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Angel in Disguise
Some say the grass is greener on the other side, but for me it’s been nothing but weeds and holes. I’m Johnathan, I'm from downtown Albany, NY and this is my story. I've lived through darker days and rainy nights always wondering if I'll ever see the light. Ever since I was young, I've dealt with so much pain, I've lived through so much, I lost who I was and since then everything went downhill for me. The pain was too much for me.
I attempted suicide once, trying to end all of the pain and suffering I was going through and ended up in the hospital. My younger sister, Angel attempted the same coping method to escape her problems. Little did I realize that my actions were affecting my lil sister and I didn’t want her to go through the same problems I was having. Being that I was a sexual assault survivor it’s hard to not want to just...end it, but I can’t let my lil sis try the same thing in order to stay with me. After all, who would stop her? That’s why I've decided to stay. I talked to Angel and told her everything was going to be okay. My parents looked at me and were in shock when I told them about my sexual assault. My sister was crying and held onto me. The feeling that I shared with her was mutual pain, agony, and at the same time, relief. She is my main reason I'm still here. She looks up to me and I want to make sure she is safe, more so that I needed to make sure she was safe. The doctor comes into my hospital room and tells me that I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. He recommends me to a therapist to speak to. I accepted it and now I’m looking forward to seeing this through; not only for me, but for Angel.
She was my angel in disguise.
Alcohol in Paris
You wanna know what scuffs my timbs? Alcohol Poisoning. Just like this one time I remember, ight so boom. My name’s Paris. I'm a 20-year-old college student. I'm a star shooting guard for the UAlbany b-ball team. Lately, I've been slacking in class. I had a promising future in basketball but that all changed when I met Julissa.
She was the most beautiful girl on campus and I wanted her. I'd do anything for this girl. I even drank with her one night I knew I shouldn’t. She dragged me into this party and peer-pressured me into doing a lot of drugs and introduced me to a lot of girls ...But I’m not complaining about that. Long story short I ended up getting way too drunk, slipped and tore my ACL.
All I remember is passing out and waking up to the doctor telling me that my stomach got pumped. Ever since I tore my ACL I can't play no ball anymore but I’m still with my team cheering them on. Now I'm a straight A student in my classes, stopped skipping, and work a PT job.
Hey, my name is Felica and I’m from Woodlawn in Schenectady. I’ll be a sophomore at the High in the Fall. I started seeing Jamal last year in December. He was the sweetest guy I ever been with, always texting me good morning and goodnight and always calling me beautiful. I felt like a princess when I was around him. After a couple months, we started having sex. Things were good, and I trusted him. He started asking for me to send him nude pics when we weren’t together. I figured since we already fucked it wasn’t a big deal, so I sent him a few. A few weeks later, it all went to shit when I found out he had showed his bro the pics. I was tight! I couldn’t believe he would do that to me, so I told him we were done. Jamal got so mad that he went and shared my pics with EVERYONE. They were on Facebook, Snapchat…and everyone was talking shit about me. I was so humiliated and lost all of my self- esteem. Even our neighbors told my parents about it…It was a nightmare. I loved him, I trusted him, and he exposed me. I don’t care how close I get to someone, I might send sexy pics sometimes, but no one is ever getting nude pics of me again!
Hey, I'm Jordan. I'm 17 and I live in Schenectady. I've had real bad anxiety for as long as I can remember. Last year, my doc gave me Xanax to help with the panic attacks. I started out prescribed a football a day, and eventually moved up to 2 bars. I still couldn't get enough. I kept needing more, and more to get me chill, so I started buying it from people. One night, while I was babysitting my 6 year old sister I realized my stash was low, and I wasn't gonna make it to the next day. My mom was out, and I wasn't going that far, so I left my sister watching TV in the living room while I went to get the plug. When I got back, my sis wasn't in the living room any more. I found her in my room, and she had gotten into some of my pills. She ate some of the pills thinking they were candy. I was so scared. I called 911, and thank god they came because they said my sis could have died. I realized than that my problem was bigger than just me. My need for drugs had almost gotten my sister killed. I asked my mom to help me get into a treatment program. It wasn't easy to ask for help, but I feel so much better knowing that a bottle of pills will no longer have control of me.
