Thought Catalog on five steps to embracing your single self

A friend of mine kept sharing well-written blogs from Thought Catalog last year, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I noticed this list in January and it made me smile. I hope it’s useful for you, too:

..Single means you have no significant other, and by significant, I mean someone not genetically related to you for whom you’d walk on newborn babies or hot coals or dissolving wads of cash to save him/her from even an ounce of pain. The person you sleep with, even regularly, does not count. He or she does not cuddle under blankets with you pre-midnight and put up with your ice cold, winter-crusted feet to watch bad reality television. Your 3 A.M. “hangout” buddy doesn’t feed your cat when you’re out of town, or buy fabric softener in your favorite scent so you smell heaven when you’re dreaming. Single means you’re alone at the end of the day, both literally and figuratively speaking. But it’s ok. Here’s how to enjoy it.

 
1. Continue to sleep with your special friend
That is, however, only if he/she doesn’t make you feel like crap. But if you enjoy the company of a late-night someone providing you pleasure on a platter like a midnight gourmet cheese tray, stick with it. Enjoy it. Recognize it for what it is, and don’t try to turn that person into your boyfriend or girlfriend. If you two (or three…kinky!) have never left the bedroom, you probably never will. If you can’t accept this, then stop fooling yourself, or stop seeing this person.

 

2. Be all that you can be
No seriously, this is not just the Army’s vague mantra. We all know that when you’re in a relationship, you get round and happy from all the eating and midnight sex games involving whipped cream and chocolate and the love-for-one-another-through-thick-and-thin-emphasis-on-thick and the comfort and security of lurrrrve. So if you’ve always wanted to run a marathon or speak a new language or learn how to cook or sew or grow plants or dance the damn jig, now is the time to acquire new skills. Once you have a significant other, they suck the life out of your life in every area except love. (Just kidding! Kind of).

 

You can read the rest of it here. When is the world supposed to end this year? May? I might need to get on this list, then. Joking! Sorta.

Study: Even educated poor people hate marriage

I spend a lot of time thinking about the way I learned what relationships were meant to be and look like as a teenager. That’s the kind of craziness that unravels when you’re working on a book about single people.

What I always come back to is that I was raised in a universe that valued partnership as a survival mechanism and not this nice, fluffy thing that gets packaged in our culture as the myth of the best relationship in the universe when people get married. Ideally, in the best case scenario, two people who love themselves and are at least striving to be as healthy as they can be emotionally and probably physically, find in each other a partner with which to journey through life.

But if you are one of those “socially disadvantaged” types — my least favorite euphemism growing up as a poor person — then the presumption reinforced by studies, reports and media is that you are fundamentally incapable of reaching this goal. There is a health/emotional wellness factor that is missing from poor people, I guess, that means that you cannot even learn it, even when you take out thousands of dollars in student loans trying to get an education to become less socially disadvantaged. This is from a story out of Cornell University :

For those with few social advantages, college is a prime pathway to financial stability, but it also unexpectedly lowers their odds of ever marrying, according to an analysis by Cornell sociologist Kelly Musick in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family (74:1).
The findings suggest that social and cultural factors, not just income, are central to marriage decisions. Men and women from the least advantaged backgrounds who attend college appear to be caught between social worlds — reluctant to “marry down” to partners with less education and unable to “marry up” to those from more privileged upbringings. Lower marriage chances appear to stem from men’s and women’s mismatched social origins and educational attainment — a phenomenon Musick and co-authors refer to as “marriage market mismatch.”
“College students are becoming more diverse in their social backgrounds, but they nonetheless remain a socio-economically select group — particularly at elite universities like Cornell,” said Musick, associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology. “It may be difficult for students from less privileged backgrounds to navigate social relationships on campus, and these difficulties may affect what students ultimately gain from the college experience.”

I don’t know what to make of studies like this. On one hand, they offend me, because I presume that they are written by people who have never really known poverty or experienced it. The clinically distant purview from which sociologists and researchers regard people who are making monumentally difficult decisions about the structures of their families irks me — but it’s still important that the research is being done.

