My Heartbeat Bill, Part 3

*NSFW:  These screenshots were taken on Saturday, May 11, 2019. These were taken from my personal Facebook page. I have known this person for some time. While I am not shocked at her comments, I am distressed at the lack of compassion shown by her. For those that need support, my inbox is open:   -JBHarris


I kept the secret of me having an abortion for over a decade.

I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my mother or best friend. I didn’t tell anyone else I had dated. I told my OB/GYN  because it pertained to my health. My first husband was so nosy, that he sat in with me on these Well-Woman Exams when we were together. So, I had to tell him.

As of this year, the child Dominic and I had would have been 18. My tribe, at age 37, would have been three. When I got pregnant to term with my oldest daughter,  was 26. With my youngest daughter I was 27. My kids are now almost 12 and 10. The woman that made this post cannot image the vitriol that is rolling off this page. The palpable hatred and condemnation I felt reading this was one of the reason why I thought God didn’t love me and may never love me again. It is this vapid, dissociative empathy that I believe causes people to turn from God. In so doing, they are sent out to fight the world–and their demons–alone.


Again, if you have never been faced with an impossible, fucked up decision like this, you cannot weigh in on these types of impossible fucked up decisions. I understand this is social media and this is the price you pay for free speech. I get she has a right to be passionate about her beliefs and faith. I get that. I became pro-choice after my abortion. I could no longer wag my finger in the face of someone else that was in the same situation I was in. That doesn’t make me any better than the next girl that had a horrible decision to make.

I believe that the people that feel as she does aren’t pro-life:  they are pro-birth. Forgetting that children need food, clean water and shelter. In some circumstances even if the woman were to have the child, church’s laity or their leadership will shame this woman AND the child! Furthermore, if you have never had a child die of a disease like Tay-Sachs (where the child will die before age 5), you cannot possibly weigh in on genetic testing which may rule out your predisposition to pass on this disease.

Moreover, when I was pregnant with my youngest? They thought she had the genetic markers for Trisomy 21:  Down’s Syndrome. I did a amniocentesis to make sure if she did or not have it. The clinic I was at sent a genetic counselor in, and told me that if I wanted to not keep the baby, I didn’t have to. I was about 4-5 months along.

I chose to keep that child–whom is now 10. And she didn’t have Down’s Syndrome.

As I said before:  everyone has dirt on them. But you don’t get to bury someone else with it. As a person of faith that makes you a hypocrite and a Pharisee! You have to take the beam outta your eye FIRST.

I meant what I said in response to this post. That was  about the only thing I could do!  I meant that I am glad people’s hearts are being revealed with the passing of this bill. I am glad that she said what she did:  I see her heart. With that vision, that let me know the love of Christ that is supposed to be evident in her–clearly didn’t make it to this post.  Does that mean I don’t believe she doesn’t love God? No. I’m saying you can’t see God anywhere in this.

My Mama says it like this:  “Be careful what you say to people, because you never know who you might need.”

As I read it, I debated making a part three to this series. I debated to truly respond to this. It’s her page, she’s an adult. She can say what she likes, how she likes. This post wasn’t aimed at anyone. But, in the interest of being forthright, I had to respond to it. Here and there.

I really had to.

It has become far too easy in this nation to shame women. It is easy to let toxic masculinity influence legislation over the female form. Just like this bill does. I believe that real, healthy patriarchy encourages and protects women. Real masculinity isn’t intimidated by femininity.  It values women. Toxic masculinity and patriarchy seek to rule over women to the point the have no personhood or power.

Why is it okay that the right to have a child, should be determined by people whom have no biological capability to push one out?

If legislation like this is okay, then why is it that men–whom have the biological component to determine conception and sex of child–how are they not charged in a ‘commission’ of this type of crime?

This is where her rant falls short–it has no backing or bottom. If pre-martial sex/adultery is wrong–let it be wrong for women and men. I am tired of the brunt of decisions like this expected to be carried by women. For another woman, to say this? And stand on it? I mean–what can you do with that?

I give her the love of Christ, and keep moving. I don’t verbally spar with the unequipped. Lunacy doesn’t have ears. Again, we all got dirt. But, I refuse to bury someone with it. Otherwise, the world is a cemetery.

