I felt my brother take his last breath.

He was shot. I held him. They put him in the ambulance. Then he was pronounced dead. I was 16 years old.

My brother's passing was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life. My brother and I were thick as thieves, but my father was a big time drug dealer and he wanted to be like my dad. When I say big time, I mean the SWAT team busting through our door when I was 10...and then again when I was 13. 

It's the worst, you know, having that reputation on your family, everyone knowing your father and always wanting something. So then with my brother, he killed someone, then someone killed him. That's how it goes. I knew it was gonna happen, too. I felt it. I would argue with my dad and say, "if you keep him on the path he's on he's gonna be dead in the next month." But they didn't do anything to save him. And that's why I can't talk to my grandpa, grandmother, or any of them 'cause I just feel like, if they would have played the right role in his life, things could have been different. It couldn't just be me tryna steer him the right way, you know.

I was one of the worst students you could ask for.

At the time, I was in high school a little outside of New Orleans and I was one of the worst students you could ask for. I was awful. Since I was going through so much, I was just acting out, trying to find an outlet. I used to just come to school and terrorize who I wanted to. Now I realize it was wack of me, but it's just what I did to deal with everything. Like, I got banned form jefferson parish schools at one point. I went to an alternative school and got kicked out of was awful. I also kinda had a problem with authority figures and I've always felt like whatever you give me, I give it back. So if you give me nice, great, I'll give you nice. But if not, you'll see. One teacher told me I'd never be anything in life, so that's when she and I got into a little scuffle. And I regret all of that because I see some people today  they go the other way, they still think I'm like that. But then they talk to me and realize, wow, she's really changed. Luckily I've matured and now I try to apologize when I see someone I treated badly. 

I guess I've always had a slick mouth because growing up wasn't easy. We don't come from the ghetto, but it wasn't no suburbs, either. I've always had to do everything on my own and I've never really been able to depend on anybody because I felt like they were gonna let me down. I know I was really bad, but the teachers who really got where I was coming from and that I let in, I still talk to them 'til this day.

And through all of that, you know, pain...there was always laughter.

If you're wondering if they found the person who killed my brother, yeah they did. He wasn't even hiding. He wanted it to be known because it was a revenge thing. If you're wondering if the pain is still there now that I'm 25, yeah it is. I don't wish it on my worst enemy. I always had a lot of fun with my brother, there was always a lot of laughter. Through the struggle and pain of growing up, we really had each other's backs.

Even though I don't really talk to him now, I wish my father had gotten his life together. It's like, he gets out of jail, then boom, he goes right back in again because he can't do nothing but sell drugs. And he's a really intelligent person, he is...but that's all he knows. So to me it's like, I don't really have a father. He's even out now, probably crying somewhere about our relationship, but whereas all of his other children beg for his attention, I don't need him in my life.