Then she just kind of stopped and looked at me in the eye and said, "You know, you're born how you are, and God made you. Scripture says you're beautifully and wonderfully made." In that moment I realized that God made me who I am.


I was about 10 when I stayed home alone for the first time. I'd already thought by this point in my life that I'd make a beautiful girl. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I could never be a beautiful boy, but I could be a beautiful girl.


Two minutes later I turn around and she's walking towards me and she says here you go and she gave me her number on a EKG strip [laughing] and I still have it. We've been inseparable ever since. Today is our four year anniversary. 


I've never had a man say, "Ariana, I want to be with you. You're the one I want to be with." and that's OK. I think that people when they meet me, or when they see me, they already have this fantasy of what they want...


I got expelled. I ended up going to an alternative high school for two semesters and I was able to get my diploma. Ever since then my mother has been on me about being gay, and how being gay is a sin, and that I'll go straight to hell if I don't repent...


It took my mom about three years to come around and it took my dad six. Living in the Southern Baptist household, it's wrong to be gay. Both my mom and my dad prayed that God would take this away from me, you know? When that didn't happen they finally accepted it.

Tera Leigh

He locked the door behind me. At that moment my heart sank and I realized that something was really wrong here. That moment of impending doom. I ran for the other door in the classroom. He jumped over the desk and locked that door too.


My mom saw something on Facebook that I "liked". Some lesbian page or something, and she emails me. She asked if I was gay. I didn't want to say no again, because this was the third time she'd asked me in my life. At work, I sat there typing the email, crying...


My life changed after that completely. They sent me to a camp in Montana and they beat me and electrocuted me. I fought everybody who touched me. I fought until they had enough, and sent me home. 


I miss that person who was sensitive and  cared about everybody's feelings, but now I don't take no shit from nobody. To go back to that really insecure person that I was... I know a lot today about the child I was. 


 I had just discovered that I had bipolar depression. I just thank God that he brought me through so much. That's why I want to get my poems out there, cause I want to help somebody who been through what I been through. 


My daddy use to drink and get drunk and wanna come home and beat us up, but my mama always took the beatings.


They kept telling me how great it could be in recovery. I thought that it was bullshit. My whole life I'd always heard, once an addict, always an addict. In my mind I was never gonna get any better. Never... I wanted things to get better, but I never knew I could live life without using dope, because I'm an addict. 


I started going to jail when I was like 12. I've been to juvenile like nine times, penitentiaries, all types of shit. I'm 23 now and I've been out of jail two years. Every charge I ever caught was burglary. Breakin' in shit around here, know what I'm sayin'? But I just had a little boy the other day. That's all I think about.


Dad was a gun collector. I went into his house and stole three really nice pistols. My plan was to sell two of them and use the third. I sold the two pistols and I went and got a bottle of Xanax, a bottle of Crown Royal, and some crack. I got in my car, loaded the third gun and put it on the seat. 


You hear about it on the news with people wanting to drown their babies and stuff. It was never like that for me. With my first child, I had a form that was on the other end of the spectrum. I was really obsessed with if I was doing things wrong. 


I was driving through Rainsville, Alabama and I saw a sign that said Addicts 4 Christ. I had heard that there was a bad meth problem in the area and was interested in talking to someone who could tell me  about their experience. I called the number on the sign and connected with Tina.


I believe in God. I believe he has a better place for me, I hope... My faith isn't that strong, but I do hope that there is a better place for me, because nothing could be worse than what I've been through here. 


I found what appeared to be an abandoned trailer park in Luthersville, GA yesterday, so I stopped to explore. As I was driving through, I heard someone holler at me. It was Trena. I told her about the project, and asked if she'd tell me her story. We talked a lot about God and how she felt abandoned by her spiritual family at the local church. 


Atlanta's a great city, man. Every city has it's ups and downs, but for me and my healing process, Atlanta's been a great city. I've been in and out of Grady and Emory hospitals having research done and tests done.