[images from author’s photo gallery]

My Heartbeat Bill, Part 2

*NSFW:  This piece was written in response to the passing of what is commonly known as the Heartbeat Bill in the state of Georgia. This is/was my real life experience and account. If you find yourself in need of support in regards to a similar circumstance, you are free to email me at No woman should be shamed by her decisions.


Image result for broken heart


I went to get an abortion on a bus.


I was told  to eat something before the procedure so I wouldn’t get or be sick. I took an apple with me that morning, when I really wanted a banana. I thought eating a banana that morning would tip my mother off that I was pregnant. But, days before, she told me to have a seat at the table and get a piece of paper.

My mother is a 40-year nurse. The first part of her career was in Labor and Delivery. She knew I was pregnant, I think. I think she wanted me to just tell her. I had asked her i there was a way the body could have it’s hormones so outta whack that you get sick. “Have a seat, okay?” My mother never said, “Okay.”  She told me the only way that could happen is illness or pregnancy. I wrote that word and my ears burnt. It was the want of not disappointing her that pushed me to remain silent. It was the disappoint I knew would come from my family that made me stay silent. It was the condemnation I thought I would get that thought it be best to be silent.

I was the Golden Girl, you see. Pretty, smart and going to do so much. So much potential. I wasn’t supposed to get pregnant before I had a career or a husband. Yet, that happened. It was judgement and my own condemnation that kept me quiet. And for years after. I walked to the bus stop in the same hoodie I went to Dr. Ferris’s office in. I took the #41 Lee bus to the #70 Grand bus to the clinic. I had my purse and the money for my abortion inside it. I was told to bring the money in either check or money order. No cash.

I ate my apple on the way to the bus stop, as if I was preparing or a dark-op mission. No emotion. The only thought was, “Go and get it done. Go and get it done.” I had already cried. I kept crying. I cried the night before. I held my Bible, and I cried. I told God I was sorry. I asked Him to forgive me. To help me. I told God this:

“If you don’t allow me to have another child, I understand.”

I walked to the bus, feeling knowing, that this was the first and last time I would let this happen to me. I thought that if I never got pregnant again, I wouldn’t be mad. I couldn’t. I thought God forgave me, and I was prepared to never be a mother–to never be a mother. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be a Mama then. I was murdering a child–an innocent. And I was prepared to give up the ability to have a baby, because I was letting this child die.

I walked from the bus stop on Grand and Forest Park. I remember how hungry I was. But, I was on a mission. I had to get this abortion. Nothing was going to stop me. The clinic had a talk wrought iron fence about 8 feet tall. At the gate, there was someone standing there. It was an older White woman in a dress, with a hat holding a sign that read:  THEY KILL BABIES HERE. I don’t remember her facial expression, but I remember she didn’t move towards me. And it was quiet. It was a group of people on the parking lot, but no one bothered me. I was lucky. I had seen enough documentaries, national news and Law & Order to know abortion clinics do get bombed. That providers are, can be killed. I knew that girls in my situation could be hurt, even killed. Yet, I went in.

The security officers greeted me, asking for my ID and appointment time. I gave them my ID and walked through a metal detector. Dominic said he would come with me, but I didn’t believe him. But I called him, and told him I was okay. I wanted him to be there. I didn’t want to be alone. I was still so sad that I used birthday money to do this.

I was there all day. All day.

I remember being herded into this sitting room with all these other desperate-looking women. I saw mothers with their heads wrapped up. I saw best friends being supportive. I saw an interracial couple–I fixated on them. I wanted Dominic’s arm to wrap around me like this blond young man did for his girlfriend.

I had to get height and weight. I had to pee in a cup, again putting a white cup in the mystic microwave to make sure I was pregnant. What was the most disturbing part was the ultrasound. There was this brunette White girl in a white Planned Parenthood t-shirt that escorted me to this room with stirrups. I remember they had to do a vaginal ultrasound to see how far along I was. She asked if I wanted to see the ultrasound. I turned my head, “No.” I heard the heartbeat, tried to block it out. The mission was to get the heartbeat out of me. I had to keep the mission, like all warriors. I couldn’t let my heart betray the mission.

