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    Posted December 28, 2013 by
    Los Angeles, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The written word: Your personal essays

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    Poverty: Not a Permanent State

    This is in my response to Linda Tirado’s piece, “Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions make Perfect Sense,” written November 22, 2013 in the Huffington Post.

    When I first read the article, I was completely riveted and enjoyed the refreshing honesty. Then I thought about what I read. I read it again, and couldn’t help but notice that I was reminded of someone very important to me – my mother. In many ways Linda’s story is my mother’s story. When my mom was 35, she and my father were divorced. She was left all alone with no child support; three daughters aged 8, 10 and 11, and an aging mother. She had to go out and work a minimum of two jobs to stay afloat. There were times, though, that we didn’t stay afloat. During those times, friends and family would bring us food. We never had the latest fashions, and most of our clothes were “hand-me-downs.” Sometimes my mother would make the clothes herself. After-school activities consisted of riding our bikes or playing with the neighbors. Lessons or sports were out of the question. There was no money for the extras.
    Despite the setbacks, I never felt “poor” or deprived of anything. I also felt that regardless of our circumstances, I could be anything I wanted to be. Why was it, that when we didn’t have a lot of stuff and barely saw our mother, could I feel so confident inside? It’s because despite the crap that my mother was thrown into, she never had an attitude of poverty. She would tell me and my sisters, “you may not have a lot, but you are rich inside.” I always sensed from my mother that even though she knew that things were rough, she didn’t think that being poor was a permanent state.

    She also understood how important it was to teach us how to eat right. We didn’t always have cooked meals, because mom was too tired to cook, but there were always fruits and vegetables around the home. Mom would make us eat them. This taught me how important it is to eat healthy, and that fruits and vegetables don’t have to be expensive.

    Many times Mom would start a job, have it for a while, then get laid off or let go. She would get visibly upset, but then bounce back and get another job. This taught me resilience, and how to not let life bring me down, but rather fight back.

    Because of my mother’s example, I grew up believing in myself, knowing I could be anything I wanted, even (God Forbid) wealthy and successful. That is why today I am married to an amazing and successful man and we
    have traveled to five countries with our company.

    My point in sharing this is because I don’t believe that if we are poor growing up, or presently living in poverty, that we’re destined to be poor forever. Our destiny does not lie in our current circumstances, but within ourselves. The mind is a very powerful thing. It can keep us in our current state, or compel us to move forward.

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