People don’t see me.
I love music, knowledge, and my dog, Flash. He really is my best friend. Friendly, loyal, and the smartest dog there is. Yep, he’s been with me through the worst times. I’d say he’s the only reason I’m still alive, but that’s a story for another time.
I always got good grades. I graduated at the top of my class. I am a classically trained pianist, and I sometimes dabble on the guitar. I’m a nice guy. I treat people with the respect they deserve. I keep to myself and have never been in trouble. I work hard and support myself. I may not have much, but what I do have is mine. I am all of these things, but people still do not see me. They take one look at me and think they know me. They’ve judged me before even speaking to me, treating me according to how society says they should treat me.
I am not a monster. I’m not a predator. I’m not looking for trouble, and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone. But, that is exactly the way I am portrayed, and people buy it.
I cannot change who I am, and frankly, I don’t want to. I shouldn’t have to. I’m not a chameleon. I am Kai Stringer. I may not be the best version of myself right now, but I am who I am. My skin, my dreams, my values. They all make me who I am, and none of them are changing.
When you’re alone in the world, you tend to believe everyone is against you. Sometimes I still feel that way, but I know there are good people in the world. Some of them live right here in this neighborhood.
When tragedy strikes, and you become a mere shadow of the person you used to be, you find out who your real friends are. I can’t even say I consider these two as friends, but they are the epitome of “good neighbors.” They see me as the good man that I am. I’ve been ok for a few years now, but they still come by to check on me every now and then. I appreciate it, and Flash does too.
I can’t do anything about how people perceive me. I can only continue being the good person I’ve always been. Most importantly, I can continue to not let the actions of others govern how I live my life. It’s hard. Really hard. But, unless I want to become who they think I am, it’s all I can do.