I will be writing and talking about poverty until I die. Because it threatened to kill me every day for most of my life, I’m going to testify against it, and live as a vocal witness just to defy it until something else takes me. Poverty must not be allowed to be the victor, and we must destroy it.
Beauty is seen and felt in many forms, in many unexpected and unusual places. Beauty really is an internal experience. In my desperate existence, I acknowledged that my life was turning into a different kind of beautiful life. This is not to say that it is acceptable that the circumstances were dire and of great consequence. In order to survive, I needed to change my definitions of many things. Beauty being one of them. There was not much external beauty in my life. There was not comfort or aesthetic beauty aplenty. But in the harsh and crude, the sad and depressing, the fear and angst, I discovered mysterious beauty. There is something quite soulful about connecting with others by identifying your pain in someone else’s eyes, for example. I was indeed surrounded by beauty I had never seen before in this transformed world I had slipped into before I knew what had happened.
When you find yourself in a foreign situation, you have to reconfigure your thinking to adjust. It is very hard to describe the level of responsibility I carried at such a young age. And the amount of adversity-the extreme poverty-was a kind of socioeconomic warfare that I battled every day. The only way to go through extraordinary difficulty like this is to embrace it to a degree.