Life wasn’t easy growing up in Catonsville, Maryland.

Life wasn’t easy growing up in Catonsville, Maryland.

It’s a suburb of Baltimore. I lived there until I was nine or ten years old.

Dad was a bricklayer. He worked in construction.

Mom worked for Noxell, a perfume and chemical company that few people have heard of but they own big brands like Noxema and CoverGirl.

We lived on McCurley Avenue, which was really a bunch of white people living in an otherwise all-black neighborhood.

My parents divorced when I was nine or ten.

My best and only friend was another kid about my age. He lived next door to me. His name was Mark.

We used to do everything together but then Mark was sent away to a mental institution.

My Mom and I ended up moving to Glen Burnie, a suburb of Annapolis.

And that’s where I remember finally breathing easy.

Gradually, things got better.

I felt free.

I felt like I had possibilities.

Little did I know I still had a long road ahead of me.

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