“I feel truly happy when I’m painting. Next year I’ll get my diploma as a painter-decorator, but I’m thinking about doing an extra year. For a long time I thought about moving out, but I really want to do something that I like doing, rather than earning money. So I will stay home  in ‘t Kiel (Antwerp) and put up with my parents, my one year younger brother Jordy, and my ten year old brother who always hits me for the smallest things.”

“The other moment when I feel truly happy is with my girlfriend Anke. I’ve had a lot of girlfriends before her, but what I have with Anke is on another level. We’ve known each other for four years and we’re together for 8 months now, but I know I want to marry her. She makes me calm and I can talk to her like with no one else because we share similar backgrounds. Both our families had financial problems, we lost family members and we were taken away from our parents and put into an institution at a young age.”

“I find it very hard talking about my past. I feel guilty for what has happened. Me and my brother Jordy were taken to an institution when we were really young because Jordy had baby shake syndrome. Only later they found out that it was me who shook him and not my parents, because I did it with the babies in the institution too.”

“I was the most difficult student at my school”

“I’ve been under the juvenile judge for a long time and when I was around thirteen I went to a closed institution. I was one of the most difficult students at my school. Even before I made a name for myself I was prejudiced because of my last name: my nieces and nephews aren’t the easiest students either. I’ve been bullied for more than five years in school. They swear at me, scold my mother and hit and kick me, but I don’t feel the pain anymore.”

“My brother Jordy was also bullied but luckily his mentor organised an anti-bully group, but I have the feeling that my mentor doesn’t really want to help me. And that’s alright because I don’t need an anti-bully group. I can defend myself. If I lose my temper, the bullies get really scared and leave me alone. I’m not going to hit them. I’m eighteen now and I don’t give a damn anymore.”

“I got the label ADHD

when I was 5 years old”

“I was labelled with ADHD early on and I feel that school has taken that as the reason of everything I do wrong. I have anger issues and I take it out on my friends. I feel really bad about that. One time I beat my friend so bad, because he was withholding me from fighting someone. That’s the reason I’ve lost him as a friend. I’m trying to control my anger issues. I use meditation to calm my mind and I also did a course called ‘Rots en Water’, but I still need to take Rilatine.”

“When I stop using Rilatine I feel much better, because I get heart pain and I don’t grow when I take my medication. Every vacation I stop taking my pills and I grow a little. One day I’m going to stop, but I don’t know when I’m ready. Anke helps me a lot, we push each other to do better and I am much calmer than I once was. So maybe one day I will get there.”