Artist Statement.

I believe photography is all about telling a story. I think that people perceive photography to be all about glamour, fashion, magazines, and perfection. But what is “perfection,” a utopia doesn’t exist. I think that people should see beyond this idea of perfection, and realize the harsh realities that life brings to us. I think there are more important issues in the world that need to be evaluated, so I bring that to you in a photograph. There is nothing to read, just see and embrace. I want to evoke emotion out of my viewer.


I chose this photograph because it deals with situations that I am interested in communicating. I like showing the viewer things outside of the “norm.” I believe that photography is all about telling a story. There are real issues in the world that we, as a community, tend to refrain from talking about as often as we should. Some examples include rape, abuse, neglect, and economic hardship. Today’s society portrays things in a “sugar coated” way. When most people think photography, they think fashion, magazine, beauty, and perfection. But what is perfection? There is no “perfect” world; a utopia does not exist. As a photographer, I believe in showing people what’s really out there through my photos. Although the scenes I create may be staged, it doesn’t mean that situations like that are not out there. What I bring to the table is something different from this idea of “perfection.” I expose the real situations behind what everyone perceives our society to be, and challenge viewers to really think about the emotion behind every photograph I take. Discovering my passion for photography has really played a huge role in my life. Prior to my senior year of high school I thought I would pursue a career in music. I never really cared about school and doing work, because it never interested me. I found it boring and useless. It wasn’t until my junior year when I found something in school that I truly loved. It was photography. Photography gave me an opportunity to actually show who I am as a person and artist that music couldn’t. I was now able to stage and create things without the boundaries that I had with music. I later found myself taking classes at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, to help further my knowledge of photography. With that I eventually gained an internship with a successful commercial photographer. Now I enjoy working, and school so much more because I am involved with photography and art. This photograph was the photo that helped me develop my idea, and the words to express that idea.

Things I Wish To Eat This Summer...

fuck dieting. i can only have one cheat meal a week, but i want to get all the good food in while i’m near the city.

1. Joe’s Shanghai

2. Southern Food. real southern food.

3. Mac & Cheese.

4. Hispanic Food (papusas!)

5. Breakfast. anywhere with sick pancakes.

6. Italian. Little Italy all the way.

7. anything amazing.


Welcome to my creative writing/photoblog! I hope you enjoy what you read and see. Within a semester of my senior year I have composed a variety of pieces for you to read and look at. Viewer desecration is advised. Just kidding haha. But in all seriousness, I have worked hard to create what I have to show you. I have “bled on paper.” I have brought the stories of my personal life to you. Weather it be my family, friends, relationships, or my personal photos. I hope you can get a glimpse of who I am and what I’m all about through this blog. If you have any questions, or just have a comment or anything please don’t be shy! I’m a shy person, trust me I know how it feels (your heart races, your palms get clammy etc.) Just press the ‘ask’ button on my page and let me know what you think! :) Thank you and enjoy!! And now a little letter for Mr. Weinstein.

Mr. Weinstein,

Thank you for an awesome semester! I enjoyed creative writing a lot, and I found it to be very therapeutical. I never though that writing could help me relieve stress as easily as it had. I know I didn’t really participate much in class, so it might have also been hard to really get to know me, but I hope you see who I am through my photographs, and my writing. I think that encouraging students to “bleed on paper” is a good thing! (Well not literally of course!) But it really is, because not only do you as the reader get to know a person on a more personal level, but it also motivates the writer to actually come out of their shell and be more expressive with themselves. I think it’s a great thing. I also think the flow of workshop days and learning days are really good, because as students we don’t want to be lectured, or have to take notes everyday. Giving us time to free write and jot down our thoughts is something I personally looked forward to everyday.

However I know I didn’t hand in as much work as I did last quarter. I didn’t realize that though until I check your book with mine. As I sat there and thought to myself “Damn how come it feels like I turned in a lot?” I realized that it was because of the effort I had put into my work that made me feel that way. I had put so much thought, and effort into the work that I handed in that it felt like I handed in a lot more, when in reality I didn’t. For the semi minute amount of work handed in, I think it was somewhat successful in my eyes. It’s something I’m proud to put my name on. But if I had not taken this class I would not have been able to produce, or even have the guts to write half of what I wrote. So I commend you Mr. Weinstein, you are a great teacher, and a great person (ignore Sarah’s letter haha). Thank you! :)

-Emilie F.


