First-person essays

    Everyone has a story to tell. That's something we firmly believe here at CNN. The essays on this page come from regular people around the world with extraordinary stories and experiences to share. They've been curated and edited by CNN iReport staff, but they're told in the writers' own voices. Ready to share your own story? Submit an essay via CNN iReport.

Latest 

    Have a personal story to share with the world? Like the idea of a byline on CNN.com? We're looking for your submissions.

    Take a look at our best essay-writing tips, and then upload your essay and a photo. Don't worry if you don't have professional writing experience -- our editors will work with you to make your piece sing. If we're interested in publishing, we'll be in touch.

Compelling reads 

    Bonnie Adler (right) and her mother

    Shopping for a mother with dementia

    By Bonnie Adler, Special to CNN
    I felt as if I had whisked my mother from her quiet, controlled pastel-colored old folks home to the land of Oz.
    The silhouette of a Ukrainian soldier is seen against a Ukrainian flag as Ukrainian soldiers wait inside the Sevastopol tactical military brigade base in Sevastopol on March 3, 2014. Russian forces have given Ukrainian soldiers an ultimatum to surrender their positions in Crimea or face an assault, a Ukrainian defence ministry spokesman said. 'The ultimatum is to recognise the new Crimean authorities, lay down our weapons and leave, or be ready for an assault,' said Vladyslav Seleznyov, the regional ministry spokesman for the Crimea. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

    A divided Ukraine? Think again

    Maia Mikhaluk, Special to CNN
    I am a Russian-speaking Ukrainian. I am ethnically half-Russian, as my father was born in Siberia. I spent much of my life in Donetsk, a Russian-speaking area of Ukraine. Now I live in Kiev.
    Ellie Bowerman laughs during a play date with her friends. The 4-year-old has Down syndrome, but "she's more alike than different," writes her father, Bret Bowerman.

    Down syndrome? Maybe she'll go to the moon

    Bret Bowerman, Special to CNN
    "You've probably seen them bagging groceries," said the geneticist attempting to explain to my wife and me that our 1-day-old daughter, Ellie, had Down syndrome and what that meant for her future.

    I'm coming out -- I don't want children

    Zoe Zorka, Special to CNN
    I identify with many of my gay and lesbian friends in that I've always felt I should be honest about who I was. I don't think it's right to have to say, "Well, we'll have kids someday," just as I don't think it's right for a gay man to have to say, "Someday I'll meet a nice girl and settle down."
    Jack Barr Jr. shared the story of coming to terms with his daughter's Down Syndrome diagnosis.

    Dad's confession: I almost left my disabled daughter

    Jack Barr Jr., Special to CNN
    The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life.

    'They're growing up and I'm missing it'

    Erin Hill, Special to CNN
    Every morning, while I open granola bars and pass them to my children in the back seat, I feel a familiar pang of guilt reminding me that a good mother would have made them scrambled eggs and toast.
    Adele Raemer's daughter Lilach has spent most of her life dreaming about her wedding day.

    What I don't want to happen at my daughter's wedding

    Adele Raemer, Special to CNN
    What is the worst thing that could happen to wedding plans? The caterer could suddenly go bankrupt? The weather could turn bad? Can you imagine having to worry that a rocket could blow up during the reception?
    Kim Pozniak

    Rwanda wasn't what I thought it would be

    LeAnn Hager, Special to CNN
    When I first arrived in Rwanda's capital in 2012, I deliberately did not visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I did not want that experience to influence how I approached the country and its people.

    Losing my father's smile

    Harrison Golden, Special to CNN
    By the time I entered fourth grade, Dad's case of Bell's palsy had improved. But his smile still hadn't returned. I tried convincing myself that it didn't matter and that smiling was overrated. So I abstained from making grins of any kind.

    A mother's journey to bearing arms

    Tracy Scarpulla, Special to CNN
    I am the mother of three amazing children. Before having children, I was a firm believer that guns were dangerous. But after 10 years, I now have a gun in my home.

First Person essays from CNN