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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

For almost all of my life I never discussed being born poor


For almost all of my life I never discussed being born poor or raised in foster care. I didn’t discuss it with anyone, ever, under any circumstances.  I thought that if I did discuss it I would have to come up with reasons for it all, why I was born poor, why my parents were they way they were. I thought that I’d need excuses and apologies and I just didn’t want to deal with it, especially when I was younger. I thought there was a sort of nobility in keeping it in but there isn’t.  I realize now, all these years later that true courage is in facing who and what you are and to own it. You don’t have to explain it. You don’t have to apologize for it. You don’t have to wear the mask of normalcy. Be who and what you are. That in itself  is an enormous act of courage. Just because we accept things doesn’t we we resign our ambitions to improve ourselves or to better our lot in life. It just means you understand that it is what it is. I look at it this way. I know who and what I am and I’m happy with that. The mistake I had made all years was thinking that happiness was outside of me, that happiness was being middle class normal. I thought that if I could have that, I could have happiness. But that isn’t how it works. This is how it works; happiness is something that you are and it comes from the way you think about things.


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