I think I’ve made my choice!

  1. I’m sorry mother. I’m sorry that I will not be attending 1 of the 2 colleges you would like me to go to. I’ve been accepted that should satisfy you enough. I understand that it’s name is more well known than that of my choice, but I refuse to go to a place where I will be unhappy, and probably transfer out of thus wasting money.
  2. I’m sorry again mother. I’m sorry that I will not be attending 2/2 colleges you would like me to go to. Although the acceptance doesn’t come out till March/April, I know I have already gotten in, since my boss/mentor is the head of photography and photography admissions at that school. I know you want me to go to this school because of it’s name, and the fact that it’s a SUNY (State University of New York). But it will be of no benefit to me. Since it is a state school I will not get the individual attention I want. And class sizes will be quite large. In fact I do not do well in large classes, thus resulting in poorer grades. You knew this was a safety school; And I did in fact spend a summer there…a summer in which I did not enjoy at all. I was miserable, aside from the friends I had made. The only positive was walking from Penn station every morning down ‘Fashion Ave’ to get to class with an Iced Latte from starbucks in had. I enjoyed it during the summer…but school will not take place during the summer…
  3. I’m sorry dad. I’m sorry I did not apply to the school you wanted me to apply to oh so badly. I understand that you are an alumni, and that it is an extremely prestigious art school. But you have to understand, both you and mom actually. I love New York City, more than anything, I want to live in Brooklyn one day. But I don’t want to study here. I hate school, I don’t want to associate a place I love with a place I hate. It may sound stupid but it’s true. I also don’t want to overdo NYC. When I come to visit I want it to be and OMG I MISS YOU experience.
  4. I’m sorry me. I’m sorry I put myself through all this stress of waiting for college acceptances or whatnot. I’m sorry I had to go through that because I didn’t try hard enough in high school. But I’m glad it turned out this way. Because this is a realization that I didn’t have before. Up until last year I was unsure of what I wanted to do. But now discovering what I want to do has motivated me to actually work towards it and try in school. I’m happy that I finally feel like this. This is something I never thought I’d feel. For once things have fallen into place, exactly where they should. Not only college and school stuff, but my personal life as well. I’ve become close friends again with the people who were the best of friends in middle school. We all drifted, but remained friends till now. We’ve all become oddly close. People that I thought I would never be friends with are now my really good friends. I have a best friend who at times makes me angry, sad, and crazy, but is actually MY best friend. Not just the “oh my best friend” term. This shit’s legit. I’ve also lost a lot of friends, but I think it’s for the best, and I don’t care anymore. Because if losing them meant achieving the happiness and zen I’m at now that by all means I’ll go through it 100000x times again. And as for love…Yes I’m in love, 3 years now. We’ve been through hell, literally. But we’ve finally reached a good place, but I know well go through it all again, I’ll just have to tough it out. And if it’s not meant to be, than fuck it. I’ll find someone. But until then I’m finally at peace. I’m excited to see what’s past this shitty town, arrogant high school, cliquey groups of people, and “it’s all about house parties and social stature” people, and phonies of this town I sadly yet oddly enough am happy to call home.

I already knew I was accepted, (not to brag) because I went for an interview and I’ve also been emailing the guy who interviewed me for months. Anyway he wrote me a personal email saying…

“Hi Emilie

I am writing tonight to express a warm welcome and congratulations on being among the first of the applicants to be accepted into the BFA Photography program at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University for the incoming fall 2012 class. Each year we have well over a thousand inquiries and hundreds of applications to our internationally recognized BFA degree Photography program and complete our annual recruiting by admitting an outstanding incoming class, both academically and artistically, of around 60! … Trust me, you are in amazing company and you’re going to love being in Boston… probably the most student friendly town in America! Congratulations as well on earning an annual Portfolio Scholarship of $8, 000. a year! At some point, i would like to have a conversation with you about your GPA and it’s odd association with your work and decent SAT scores… i was wondering if you had had a difficult stretch in your high school life that affected your academics because your work is more intelligent than you GPA would indicate. I’m taking a chance on you because of this feeling. You should know that the average GPA of an entering Photo major is about 3.4 so it’s important to know that i trust you are a much better student than your transcript shows.

