"I'm 17, and I'm a high school senior in rural South Carolina. I'm the Captain of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I'm also the President of my school's Beta Club and a member of the National Honors Society. I identify as Republican along with the rest of my family. I'm also gay.
My parents are EXTREMELY homophobic. My dad has been pressuring me to go out with this one girl, but I can't tell him that I've been dating the boy of my dreams for two months and that he makes me happier than a girl ever could."
"Everyone thinks I'm in recovery from my 13-year battle with bulimia. I spent six months in a treatment center this year fighting it, but it still controls my life. Everyone thinks I have my stuff together, but I'm really just the same. It's assumed that I've made a lot of progress, but I know I am going to die from it."
"I have no idea what these feelings are actually, I just learned how to mimic them at a young age. For a long time, I've suffered from extreme emotional detachment with a borderline personality disorder. I can honestly say, I can't remember what it feels like to be happy or sad, nothing except anger. I have spikes in either direction, but they are suppressed quickly. My general state is numb/neutral, and everything else is a complete lie. I learned to mimic what people expect or want. Also how to appear to be concerned and trustful for people to tell me their secrets. When the whole time I was getting their secrets, so I could hold them over them if they ever found out mine.
Yes, I know what caused it, and I've started treatment. I even had a 'break' where I actually reverted and started feeling emotions and feelings and all that. My girlfriend at the time, all my close friends, and my family knew about the incident and what caused me to revert to actually being able to feel emotions again. Their response? They all complained that I wasn't myself and that they wanted me to get back to 'normal' and stop acting out and start being there for them again. First time in 15 years I actually felt anything, only to be told no one liked me and I wasn't as dependable to them anymore.
Sadly, this leads me to revert to my old ways. Numb is my way of life. Well except for anger. Anger has always been there, always has been, always will be."
"I'm a male-to-female trans girl, and I have come out to my parents and some friends, but because of my family and school situation, I'm stuck living my daily life as a male. I have to hide it from my younger brother and sister, my grandparents, my cousins whom I love but are very prejudiced, and friends that I see every day. I keep telling myself that I'll just wait until I'm living on my own to seek the right therapy and get started on hormone replacement therapy, but I'm not moving towards that goal very quickly at all. Due to depression caused by this, I've had to cut back on the number of classes I'm taking in order to keep myself from failing, which is only dragging out the amount of time for me to get my degree and a good job. It's a hole that I can't dig myself out of."
"When I was in my teens, I ended up dating and having relations with a girl that I knew was younger than myself. At the time, I didn't know she was way younger than me. But I learned quickly after being charged and pleading guilty to statutory.
It's as bad as you imagine trying to live while on the offender registry. No jobs, no life, and everyone is skeptical when you tell them why. People live in fear of you or try to cause you extra trouble.
Want to have a drink with friends? Imagine pulling out your ID at the bar that says 'offender' and ordering a drink. Yeah, its instant hate and trouble from everyone.
Sure, most will say, 'You deserve it!' But it's been so long now, that I ask when are they going to ever let me have peace?
Before it all happened, I had so much going for me. I was excited to start college. I wanted a great job and amazing career. All ruined because of a stupid mistake when I was younger.
When you go to offender 'treatment,' they claim you have some sort of desire that will never be fixed. They treat you as if you are some crazed animal.
In fact, I have no desire to be with a younger person, and I don't find younger girls attractive at all.
I generally don't dwell on it since the past can't be changed. I just do what I can to make the current situation tolerable. The laws constantly change to make things harder for me. They never tell you in advance; it's always a surprise.
I still have faith that one day, I will be able to legally go to court and fix everything."
"I attend university to do obtain Ph.D. where I'm getting a scholarship. The money is great, but it's enough that I can easily survive day to day living and not have to beg on the streets.
The problem is that my entire project is a lie. I came up with an idea I knew was wrong from the very beginning to see if it would get through and everyone accepted it - to the point they were willing to let me study it and pay me to do so.
I've attended conferences, where I talk to other academics about these ideas that I don't believe in and know, are wrong and watch in amazement as they have no idea what I'm talking about, but don't want to look like idiots, so they agree with it.
I had my first-year review for my research and was bluntly told that although they couldn't understand it, it looked so well researched and structured that they were happy to keep it going ahead.
Every day when I come back home from researching at the university, which consists mostly of getting wasted at the campus bar, I sit in my room and worry for hours on end that eventually one person is going to realize that I'm peddling the academic equivalent of the emperor's new clothes.
