HOW JAMES BALDWIN'S BRILLIANCE IS HELPNG ME REFOCUS by JP Howard

We all deal differently with angst, so I decided rather spontaneously the night before inauguration, to post on my Facebook timeline, the following:

“Warning. I will be sharing, posting, bombarding my timeline with James Baldwin quotes tonight, tomorrow and the foreseeable future. No apologizes at all for this. We do what we must to get through each day.” JP Howard

First I posted it on Facebook, then an abbreviated version on Twitter and finally a day or so later, on my Instagram account. Immediately friends began liking the status and responding with enthusiast support and widely sharing their favorite Baldwin quotes, as I posted them.  It’s been three consecutive days since I’ve been posting brilliant, political, and inspirational Baldwin quotes. He has literally been giving me life y’all! All of his quotes are absolutely on time for 2017, just as they were for the 1960’s and all the decades in between. Baldwin’s words are truly a guide for how I want and need to move through this complicated world.

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ON LOSS IN THE NEW YEAR by JP Howard

There were no siblings to cry with, or aunts or uncles to go down memory lane after Mama passed. I suppose that’s the luck of the only child. Spoiled and indulged growing up, but alone, in significant ways, as we age and learn to embrace grief. I am the third successive generation of only children in my family on my maternal side and knew little to nothing about my father’s side of the family.  My father died when I was in sixth grade and my maternal grandmother, Mama Pearl, who co-parented me with my Mama, had passed away nine years before Mama. While there was this sadness that seeped through so many aspects of my life, as I navigated this new loss, I also stayed afloat, thanks to the beauty of chosen family, especially my life partner and our two sons. I think for many only children in tiny little families like mine, our friends are our extended family. It was clear, after losing Mama, that I had a beautiful circle of extended chosen family and friends, who I could really lean on.  So this little essay on loss is also about finding joy in small, meaningful gestures.

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