Tell your life story from someone else’s point of view.


“You know, if Patrick had lived, you wouldn’t be here,” they told her.

She was the replacement baby. The first girl—born jaundiced—one year after the intended fourth child, named Patrick Angel, didn’t survive.

Although seeing the pictures of Patrick curled up on his first and only day of life saddened her, she always felt triumphant.

What if Patrick died so I could live? She thought. She wasn’t supposed to be here. This became a theme in her life. A thread that dictated many of her decisions.

They nicknamed her Geika. Geika Marie Jones to be exact. Her real name honored her grandmothers, as well as the name her mother always desired as her own.

Her life began in Kansas City, grew in Baltimore, studied in Philadelphia, blossomed in Harlem, trained in Newark, and reemerged in Brooklyn.

In KC, she walked barefoot on a gravel driveway, obsessed over Barbie, Christian Slater, Nickelodeon, and Paula Abdul. She learned to ride a bike when her brother removed the training wheels, played make-believe, watched movies and A Different World. She mimicked her brothers; clung to her mother, and listened to her father tell stories of traveling throughout Europe as a young man.

In Baltimore, family, kale, and sweet potatoes surrounded her. She watched the flash of lightening bugs at cookouts, scooped egg custard snowballs, homeschool, Catholic school, saxophone, heartbreak, classmates teasing. Escaped through rock music, country music, and “Good Times, Great Oldies.” Survived pimples, braces, and awkwardness, prom, first car, and the first tastes of freedom.

Philadelphia schooled her to the soundtrack of The Roots, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and Roy Hargrove. Beer, Bacardi, and smoke. Road trips, dorms, parties, too many parties, finals, 10-page papers, gotta-get-good-grades. Journalism, boys, Bob Marley, ideas and passion. She made bonds in Philadelphia that would eventually take her to Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Los Angeles. Philly was her city of Love. I know because I was there.

She was alone in Harlem. Cold and discovering a new city. She explored on subways, buses, North, South, East, and West. She tried to prove herself as a writer—editorial intern, editorial assistant. She wrote, and stressed, and borrowed library books on the “Quarter-Life Crisis.” She went to movie theaters, parties, and church by herself. Ran a half-marathon. Always, always, always searching for more. Fell in love in Union Square. Shed tears on every sidewalk in Manhattan.

A return to Baltimore and a year in Newark taught her to: Stand up for yourself. Trust yourself. Know that you’re worthy. And now here she sits, on her bed, in a tiny room in a colorful house in Brooklyn. Learning to unlearn. Slowly checking things off her bucket list.

She wasn’t supposed to be here.


Allllrighty then. How did my brother answer this prompt? Head over to to see what’s good.