You Just Have To Get On With It

Hello, Hello (taps mic). Is this thing on?

Hi…um…everybody! This is unfamiliar territory for me, a little daunting if I’m honest, despite the fact that I’m on the news in Nashville every night. What if no one reads this? What if it becomes just part of the collective noise that’s mounting online? I digress…

One of my favorite people in life is my cousin Joya.

She was born and raised in the U.K. Despite being separated by an ocean we were very close. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. I’m her daughter’s godmother. The only child to her mother, my brother and I were like her siblings. We joked. We laughed. We got on each other’s nerves. I have countless memories of going to visit her and her mom (mum) in Leeds. A sleepy town, it became my favorite place on earth because of the memories I’ve made there, the warmth, simplicity and peace was a stark contrast to home. Joya’s first time traveling to the United States was to attend my christening. She was just a teenager and for the first time traveled alone. I love hearing her stories of what it was like to meet me. She returned for my brother’s college graduation. And just a few years ago she brought her kids over for the first time during their summer vacation.

Joya owned every room she walked into. Maybe it was he boisterous laugh and the sudden flash of the unforgettable gap in her teeth. Maybe it was her statuesque frame that measured at least six feet tall or her deep mahogany skin. Joya was the life of the party. I admired how easily she made friends. While I was shy, she was an effortless magnet of affection. I wanted to be just like her.

my cousin

A photograph of my cousin Joya

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