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My life as a volunteer.

All around the city you see people every day who don’t have that, so I wanted to put it all back into perspective for my own sense of wholeness and to remind myself that I did have a lot to be thankful for regardless of my struggle. So I went to volunteer at a homeless shelter.

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When I first moved to NYC, I was so defeated.  I spent all my little money incredibly fast and nobody would hire me.  I was crashing with a friend from boarding school until I found a job, but the thing they don’t tell you about moving to a big city with your college degree in tow is some degrees are good for landing a job immediately (even entry level is still a paycheck), some degrees are good for internships while you wait tables to pay the bills, and some degrees are only good for sending you back to school for your masters where hopefully you will also gain some kind of experience in your field.  There’s nothing you can do in your field with an anthropology degree or an economics degree unless you have already gained some magically elusive experience in that field already.  

I worked my way through college, but I worked retail because the schedule was flexible and it paid a lot (retail management is a really nice paycheck, especially in a lucrative chain).  You can’t get a retail management job in NYC unless you have “New York Experience” which I most certainly didn’t have coming up here from South Carolina.  I took a job as a cashier in a Bed Bath & Beyond with extremely high turnover because I would be promoted faster and catch some “New York Experience” as a manager.  Until I got that experience, I was trying to survive in NYC making $9 an hour at a part-time job.  When I did find an apartment, it was an overpriced, newly (but shoddily) renovated building way out in Bushwick where the first floor residents were selling crack all day.  I was pretty much living on Top Ramen and lunchmeat, begging for extra shifts at work, and trying to keep it together.

But I had a roof.  And I had a job.  And I was paying my bills.  And I could eat.  All around the city you see people every day who don’t have that, so I wanted to put it all back into perspective for my own sense of wholeness and to remind myself that I did have a lot to be thankful for regardless of my struggle.  So I went to volunteer at a homeless shelter.  

I don’t talk about volunteering a lot, but when I do, I’m never shy about what I feel is the selfish aspect of it.  The general feeling toward people who give up their time for strangers is that it’s a selfless act of extremely giving people who want to make the world a better place, and that’s true and warm and fuzzy and all that, but for me (and most of the volunteers I know) you do actually feel better.  It’s not just that you are helping another person, because I would hope that everyone feels a little bounce in their step if they made someone else’s day easier, but at a place like a homeless shelter, you’re also thankful that it’s not you who needs the help.  I wanted to stop feeling sorry for myself living above a crack house and eating ramen every night, so I went to volunteer with homeless people to help make their lives easier.  While I was there, one of the administrators told me I might be interested in a battered women’s shelter organized by a Catholic church that was looking for more volunteers to help some of the women with job interview skills.

My first day there, I barely met any of the women.  They didn’t just need volunteers to help the ladies get back on their feet.  They needed extra people for everything from meal prep to laundry and I spent most of my first shifts on housekeeping duties, but what I noticed most were the kids of these women.  The goal of the program was to not only provide a safe space for victims (and their children if they had them) but to also get them back on their feet as quickly as possible.  That means helping them find jobs and housing away from the abusive situations where they’d previously been living.  

Everything was focused on the women, but there was no nursery.  There was no babysitting system in place for the women who had job interviews or appointments with the housing authority.  The kids were just as stressed out as their moms and there was nothing really there to alleviate that stress.  I was talking about it with another volunteer and I suggested we start a little babysitting club between the two of us, nothing official, just a little signup sheet on the front messageboard with the times we were there and off our regular duties so the moms wouldn’t have to depend on each other for looking after their kids all the time.  We got other volunteers in on our club and then there was always someone to watch the kids.

I did get promoted at Bed Bath & Beyond to full time, then management, and I was also working another part-time job, so I wasn’t around to volunteer as much as I wanted to be.  Still, I had planted that little seed and I kept babysitting off and on for the next few years until I got hired by and then fired from Uniqlo and found myself jobless and pounding the pavement again looking for work.  This time, I didn’t go back to work.  I’d started making decent money writing and arranging marching band music (which I’d been doing since junior high), and even though it wasn’t quite enough to cover my bills, I could make ends meet with odd jobs like catering and tutoring.  I wrote my music, and I went to volunteer more.  

