I grew up in a tough neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, and I developed an emotional callus to protect myself from pain. Being surrounded by people with negative coping skills, always walking around on red alert, I felt numbed by violence that most other people would be shocked by.

Even then I was a happy person, but it wasn’t appropriate to show it. If you’re really happy in certain areas where I’m from, you become a target. You have to be careful about what you express and when you express it. I was in so much pain because of that.

Read the full story ►