I remember waiting, and being herded from room to room, with more ugly upholstered furniture. I was cold. I was quiet, I spoke to no one. I was, tried to be grave quiet. I was finally funneled into this room with like 6 other girls. The medical assistant was a Black girl in red scrubs that told us how to prepare for our procedure. She gave us all a gown, a pad with a big Kotex pad attached on the side and a medicine cup with 2 pills in it. One pill was to dilate the cervix. The other was a pain pill. I think it was a Percocet. While I was getting dressed, I noticed the room was filled with girls that looked like me. All Black. All pretty. All pregnant. All soon not to be pregnant.  One girl that sat on the couch in a gown was so pretty. She had a short cut, classes and had her legs crossed on the couch. She said this was her second abortion.


I couldn’t imagine  doing this more than once. When I asked, I said it was my first abortion.


Saying that word made me feel sick. I wanted to hurry up and do this and leave. I waiting in the room, cold and half naked, and alone. When my name was called, I was lead to this small white room with a blue exam table. I was told to lay down and relax. There was a woman that stood next to me as the doctor came in. The older White man balding and white hair with glasses. He sat between my legs with the stool provided. I was told it would feel like ‘a deep pinch’. She held my hand, this angelic looking woman with glasses. I held my breath and she held my hand. I looked at her hand as she held it. I felt something cold and metal enter me, and then pull something out.

I was told the procedure would ‘evacuate the uterus.’ My baby was sucked out of me and was no more a part of me. The doctor said I did good, and I was done. He left and shut the door. The angel that held my hand asked how I felt. “Fine.” I said, being relieved and cheery. I sat up on the table, trying to swing my legs off to stand. I almost fell.

I was lead to a recovery room to rest for a few minutes before I was allowed to get dressed. I laid there, on this hard blue cushioned chair and thought. The same nurse came and got me to let me know I could leave. I could get dressed. I was herded with another girl into this living room area to discharge with aftercare and medication.

I had no insurance. I walked to this window, and was given a brown paper bag with an antibiotic in it with pain medicine. “For the next two weeks, showers no baths.” She sat at this small desk below the this open window. “Take one of these pills everyday until they are gone.” I watched her fill out my paperwork. “You need to come back in 3 weeks for a follow up appointment.” I had no intention on ever coming back. I smiled and took my bag and left.

I left. I wrapped my hoodie around my waist. I went home.

I didn’t see Dominic for a week. He said that he tried to come see me, but security wouldn’t let him in. Knowing what I know of him now, he’s an utter liar. He may not have even come there, let alone called to check on me. I remember I had sex with him during the time I was supposed to be abstaining, and taking these antibiotics. I wanted to feel wanted. I wanted to feel like he loved me. And my body? I think Winter Santiaga from Coldest Winter Ever said it best, ‘it felt like dropping a pebble in the ocean.’

I stayed with Dominic a year and more after that. He said that he owed me a baby. He told me that he loved me. We tried to move past it, to forget it. But I couldn’t. I cried in his arms one night, just wailing. I realized what I had done–what he convinced me would be best. After everything I had done, endured with him, I expected him to marry me. I wanted to be his wife. He promised me it would be better. That he would make it up to me. The thing about that? I refused to be caught up in this again. I got on birth control–and stayed on it.

Every month I got my shot (this contraception shot called Lunell). Spermicide every time.

When we broke up a year later, I hated myself. I did. I was so sad. I had given up so much to be his girl. But this? My baby? Our, no, my baby?! Ah, nall. It wasn’t until I met the Able Unshakeable did I know just how broken I was. And how empty I became, and how unloved I was.

Don’t judge a woman that had an impossible situation, with an impossible choice, with impossible outcomes. Before you condemn her, or send her to Hell, think about if that was you or someone you knew.

Everyone got dirt, don’t be so quick to bury somebody else.


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He Never Was A ‘Tiger’


Image result for tiger woods medal of freedom

I remember when Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods really became a household name. I remember during my high school years just how cool it was to know there was dude that was Black, golfing! GOLFING! And was like, GOOD at it!

I remember the Masters Wins. I remember the ESPN interviews. I remember when he didn’t call himself Black, but Cablasian. I remember when ‘Fuzzy’ Zeller said he hoped he didn’t bring fried chicken and collard greens to the Master’s Dinner.

Catch that.

