Where to Start?

From my standpoint, I had the best childhood. Big, fluffy dogs who licked me until I couldn’t take it anymore. (Midnight, Razzy, and Rajah…. of course I named them) A dad who worked and provided more than we needed. A mom who knew just what I needed to hear and exactly when to say it. My sister who will forever be my sidekick and best friend. Both sets of grandparents lived within a ten minute drive and we had oodles and oodles of family gatherings at the river for picnics, at the farm to feed the horses and check on the tobacco hanging up to cure, over the mountains in North Carolina to go to Cherokee territory and see where we all came from, countless memories. My maternal grandfather, G-daddy, had leather skin and I never met her, but he swore his great-grandmother was a Cherokee Indian. I believed him.

We weren’t without our typical familial hurdles though. I was an accident which kickstarted my father and mother. My mother tells me a story every once in a while, something like this: “I was cleaning the kitchen in white reeboks and a romper ( a romper is that weird little strapless gown/tube of cloth that looks like shag carpet your ninety year old grandmother might wear if she didn’t have a robe) when I got a craving for pickles (shocker) and thought I might be pregnant, pees on the test, it’s positive, cue stress and adrenaline, then she walks downstairs to talk to my father. She walked down to the first floor of their apartment where he was finishing up his bookie duties. I guess you’d call that his side hustle. There were poster boards everywhere with lines of this game and spreads of another. He was stationed at his office desk, a popup card table with some cinderblocks, when he turned around and she caught his attention. She said, “Robert we’re gonna have to do better”. And boy did they.

I know I am not alone in my struggle. That is why I write. That is why I started this blog. I hope to touch on some of the things that affect you and your struggle as well. Most of what you just read is gone. Only memories. I struggle daily with that. And if I’m completely honest, I would not be here today if I didn’t have them to lean on and to guide me. I want to share those stories and how they have carried me through my journey to lead me where I need and want to be.

– AL

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