Chapter 11: Friends with Benefits

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With Russell at Ceremony

Our life experiences shape who we gravitate toward in our relationships. Growing up, I was roughed up and abused by a few Black kids in the neighborhood. My earliest negative experience took place in elementary school when I played Little League baseball. One of the kids forced me to the ground, laid on my face as if he was humping me with his clothes on, and ordered me to surrender my baseball glove.

This happened at each of our games that season and I had to use one of the worn-out gloves provided by the Parks and Recreation Department. I did not welcome this treatment, so I quit the league.