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Waking up every day to a life filled with struggle, still I carry on.

For the people in my life depending on me, I carry on.

Though circumstances may bring me to the edge of my sanity, still I carry on.

For my mother, for my sisters, and for my baby girl, I carry on.

Like a soldier in this game of life,

always ready for war,

like Shakur, like Hannibal, like Garvey, and many more.

My determination for a life of quality empowers me to seek higher ground.

Not land, the landscape of a towering mind: indomitable, undaunted, and undeterred by the passage of seemingly fruitless time.

Because I have no choice, I carry on.

For to resign is to die a coward’s death — that means I didn’t try.

I carry on because I’m made like that, and because I haven’t time to cry.

Adversity does its worst to me, yet I’m at my best.

And I’m blessed because I passed the test of life.

Oh yes! I must confess sometimes I stress, and still I carry on.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Sean "Sharif" Neal is a writer incarcerated in California.