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Over the weekend, three handsome brown boys sat on the porch with their one girl cousin. They were brown, not a light brown, but shades of deep chocolate browns. While I called them boys they are grown men in their early to mid twenties. They are boys to me.

They are connected to Bae. She’s their aunt and cousin. They looked to her for answers about all things, eager to ask her questions and to engage. I listened to the varying conversations happening, enjoying the different cadences and tones of their voices.

One asked for a peach cobbler. I wasn’t surprised. And later, he called me Auntie Nikki. My heart stopped. I’ve never been an aunt before. And he, unknowingly, used my childhood nickname. He made me feel like a grown up and a kid all at the same time.

They talked about the protests. They received reminders to be safe out there in the streets. They were encouraged to stay around family. Stay around people that look like you and love you.

Monday, I woke up feeling the weight of being black. Social media punched me in the face. The news punched me in the face. My boss wanted to check in. Sucker punch. The founders of my company. The VP’s. The Directors.

There’s no getting away from it.

Then the mental image of these brown boys sitting on the porch filled my head and I broke.

I broke and I don’t know how to put myself back together again.

Reading time: 1 min

I’m knee deep in wedding planning. We booked the venue the same week my wedding dress arrived. It’s not THE dress thanks to an error with the store, but I digress…

While working on the guest list, I had to really think about who I wanted around me on our special day. Bae and I both have a lot of family, and we know that our marriage won’t please them all, so we left most of them off the guest list. Even if they all approved, inviting them all would at least triple our guest list. Since we’re not those people that have parents to pay for our wedding, that’s a strong no.

Reading time: 2 min

This morning I ran 2.23 miles in support of Ahmaud Arbery. Today would’ve been his birthday.

I came home from my run, showered, sat at my desk, and prepared to work. Then this wave of grief hit me. Someone was murdered while out running. I just finished running, and I live to write about it.

Reading time: 1 min

Lei Bleu made quick work of the walk from the metro to the center where she’d be doing her community service. She very aware of herself, her expensive designer sneakers, and her understated, but overpriced jewelry. This was the first time her expensive taste made her feel uncomfortable. The center was in an area she frequently avoided because she didn’t want to make herself a target.

She opened the door with apprehension, in search of someone in charge. She found Sarah Johnson with a clipboard in her hand and thick cat eyeglasses on her face. 

Reading time: 5 min

I connected with a woman that called herself the Flying Mermaid during the days when Myspace was the social platform. She had life experience, and she drew a crowd with her ability to weave a tale. We interacted a lot, and our lives because further intertwined when she visited and stayed with me for a bit. I thought of her as a second mother. The irony is that she and my mother were born a few days apart.

Emily, also known as the Flying Mermaid, is a free spirit. She moves throughout the world in a way I would never consider—her movements encouraged by the privileges I didn’t inherit. For me, it’s like seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

Reading time: 1 min
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