The Fast Lane
Hey, I’m Ronnie and I go to Schenectady High School. Track is my life…I feel like I am truly alive when I’m out there runnin’. I got a full scholarship to Syracuse for track and damn, was I happy as hell. Me and my girl went all out celebratin’ and shit and that’s when my life got real fucked up. I was high on life when I got that scholarship, cause without it college wasn’t an option for me…that night we went hard. Henney Bottles, blunts, the works. We ended up in the bedroom at my boys crib and my girl, she wanted to fuck, and she didn’t want to use no condom. I wasn’t thinkin right, guess my adrenaline was pumpin, so I went along with it. We had a great night, but damn, if she didn’t turn up pregnant some weeks later. Life is waaaayyyy different for me now that I got a kid on the way. I wont be headed to Syracuse this fall, cause I’m gonna stay back and be a father to my kid. Maybe community college in a year or two. Man, that night was fun, and kids are cool and all, but a condom would have saved me from having to give up my dream. And if I could go back, I would in a heartbeat.
Hi. My name is Kiana, and I’m a senior at Cohoes High School. One day, me and my friend Makaylia wanted to smoke, but our usual dealer was dry. Mayalia said she knew a guy with fire bud. We walked to his house and he asked us if we wanted to smoke. We sat in his living room and I passed the blunt. After a few hours, I wasn’t feeling right. At first I started feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach, and then it got really bad. I started seeing shit that wasn't there. The world around me was moving, but it felt like I was frozen. Later, I woke up in the hospital. Doctors told me I went into a drug induced psychosis. The weed was laced with K2. Makayla swore she knew nothing about it. I never knew that smoking weed could have that kind of consequence. I'm not ready to quit smoking yet, but I never want that to happen again. So me and Makaylia made a pact that we must know and trust our sources or we don't buy. Don’t make the same mistake I did. If you're not ready to quit, know your source so you don't end up in the hospital like I did.
Yo I swear I can't stand these THOTs out here. This girl is really trying to trap ta bro! Im Jamal. I stay over on 4th by CYO. Im never home though. I ball every day after school at Prospect or the Y. We leaving the court and Nya hit my inbox like "come through I got the free crib" so you already know what that means. Im over there getting ready to do my thing and she told me I don't need to use a condom. I was real tempted to hit it raw. I did it with other girls in the past and it was great. But I don't know her like that and I don't wanna get something so I used one anyway. A couple weeks later im out here with the team and Ray walk up looking sour! He said Nya told him she was 2 months pregnant and she keeping it no questions asked. If that was me man I don't know what I would do. I got a future, can't have no kids running around. And to think I almost took that down without a condom! In fact im about to head to Real Talk right now to get some more Mags. That's my word. Imma stay strapped up, you don't even know it..
My name is Laisohn. I parlay on the south side, but I hang out downtown with my niggas on 4th ave by "I love." We out here chillin and im bagging chicks all day. I send her a couple of texts, next thing you know she in my bed. I would always raw dog it when I smash. Why not? I fuck wit bad chicks that look clean, smell clean, no complaints. Me and tha bro Tahmell was at this project X type party. That shit was live. I saw this one bad joint I was too anxious, I just had to smash. So I took her into my bro room and she was pen. But then she asked if I had a condom? Im like nah I never do. This broad pushed me off her and started going in! Talking about how I could get some shit called the monster, how you can't tell if a person had something by looking at them! Long story short she blew my shit and I didn't smash. But she really got me thinking about using condoms. I guess it can't be that bad. Better than getting burnt.
I go to Troy High. Im 17 years old. The first time I picked up a blunt I was 13 and it's been wake and bake ever since. I live on 9th street near Hoosick but go all the way up to this corner on Fulton to get my dutches cuz they got em for cheap. My name is Tiana and there is nothing like getting high! My friend are always trying to get me to stop smoking but I tell them stop dick riding. Smoking week aint never hurt anybody. So we all at the movies mad early watching these boring ass previews and one comes on that got my attention. This chick woke up on the couch and it looked like it was a crazy ass party the night before. Her panties were around her legs and she had bruises on her neck and arms. Shorty was all fucked up in the game. She was looking extra confused. I mean that's what happens when you can't handle your liquor right? Then a message popped up. She wasn't drunk. She was high and got raped!!! I couldn't believe it, like really tho?? And im thinking like damn that really could have been me tho. Maybe next tie my friends start going in about me smoking I will listen to what they have to say.
My name is Maribel but my boyfriend calls me Madi and he is everything. Im 14 and I been living on 23rd st off Hoosick my whole life. I spend most of my time with my friends at Troy YMCA watching my boyfriend play ball. We have been together for a whole year now and he's the only one I've ever been with. I know he's not messing wit anyone but me so we have no reason to use a condom. But one day I went through his phone and saw all these naked pics and messages from other girls. I asked if he was fucking around wit any of them. He puts it on everything that im his number one. I don't want to catch anything but I don't want him to leave me either. I am not the kind of person who is going to be made to look stupid. Im really thinking we should use condoms and it's either my way or the highway.