On the ground level, though, I can say that I never learned how to date in the ‘hood. Dating = going steady. Going steady meant being possessed by one guy until he tired of me, or I tired of him, the end. Poverty gives humans short attention spans. If there’s no food in the fridge and you’re not sure when or if money’s coming in for bills or whether the front door will open when you try to turn the lock, the very last thing on your mind is how to maintain a relationship with someone who might be in the very same predicament that you’re in. And I wouldn’t have even known the first thing to say to a man who presented himself as middle class.

Beyond that, navigating the college experience as a single woman from a poor neighborhood was a complete head trip. Actually, aside from a horrid Introduction to Psychology class, my biggest challenge as an undergraduate was navigating romantic relationships. The male to female ratio then was 60/40, women to men. The bulk of the men on campus wanted to date women who were not black, and usually, they preferred women from other races who were willing to be their sponsors. The marriage market was in favor of a small group of men of color and the majority of my wealthy white classmates. I say all that to underscore how depressing reading statistical evidence for that conundrum is:

For the study, Musick and sociologists at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) estimated the propensity of men’s and women’s college attendance based on family income, parental education and other indicators of social background and early academic achievement. They then grouped their subjects into social strata based on these propensity scores and compared marriage chances of college- and non-college-goers within each stratum. Estimates were based on a sample of about 3,200 Americans from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, followed from adolescence into adulthood.

They found that college attendance negatively affected marriage chances for the least advantaged individuals — lessening men’s and women’s odds by 38 percent and 22 percent, respectively. By comparison, among those in the highest social stratum, men who attend college increase their marrying chances by 31 percent and women by 8 percent.

So, in other words, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In life and in love. Sometimes, I wish statistics were a little less damning.

Cee Lo on the dreaded Friend Zone

Last year, I got to see Cee Lo perform at Austin City Limits before the legendary angel Stevie Wonder made us all sing along to all of his greatest hits.

Before Cee Lo Green was a lady killer or whatever he’s calling himself now that he’s a multimedia mogul, I adored his voice. It was a treat to see him blow up on his own, first with Gnarls Barkley and later with his fantastic song, “F*ck You.”

About a month ago, I was thinking about my longstanding crush on him — he told us that if he weighs 329 pounds (!) and he could move like that on stage, we didn’t have any excuse — when I noticed this piece detailing his advice about the friend zone. I’m quite familiar with the friend zone, like I think most single people are. I think the best thing about relationships, actually, is the space in which you get to know a person before you go to the next level. Every time I’ve tried to mosey my way out of the friend zone, there’s been nothing but drama:

“The friend zone. I’ve been there before, man. Well, being friends with a woman is as honest as you’ll ever be.”
Cee Lo, who divorced his wife in 2005, insisted that the “friend zone” is a good place to be, especially if you are trying to learn more about a woman.
“You can take advantage of that opportunity and get her to express herself about what her interests are, her do’s and don’ts and whether she’s involved with anyone else. That ought to really put things into perspective,” he explained.
He added that the “friend zone” is not the end of the road: “You can be completely candid as a friend so there are benefits to the friend zone and it’s not too late at all.”

Unfortunately, the piece he’s quoted in disagrees with Cee Lo and uses AskMen.com as the main source of all wisdom. Basically, it details what I’ve heard before from some people about the friend zone: Once you’re put in the friend box, you can’t ever come back from that and develop a real relationship. That doesn’t seem quite right, though. Don’t you ultimately want to date someone with all the qualities of a friend: someone you trust, respect and want to be around?

Reads for the weekend: Get your hustle on, Digital Sabbaths & Rihanna

1 in 7 new marriages are now interracial, reports GOOD Magazine. Every time I see one of these reports I keep thinking, “Black women still need to get on that, huh?”

Speaking of GOOD, I loved this piece by one of my favorite writers, Courtney Martin: Hustin’: How I Became My Own Mentor in a Freelance Economy. She is such an incredible force in the world. I want to be like her.

