The Kid Will Be Aiight

I'd been using cannabis steadily for almost two years by the time my teenage son caught me red-handed smoking a community blunt with a cousin in my own suburban garage. As my son and I stared at one another in panic, masked as confusion, I did my very best to think quickly on my feet of a plausible way to explain the smoke. My cousin, easily a decade or more younger than me, leaned in, and instead of offering me a lifeline or ready-made excuse, said "Live in your truth Cuz". I wish I could say the heavens opened and angels started trumpeting triumphantly but I'd be lying my ass off. In reality, when my son shrugged and left to go inside with his usual sarcastic smirk, I sighed with relief and toked even more heavily on that fated blunt. A conversation that surely many parents plan for, either with dread or trepidation, I successfully skirted until I was exposed that fateful evening. I had no prepared outline or discussion strategy and just ended up winging it.

As a Black woman the impacts and legacy of racial discrimination and targeted harassment of generations of men and women in my community have left people who look like me with some residual and significant fea