No excuses anymore, no not for a moment, for who I am. Continuing on, pressing against a rush of water, the tide of public opinion and internal questions. I lift a weary hand to grab hold of the branches of promise jutting out of the banks at every turn, guardians to help in the unsure and trying times. Inch by painstaking inch I struggle through the cold waters, surrounded by banks of slippery self esteem. When I try to crawl out, I slide back quickly, if not for the holds I kicked in the mud, pats on the back, given only by me. I can see in the distance the calm lake, a haven of peace, where my mind is quiet from the shouts of the struggle. If I were closer, I would see the image of heaven reflected on that lake. That lake is confidence. That lake is freedom. That lake is me.