I was the gay kid everyone beat up on until I was the gay kid that could get you high. Suddenly, I was invited to all the parties; I got hugs in the hallway, the most popular kids started blowing up my phone. They loved me—or they loved what I supplied. Back then, it didn’t matter. I took any kind of friendship I could get.
Eventually, I was caught. I’m nearly thirty now and wondering it was worth it. I still can’t find decent housing; every job interview makes me relive those years, explain and apologize for what I did. Some employers have been okay with it, but kept me at entry-level jobs; other are like, we don’t hire felons. I’d like to go back and tell the 16-year-old me not to do it—but then again, I wouldn’t spend another second in those years for all the money in the world.
I’m damn smart, dedicated, and driven. I’ve worked on shoestring budgets and helped manage massive federal grants. If you could see what I’m capable of, you’d want me on your team. You’d want me to lead your team.