By this time, I’d seen a lot of women & children come and go, and while I babysat, I usually tried to find out what the kids were up to in school so I could help them with their homework or give them little assignments.  Some of the kids would come back to see me even after mom had moved out because it’s not the best neighborhood and they felt safe there.  Plus, we had snacks and I’d help them with their homework.  Our little babysitting sign-up sheet slowly turned into an afterschool program that I was responsible for and I had to round up volunteers and make schedules for us so we weren’t overstaffed on some afternoons and then no coverage on others.  In the actual shelter, the number of kids staying with us at any one time was never more than 11 or 12, but we’d have like 30 or 40 of them dropping in after school, and sometimes during the summer we’d have a full house all day long while the parents were working.  We eventually got funding from the city with regular visits and guidelines and I have no experience in community building or youth organizations, but I saw a need, and I was just trying to fill it.  And, selfishly, it felt good.  

I don’t know if I’ll ever have kids.  I’m a difficult person to be in a relationship with and I will probably never make enough money to adopt as a single parent, but I’ve had hundreds of kids over the past eight years, and some of them become like family.  

There was a woman who came to us in my earliest days who was running from her boyfriend / pimp.  Her little boy had seen drug use, men coming in and out, and a shooting, but he was so smart and I focused so much energy to get that kid out of that neighborhood.  When he writes me emails now, they come from a Penn State address because he’s in his second year there.  He’s the reason we have a slush fund to pay for AP exams and college application fees.  

I got a call from the center in the middle of the night a few years ago because there was a girl asking for me and she didn’t want to talk to anyone else.  She and her mom had had a very brief stay with us a couple of years earlier, and  I was the only name she could remember because I was the loud gay Black man in this Catholic environment.  She ran to the shelter when her mom’s new boyfriend raped her since that was one of the few places she’d ever felt safe.  She’ll be a high school senior this year and she wants to be a nurse, and even though there was nothing we could’ve done to prevent that assault, it was my first time coming face to face with a rape victim and I thought about the other girls that we could possibly help if they had more information.  Those were the first seeds of our classes on consent and assault that we do twice a year now.  

We had an obviously gay boy for awhile who was best friends with all the girls and bullied by the other boys because he liked dolls and glitter.  There’s a fine line you have to walk as a gay mentor because so much of the world still sees you as a pervert or a child molester.  You go through so many risk management scenarios in your head every day especially when one of your kids is a little gay boy who reminds you of yourself.  You don’t want to be blamed for “turning him gay” but you also remember what it would have meant to you when you were younger if you’d had any sort of gay role model to talk to so you don’t want to be too distant.  He and his mom left before I really bonded with him there, but he still emails me.  He likes to write science fiction and he sends me his stories to critique.  I hate sci-fi with a passion but you know, just trynna foster that creative spark in another little nerdy gay kid and at least give him feedback from a storytelling perspective.  After the shooting at Pulse last year, I wanted to give a Sunday School lesson on love and tolerance, and I remembered the bullies picking on him within the supposedly loving walls of a Catholic Church.  I’ve been an atheist for about fifteen years now, but I grew up steeped in the Word and I wanted to teach these kids that being a Christian is about loving your neighbor, not punishing your neighbor.  

I don’t doubt that I could have volunteered as a laundry helper or dishwasher or administrator with the women’s program indefinitely.  Being a gay atheist really has nothing to do with changing bedsheets so it’s not really an issue.  In the back of mind though I started to realize that as the kids’ program got larger and larger, I wouldn’t be able to be the head of it forever.  A gay atheist as the front of an organization for children at a Catholic Church – it just wasn’t feasible.  I held an easy truce with most of the church leadership for a long time.  I won’t turn the kids into heathens as long as you don’t proselytize to me.  Now my time has run out and they asked me not to come back.  

Earlier this year they replaced me as the overall manager with someone who “had more experience” and was also a Catholic heterosexual, so I knew this was coming already.  I pretty much just refused to think about it because I’ve sort of built my whole life around this now.  At my last two jobs, I structured my schedule in such a way that I could be at the church when I was most needed.  I’ve turned down fairly lucrative positions because I knew they would come with the kind of stress and responsibility that would take me away from what I really found valuable, which was spending that time with my kids.  Writing gives me the extra income I need so that I don’t have to be chained to a desk working 50 hour weeks and I can go spend time with my kids instead.  I didn’t really want to think about what I’d do when they finally gave me the boot.  To be fair, they didn’t throw me out.  They asked that I “take a less active role with the children” and consider focusing my “time on duties that help the program run smoothly.”  Church leadership has changed so much over the past 18 months and I don’t really have the kind of support I used to have.  I made every argument I could about tolerance and fostering a younger generation that was open-minded enough to coexist with anybody but their minds were pretty made up.  

