At lunch today, my son mentioned not being the popular one at school. I told him I never want to be the popular one because it was the popular kids that bullied me or beat me up.

Afterward, I mentally dug through my head to realize that those times helped turn me into who I am today. I love being the underdog. I love going my own path. I love breaking the rules. I love standing out. I love saying fuck you to authority. It’s why I listen to the loud, crazy, unpopular music I do and why my photo-style of being VIBRANT yet dark isn’t popular. It’s me. It’s who I am. Fuck the trends.⁠

So thank you to the kids in middle school and high school that put me into a corner to punch my stomach. Thank you to the football jock who slapped my face with a handful of icy hot and left my face with a hand print for the entire day. Thank you to the bullies who convinced teachers I started shit and got me in trouble. Thank you to the kids that stole my money and forced me to give them the answers to homework. Thank you to the jock who tried to touch my penis without permission.⁠

These “popular” people helped make me who I am today. They helped me to become a compassionate person. I don’t search for popularity. I search for reason, purpose, and self-expression.