Giving it a name

Knowing why you struggle
Is just as important as figuring out the journey to overcoming it.
Some of us have struggled
And for the longest time
We could never quite figure out
Why we did.
So in the absence of a clear culprit,
in some misguided attempt to
‘Pull ourselves up by the bootstraps’
We decided to beat ourselves up
And call it ‘discipline’
Because we had no idea whether the hardships
We had found ourselves in
Were just bad fortune
Or that we had somehow brought this on ourselves.
We learned to self-mutilate
Using things like our education as a knife
To try scrape off or own skin
In hopes that maybe
Whatever it was that was holding us back
Would finally let us go.
Yet we were fighting an invisible enemy.
Because we were not really clear on why
Life had been so hard.
Maybe we wouldn’t have been so hard on ourselves
If we had just simply called a spade a spade
And named this demon for what it was:
Poverty. The persistent kind.
The one where you get used to struggle
And make fun of those who aren’t.
It has taken some of us years
To call it by its name.
And while that doesn’t change the past,
It keep us from blaming ourselves
For things we had nothing to do with.

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