I can guarantee that you will love the experience of earning your BFA degree at The Art Institute of Boston for several reasons: Most important, an immediate, and total, immersion into your photography major… as our program has its own, one of a kind, Photography Foundation year; an incredibly diverse and inter-disciplinary curriculum; one of the best darkroom complexes in the country… including large gang labs, an alternative process lab, 17 individual color labs, photo dedicated digital studios, state of the art digital printing labs, working commercial studios, cameras and equipment of every description, seminar classrooms; an outstanding professional faculty of 25 working artists (without an attitude); small student to teacher class ratios (averaging 10:1), and a student population that is made up of great people from around the world. Best of all, our size (200 BFA photo majors and 24 MFA candidates) permits us to be very selective regarding an applicant’s academic history and the quality of their portfolio. This has allowed us to hand-pick intelligent and talented young artists, like you, who are crazy about photography and who will have an excellent opportunity for success.  You will immediately feel welcome and at home in our department where you will be known by your work and not what year you are in. We are distinctly clique-less. AIB photo majors have a passion for their work that is infectious. For your viewing pleasure, here are two YouTube videos of 2 of our recent graduates, Neil Contractor YouTube - AIB Photography / Neil Contractor and Samantha Chartier, YouTube - Photography - Samantha Chartier, talking about their experiences at AIB while majoring in Photography.

I’m going to give you a load of links to explore so that you can get to know the school and encourage you to take the time to wander around and see what you have to look forward to.

One thing that we’re really excited about is our new campus and state of the art building complex that will begin groundbreaking in Cambridge this summer. We expect to move in to the new buildings in 2013! Here’s a news page: http://news.lesley.edu/2011/03/art-institute-of-boston-moving-to-cambridge.shtml 

We are excited to report that we are thoroughly underway with our new graduate Master of Fine Arts in Photography (MFA) program that is conceptually constructed upon the notion that photography and imaging are different things, that the medium is no longer a single entity and is unique in its ability to integrate new technologies with traditional and contemporary artistic practice.  We have had a rare opportunity to create an MFA program from the ground up… where the love of the hand-made image, will be a guiding force. Here’s the link to information about the graduate program that is up on my web site: MFA in Photography: and on the University site: http://www.lesley.edu/aib/curriculum/mfa_photo.html

Here’s a show of AIB Photo department work that i presented to Accepted Students Day last April. A good portion of the beginning section illustrates work done by first-year Photography Foundation Seminar students and what they are now doing presently in their post-graduate careers. The show was designed as a sampling of AIB photographers and their stories and it should give you an indication of some of the varieties of work being done in the program … enjoy!   AIB Photography Flickr Presentation

Here’s a site for our annual spring elective book course called Taking In: The Best of AIB PhotographyIf you want to see all of the Taking In student collections from 2004 and on, go to:  http://takingin.com/

Two additional sources for AIB images… You can find student and alumni work at Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/aiboston/sets/72157604606911381/ and AIB on Facebook :  http://www.facebook.com/aiboston.

The AIB Admissions Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/aibadmissions.

Concerns regarding financial aid, housing, and other nuts and bolts issues, should be directed to Admissions. Kate Benson is directly involved with Photography applications, and Bob Gielow is the Director of Admissions, they can answer any question you may have. Kate can be reached at:  <kbenson@aiboston.edu> Bob can be reached at <gielow@aiboston.edu>.

Here is a good news link …. and a very important consideration for you and your family that comes up in every conversation, the Merit Scholarship awards. AIB offers guaranteed Merit Scholarships and you can see the current guidelines at the site belowhttp://www.lesley.edu/aib/admissions/scholarships.html

At AIB, you will dive right into photography. A unique, and very intensive, Photography Foundation first year introduces you to critical, conceptual, historical, and technical studies. These classes, combined with courses in the humanities, art history, and studio arts will help you approach your career aspirations as a well-informed artist. This photography specific Foundation year lays the groundwork for your exploration of the techniques, philosophy, and concerns of every facet of a photographic career.