So I’ve been processing.  Trying to figure out what’s next.  I never set out to work with kids and never really had any interest until it happened.  Maybe I should go back to school and get a degree in education.  I don’t really want to volunteer with another church, even one that accepts gays, because I’m still an atheist and I don’t need that possible complication to arise.  I could find another kids’ program to volunteer with – there’s always some organization in need here.  I have options and I’ll decide on the best one, but it’s rough and it feels like a huge loss.  The biggest, most stable part of my life in this city isn’t there anymore.  Now I have to find a new purpose and it’s a little overwhelming.

I’m fine though.  I’m fine now anyway.  I was definitely not fine for most of the week.  I don’t have a future there anymore, but I still feel like I accomplished something and that’s comforting.  You can’t save every kid, but thinking about the ones I did help save gives me comfort.  Thinking about all the kids who’ll be helped by the program I started and nurtured gives me even more.

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Happy Birthday Mommy!

I baked a little something for you!

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Whew!

It’s been a YEAR and, to be honest, I’m not doing that well, so I just wanted to check in real quick and get some things off my spirit.

First of all, let’s get the most important stuff out of the way immediately:

Jackée is gonna be on Days of Our Lives!

I don’t know who she’s gonna play or what the character will be like, but clearly I will be tuning in…because I’ve been watching that doggone show since birth because of you.

Also: Don’t actually go to her Twitter. You too High Holy Christian for all the mess she puts on the internet.

Anyway, yeah…this year has been rough. I got my dream job in March (yay!) but then I lost it a week later because the office closed due to the pandemic and I got let go — last hired, first fired. The first day on the job I actually cried on the way home because I’d been searching for that perfect career move for years and I thought I finally found it. So, that was a huge disappointment that knocked me on my butt for awhile.

Then Travis and I stopped speaking. I had been building up this resentment toward him and his boyfriend because all of the things we used to do, he was doing with his new boyfriend instead, and I didn’t have anybody to hang out with anymore. We were on lockdown so I couldn’t go anywhere. We’re best friends who live together, which was great until the boyfriend moved in and I didn’t have my best friend to spend quarantine with anymore. They’ve since broken up, but the cracks in our friendship are still there — I resent him for ignoring me and he resents me for not trying harder to accept his boyfriend. We’re fine now (great, actually) but it’s right under the surface if we get upset about something unrelated.

And our third roommate is…difficult. In the best of times he’s not the ideal roommate because he’s LOUD and oblivious to other people’s needs. He’s absolutely the type of person who should be living alone, but since the pandemic, it’s ten times worse because he’s an actor and a comedian who no longer has a stage to perform on, so his computer is his stage. All day every day is just the sound of his voice, from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep, hanging out with his friends videochatting, yelling and doing voices.

I wear headphones all day now and just count down the days until the lease is up because I can’t wait to get out of this apartment and away from him.

Speaking of away from him, I thought I found an outlet this summer. I met guy (we’ll call him John since other people can read this)…and we had chemistry! I don’t trust my feelings around men anymore. I’ve never developed deep feelings for a man who returned those feelings. It’s just a string of unrequited love, so if I feel a spark, I try to stamp it out to save myself another disappointment. But this was different because he pursued me. I let John make all the first moves to be sure I wasn’t building a fake relationship in my head like I usually do. He told me I was beautiful every day, he kissed me first, he came on to me first, he suggested we take a trip together, he suggested we move in together. I heard all the right things, so I let myself fall for this man. I was almost looking forward to the inevitable Winter COVID Lockdown because I could go hang out at his apartment and get away from mine. We were gonna cook and watch the snow. I was gonna spend a week or so at his apartment here and there to make sure we could live together in preparation for a move next year. He wanted to get two dogs.