I tell my family and friends that everything's going perfectly fine because I don't want anyone to know that I'm living in what is essentially a make-believe Ph.D. project that could come crashing down any second."
"I'm getting tired of my relationship with my girlfriend, and there's not a proper time to end it. We're both sophomores in college, living in my parents' house. She's on our car insurance, my parents cosigned for her car, she's on our cell phone plan, and my parents are trying to get her onto our health and dental insurance plan. She's dealing with a lot of stress at work and school, and I can't bring myself to make it worse.
I'm not saying I don't want her to have these things. She has no family left that can support her. When we met, she was struggling with PTSD having barely avoided being assaulted by her physically and verbally abusive step-dad. My entire family adores her and are letting her finally get the things she deserves. I had planned on asking them if it was okay for her to move in, but they told me they were going to ask her to before I could even bring it up. My mom is aware of any of our relationship issues and talks to us both about them."
"I didn't go to high school, though I later got my GED, a Bachelor's degree, and a Masters. During my teens, I was a street kid, a traveler. Just running away from a violent home, like most street kids. Now I'm a professional, I love my work that really benefits people, but I never share my past with co-workers, the public, etc. I just know 'street kid' comes with a lot of assumptions and baggage in the mainstream/middle-class world. I know they'll look at me differently, through their middle-class value tinted glasses, if they knew. So I don't share my past, but also always feel like I'm covering up at work, not completely honest about who I am. All my friends in my personal life know about me, though. They're lovely people who've been on their own strange journeys. Hard to reconcile two completely different worlds."
"My husband has no idea that I am a compulsive gambler. I've lost over 200k from college to my late 20's. I went to rehab for five weeks several years ago. I do not gamble nearly the way I used to, but from time to time if he's out of town or being neglectful, I'll play $50 online. As someone who is supposed to be in recovery, I should not EVER do this. While I keep a grip on it now and seldom mess around with it, I have the potential to ruin us financially of things get out of control again."
"I can grow a full beard and no one knows about it. I am a woman. I've been waxing and plucking almost every day of my life since I was 14. No one knows; I keep it very well hidden. I've tried to tell people, and everyone always assumes I'm joking."
"I don't like where my life is.
I hate my job. It pays very well, and I have two young children, so I can't just change careers and start again. I once wanted to work in a building like the one I am in now. But I now realize it is just full of workplace politics and soul destroying work.
I wish I had never ever become a parent. I hate being a parent. Please note that I do not hate my children. I would take a bullet for either of them, and they live a life of being very loved and well taken care of. They are good kids, too. I just don't want the responsibility, cost, and lack of personal time and space.
I don't like being married to my wife. She is a great person and a fantastic mother, but we are complete opposites, and she has many annoying habits. We get along fine, and as far as she is concerned, I do not think like this. I treat her kindly and am the best husband a man can be (housework, romance, all that crap) because she deserves it, but I would not be bothered in the slightest if she walked out tomorrow.
Yes, these are petty. Yes, I am selfish. Yes, I am an ignorant jerk. I hate myself for it and get intrusive thoughts about killing myself sometimes because of it. I never would, of course, because that would be bad for me to do.
But that's the lie I live and the bed I have made."
"Most people don't know that I have scoliosis, and as a result, have two titanium rods along my spine. I look and walk completely normal, but I do have a long scar on my back as a result. The surgery was done when I was 15 years old. It was an eight-hour long procedure, and I was in the hospital for a week. I was out of school for a few months, so I was home tutored during that time, and I even took the state mastery tests at home.
The reason I don't tell everyone is that I don't want to be singled out. I'm not looking for charity. I'm not handicapped. The only restriction I have is I can't play contact sports. Oh, and I can't touch my toes when I'm standing. I used to be in gymnastics, but I don't think my body can bend like that anymore!"
"I'm 25, and I lie to my parents about my social life. See, they're both outgoing people with tons of close friends and acquaintances, and all of my siblings are similar. I'm more of a loner. I have a few close friends I see once every couple of weeks, but that's it.
So a few years ago, my parents sat me down and had a long talk with me about how they were worried that I was depressed because I didn't really go out for anything besides work, and didn't seem to have any friends. No matter how much I tried to convince them that I was fine, they refused to believe me. So I said screw it. I started making up friends/dates/activities. I would make a point of getting dressed up on Friday/Saturday nights, and then just go do something by myself.