From that rigorous Photography Foundation base, you will launch into the sophomore core concentrations of fine art and interdisciplinary image making, documentary / photo-journalism, commercial studio, editorial, digital imaging, … and a full year of concept and project based Sophomore Seminar. You will also be able to begin focusing on the electives that interest you the most. During your junior and senior years, you will define, and refine, your personal directions with seminar and portfolio courses and a vast menu of elective options from AIB’s outstanding department offerings and the University at large. The junior, and year-long senior, portfolio seminars are demanding, and you will work intensively with faculty mentors to build a professional-quality portfolio that will accompany you into the “real world.” This is also the time that many juniors elect to take a semester abroad. This coming semester, Photo students will be studying in locations such as Paris,France;  Florence and Venice, Italy; Buenos Aries, Argentina; Aukland, New Zealand; Prague, Czech Republic; and others.

To help prepare you for this real world, our department assists in placing its students in a wide range of internships. Past internships have included Cultural Survival  / Rwanda and Kenya, Kageno Kids in Kenya, Magnum Picture Agency (NYC & Paris), National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Saveur, and EW magazines, The Boston Globe, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz Studio, the Maine Photographic Workshops, Ken Burns Films, Oxfam America, The Photographic Resource Center, and The DeCordova Museum to name a just a very few.

Our students are active around the world… Recent graduates are continuing their education in Master of Fine Arts graduate programs (we have 3 students in the graduate program at Yale University right now) and working throughout the world in their chosen directions. Here are a few …

• Paul Taggart is one of the top young photo journalists in the world today and after working for World Picture News in Paris and New York for many years has now on his own as a free lance photographer and working for the top magazines in the world…., http://www.paultaggart.com/

• Lisa Wiltse worked for several years as a staff photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney, Australia, http://www.lisawiltse.com. For the past two years she has been working freelance for such organizations as; The New York Times, Time Magazine, German Geo, Frommer’s, and Marie Claire. Here is a separate link to her award winning documentary projects on beach culture in Rio de Janeiro and the Mennonites of Bolivia. Lisa Wiltse_Award winning Documentary Photography stories from around the world

• Jennifer Warren working as a photojournalist in Somalia, Rwanda, and Kenya and recently won a major award in an international documentary photography competition. You can see her work at http://jennwarren.net

• Magdalena Caris co-published a book, with Paul Fusco, titled The Chernobyl Legacyhttp://magdalenacaris.com/portfolio.html

 · Jacqueline Dady just graduated in December and has already moved to Los Angeles to set up her fashion and editorial studio business: www.jacquelyndady.com/

• Shealah Craighead worked as The White House photographer for several years, , http://www.whitehouse.gov.edgesuite.net/news/releases/2006/01/images/20060116_p011606sc-0123-515h.html and recently had a 6 page spread in Newsweek covering her 4 months with Sarah Palin during the recent 2008 presidential campaign: http://www.newsweek.com/id/168845 Shealah is now the only photographer allowed to document the media adventures of Sarah Palin

· xtine Burrough is a global media artist who engages her viewers via the internet and new technologies: www.missconceptions.net/ . She has also recently co-authored a new textbook titled, Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design, published by Peach Pit Press and is contracted to write a second book now underway..

 · Kristin Hatgi is a recent graduate and is working professionally as a studio artist using alternative photographic processes to produce her editorial photography. Here’s her terrific blog and site: http://www.kristenhatgi.blogspot.com/ 

· Esteban Aladro, another recent graduate, is working professionally in NYC. Here’s his site:  http://www.estephotography.com/

· Stephen Zadrozny graduated from AIB a little more than a year ago and immediately went to work for David LaChapelle in NYC. He’s now assisting and free lancing in Manhattan: Stephen Zadrozny Photography

· Dana Mueller was born and raised in East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is currently an adjunct professor in Photography and Art history at The Art Institute of Boston. She received her MFA in Photography from The Massachusetts College of Art & Design. Her work addresses the concepts of exile, German Identity, memory, history, and landscape. www.danamueller.net/

· Paris Visone recently graduated and is hard at work in the business: Paris Visone Photography

· Sam Rosenholtz is a very recent graduate and has already won a major international award in a world competition: Sam Rosenholtz AIB 2009-10

· Elaine Park is a working graphic artist and art director who is presently taking a sabbatical to attend graduate school for her MFA: www.elainepark.com

· Gretchen Helene has recently produced a documentary on the Burning Man Festival held this year in Black Rock City, Nevada - www.gretjenhelene.net/burningman/

