Man, what a milestone this was in my life. My high school graduation. I know what you’re thinking. It’s just high school, no big deal!

But for me, it was an major accomplishment. The only thing of value I owned at the time was the $65 gold ring on my finger. That sweater I had on belonged to my older brother, who didn’t even know I had it. I was wearing a $20 pair of shoes from Payless that I begged my mother to loan me the money for. More importantly, I was living on my own in an apt I couldn’t afford, working at Casual Male Big and Tall, and Super Stop & Shop at the same time.

My thoughts in this picture were “I made it. What am I going to do now?” “Damn, I don’t have anything in the fridge at home, I have no money until next payday, I’m hungry, and I refuse to ask my family for sh*t!” My friend hugging me in this picture thought my tears were from happiness, but they were from frustration and fear! My point in saying all of this is, I WILL NEVER FEEL THAT WAY EVER AGAIN! As long as I’m breathing, I will always find a way to survive. Not by being phony, kissing ass, or playing into politics. But because I’m a beast in full survival mode. My job as a parent isn’t to be a friend to my children. My job is to make sure that they survive in this jungle called life unscathed by any means necessary. Know thy enemy!