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I was a poor boy among rich ones

6 July 2010

This quote is probably one of the most influential of my entire life. This quote is what got me through my darkest hour. From The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, the epic of South Africa:

I was a poor boy among rich ones, and in my mind the status they gained by the simple expedient of being wealthy was leavened only by my superior performance in every other expectation.  I had come to identify with my camouflage to the point where the masquerade had become more important than the truth.  While this posturing was so finely tuned it was no longer deliberate, it had nevertheless been born out of a compulsion to hide.  As a small child I had discovered that only two places are available to those who wish to remain concealed.  The choices are to be a nonentity or an exception.  You either disappear into a plebian background or move forward to where most others fear to follow.

My camouflage, begun so many years before under the persecution of the Judge, was now threatening to become the complete man.  It was time to slough the mottled and cunningly contrived outer skin and emerge as myself, to face the risk of exposure, to regain the power of one.  I had reached the point where to find myself was essential.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Lee Thomas permalink
    6 July 2010 16:30

    Powerful and courageous. I read a smaller excerpt recently, and now determine to read the book.

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