· Russ Quackenbush is one of the top commercial / editorial photographers working today: www.russquackenbush.com/

· Shane Godfrey is a recent graduate (2010) and has quickly established his own studio: Shane Godfrey Photography

· Emily Harney has been involved in sports / action photography since the day she first arrived at AIB. Since graduation, she has made a living in that genre and has been recognized as one of the best boxing and mixed martial arts photographers working today.  Emily Harney Photography

If you want to see what I do… and my new video, you can check out my web sitewww.christopherjames-studio.com . You can also see my most recent book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: Second Edition (Delmar Cengage, New York). I’m working hard on a new 850 page / 500 image book now and will publishing it in 2013.

Normally I can be reached via my studio email address (this one) or on my office phone (800-773-0494 x6684). You may also write to me at my studio address christopher@christopherjames-studio.com or the one I am using for this email. Let me know a good time to call to talk on the phone, that fits your schedule, and I’ll do so. If you want to call me… just do it.

I look forward to getting to know each of you personally and invite you to call me at AIB or to send an e-mail to say hello and let me know what’s on your mind. Those of you who are transferring from another college can get in touch with me, if you haven’t already, in order to discuss course exemptions. Admissions will make the first decisions regarding your exemptions and then I’ll negotiate for you, with Julie Stanwood, Director of Academic Advising, if needed. Julie’s email address is Stanwood@aiboston.edu

Again, congratulations and I really look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you in Boston, in the fall. By the way, we will be having an Accepted Students Day in the spring and you will be getting an invitation to it in the mail.

Be well…. and be in touch! You are going to love this experience!



Beautiful regardless. This is just to show you how our eyes are so deceived everyday. She’s beautiful with out the editing. This is what hollywood does to make you feel worse about yourself, when there is nothing wrong with you in the first place. We’re all unique. All those ads you see in magazines, billboards, and even on T.V, well they’re all fake. Photoshop is used to manipulate the looks of a person, change them entirely. Sometimes into completely different people. 

But this is really fun to do…Haha.

Brownies are a Thing of the Past

            DING DING DING DING, the timer rang endlessly as the sweet comforting smell of brownies filled the house.  Excitement and joy overcame my body. The thought of biting into a chocolaty slice of heaven made me leap with happiness. My cousin Pam always made sure I got the best tasting brownies every weekend. However, this is the only fond memory I have of my cousin.

            Growing up as one of the youngest kids in my group of cousins I almost always got all the attention. But for one particular cousin I had all of her attention. Her name’s Pamela, but I called her Pam. She was the person I looked up to; I always wanted to be like her. To me she was the coolest person alive. As a child I would go over to her house in Bellerose every weekend to bake with her. We made so many delicious items. My favorites though were the warm chewy brownies. It’s what we bonded over.  Every time I saw her we had this little secret hug, like a secret handshake but in hug form. It was called the “squishy”. Sadly this had all changed in an instant.

            As time went by I noticed Pam had stopped coming to some family events. Then one day I was at my aunt’s house for dinner. As we were cleaning up the table in walked Pam. I was eager to go say hi, and just as I was about to my mother started screaming at her in the kitchen.  All I remember hearing was, “What were you thinking!? Do you know how bad smoking is for you!? You’re not thinking, what who your friends are. You better not do it again.

“Pam then said, “I coughed a lot and I didn’t even like it.”

And from there everything changed. The person whom I once idolized became the person I never wanted to see again. Who knew once cigarette could change things?

            As the years passed things got much worse. It made smoking seem like the best thing that could have ever happened to her. She started enrolling in local community colleges, only to drop out after a month. She began developing this attitude of “I’m better than everyone else here, I know it all.” Along with this attitude she also developed a “hot” temper. Anything her mother said deserved a snap back at her. But worse of all this took a huge toll on our family.  The constant dropping out of school they started to accumulate debt in student loans. And on top of that her father was sick and in and out of the hospital, which also required a great deal of money.  She had officially stopped coming to important family events, such as our grandparents’ birthdays, New Years’ Eve, family barbecues, banquets and all. The only thing she showed up for was Chinese New Year, because on Chinese New Year everyone received money. Money was all she ever wanted or cared about.