I wrote a review of Baratunde Thurston’s new book, “How to be Black,”  in the San Francisco Chronicle. Good book. Really funny.

This doesn’t count as a read, but if you haven’t heard Meryl Streep talk about acting & cussing a little bit on Fresh Air, you should check this out.

Maybe it’s not the evil Internets that are keeping you from connecting to people. Rebecca Rosen on the myth of a Digital Sabbath as the savior of all relationships.

I thought I should say something about Rihanna and Chris Brown but two eloquent writers summed up my thoughts best. Ta-Nehisi Coates is always on point. This post at NewBlackMan is also great.

Finally, I’m working on a book about being happily single, and have been digging in the archives of my personal journals. Here’s a great quote from Galway Kinnell that touched me way back in 1997 and still resonates:

For everything flowers

from within

of self-blessing: though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing it’s loveliness

to put a hand on the brow of flower

and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely

until it flowers again from within

of self-blessing.

The New York Times & births outside of marriage

I cannot abide people who blame the media for society’s ills. I worked as a newspaper reporter for a decade & I mostly kept my temper under control against waves of ignorant commenters, racist readers and the like. I would almost always go off on people who talked mess about the media, though. This is a disclaimer, because I am irritated by this New York Times piece about births outside of marriage. It reinforces stereotypes about black women while essentially underscoring that while “middle America” — meaning middle class white people — is starting to live more like how people of color in working class and poor communities have been living for generations now. Instead of them becoming ostracized (like in the good old days?) as they do so, they are creating ” a new normal.” The piece  reaches back to the 1965 Moynihan Report that referred to the dysfunctional, matriarchal black family (shaped so by slavery, I might add) as one that had produced “a tangle of pathology”:

It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.

Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data.
Among mothers of all ages, a majority — 59 percent in 2009 — are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women — nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30 — is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.
One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.
“Marriage has become a luxury good,” said Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

OK, so that’s all fairly innocuous. It takes a little while before we are reminded just what, exactly, is inferred by illegitimacy. Also, there is a coded mancession/masculinity-crisis swipe that I’ll let you find for yourself. Only educated men seem normal in this piece, and there aren’t that many of them. I find it interesting that the piece focuses on Lorain, Ohio, the birthplace of Toni Morrison, who I believe is a divorced single mother. This was published on her birthday, ironically.

Anyway, the piece goes on to say, women went to work, single motherhood lost its stigma and in the meantime, people stopped getting married and children happened. So, what’s my problem? The juicy stuff is here:

The recent rise in single motherhood has set off few alarms, unlike in past eras…
By the mid-1990s, such figures looked quaint: a third of Americans were born outside marriage. Congress, largely blaming welfare, imposed tough restrictions. Now the figure is 41 percent — and 53 percent for children born to women under 30, according to Child Trends, which analyzed 2009 data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Still, the issue received little attention until the publication last month of “Coming Apart,” a book by Charles Murray, a longtime critic of non-marital births.
Large racial differences remain: 73 percent of black children are born outside marriage, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites. And educational differences are growing. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends.

Almost all of the rise in nonmarital births has occurred among couples living together. While in some countries such relationships endure at rates that resemble marriages, in the United States they are more than twice as likely to dissolve than marriages. In a summary of research, Pamela Smock and Fiona Rose Greenland, both of the University of Michigan, reported that two-thirds of couples living together split up by the time their child turned 10.

I don’t argue with hard numbers, but I am annoyed at the lack of any kind of alternative family structure attempt in the analysis here. No same sex families, no single fathers, just single black moms and other ethnic groups that are too much like them. The story essentially reinforces stereotypes it seeks to disprove through reminding us — though those of us who are “illegitimate” might disagree — that pretty much anything that happens outside of marriage is bad news.  Instead of posing more questions about cultural preferences, or even mentioning Ralph Richard Banks’ book about marriage (which more delicately reinforces some of the statistical data here) this piece aims at painting a portrait of women who are content to damage themselves for the “luxury good” that is marriage and alter their children’s futures in the process.

So, there’s the obvious Beyonce anthem, of course.