I remember how my Dad would make off-hand comments about Tiger, and him not wanting to admit that he was Black. I remember how that irked him. I remember how he never really would say that he was Black. I remember that troubled me, but I couldn’t identify how. It was as if Tiger thought he could transcend race because he played a game better than a bunch of old White men that lust after their exotic maids.

As much that is said about Jackie Robinson, you must give him this. No matter where Jack went, according to accounts and his widow Rachel (now in her 90’s), he was Black. And unapologetic. He was Black in Cairo, Georgia. In California at UCLA. In the Negro Leagues as a Kansas City Monarch. He was Black in Montreal in the MLB minor league for the Brooklyn. He was Black as #42 (2B) in Ebbets Field. He never had the gumption, or the option, to deny any part of him that was Black. Or Black and male. His college education, speaking ability, military record, speed in cleats didn’t diminish the fact he was Black.

So, why did Tiger think this wouldn’t happen with him? How did game change–for him? What really made him think these stodgy, old White men would change–for him? We know that some White athletes disassociate themselves from the plight of their non-White teammates:  see Tom ‘Eptiome Of Mediocre White Male aside from my former brother-in-law Rob Bilbruck’ Brady. He is on record, with a MAGA hat in his locker said this (taken from The Intelligencer in December 2015):

“I haven’t paid attention to politics in a long time. It’s actually not something that I really even enjoy. It’s way off my radar.”

Now, to be fair, I have linked the article for you to see the entire exchange. But, I find it interesting that he wouldn’t go to visit President Obama after a Super Bowl win. However, got mad at his predominately Black teammates when they didn’t want to visit the White House to see Orange Thanos.  Then, he wanted to invoke the responsibility of his teammates to go.

Herein lies the disconnect.

My problem with Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods, whom is the son of a Black man, is you do not get to disconnect your Blackness from your social awareness. Your Blackness is your social awareness! I can take–nay, expect!–stupid, vapid comments from athletes who are better suited to be QB’s on the latest version of Madden! I can handle that, because his privilege is an insulator–impervious to logic.

The fact that Tiger Woods, went to the White House to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from a man that  is misogynist, clearly xenophobic, and a sympathizer to a/the white supremacist cause?

That let me know that he has no longer decided to rent a room in the Sunken Place. He bought property! Funny thing, though.  This same award that was given to heroes and artists, is now given to him. I can only see as a a noose he can wear and show off to people. Sometimes, it be your own people, man.

I said what I said.

[images from and]

It’s Not Just Danai: The Casual Erasure Of Black Women


The utter uproar comforted me.

The original Avengers Endgame poster, though our beloved General Okoye was pictured, the dynamic Danai Gurira was not credited. I was comforted by the reaction that Twitter and all of social media had in regards to this. With that outrage and pushback, the poster was corrected. Marvel Studios clearly thought this was an oversight.

Aight. I’ll allow it.

A Black woman was erased, in front or our faces, and the world damn noticed.

I wish the world would keep this same energy when it comes to the presence of Black women. I wish that we were noticed, and when we vanish–even before the eyes of millions, that we are missed.

It has become so easy to miss Black girls. It becomes too commonplace to notice (or not notice) our broken bodies. Too often seen as victims. As the steady suffering. As the mules of the entire world.

This past week, I was in a debate with a dingy Becky that thought the new Iggy Azalea (I cannot stand Clifford Harris (T.I.) for making this damn dame relevant!) video was the best thing ever. I watched it when the sound off because adding sound to that travesty would have caused me to cry. Not only is this dame in a funeral setting, she seems to be rejoicing because a Black woman has died (!!!) and is doing a Second Line!

The whole damn video is an appropriation. The whole damn thing.

It is bad enough that our shine as Black women is stolen, swapped and swagger-jacked on a daily/minute-by-minute basis! The killer part to all this–no one seems to notice this isht but Black women! The capitalist-consuming world wants everything Black, except from Black people.

The natural endowments I have as both Black and woman can be seen as obscene until on someone else (vanishing). My skin tone is what some White girls aspire as a tanning option (erasure). My style and fashion sense can be used as a window display or on a blog and not even given proper credit (paying attention yet?).

It’s not just Danai. It won’t just be Danai.