            Even in the most joyous of times, she seemed to bring her sly condescending self to ruin it. She had our uncle pay her to come to his wedding. She claimed that if she went to the wedding she would be missing a day’s worth of work, which meant she needed to get compensated somehow. This hurt me personally, because our uncle has done so much for all of us (nieces and nephews), and she should have be more than happy to attend. The fact that she had to do this to her own family disgusted me. And that day my father opened a bar tab for the pre-ceremony cocktails to keep people occupied. Once she found out my dad was paying, she passed out drinks to everyone. She took advantage of anyone and everyone that she could.

            However, years after the wedding she enrolled back into college. This time in my eyes I saw change. She would come over and study with me, while I did homework. She would take me out to get lunch and just hang out and I thought things were turning around. Everyone, including my brother, said, “don’t get to close to her. She hasn’t changed, and she will drop out soon. Money is still the first thing on her mind. I didn’t listen. I tried convincing everyone that she was back on the right path, finally getting her crap together. Boy, was I wrong! A month later she dropped out, and fell “off the radar” again. I was left with a bunch of people saying, “I told you so.” I felt like a fool for even believing her in the first place. I had defended her and she made me look like an idiot.

            As I was filled with anger and bitterness toward Pam, I also found out she was now doing cocaine. Her father who had just been though a major surgery found a bag of white powder in her bedroom. Everyone knew what this meant. Pam was so erratic, irrational, and broke, it all made sense to us. She was on cocaine. The idea repulsed me. It made me despise her. No one in the family like her anymore, not even our grandfather. Her own mother was terrified to be left alone in the house with her because her attitude and rage would overcome her. My aunt would have to sleep over our house out of- fear of her own daughter. No one trusts her or goes to her for help. However, there was only one person who believed in her, and defended her even though she got shunned for it. That person was my grandma.

            My grandmother loved all her grandchildren no matter what. She always defended Pam, but Pam would never do anything back for her. Pam wouldn’t come to her birthday dinners, or even call to wish her a happy birthday. That really hurt me more than anything. Because I knew how much my grandmother loved us, and how much she did for us. My grandmother also raised me to be who I am, so for Pam to treat her this way really crushed me, and everything I had once liked in her. In time my grandmother became ill, and was constantly in and out of the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. She was there for about a week. Pam showed up once. And that was the day they told us my grandma would not last much longer. Once she was moved into Palliative Care Pam left. I spent days and nights crying, wishing I had just one more day with my grandmother. But I couldn’t help but think about what Pam could possibly be doing. As the days dragged on and pain lingered, my grandma finally passed away on June 2nd 2010.

            As we said goodbye to my grandmother at the funeral, Pam gave a lengthy speech about my grandma, stuff I can’t even remember. All I know is that everyone in that room knew that those tears were fake. and the stories weren’t real. It disgusted me that she could stand up there and tell lies. But what hurt me the most was that she didn’t show up for the burial. She claimed my grandmother was so close to her. My grandma did so much for her and Pam couldn’t go to the burial? That disgusted me. To this day I cannot look at her face without getting extremely upset.  To me that was a slap in the face.

            Through my life with Pam I’ve realized that not everything in a family is a sweet as that heavenly slice of a chocolaty brownie. Even though I believe that your family is the people you can count an trust on, I can’t trust my own. I’m going to have to learn to cope with it. 


This memoir is one of my favorite pieces that I have written this year. Although it maybe a sad and painful story I think it is my most raw and deepest piece. I really honed into all my emotions towards my cousin Pamela. I finally got out what I have been holding onto for years. It was extremely therapeutical. The process of this memoir was not an easy one. I was quite hesitant towards writing this piece. I felt that because it was a family issue that I should refrain from writing, or even showing it to anyone. But a part of me wanted to let it out, because holding onto the past is painful, and something my grandma wouldn’t want me to do. She would have wanted me to tell my story, and that's what I did. It began with a list on a scrap piece of paper. This list consisted of all the bad thing Pamela had done to myself, my family, and herself. (It was a very long list). Then came the process of selecting which situations I were to write about. In writing this piece I learned a few things about myself that I didn’t really notice before. I learned that I hold strong grudges at times. I have the guts to say things that maybe I shouldn't say. I have a big heart. And family is really the most important thing to me, and it’s what keeps me going.