‘I’m working to get an apartment with my girlfriend. We’ve been together for two years and I’m excited to be out on my own. My dad kind of yells at me a lot. He’s a bit of a germaphobe and I really want to get away from that. I worry about being able to pay the bills and we worry about what will happen if we have a fight or break up. We have a dog and a cat that we’ve adopted together so we already have a bit of a commitment.

My girlfriend has mental breakdowns but I’m there for her. Her breakdowns are more angry than sad. She bottles up her anger and she gets stressed out to where she thinks she can’t function anymore. She’ll sit in a corner and isolate herself. I’ll ask her if she’s OK and I know that’s a stupid question but it’s important to ask. I’m not her mom but I do everything I can to help her through those dark times.

I’m a third degree black belt in tae kwon do and sometimes, when she breaks down, she’ll accidentally hit me in the face. I know it’s not deliberate but I’ve had to learn how to block her. At the same time, I make it so she can fall asleep in my arms. It’s weird that people have almost always come to me with their troubles and, somehow, I can help fix them and it’s weird because I never try to open myself up to that. I keep things bottled up, too. which is nice to have in common with my girlfriend. Except for her, I don’t have a lot of faith in people.

I was bullied a lot through high school…and my girlfriend was too. I was bullied for having red hair. They’d say gingers are creatures with no souls. At the same time, I had a small circle of friends and kept quiet. The only thing I know now is that if I hadn’t been bullied, I wouldn’t be my girlfriend’s safety net. In fact, I’d be a lot colder. But, she believes there’s something worth hanging on to, so here I am.’

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