July 18th, 1990

The day I turned 11 years old for the second time I had already come to a conclusion. The stranger I’d seen on the beach had either cursed me, or had somehow conspired against my inclusion into heaven, or hell. I didn’t know what else to think aside from how strange it was that I was born a year before my original birth year, and of course the fact that I was born black.

No, you didn’t read that wrong, I lived my first life as a white man, born into a white family and with no relatives of other colors or races to be seen throughout many generations back. This time I was a young black boy born into a middle-class family, but with every last thought I’d had from my old life rattling around in my head. I lived through the last part of the 70s having to learn everything again, but still I had my memories. I had to learn how to go without revealing them since I had childish impulses once again, and I had to look at life through very different eyes than before.

I’m thankful that my family this time around were honest, hardworking folks that didn’t look at themselves as oppressed or discriminated against in any way. They worked for everything they earned, and they expected nothing from the world that hadn’t come to them due to their efforts. When I learned the family history though I was taken aback. They could trace their lines back to those that had suffered through segregation, that had been told they weren’t as good as white people. They had even traced their lives back to the slave trade.

You know what though? They cared about their history, but they didn’t let it affect their future. They had white friends, Asian friends, Mexican friends. My family, which included two parents and three siblings, myself included, were simple and honest folks that loved just about everyone they met and could only claim to hate intolerance and the ugliness that this world is unfortunately host to. It was an eye-opening experience to live as a black person, and one that I won’t forget.

But that life ended before I ever got to experience what having my own family was like, again.

(to be continued)

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