Just before Halloween, John’s energy was off. I’d had a pumpkin carving party and our dynamic was different. He wasn’t paying much attention to me — which is fine because all of my friends are great and they all liked him — but the lack of affection was odd. So I brought it up a few days later and he said we should go back to being “just friends” because it bothered him that people thought we were, and asked him about whether we were, in a serious relationship. John had said from the beginning he didn’t want to be in a serious relationship, and I was totally fine with that. I told him he could date whoever he wanted, but he said he didn’t want to date anyone. I told him he could have sex with whoever he wanted, but he said he wasn’t interested in sex. He just wanted to make new friends and work on himself, but we had this great connection that he was really into. I was like, “okay…if that’s what you want…”, but I told him people would assume we were in a serious relationship if we kept acting like we were in front of everyone. He said he was fine with that — let them think what they want.

He wasn’t actually fine with that, so he decided we should pump the breaks.

And the next week John fucked my friend that I had introduced him to, the friend that he’d been sitting next to at my party instead of talking to me.

Here’s the thing Mommy…my self-esteem is shot and my abandonment issues are through the roof, and it goes back to that moment when you found out I liked other boys and our relationship changed forever. You were my best friend growing up. I felt awkward around the other kids, I felt awkward around my dad, I felt awkward around my cousins, but you made me feel normal. If I wanted to watch Days Our Lives and talk about the war in Kuwait, you let me. You took me everywhere and taught me so much about life. You told me I was the most important thing in the world to you. And then my teacher told you I was gay and you told me I was going to Hell. And you told me that regularly for the next ten years. I told you I was going to marry a man and have a happy family and you told me I was gonna get AIDS and die alone.

I let you make me feel bad about myself for years. Even after I moved all the way up the East Coast to NYC, I still felt like I had to respect you, even while you were tearing me down. When you would end every conversation wanting to pray with me for God to take away my homosexual demons, I let you, because you’re Mommy and I didn’t want to lose Mommy. When I finally got fed up and decided “this is the last time, this is the last conversation,” it was your birthday 9 years ago. I never told you why, but I picked that day because we had a fun conversation. I called you to wish you Happy Birthday and you gave me all the latest gossip on the family like you always did. We talked about random stuff, laughed a lot (your laugh is so ridiculous and I miss it more than anything), and then I jokingly asked you what I should buy you for your birthday — jokingly, because we both knew I had no money and I wouldn’t be getting you anything at all. You replied that you didn’t want anything; all you wanted was for me to give up my homosexual demons and come back to the Lord.

Mommy we had talked for an hour, a delightful conversation about everything, and in that last sentence, you threw me in the trash again. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had taken it since I was 12 years old and I just reached my limit. I kept the conversation light and made some kind of joke to get us back on track, but in my heart I knew I would never speak to you again until you made a turnaround. I wanted that to be the last conversation we had in case it was the last conversation we had, so that our last conversation would be full of good memories for you. I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth, but I wanted you to be left with lightness and joy. I swallowed my feelings, told you I loved you, and hung up for the last time, because you died later that year.

And now I’m stuck. I still feel so much guilt for being fed up. I missed you then and I miss you now and I feel like if I hadn’t stopped speaking to you, you wouldn’t have died, and we could’ve eventually found our way back to each other. I keep letting people treat me badly because if I stand up for myself, they’ll go away and I’ll never see them again. If I stand up for myself, I’ll be alone, and I would rather be with someone and feel bad some of the time than be alone and feel bad all of the time because I don’t have that someone anymore.

I realized that about myself a few months ago, so that’s the first step. And I’ve tried to stand up for myself more as of late.

Last week, a friend (we’ll call him Brian) asked me out to dinner. I met Brian just before the pandemic and he’s such a sweetheart. We had an instant bond and I was looking forward to getting to know him, but COVID kinda put a halt to that. NYC bounced back this summer, and Brian lives in the neighborhood, so I invited him into our little bubble for a couple of parties and brunches. We already had some mutual friends, but he also took quickly to John and to Travis, so he was a good addition to my social circle.

At dinner, Brian told me that he had fucked John. I introduced the two of them. I invited them both to brunch and to parties. The week after John said we should just be friends, he was out to dinner with Brian and fucking afterward.

All of John’s flings are hot and all of the guys he would show me on social media that he liked, fucked, or planned to meet up with looked more like Brian than me. I was insecure about being involved with a guy who looks like John because gay NYC is vicious and I could imagine the whispers of “wow John is way too hot for that guy” because I’ve heard people I know say it about other couples. John knew this. John knew about all of the guys I was into who liked Travis — the taller, hotter best friend — instead of me. John knew about all the times I’d been out with my Friends Who Lift and how some random guy would make me feel like trash because I don’t look like them. He knew all of that and still fucked my hot friend the week after he broke up with me. All of the men in the city, all of the men right there in Hell’s Kitchen where he lives, all of the men who hit him up on Grindr, and he fucked the one that would obviously hurt me the most.

