My first date was with a girl named Cessi. We'd had a beautiful relationship over the phone all summer long. Then she came home and we met to go out for the first time to the movies. When I saw her I was petrified. I couldn't even look her in the eye to talk to her.
My mom and I lived at Hollywood and Western, a drug-dealer and prostitute corner. It was pretty terrifying. I got beat up a lot. I saw people have sex in the alleys. I remember I was five years old, and this guy with a trench coat, needles and crack cornered me. Early on, seeing the devastation on my block, seeing heroin addicts, made me think twice about ever getting involved in drugs. It's evil. Once you take that step and experiment, drugs can take over your life. You are not yourself anymore. That's something I never wanted. I didn't have a lot of friends growing up. It was kind of just me and my parents. But because of them, the neighborhood did not have a bad effect on me. My dad introduced me to artists, and every few months we'd go to some hippie doo-dah parade as Mudmen in our underwear, carrying sticks and covered in mud. My mother did everything to get me into the best schools she could find.