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Poverty of the body. Poverty of the mind.
My former life was one of difficulty and hardships.
It pains me to even think about my past. At the same time, I now use those former endeavors as tools to motivate me to stay on the right path.
When I was homeless on the streets, I was in a horrible mental state. I could not seem to get my thought life organized. When I could, my thoughts consisted of lowliness.
I thought of panhandling (which I did) only so I could get money to purchase drugs and alcohol.
I thought it was acceptable to sleep under bridges, on sidewalks, or any other concrete surface.
I had grown numb to my reality.
My best days in this place of mental poverty consisted of warm nights in the men’s shelter. Little did I know that these so-called “best days” were actually my worst days, but my mental poverty had me believing that I was all right in such a stage.
The people that I hung with were also suffering from mental poverty, and they could not advise me to do better because, just like me, their worst days were equivalent to their best days.
It was the reality of poverty upon poverty.
My personality was non-existent. I found laughter to be one of the most challenging activities to participate in. Smiling was just as difficult. I possessed an aura that was extremely unpleasant, and I was losing myself more and more to a nomadic life. The reward of such a life was incarceration. Paradoxically, the incarceration served as a great blessing in disguise because it helped me regain my mental clarity.
With my growing mental clarity, I had the ability to envision countless forms of prosperity.
If one can envision a thing, they can also achieve it. And this fact brings me to my present stage in life.
When I was incarcerated, I began to search myself. I found a lot of positive attributes, but they were being choked out and annihilated by the negative attributes I had accumulated during my street life. I realized that I had to cleanse myself mentally and spiritually. I did. That process led me to become settled in my life.
Now I understand the significance of an organized thought life.
Today my better thoughts consist of the harvest of my actions which lead me to pursue life cautiously. I no longer think it sufficient to sleep under bridges, on sidewalks, or any other concrete surface. I am no longer numb to the reality in which I formerly participated.
My best days are no longer in that place of mental poverty in which I used to dwell.
Today I associate with people who are mentally and spiritually rich, and they serve as my instructors as well as my beacons of hope.
My personality is presently more pleasant, but I still have room for growth in this area. Laughter is no longer a challenge; it is becoming second nature to me. Smiling has become a regular facial gesture for me, and my aura is more inviting.
I am rediscovering myself as each day passes.
The reward of this way of life is more promising than the reward of a nomadic life. Still, I rest thankfully for all of my former hardships because those perilous times have given me great insights and more wisdom. I also understand that those perilous times have equipped me to help someone else who may be stuck in my former lifestyle. I truly believe that those experiences will serve as a foundation that I will need in order to be an effective force in other hopeless people’s lives.
In the end of it all, I can see the benefit of my hardships. I am now equipped to be that person who helps others regain their hope as well as their confidence.
Without the pain of my former life, I would not be equipped to serve others in such a way.
My name is Angel Williams.