But I cut them both off! Obviously I’ll never speak to John again because that kind of betrayal — when someone knows your insecurities and disregards them anyway– is like a knife to the heart, but my first reaction when Brian told me what he did was to let it go, because this is gay NYC and most of them do have fewer boundaries and hangups around sex than I do. My boundaries aren’t invalid just because other people don’t share them and I did what I needed to do for my mental health. I don’t have to prioritize a relationship that’s damaging to my mental health. I don’t have to swallow my feelings to make someone else feel more comfortable with their personal failures or mistreatment of me.

So I’m proud of myself for standing my ground, but it’s still the holidays, and I’m still lonely. I miss John every day. I miss what we could have been doing this holiday season, all the winter plans we made. When I was younger, I’d assumed I’d have a family by now to make Christmas traditions with. Instead, I just watch the little family I’ve built in NYC — my circle of friends — latching on to their own families, and I just feel rudderless and a little rejected. Abandonment issues are complex.

This is a lot longer than I meant it be. I hadn’t planned to tell you about the “gay stuff” because I know it makes you uncomfortable. I still haven’t finished reading the email you wrote me, but I read a little more of it each year until I start crying again. I’ve gotten to the part where you’ve come to terms with my attraction to men, so I think you would be okay hearing about my relationship/friendship problems at this point.**

And if not, well here’s a cake to sweeten it up a little!

I do love to bake — thanks for passing that on to me — but I don’t decorate anything….thanks for passing that on to me too. I decided to bake a cake and actually try to decorate it for once, and the end result isn’t half bad! True, I did try to make a Red & Hunter Green Christmas themed cake and I guess my dye was the wrong kind so it’s a Pink & Pale Green Easter themed cake instead, but it tastes good. You would especially like it because it’s not super sweet and I used buttermilk instead of regular milk.

So Happy Birthday! I feel a little lighter after getting some of that off my chest. Maybe this will be a thing and I’ll bake you a little something every year and give you an update about how I’m doing. Next year’s update will be much better than this year’s, I’m sure of it.

If nothing else, I’ll be much better at cake decorating anyway.

Love you Mommy!

(**a note for y’all who don’t know: When my mom died, I went through her emails to compile some information for my dad and I found an email that she had written to me a few weeks before she died. She sent it to an address I no longer use so I didn’t get to read it before she died. The first line says “I’m sorry…” and it took me about 7 years to get farther than that. I still haven’t finished reading it because I know she died thinking I ignored her email and I’m not strong enough to handle it yet.)

 

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Thank a librarian.

Libraries are community centers and librarians keep them going!

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I spent a lot of time at the library as a child because I didn’t have any friends.

Just kidding! I had lots of friends and was totes popular, but I was basically an only child since my older sister was off to college before I was even forming memories. She taught me how to read, my parents encouraged it, and since they both worked, books were an easy way for me to entertain myself.

Parenting Life Hack: If your kids have a quiet hobby, you spend less money on Excedrin for migraines.

My hometown had about 400 people and only 17 of them could read, so we didn’t have a library, but just across the river in the bustling metropolis next door where 9,000 people lived, there was a library staffed with nice ladies and one old gay man who basically raised me while my mom did errands. A librarian is not a babysitter and they don’t get paid to watch your kids, so please don’t just drop your kids off in front of the bookdrop and hightail it outta there. However, my parents were really relaxed about leaving me places, because they were very old and the Scary News Stories didn’t phase them. There was a higher chance of your child being abducted in the 1940s than the 1990s, yet our parents and grandparents were out all day by themselves from sunup to sundown while we were expected to be tied to our parents at all times. My folks pretty much functioned under the premise that nobody was going to take me out of a library — I would have to actually follow them, and I wasn’t stupid (and I didn’t/don’t like people).

So I spent many a Sunday afternoon in the library while my mom was running errands and my favorite librarian, Ms. Greer, would actually entertain me….by putting me to work. Had I known I was doing her job for her, I would’ve asked for a cut of her paycheck, but 3rd Grade Me was very excited to ink the inside back cover of all the new books with the fancy library stamp. I felt super important being trusted with the task of taking the returns and putting them in their proper spot on the shelf (thanks, Dewey Decimal training!). She had me take Lemon Pledge and wipe down the study corrals and I did it with gusto.

