Oh, Baltimore.


Oh, Baltimore.

I've been an OFFICIAL Maryland resident for one year, one month, two weeks, and three days. The stint I had here in 2011 wasn't official. Just so that we're clear on that. It was more of my “follow the yellow brick road” moment which let me know mistakes happen, corrections are optional for some (mandatory for me), and I have the ability to gain knowledge and change the direction of my path.

Like Dorothy, I met some amazing people along the way. Each person added a unique and significant value to my life that can never be duplicated.

During my introduction to Baltimore, I was reminded of a valuable lesson: Pay attention and always trust your intuition. Although I didn't take time to get to know Baltimore outside of my work and the neighborhood I lived in, I was still privy to some of the things happening around me. Remember Jack'd from a couple of chapters ago? Yes, honey. He's been around for some years.

Man drama. DL chronicles. Open marriages. And that was just the first few months...

Eh, I digress. At that moment in time, my life revolved around theatre. Theatre was food. Theatre was water. Theatre was life! Did I have sex? Yes! Lots of it. Did I use protection? Sometimes. Was I worried? Nope. Did I label myself a whore? Sure the hell didn't. I was: young, single, secretly wild, and oh...fresh meat!

But, after a while things started to get old. I felt as if I overstayed my welcome at a party that a friend of a cousin who likes my uncle invited me to. Yeah, it just wasn't home.

Eyes closed. Taps heels three times. Repeats “there is no place like home.”

Sigh.

I'm awake now. Where the hell is Aunt Em? Is this arKANSAS? This place doesn't look, feel, smell, taste, or sound like home. How did I end up back here?

Charm city. Ha! I guess that name fits perfectly .

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This is a Baltimore City Health Department's social innovation project in collaboration with various priority populations in Baltimore