Maya Dusenbery made an Anti-Valentine Playlist for Singles at Mother Jones that includes some of my favorites, including Salt n Pepa and one of my favorite singers, Kelly Clarkson. I might Adele, Keri Hilson and some other folks to this list.

Already Gone is one of my favorites. It’s not as festive as Since U Been Gone:

Aw, Rest in Peace, Don Cornelius. Check out Aretha Franklin getting her Rock Steady on:

Janet Jackson. That is all.
(I have also tried to look that cool dancing with a chair and getting it to fall down as I landed on the floor with the back and it ended badly.)

Yeah, lots of lady representation here. I don’t listen to some of the single men I used to love anymore because they’re douchebags: John Mayer, Chris Brown, are the most notable. I get Kanye West withdrawal headaches, which are augmented by listening to the radio. But I do have to confess to really loving Drake.

Do you listen to single people music? I’d be curious to hear what you’d add to this list.

Reads for the weekend: Gratitude, Love Poems & Inspiration

I had the honor of being a guest writer over at WomenWellLoved, Katina’s insightful & lovely blog. Single or Paired-off: It’s Time to Get Engaged.

To those of you who have been following the blog since December and those of you who just arrived, I am deeply grateful for your presence. There is a lot to read out in the world, so I really appreciate that you take time to read my work & thoughts. I was thinking of y’all on Valentine’s Day, when I shared the love of the guest blog with my Facebook family & Tumblr friends. It is true love to have the love of your life — for me, my writing — valued by a community, virtual & otherwise.

Before I get all choked up, here’s some good reading for the weekend:

The New York Times Room for Debate blog offers perspective on the advantages & disadvantages of living alone.

Stephanie Coontz says marriage suits educated women, contrary to popular belief.

While I was hanging out, trying out my not-very-latent comment/trolling tendencies, I noticed this related blog about the battle of the black sexes being The Media’s fault. I have a psychological tick & pet-peeve against anyone who blames The Media for any sociological phenomenon. I had forgotten how pronounced my pet peeve had become.

18 Ways to Inspire Everyone Around You — I think about these things when I’m not being a snarky, non-anonymous commenter.

& finally, a book recommendation, because the librarian in me just cannot stop: For my birthday, one of my favorite women in the world gave me this book of poems selected by Caroline Kennedy. May the sweet, enormous love in some of these lines fill you with enough passion to share — with yourself &/or with others. The book is full of greatness.

Come live with me, and be my love.

And we will all the pleasures prove,

That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,

Woods, or steepy mountain yields. ~Christopher Marlowe “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”

What is brilliance without

coordination? Guarding the infinitesimal pieces of your mind, compelling audience to

the remark that it is better to forgotten than to be

remembered too violently,

your thorns are the best part of you. ~ Marianne Moore, “Roses Only”

(Last, but never least, one of my favorite quotes in the world)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Black women & self-defense: Should I get myself a gun?

(Not actually me or my dog, Cleo.)

I spent several months turning that question around in my mind. Only at the end of it did I ask myself, “Girl, if you have heard you were intimidating before, what do you think a man is going to say when you tell him you’re packing heat?”

When I was working on this piece for Bitch Magazine, though, I realized that any would-be suitors not only can’t keep my feet warm, but they can’t protect me from the reality of the world we live in, either. That’s not a dealbreaker, in part, because I have specific reasons for wanting to have my very own weapon:

Journalists, like activists, must be proactive in the face of bleak statistics and violent events. For me, learning to handle and shoot a gun seemed the most direct way to fend off growing feelings of vulnerability. But what started out as a simple intention to earn a concealed handgun license and buy a weapon ended up as a yearlong quest that involved a few stops at the gun range, being fingerprinted by Texas authorities, and staring for months at the incomplete application on my desk.

People presume that tall black women like me are tough and sufficiently able to protect ourselves. But I wanted an additional layer of insurance for my freedom to explore, unfettered, the realms I pursued as a journalist. As my own process unfolded, I noticed that the number of stories about women shooting for recreation or buying guns for self-defense had started to multiply. Each made me think about the limits of self-protection and question what, if anything, gun ownership would mean for my work and life not just as a journalist, but as a womanist/feminist.