When my mom asked me to pick my socks up off the floor, it felt like the end of my life, so I guess she wasn’t asking me nicely the way Ms. Greer did.

I spent more time in the library growing up than any other building that wasn’t home or school, so when I saw this story about some Australian librarians checking on their senior citizens during COVID, I wanted to tell y’all about it because librarians are truly underappreciated.

When Melbourne’s Yarra Plenty regional libraries first went into lockdown in March, shut the doors and left the remaining unborrowed books on their shelves, staff were sent home with a phone.

“One of the hardest things about lockdown was people being separated from their community,” said Lisa Dempster, Yarra Plenty’s executive manager of public participation.

“The library is often a hub for the community, and we identified the most vulnerable cohort of our community would be the elderly.”

So the library staff pulled from their database the phone number of every library member over the age of 70 – a total of 8,000 records.

Then the librarians started calling those members. All of them.

(cont. The Guardian)

I lived next door to a little old lady 6 or 7 years ago and I would do errands for her and do her grocery shopping and sit with her a couple of times a week.  After I moved, I used to take her to church once a month up until last year. Her daughter moved in with her and thought it was “weird” that a former neighbor would still check up on her, but I like her. She’s like a Bonus Grandma and her kids weren’t checking on her. She spent most of her days alone in her apartment, and since she was right next door, I could go over there and sit on her couch and do what I would normally do on my own couch — watch TV and play on the internet or crochet. Her daughter is/was convinced I was just spending time with her because I wanted to get into her will. It just didn’t occur to her that I would want to look after my neighbor or look after a lonely old lady.

Not to generalize, but Western cultures don’t care for our elders the way other cultures do and we don’t look out for our neighbors the way other cultures do. We don’t build community the way other cultures do. Librarians do that! Libraries are community centers and librarians keep them going! Librarians get to know the people in their community, like the nerdy little kid who sits and reads quietly on Sundays while mom is at the beauty supply store. Librarians care about that community, like these senior citizens getting calls from their local library to make sure their faring well during a pandemic. Think about adding libraries to the list of causes you look for when choosing a politician to champion. They’re always under attack and they need our help to keep serving communities quietly and constantly without any gratitude.

I did thank Ms. Greer though. Before I went off to boarding school I bought her a nice card and sent it to the library.

 

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What would Dianne do?

Tomorrow, I’ll try to press Reset (for the millionth time this summer!) but today we finna eat good and pretend I don’t have any problems. If y’all got some good gossip, feel free to drop it in my inbox. Dianne would.

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Seven years ago today I was in my hometown for my mom’s funeral. It’s not really “a thing” for me anymore and I usually just commemorate the day by reading funny things I’ve written about her.

Everything just feels worse when you’re already down though. Like, I lost my phone Sunday. It felt like the end of the world. I’ve lost my phone in the past, and it just felt like an annoying inconvenience. Last year around this time, I breezed through just fine. This year, I wish she could help me laugh at some of my misfortunes and then cook for me.

My mom didn’t cook as often as some moms did because she worked and she ran a business and I had so many extra-curriculars to be shuttled to and from. Plus, my parents were both really social and cooking dinner wasn’t super high on the list of priorities. When she *did* cook though, we had a ball in the kitchen. Sometimes my dad would be sitting at the bar working on something of his or helping to shuck corn or shell peas. I would generally be in the way between picking the music. And my mom would be in charge of directing the topics of gossip, because both of them were messy and lived for drama.

So. Given my current emotional state, what would Dianne do for me?

First, she’d tell me to pray, and I’d let that go in one ear and right out the other. Then she’d ask me what I wanted to eat. I can’t fry chicken like she could and my salmon croquettes never come out right, but there’s a crock pot in the kitchen, so I just made some BBQ sauce and threw some chicken in it. Also, the grocery store by me has Lipton, so I bought some bags and some sugar, and we finna have sweet tea. I haven’t made cornbread from scratch in years, but I went over the recipe in my head and I think I still got it. I bought me some early peas and some sweet potatoes, and I’m bout to cook like my mama.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to press Reset (for the millionth time this summer!) but today we finna eat good and pretend I don’t have any problems. If y’all got some good gossip, feel free to drop it in my inbox. Dianne would.

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