When I was 19, I was in a horrific car accident, and it taught me that at the end of our life, we ask all these questions. And my questions, I discovered, were: Did I really live my life? Did I love? Did I matter? And I was unhappy with the answers.
When I was 19, I took a train from Houston to New York, and I had in my lap the collected works of William Shakespeare. The play I read on that journey was 'Titus Andronicus.'
When I was 19, I thought I wanted to be an English civil servant. It was the most exotic thing at the time -- can you imagine, in the middle of the IRA bombing campaigns? I saw an ad inviting Irish applicants for an induction course, so I signed up.
When I was 19, I picked up an old, tiny, automatic Yashica camera and I just started shooting. We didn't have iPhones back then, we didn't even have cell phones. I loved having a camera in my hand.
When I was 19, I made my first good week's pay as a club musician. It was enough money for me to quit my job at the factory and still pay the rent and buy some food. I freaked.
When I was 19, I celebrated my first Valentine's Day while being in a relationship. I was so excited, but didn't know what the rules were. What should I get him, or was I even supposed to get him something?
When I was 19 years old, both of my parents died in the same year; my mom of cancer and my dad in a car accident. Through the next two or three years and a series of bad decisions -- all my own, I might add -- I ended up literally homeless, before that was even a word. I even slept occasionally under a pier on the Gulf Coast.
When I was 19 years old, I wrote my first book. I took a computer science class, and the book was garbage. I thought I could write a better one, so I did.
When I was 19 years old, I was the number one star of the world for two years. When I was 40, nobody wanted me.
When I was 19 years old, I came down with anorexia. I had it for about a year before it became public. And it had a lot to do with my self-esteem.
When I was 19 or 20, the way I was an activist was by regularly meeting with groups, going to protests, and being there on the ground.