I was born to two teenagers out of wedlock.
My dad got caught up in drugs and left my mom and I when I was about two years old. He came back, and straightened his life out, but my mom had moved on. She remarried three times. I went through three divorces.
My dad died in an accident when I was eight.
I didn't like school. I didn't do much homework, goofed off a lot, got into trouble often.
I started smoking pot in sixth grade. In high school I got real into partying, expanding my drug diet beyond weed. I frequently skipped classes.
Yet I graduated. I never doubted I would go to college. I was supremely confident. And after college, I never really had a problem landing good jobs. I'm now working on a book that sold for six figures.
The book is about black kids. If I were to lay out the details of their childhoods as starkly as I've laid out my own, the stories would seem similar. Same thing for their relatives and for many of their friends.
But in most cases the endings would be different.