When My Stories Collide with the South

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There are many fanciful stories about my childhood I tell with a glimmer in my eye.

My yurt being repossessed and my father passing out LSD at the airport are two that have gotten a lot of light hearted repetition over the years (yes, told in my video).

Yet something about receiving a tour of the 9th ward today, where hurricane Katrina’s devastation is still palpable 12 years later…

And hearing about some of the factors that keep New Orleans at the highest incarceration rate of any city in Louisiana, with the highest incarceration rate of any state in the USA, with the highest incarceration rate of any country…

Well, it started to reframe a few of my stories.

In a lot of ways, I’ve always felt like a product of social systems at their finest. We had tremendous help with housing and food and education growing up when my single family needed it most.

Being here—I couldn’t help but wonder what my life might have looked like had I lived where the systems are all so broken.

Or if I had been born with another color of skin?

Would I have been just as resilient?
Would I have landed so well?

It is great to acknowledge what choices we made that lead us to where we are at. I whole-heartedly believe that.

But today I felt led to acknowledge all the choices other people made that got me to where I am as well.

Choices to build systems that supported my single mom so well. Choices that got us day care while she went to college, housing vouchers when we couldn’t afford our full rent, education that was pretty great and paid for in full.

I know it’s complicated. And messy. Poverty and justice and race.

I have no political statement about it today. Or at all.

Only gratitude.

Today has been a reminder of the power of having people and networks around that support you. That care.

And a reminder of how much that is missing for so many.

It is an invitation for me to be more of that in the world. To listen. To ask hard questions. To care.

I truly have been so marvelously blessed.

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