Not Sure Pt. 1
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Hi, I’m a middle school student at Mount Pleasant in Schenectady. Seems like you’re not somebody unless you gotta boo thang and I’ll be honest, it’d be cool. Only problem with that is I don’t get as much attention from the guys as other girls do, but that’s Gucci because I don’t really fucks with everybody anyway. But the strangest thing happened. This guy slipped me a note in Spanish class saying he was feeling me. All of a sudden I’m getting attention from more guys and even more girls wanting to be my friend, not to mention this is dude is so good to me, I think I’m in love...
Hello, My name is Jemel Jackson and I am 15 years old. I live in Troy, New York. So recently I had a gambling addiction to go buy weed, and I played dice for some singles all the time on the block. I have ti gamble to get money 'cause it's hard to get money at my age. Don't know how to write a resume, or fill out a job application. But I had to stop gambling because my friend Hector got jumped due to owing money from gambling, they even took his shoes! I got freaked out and decided to gamble one a week, so now I don't gamble as much, still got my weed, and I have time to focus on school.
Cutting Low on the Shmoke
Yo, it's Rayquan aka Raymoney. I'm 18 years old. I love to smoke weed. Wherever I can, but I usually smoke in my backyard in Troy, where I can relax. Tell me why one day I was chilling like a villain and a commercial popped up talking about some smoking weed can mess up your heart. Bro I was like, what stop playing, like the tv can hear me. So, I'm like I'm going to cut down on smoking because I am still young, But you know me, I got friends who smoke every day and they ask me to smoke and most of the time I say yes. Yes, I still smoke, but not as much because I'm not tryna die young. I used to smoke four times a day and now I smoke twice a day.
Thinking About My Past
Hi my name is Brittany, I'm 17 and live in Troy. My school asked 4 girls to talk about things that happened to us that weren't so good when we were around 7-8 years old. I got written up because I refused to participate and would fight a lot. I later decided to talk about everything. I told them about the sexual assault, and how because of it I began fighting, beating people up in school. I looked at the empty faces in the room and the teacher asked if they had any questions. I told the girls this happened till the age of 10. I learned from this day I don't have to be so angry. I don't have to argue and fight as much and I can talk to people now and understand my pain is not what defines me.
Let me tell ya my story. I am Tiara. I am 16 and I am from Arbor Hill in Albany NY... Aight so BOOM one day I went to this party with my girls. So, me and my friends linked at my house and we snuck some of my mom's liquor and got lit on "jenny" and then we headed to the party. So now I'm at the party and now this fine valid dark skin look at me, so I'm looking at him and he gives me that look "licks his lips" and comes over to talk to me. He hands me some "jenny" but my friends tell me not to drink it but fuck it I just got litt. So next thing you know I wake up at this man's house, so I got dressed left his shit went home and got in the shower. Next thing you know my friend texted me with some bullshit talking about go look at Marcus's snap, so I go to look and I'm all over his snapchat. So I texted him and bugged on him and told him to take it down, he said that wan't even him who posted it but my n***** be lying.... Now that shows me to slow down on the drinking cause these bum ass N*****!!! I'm not gonna be on no one's snap!
Take a Stand
Hey, I’m Chris and this is my story about how I realized how much damage words can cause. I’ve seen lots of bad shit happen in my life, lots of violence…I’m only 15, but I grew up on the Hill in Schenectady and things can be really crazy out there. So I never thought you could actually really hurt somebody just by the shit you said to them. I play with everyone … nobody is safe… I mean, I’m joking!!! Or at least I thought people knew I was. I came home yesterday and my lil’ sis, who’s only 12 is sitting on the couch bawling, I mean she was seriously crying. I asked her what’s wrong and she said some girls at school made fun of the way she talked. She said she wanted to die, that’s how bad it was. Man, she was so upset, it got me tight! I started thinkin’ that maybe when I play with people at school and make fun of ‘em for bein’ different and stuff, maybe they get sad too, like my sister. I wanted to kick my sisters’ bullies’ ass, but then I realized I was one of them. I’m gonna’ cool it on the joking and playin’…I never wanna’ make somebody feel like they wanna’ die over some stupid thing I said. Words can be violent too.
Hey I'm Josh and this is my story... I'm from Troy, go to Troy high and I'm 16 years old. There are a lot of people in high school who have unprotected sex. I have unprotected sex cause my girlfriend doesn't want to use a condom - it feels better to her without one. But I want to start using condoms because my friend Carter just got an STD from unprotected sex, and I don't want one like him! I want to start having sex once a week and use condoms. I talked to my baby and said, I think we should use condoms so we don't get STDs and she agrees. So unlike Carter, now I don't have to worry about STDs!