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    2017-06-27 13:00
    &ldquo;First grade will be more harder than kindergarten cause I won&rsquo;t know how to write all the words.&rdquo;<br>
    2017-06-21 11:00
    &ldquo;My older brother was my hero growing up. &nbsp;Everyone called him &lsquo;Jise.&rsquo; &nbsp;He was this hip-hop dude. &nbsp;People loved him, especially the girls. &nbsp;Everyone knew when he walked into a room. &nbsp;I was the opposite. &nbsp;I blended into the crowd. &nbsp;I was quiet. &nbsp;I made straight A&rsquo;s. &nbsp;I liked comic books and action figures. &nbsp;So I always looked up to him. &nbsp;He was murdered one night in 1989. &nbsp;Somebody shot him. &nbsp;I was fifteen at the time, and I just kind of gave up. &nbsp;I thought our family was curs&hellip;ed. &nbsp;I always had this feeling that I was up next. &nbsp;So it was like, &lsquo;What&rsquo;s the point of being good?&rsquo; &nbsp;I dropped out of school. &nbsp;I started hanging out with the wrong crowd. &nbsp;We started robbing people. &nbsp;I never actually took anything myself. &nbsp;I just tagged along for the adrenaline high. &nbsp;Even at my lowest, part of me was always the same good kid. &nbsp;I always held down a job. &nbsp;I wrote poetry. &nbsp;I kept dream journals. &nbsp;Whenever we were getting into trouble, my friends would always tease me. &nbsp;They&rsquo;d say: &lsquo;This isn&rsquo;t you, man. &nbsp;Why are you here?&rsquo; &nbsp;Hip-hop saved me. &nbsp;It gave me a voice. &nbsp;I started doing open mic nights. &nbsp;I took all those dream journals and turned them into lyrics. &nbsp;I joined a group called The Arsonists. &nbsp;We toured all over Europe. &nbsp;We pressed a lot of records. &nbsp;Of course I always held down a second job. &nbsp;My proudest moment was when they wrote about us in The Source. &nbsp;My stage name was &lsquo;Jise,&rsquo; in honor of my brother. &nbsp;It was like I&rsquo;d gotten us both there.&rdquo;<br>
    2017-06-17 03:00
    &ldquo;My English is not good. &nbsp;Spoken English is very difficult. &nbsp;But I want to study at Columbia so I am trying to improve. &nbsp;I decided to come to America because of Forrest Gump. &nbsp;I&rsquo;ve watched the movie five times. &nbsp;I like Forrest very much. &nbsp;Forrest is very simple. &nbsp;He picks one thing, and he keeps going. &nbsp;When I was young, I thought Forrest was stupid. &nbsp;But now I have a different view. &nbsp;I think people are too complicated. &nbsp;They complain about everything. &nbsp;Forrest never complains. &nbsp;Forrest chooses one thing and he keeps going. &nbsp;I watched the movie last month to encourage me. &nbsp;My life is hard because people don&rsquo;t ever know what I&rsquo;m saying. &nbsp;But I just think of Forrest. &nbsp;Forrest figured everything out because he just kept going.&rdquo;<br>
    2017-06-16 00:00
    &ldquo;My mother wasn&rsquo;t the best person in the world. &nbsp;She was hooked on heroin for most of my life. &nbsp;She sold our childhood home for drug money. &nbsp;She left me alone to raise my brother and disabled nephew. &nbsp;I used to wake up every night to feed him and change his diapers. &nbsp;I supported us all on the $5.15 an hour that I earned from the grocery store. &nbsp;My mother passed away a few months ago, and I think I&rsquo;m just now coming to terms with how awful she made my life. &nbsp;This is the most stable I&rsquo;ve ever been. &nbsp;I have a permanent address. &nbsp;I have someone who legitimately loves me. &nbsp;But my anxiety has never been worse. &nbsp;I&rsquo;ve been having panic attacks recently. &nbsp;I think I&rsquo;ve never had to deal with the trauma because things were always coming at me. &nbsp;And now I&rsquo;m not sure how to handle the quiet.&rdquo;
    2017-06-14 03:00
    &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &ldquo;Graduation weekend was a nightmare. &nbsp;My parents haven&rsquo;t spoken to each other since my dad had an affair. &nbsp;Yet they both wanted to come to the ceremony. &nbsp;So we spent the whole weekend together. &nbsp;Except they didn&rsquo;t speak a word to each other. &nbsp;It was ninety percent silence and ten percent me talking about nothing. &nbsp;The celebration dinner was the worst. &nbsp;Nobody said a word. &nbsp;I ended up drinking a lo&hellip;t of tequila. &nbsp;I tried to fill the silence by commenting on every single dish on the menu. &nbsp;I made several observations about my pasta. &nbsp;Then I spent an hour &lsquo;looking&rsquo; for the perfect dessert place on Yelp. &nbsp;I&rsquo;m pretty sure at some point I even pulled out the subway map and described how the entire system worked.&rdquo;<br>
    2017-06-06 13:00
    &ldquo;I lost my job last week. &nbsp;I was there for six years. &nbsp;It was the first job I&rsquo;ve ever lost. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s hard not to take it personally when someone tells you that you&rsquo;re not needed. &nbsp;There were ten people on my team, and I&rsquo;m the one they chose. &nbsp;So my mind has been running through all the possible things I could have done wrong. &nbsp;The first few days were the hardest. &nbsp;I spent a lot of time crying. &nbsp;But m&hellip;y birthday was a few days ago, and my friends took me out for a taco night. &nbsp;And it woke me up. &nbsp;I started laughing. &nbsp;I couldn&rsquo;t even remember why I&rsquo;d felt so sad. &nbsp; My life was so much bigger than that job. &nbsp;I&rsquo;m healthy, I live in a wonderful city, and I have a great group of friends. &nbsp;I just lost a small piece of the pie.&rdquo;<br>
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