I was born in 2007, in Peshawar, a city in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. My mother is a housewife and my father owns a grocery store. When I hear my parents talk about money, it does not seem stressful, so I don’t worry. I have my own worries.

Waking up has always been hard for me. The sun is always so bright, and it shoots into my eyes if I do so much as crack one lid open, so I like to keep them shut. I don’t care so much if I miss school, because I would get…

Lying in a steaming bath-tub, water lapped against my naked body. The pressure of the clear liquid surrounding me made the bruises on my hips ache, the heat made my head foggier than a dock at sunrise. This was the twenty-seventh time, yet I was still with him. I sunk under the waves and wet my hair. “Why am I so afraid to leave?” I opened my eyes and looked through the muddled water. The light above the tub shone bright, rippling shards of light scattered out of reach. Through all the haze in my brain, the one lighthouse I…

From Georgia to Germany

to South Korea

to Vietnam

to Saudi Arabia,

it was a love where distance was irrelevant.

I was born January 18, 1974, in Spokane (now Spokane Valley), Washington. I suppose that at the beginning I had a fairly normal toddlerhood, meaning I grew, I learned, I tried to get into trouble and all that.

My parents had no idea anything was wrong with me when I was born in 1984 in Singapore. In fact, I seemed perfectly normal until about age four. That’s when I began walking on my toes with a sort of limp, as if I were to topple over at any second. With concerning stares, they scooped me up and took me to the doctor.

Turns out, I was born with a physical disability called spastic diplegia that was just coming to the surface. The disability made the muscles in my legs lock up to keep me from walking normally. There…

I was born July 22, 1996 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. I grew up feeling like an only child, as my siblings were much older. My relationship with my siblings was good, but I didn’t see them very much. And for that reason, my parents were my best friends. They taught me to be adventurous and ambitious, raising llamas and bison on our hobby farm in southeastern Minnesota. When I was really little, Mom was my go-to. As I got older, Dad became my world.

On March 16th, 1993, I was born and became another inconvenience to add to my parents’ list. My father left my hometown of Harrison, Arkansas when I was still a baby and never came back to us, and my mother’s on-again-off-again relationship with drugs eventually had me living with my maternal grandparents by age three.

As I grew up, it became clear that most of my mom’s family harbored unwarranted resentment toward me because of their distaste of her. Hard to blame. My grandma, however, always made me feel welcome. She was the only one I felt close to. …

Quirky and awkward. That’s how most people saw me in middle school and high school. I was the big kid with clumsiness in his DNA, who spent most of his time in front of the TV playing video games. But the people who made fun of me didn’t realize why my eyes stayed glued to the screen for hours and hours. In the fictional worlds of video games, I was confident and invincible, things I rarely felt when I put the controller down.

Like some girls do, I used to dream of my marriage. On this day, I imagined myself in a white dress, surrounded by the people I love. I would fix my gaze on that of my dear and tender. This man — tall, slender, and a young, beautiful complexion of black ebony. Our first acquaintance would have taken place at the university, in which we would be there to study medicine, and all our days together would lead to this scene. We would then be a family, a structure. We would have children and raise them with love. We would…

My life began in 1967 in Long Island, New York. My dad was always in my peripheral vision, but as a busy musician, he never really stayed long enough for me or my older sister to get to know him well until I was a teenager. I spent the majority of my childhood with my mother, who when I was 10, married my stepdad.

I have two images of my stepdad.

One is of a gorgeous, snowy day. It is of me spotting a glistening pine cone in a nearby tree, just out of reach right before my stepdad graciously…

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