“My mother had always been functional as long as she took her medicine. But a couple years ago I began to notice a change.
“We’d only been together for a year when I was diagnosed with a blood clot in the brain. I couldn’t work for months.
“I always wanted to be a mental health therapist. Ever since high school, I’ve enjoyed encouraging people and giving them hope.
“Both my wife and I were raised in Guyana. Neither of our families demonstrated much affection. Physical contact was always reserved for discipline.
“First grade will be more harder than kindergarten cause I won’t know how to write all the words.”
“My older brother was my hero growing up. Everyone called him ‘Jise.’ He was this hip-hop dude. People loved him, especially the girls.
“My English is not good. Spoken English is very difficult. But I want to study at Columbia so I am trying to improve.
“My mother wasn’t the best person in the world. She was hooked on heroin for most of my life. She sold our childhood home for drug money.
“Graduation weekend was a nightmare.
“I lost my job last week. I was there for six years. It was the first job I’ve ever lost. It’s hard not to take it personally when someone tells you that you’re not needed.
“I don’t think I’m going to miss eighth grade. It’s been a tough year. A lot of my friends are struggling with depression and self-harm, and it’s hard for me to watch.
“I grew up in an abusive household where I never got any approval. I always felt unattractive and gross.
“I’m driving to pay off my student debts. I had to start college late because my father had a stroke shortly after I graduated high school.
“I’m turning thirty in July. And I’m still working out a lot of childish things in my dating life. I’m learning how to communicate.
“I’m practicing French right now. I want to move to Europe so I can force myself to start over. I have a nine-to-six job.
“He’s an actor on Broadway. I broke up with him in December because he couldn’t manage his anger. He’d scream at me on subway platforms.
“’I’m obsessive, but my obsessions are productive. I’m happy. I never get depressed. I find life very interesting.
“I asked her out during a movie. I was really nervous, so I executed with about half the talent level that I could have.
“I just had to sit down because I got short of breath. I was at a restaurant earlier where the manager had to seat me at the counter because I couldn’t fit in the booth.
“I grew up outside of Miami. It wasn’t easy to be young, black, and gay in my neighborhood. It was a very masculine space.