What’s not included in this piece — probably because I deemed it insignificant on some level — is that I have not done a lot of fist-fighting in my day. I bit a girl on the hand because she wouldn’t stop messing with me when I was in third or fourth grade (Time flies when you’re having fun!) and she had to go to the hospital. So that’s my history of self-defense. Nerd life is the new thug life, people.

Anyway, what I found fascinating about the process of earning my concealed handgun license (the paperwork is not complete yet, but I spent part of Valentine’s Day wrangling some of it) was that support for my right to carry a weapon if I chose came almost exclusively from Southern white men, who, as a Northern-raised black woman, I have always feared the most. To me, the heart of what I wanted to express was here:

For women, part of the tension around this topic is that female gun owners are marginalized in a feminist culture that promotes unarmed resistance and “clean” fighting techniques. These send the message that as long as a woman does not have a lethal means of protecting herself, she is still feminine and worthy of “real” protection—either from a man, or from the police. I grew up with the notion that self-defense achieved via martial arts, pepper spray, and the biggest keys on the key ring are how women combat sexual assault. Movies, media, and college self-defense classes reinforced the emphasis on clean fighting as the feminist way.

And as I got older, my reporting on public safety in Texas led me to stories about pink personal Tasers and women involved in restorative justice—but never to women (rape survivors or not) who had decided to use more assertive means to protect themselves. To be a gun-owning feminist, to prepare to protect oneself against two of the most frightening enemies of female-identified people—rape and/or domestic violence—still strikes at the heart of what could be described as a feminist identity crisis, wherein women oppress each other with our inability to make room for alternative models of self-protection.

I welcome your thoughts on this. Be civil, or I will hunt you down*: Is it impossible to be a progressive and also believe in your right as a single person to bear arms? Can you reconcile, as I try to, being a peace-loving person but also wanting the space to defend yourself against sexual assault, home invasion or worse? If you have, how do you do so? Or is it something you don’t even think about?

*I was being sarcastic; but I will delete any ignorance here, so, take that how you want to.

Guest Post: You deserve your love & affection

My favorite thing about the Internet is that you sometimes find kindred spirits across the vast universe that is cyberspace. In Katina Hubbard, I found a writer who blogs/writes thoughtfully and insightfully about women’s self-love and value. She wrote this lovely guest post that I wanted to share with you guys as we prepare to celebrate love this week. Enjoy!

By Katina Hubbard, Women Well Loved

My mom erroneously taught me that taking care of other people is the surest way to take care of myself. So that’s what I did. I treat my boyfriend better than I treat myself. I will not let him be taken advantage of. If he’s sick, I’ll stop everything to take care of him. I make sure he’s got three vegetables on his plate at every meal. And what do I eat when he’s gone? Luna bars, chips and salsa, sea salt caramels…
What makes this notion so ridiculous is that the majority of us humanoids aren’t selfless enough to hold up this facade for very long. I know I’m not. There’s a limited amount of time that I can put others’ needs before my own. Pretty soon my well runs dry and I’m tempted to point fingers at everyone who I’ve been giving, giving, giving to while depriving myself of myself.
Unfortunately, I’m not alone with this. Many women I know are learning to balance taking care of ourselves with taking care of other people.
My best friend and I haven’t lived in the same place since our first summer out of college when we shared a bedroom without air conditioning in her professor’s apartment on the Upper West Side. Our living conditions have improved but now we have to stay in touch via phone and text.
Quite often, she calls and asks me a hundred thoughtful, personal questions. How was the interview? Did you have the new dress altered? What did he get you for your birthday? What did your mom say? How do you feel? Here are a dozen helpful suggestions for everything you’re going through… She’s being incredibly sweet and understanding but I started to realize that this was her sign that something was wrong.
She was giving me help because SHE NEEDED HELP. She was taking care of me instead of taking care of herself. I’d interrupt her and say, “What’s going on in your life?” Even if she wasn’t ready to talk about whatever she was going through, I could empower her by saying: “You seem like you need some help right now, you deserve to get it.” She’s so good at taking care of other people, she’ll do it even when she’s got nothing left.
Part of it is societal. The other part is in our DNA: men protect and defend, women provide and nourish. That works well when we’ve got 9 kids running around and an attack from rebel tribes is imminent.  Today, however, most of us are privileged to have the freedom to be more than the female of the species – we can be wholly and uniquely who we are.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.” – Buddha
Women have hearts capable of limitless love, devotion, and sacrifice. Therefore we must protect our most powerful asset. We must hold each other accountable to ourselves. Single or married, rich or poor, men or women, let us make a list of our needs and work to achieve them. Let us hold each other accountable to our dreams. Let us hold each other when we need to be held.
I can’t afford to put my own needs aside for the good of a few people around me. There is too much to do this lifetime.
The world needs us as our whole selves.
Check out more from Katina Hubbard at http://www.womenwellloved.com

