Today, I am grateful to be celebrating the 49th time my date of birth has come around.
This one, and I am sure the one following it, are a bit special. This one is special because I realize how I’ve beat the odds to get here. Little gay brown boys, who spent their formative years in Ward 9 of Washington, DC (and let’s be honest – Prince George’s County inside the Capital Beltway IS Ward 9) during the HIV and Crack Pandemics have to work hard to beat the odds.
I know how blessed I am to have made it out, when so many of my contemporaries did not. So many of them fell prey to disease and addiction, and I know that, with one misguided decision or attending the wrong party or dating the wrong person, I would not be here writing this.
I know how lucky I was to have parents who picked me and, while they didn’t always have the best parenting skills, made sure that I was taken care of, supported, and loved. I know it couldn’t have been easy raising a brown boy in a society where, less than 20 years earlier, another brown boy was lynched using an electric fan and tossed into the Tallahatchie River, like yesterday’s trash, based on a lie.
I know how lucky I was to have been given up for adoption by the woman who carried me to term. She could have made any number of decisions, and it would have been HER decision, to make sure the little batch of bubbling brown sugar would make it to completion. I honor her, on this day and every day, because she made the most selfless choice I believe any woman could make – to give up her baby.
But most importantly, I look back over my journey and realize, I still have many more roads to transverse before I can lay down and sleep. I know that there is only one way I’ve made it – God’s grace and mercy, followed closely by love and support from my village: my husband, siblings, children, extended relatives, and Poppins.
Thank you everyone for celebrating this day with me. Te best is yet to come.