We know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes? The best thing you can do is give honor, credit and merit where it is due.

And I mean this with all my St. Louis, Missouri accent–“You see me, mane. Don’t act like you don’t.”



Please Stop Sayin’ ‘I Was Just Playin.’


Malcolm X said that the most disrespected person in America is a Black woman. I have never disagreed with this. There are things that have been told to me as a Black woman that I am sure would never have been said had I been anything but a Black woman. Or a Black little girl for that matter. I have been told that I was ugly over stuff that I couldn’t control (hair, clothes, skin tone or shoe size). However, something came across my desk (i.e.:  my Twitter timeline) that I couldn’t ignore.

There was this young man @CraigsVCR that put this video up on his timeline. And I so happen to have seen it.




Now, in the interest of being fair, I was told that this video was taken from another source and this dude added his ‘take’ to it. Moreover, I said this:

“Now if she’d have broken up with you and slapped the shit outta you…”

Then, this happened:


 And the Dusty Negro Collective thought they would weigh in:

 Remember Malcolm said about Black women and being disrespected.

The fact isn’t that homeboy said what he said. I come across stupid men of variant colors all the time. I’m a writer, these things go with the territory:  the pen can be a sword. However, what struck me was his caption.

Why is it okay to ‘roast’ your girl and then come back and tell her that you were ‘just playin’. And then call her beautiful? Let me tell you why this is problematic.


The world tells Black women EVERYDAY that something is wrong with them. From height. Weight. Skin tone:  too light, you’re white; too dark:  you’re way too ugly to be chose. If you don’t talk to every man you see, or not play into their advances, then you’re a bitch. And my favorite:  “You wasn’t that cute anyway!” Aight, let that be what it is. Which is nonsense.

Among the Dusty Negro Collective that called themselves rallying to their Dusty Negro Collective Chairman President’s defense, I told I was being ‘too sensitive.’ This is something else to add to what Black women are told on a day to day basis:  what I am and what I am not. I am ‘too sensitive’ because I am vocal about the things that hurt me, or could hurt other people. The fact that I was able to say how abusive it is to do something that hurts someone, and then come back and say ‘you were just playing’.

This logic of hurtful social relating, can be paralleled with other problematic behavior. The behavior that says a little boy hits a girl he likes to tell her that he likes her. When you roast, someone you basically point out all their flaws (real or imagined) and read them cover to cover. I am fully prepared to admit in the oncoming of my 40 years of being on the planet, that it’s stuff about this new aged dating I may never understand. However, the one thing that I do know is people treat you how you want to be treated. And the adage my Nana gave me:  “A man will only do what you let them do.”

If you are in a relationship with someone, it stands to reason and logic this person knows enough about you to know what you are insecure about. They knew what things to point out to hurt you. I personally, don’t have the patience for this type of behavior in a relationship. The fact that in pointing out how this is problematic, is itself problematic. It does not make a woman, a Black woman, sensitive for making sure she is treated well. A fellow writer told me this and each day that is demonstrated in the lives of the people I care for. She said, “Black women protect Black women.” When she said this on social media, a different delegation of the DNC came for her.

Which leads me to believe two things are true:

Black women are praised for our strength.


Black women aren’t allowed to be anything but strong and tolerant.


We aren’t allowed to say what bothers us, and what we desire to do about it. We aren’t allowed to say that the men that look like our fathers have the hardest time protecting us. Understanding us. And sometimes have the hardest time, not making us prove how strong we are by putting us through things no other woman would be expected to do and endure. We’re expected to be okay with disrespect, because strong women deal with it. They soldier on. They aren’t expected to complain or vocalize that pain.

Of course there are some that will say this whole piece is me being sensitive. Yeah, I’m sensitive. I’m sensitive about being disrespected. About being hurt. About the women that look like me that get pieces of them snipped and nipped away by the world. On a day to day basis.

I’m sensitive because I am raising daughters. I have a sister, and a brother. I’m a mother and a godmother. Being sensitive means I’m paying attention to the world, and I have something so say about it. That I am not about to have my voice taken out of my throat with me watching, and saying nothing. Zora Neale Hurston said, “If you remain silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

One one the DNC said that ‘no man wants to walk on eggshells’. A girlfriend of mine said that she has these conversations with Black men all the time. The answers that she gets normally revolve around Black men thinking we as Black women don’t treat them fair. Or that asking for accountability from our partners is wrong. Let me put a wider paint swatch on this. It’s not just Black men that do this. It is problematic no matter the race or ethnicity of your partner.

