit with each passing glance of something new. I ask Miss Felix if I could roll my window all the way down, and she say yes. As soon as that fresh air overtake my senses and engulf my small little world I feel my cheeks get wet. My tears warm the thin layer of skin they caress as they roll on down, passing every freckle on my cheek on their journey toward my neck. Miss Felix, feeling the mood in the car shift from exciting to somber, look over at me and say, “Thank -You, why on earth you crying, baby?” I don’t know how to explain it to her. I don’t even know if the words will make sense as they slowly make their way out of my soul, assembling on my tongue to speak about things I ain’t never seen, to speak about faith. I say, “Miss Felix, I’m crying because I feel like if we stopped driving the car and walked over into that field of trees bursting with all them flowers, we may realize that we ain’t never need go to church again. Because God lives in the beauty of all those things, in every flower born on every tree. Like God lives in every one of my freckles, or in the eyes of every baby you help, like me.” Miss Felix looked stunned for a moment, and I thought she was gonna say that I was blasphemous, because I been told that before by other fake mamas and daddies when I say something that don’t make sense to them ‘bout God. But instead, my social-worker mama let out a small sigh and allowed her kind eyes to embrace the tears that gently rose their way up from the well that dwells deep within her soul. She put my hand in hers, and we continued our drive all the way to church in silence, appreciating each other, our tears, and appreciating the God that don’t live inside the church building, instead, embracing the God that we find on the way there.
My Name Is Thank-You meticulously weaves together the lives of two, very different thirteen-year-old girls. We are forced into a world of chaos, contrasting continuously from light to dark. To Thank-You, the world is full of promise, despite being raised an orphan; she carries within her the ability to find the beauty in any situation. To Josephine, the world is a sad and lonely place. Although born into wealth, she is plagued by a life wrought with abuse. We follow their journeys into self-discovery, forgiveness, and ultimately redemption; finding bits and pieces of ourselves along the way and getting a first hand look at what freedom truly looks like. Their stories are our stories, their voices, are our voices teaching us that no matter the circumstances we may be facing, perspective is everything. This is the kind of story that will have you smiling through your tears and asking yourself "how can I become a light?"