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Growing up as an African-American girl in Kentucky during the 1970s and 80s presented more than its share of social challenges - racial issues, getting educated in a small-town setting, and living in a loving family that struggled to make ends meet. From the moment I was born, my father already having left the house, my ordinary life has been full of extraordinary situations - all of which created a sense of life and compassion in me that prompted others to seek my advice, or help, or place as a peacemaker. That is, when I wasn't fighting to protect myself. Added to that were my two families that couldn't be more different: my loving mother and stepfather in a town of 400 in Kentucky; and a father who loved me, plus his wife who despised me, in Danville, IL. It all led to a difficult growing-up time, supported by my extended family in Kentucky. The backdrop was the late 1970s and 80s, when I went through school during a time when society was struggling to open up racially, and when everything from music to AIDS changed our views of the world. I lived it all, I watched a friend die of AIDS, and I came out of it with an understanding of life that serves me well in my profession. My Life As Traci captures the arc of my young life. It is simply written to bring readers into both the spirit of the time and to invite them into my life, but it pries open the hidden corners, which seemed to constantly surround me. Always hopeful, but never shy about detailing traumatic moments, the book brings out the way my inner world develop, first through faith in my parents, then in the faith of my friendships, and finally in the faith of my spiritual beliefs.