If you have a relationship that y’all are cool enough to do this with? Fine. I don’t have the patience for it. The world is hard enough. But don’t ever tell a woman, a Black woman, she is being too sensitive because she tells you what hurts her. Don’t tell a woman that she shouldn’t take something that hurt her seriously.  Or something that makes her cry, you didn’t mean–even though you caused it.


It’s problematic. It’s trash. And me demanding to be treated well, doesn’t make me sensitive.




[images from author’s personal social media account]









Being A Threat


I’ve been that female friend that insecure women seem not to like. I still have no idea why. At the age I am now, I don’t care anymore what broads that don’t know me or pay me have to think about me. I don’t have to sweat it any more.

I’ve always had male friends. I collect them! But most of the men in my life know that I have a husband, and they know that if they were to try and replace my husband, this would become a rapid problem with a quick solution. I don’t live my life to intimidate other people–I’m just trying to be great all by lonesome.

But one thing that I thought was funny happened to someone dear to me. She’s best friends with an ex, and her ex’s current squeeze doesn’t like that. So, her ex’s current girlfriend calls her a ‘threat’ to their relationship.

A threat.

I thought that was a interesting word to use to describe how they relate and how his girlfriend feels about her. A threat. Like something dangerous. A spectre. A boogeyman or the monster living under her bed or closet; something that can or will immediately harm you or anyone you love. That’s a threat. When pressed as to why his ladyfriend felt that way, she said she didn’t know.

However, I have a really good idea.

My friend is pretty, smart and his dude is/may still be in love with her. They are good friends and talk about a great many things, but that’s all. For his girlfriend to label her a threat, means there is something going on that is beyond her. There is something his girlfriend is insecure about and it is manifesting in the blame of my friend. That as a woman, I have never been able to understand.

I get that preserving a relationship is always the better thing to do. The right thing to do even. But the thing that is smoldering is we too often forget no one come into our lives untouched. Everyone has a history. A story. A past. Some people’s pasts are more deeply rooted than others. There are people you encounter whom you may always care for. Or love. There are people that may ever make your eyes sparkle and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

But this doesn’t mean your relationship has to cease! I will say that if affection longstanding begins to cripple your relationship, you may need to examine your current relationship. Some attachments may need help to sever–some affection can cripple you from seeing anything else good that may come in your life.

So, this idea of an outsider being a threat? My first thought is what are you trying to protect, and what are you willing to do to protect it. A threat isn’t the person–the most viable threats always come from the inside.

I’m just saying.

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Why I Write


Image result for writing with pen and paper


There are over 150,000 words currently that make up the (American) English language. With all those words, I am often asked this question:

“Jennifer, why do you write?”

This is a loaded question. I write, not just because I’m good at it–that’s obviously a factor. But I write because it’s almost a compulsion at this point in my life. I have to write.

There are things happening in the world and in my head that I have to make sense of! Those things are not often reconciled unless I see them in ink or on screen.

Why I write? I write because I am descended from people that couldn’t speak the current language that I have now mastered. I write to embody the bravery found on slave ships, dumped into the Middle Passage, and washed on the shores of a strange world where they ceased to be both person and free.

I write to remember.

I write to forget. I write to record the stories of my parents I was too young to hear, and even younger to understand.

I write because there is a freedom I have found in 26 letters that I have found in nothing else of earthly importance.

I write because I can.

I write to conjure worlds that I only knew in lives lived before. I write to take photos of places I may never visit. I write to keep the tradition of storytelling viable. I write because bell hooks says that ‘no woman has ever written enough.’ I write to leave a road map to the women and girls to follow, just as Ntozake Shange instructed.

I have taken the tears of my mothers, the horrors of my fathers, knelled them into fire to be the fuses for my children.

They need to know that someone was here, someone was were they were, and didn’t die. They didn’t give up. They didn’t go softly into the dying of the light. They need to know that someone raged, fought and left instructions. Left a warning, or a seal of approval.

I write to remind myself to keep going.




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