I don't live with my parents anymore, but we speak on the phone and see each other frequently, so I've kept the charade up. I'll drop by their house to say hi and mention that I'm on my way somewhere. Or feign being hungover at a family event so that I can spin a tale about a wild party I went to. Most of the time I'm either home or at the bookstore.
This has been going on for years, and I've never gotten caught in a lie. They just don't understand that I'm not as social as they are and I have no idea how to make them understand, so I lie."
"My parents think I'm doing well in college. In reality, I'm no longer attending classes and I don't intend on returning next semester. I was a high achiever in high school. The course I am enrolled in at college requires a final score of 99.8%. However, I've grown increasingly tired of my lot in life.
The last six months, I have been familiarizing myself with all parts of commercial 'Mary Jane' production, and am about to commence my first commercial grow.
I didn't want to sit in college for another three years to get a degree which means I work for the government for the rest of my life earning scraps while others laugh and dine on plates worth hundreds each.
I've grown tired of being looked down on by everyone. I've grown tired of being stuck in the class I was born in. I've grown tired of seeing untalented, stupid people drive to college in a car their parents bought them, while I, on the other hand, am forced to take government assistance. It makes me feel less of a man.
I've realized success isn't determined by birth. These jerks don't have an inherent right to have more money than me. It's about who wants it the most. And I want it the most.
The way I see it, legalization is just around the corner in the western world. And when it happens, the big companies will come in and take all the money. This will be the last decade in which someone like me can make a ton of money by essentially putting a seed in the ground and waiting for it to grow. Never again will an activity so lacking in immorality be so lucrative.
I haven't told anyone about this."
"I met my current wife a few years ago. On our first date, she asked what I did for a living. I lied and said that I was working for a financial firm that manages foreign assets. Things progressed pretty fast, and the more we spent our time together, the more complicated my lies became. So I actually needed a high paying job that could accommodate my new 'living' style. I faked graduating college (I actually dropped out), faked getting a business degree, actually landed a job in the financial sector. (apparently, they don't really check your academic records) At my job interview, they wanted an interview through Skype. They asked series of questions that I basically had no clue about, I googled everything and got the job. After two years working there, I got an even better job in another firm, and because of my experience, I actually know enough to do my job. I miss my freelancing days."
"As an Asian-American born in South Korea, I don't have one culture I fit in very well with. I am not really Asian, but being a recent immigrant, I don't feel American. Because Asian culture is so scattered in the United States, it's hard to fit in. A lot of my issues stem from trying to find my identity and place. There are days where I greatly resent being Asian without growing up in an Asian family. And there are days where I resent being an American and growing up in the United States. For me, racism and cultural insensitivity against Asians is something that bothers me, but I don't let it get to me because my reaction to it, is much, much different than many others. I am simply uncomfortable being Asian in the United States and that has only grown as I get older. The cultural stereotypes I tend to play off as jokes but inside, it really, really makes me uneasy because I don't know who I am."
"I'm failing university and my family thinks I'm doing fine. I went into IT out of high school because I had no idea what I wanted. I liked computers, so I thought I'd give it a try. Now I'm failing because I hate it, and I feel so pathetic for wasting two years of my life. I can't keep doing it, but I don't know what else to do.
There's nothing I'm good at, nothing I want to do. I'm lazy and have no motivation. I know all of my flaws, but I can't motivate myself to improve. I feel like I've created all my own problems, so they shouldn't be anyone else's problem. I never talk to anyone about anything really.
I feel like I don't have a place in this world. I'd kill myself, but my family and friends love me too much. I keep imagining my mother sobbing and holding my lifeless body. I know this should convince me to not hate myself so much, but it doesn't.
I just have no idea what to do with myself."
"Like a lot of people, I pretend to be happy. But the problem is, I have to. My family is falling apart because my dad has stage 4 cancer in multiple places, and I'm supposed to be the strong one. Everyone is saying how I'm the one holding this family together and how happy my dad is because of it. I hear it every day. But I'm ready to give up and end it all. I have A LOT of problems in my life other than my dad, and the weight of it all is just too much. I'm supposed to be the one supporting people, but I feel like I have no support for myself. It's tough to act happy when I'm not happy at all."
"My significant other of 10 years physically abused me for seven of those years. I finally went to the police a week ago. I'm still lying about it, telling my family that he 'tried' to hurt me this time, and it was the first time he'd ever made any attempt. In fact, he's choked me so badly I thought I was going to die. More than once. And I got really good at covering up bruises and scratches."
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