A love note for Whitney Houston

Dearest Whitney:

When I was little, sometimes people would tell me I looked like you, which to me was better than someone telling me I was a rock star.

I knew all of your notes by heart, even if they were out of my alto range. I practiced, comb in hand, when WBLS played all of your hits. I was in second grade singing the Greatest Love of All with my classmates, which is how I first knew you were a force in the world.

And of course, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which, when my sisters sang it at karaoke in South Philly just a few months ago, got everybody up to dance. In 2011.

I didn’t have much money to by tapes back in the day, but I bought all of yours, no matter what. I’m Your Baby Tonight…When you sang Miracle, I listened to it over and over again, your voice a prayer I kept repeating with the melody in my brain.

When the Bodyguard came out, I was in love with my first real boyfriend, the man I thought I would marry, the one who proposed with the prettiest cubic zirconia ring I’ll ever see. I sang to him with your songs: I Will Always Love You & Run To You.

You knew just how to make love sound within the reach of your voice. The conviction and clarity with which you sang about love made me feel like you were an authority. You had to really know what the greatest love looked like, felt like, and when you lifted your head and your perfect smile would break open and let out that amazing talent, I was convinced that of course you knew.

And Bobby Brown was your boo. Wouldn’t have been my first choice for you, but I loved your commitment to being in the relationship you wanted, regardless of what people had to say about it. Addiction — to love, to people, to drugs, to anything –  cancels out everything, doesn’t it? It is a reminder that there are still parts of ourselves that we have not learned to love. There are still parts of all of us that still want to give up and die, and for some of us, no matter how much we are given, that part is a bigger, unconquerable land than it is for others.

Grace. I laughed at your interview with Diane Sawyer, because you had the same stunning clarity when you were high that you did when you were sober and shining brightly, face sweaty, eyes a brilliant fiery dark brown, daring somebody to say something. She is still in there, fighting, I thought.

You were the reason I cared about Waiting To Exhale, the only reason I would ever sing “Shoop, Shoop” other than Babyface. And with the voice of your baby on My Love is Your Love, I thought, she is still as bad as she ever was. She will find her way back. There is still time for her to be as great as she once was.

So the news that you are gone now is sad not just because it is the snuffing out of a talent broad and wonderful and singularly unique. You are someone’s mama, someone’s child – that is its own unique tragedy. But you were one of my cherished celebrities, and I don’t have many. You are my John Lennon equivalent, and knowing you are gone, physically, makes my stomach hurt and my eyes well up with tears. Your passing seems to indicate the death of an era of believing in the risk of love. The heights of it, the ugly depths of it, the public joys and the private torments of it.

Back when I was crying myself to sleep, when I heard you sing about the only man you’d ever need, it built me up. I know that God will remain the only man you need into eternity, so that dries my tears. I was not ready for you to go, but there was never going to be a good time. There never is.

Thank you for leaving behind enough music to remind me of journeys you helped me complete, even though we never met. I hope you find a tribe of angels with whom to sing many more songs. The ride with you, as you once said, was worth the fall.

Missing you already, J.

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