Every time I sit at the keyboard to write, I am imparting a piece of myself to others that are a manifestation of the experiences I have absorbed into my perspective, into my personality, my behavior–mainly everything that composes my being. At such times, I have always made a considerable effort to stray from cliché terms, phrases, and thoughts. This, however, is not one of those times, as I ponder whatever pain and suffering I have survived throughout my very short 27 years.

Due to a series of bad decisions I made when I was younger, I found myself homeless for half a year. Living out of my car–sometimes my workplace–with only enough money to keep myself fed. My mentality and confidence suffered considerably. 19 years old without a home. Haunted by the fragrance of a recently unfaithful girlfriend. I had stepped out of my parents’ nest, for a girl, and found myself face planted in the cold concrete of reality when that risk backfired. But I survived. I never fully succumbed. Nearly 10 years later I find myself in my own apartment, held up by my own hard work, and able to offer kindness to any soul that finds themselves in the same situation I have already experienced.

I greatly value the little I possess because I have once possessed nothing.

Because I suffered this, my perspective has changed. I am capable of valuing the simplest of provision with the desire to bless others less fortunate. I’ve taken a better look at my own worth and am able to weigh it more heavily against those that might seek to take advantage of my kindness. That pain has become a new part of me transformed into strength of character.

I am thankful for it. I appreciate it. Whenever I have been knocked to the ground and covered in the rank, dirty soils this life tends to shovel on our helpless forms, I have clawed my way back to the surface. I breathed in that fresh clear air that speaks of new opportunity and continued growth. Then I have subsequently taken some of that soil and added it to the ever-increasing foundation of who I am. The cliché is that we learn from pain; we are refined and defined by how we react to negative consequences. It is one that we cannot deny. Pain is intrinsic to our development. My scars are beautiful. They are the roadmap to who I call myself today.

Lee Richard bio

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