The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew

from a crack in the concrete?

Proving nature's law is wrong it

learned to walk with out having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams,

it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete

when no one else ever cared.

                                      -Tupac Shakur

The images that you see in the side panels, of yours truly, are where it all started. They're photos of the decisions that I made that seemed so small and insignificant back then, that would shape the rest of my life and change me forever. For most, they seem like the typical early 2000s photos of poor quality from terrible cameras and over editing that have withstood the test of time, but it was a true challenge, for me emotionally, to go searching for them.

Of course, in the majority of them, you see me smiling. You see a light in my eyes that would never lead you to believe that I was filled with darkness. You would never begin to imagine the tears and how often they fell and flowed down my cheeks. 

You'd never think about how many times I had to use my own arms to hold myself together when everything around me was crumbling and on the inside, I was truly broken with no idea how to be fixed. At that time, there was no light at the end of the tunnel and I refused to believe that there was any hope in sight. At that time, I hadn't gotten the chance to learn that it does get better. By now, you know what happened 12 years ago. This is what I saw when I woke up every single day when I looked in the mirror when I was at my lowest and darkest. Those were the eyes staring back at me as I waited to slip from this life and into the next and it's haunted me ever since. To put it simply, this is why I hate my face. This is why I've been waiting patiently every single day for the last 12 years to age and change.

All of it still blows my mind. Especially the picture in the pink hat, which was taken only days before. It's the weakest and fakest smile that I've ever painted on my face. But now, with everything that I've built and where I am today, all of these images serve as my reminder. I was so young and filled with so much sorrow that I anxiously prayed for death every time I opened my eyes. And one day, "It gets better," finally clicked. Something in my brain made it all make sense. So now, here I am. These photos are the reminders behind all of these words.