he looked at me and smiled the biggest smile one could ever imagine. his eyes lit up igniting my heart with his fire. even his skin shined for a moment.
all it took was a 40 minute one-on-one session where we compared math problems to life problems.
when you get a sheet of paper with what seems to feel like a million math problems, take 1 problem at a time, instead of getting overwhelmed by looking at all the problems together. its like life, if we think of all our problems at once, we get overwhelmed and want to run from them, but if we take one problem at a time, we seem to be able to get by better. focus 1 by 1.
and so it was. he was inspired by his own ability to learn that on our way out of the room, he grabbed a book and started reading out loud. saying to me that he would like to borrow the book so that he can learn to read better.
when we are given the opportunity to participate in our lives, as full human beings, life feels different…it’s more worthwhile, otherwise so many young people feel like, “what’s the point?”. we mustn’t allow others/this system to strip away our right to basic needs such as critical education, safe housing, nutrition, love and joy. it’s tough because the social and economic system we live in depends on a bloody hierarchy so this young man just as many others are struggling to breathe through the strap around thier neck, who can think of reading as a priority when life just hurts?
and so begins the series on life beyond survival. dedicated to the youth who give me life by sharing who they are…by allowing me to witness their beyond human resilience and to my brother and all men, women, trans and non-gendered folks who find themselves locked up and behind bars. may these words and this series reach your hearts through the air we all breathe and earth we all walk on.