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I’ve never been in jail. I’ve never been in debt. I’ve never not had food to eat except for a few days during a poverty simulation. I’ve never not had medicine when I was sick. I don’t have to wake up to a ritual of coffee drinking. I can sleep through fire alarms, earthquakes, and hurricanes. I have one good shoulder that isn’t over-stretched out. I can see the colors of this world even when my contacts aren’t in. I’ve almost always had a ride home except for the time I jumped out of my parent’s car to prove a silly point. I’ve only had a handful of injuries that sidelined me for slightly longer than a few months, and only scars that live on the surface. I am so fuckin’ blessed.

I’m sitting on my floor listening to Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues and reading from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. I realize that as much as my parents thought they were giving me a better life (in their definition of better life), they have done that so many times over that it’s no longer about that anymore. They have given me a freedom of expression. They have given me a freedom from defining success as dollars in the bank or under a mattress. They have given me a freedom of possibilities. I know my kids won’t have to eat Kraft mac n cheese, ramen, frozen vegetables, vienna sausages, cereal three meals a day, spam, and all things canned or processed if they don’t want to. Sometimes, I crave those “non-perishables” for they remind me of a time when being a tight family unit meant buckling down and wading through high waters. I’ve been beyond blessed and it’s really my turn to bless those around me. Looking back at the past year, I would have never imagined I would be ready for this new chapter in my life. I never thought I was that selfish, but we can always be more selfless, right?

I think my dream for most of the past decade has been to open my own bakery, something that would be a true extension of me. Sometimes I fear it would fail, but if I keep lingering on that thought, I will never know what success it could have. And when I open it, and it does fail; at least the few days it is open, I did something great, maybe planted a seed out there, and put my blessings out there.

Thank you mom and dad for giving me blessings far greater than you imagined.