How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside
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What does Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside look like through the eyes of an artist—an artist who also happens to have Down syndrome? The heart of Pretty Amazing is the unexpected story of Teresa Pocock finding herself as an artist and poet. Previously, Teresa’s artistic expression was discouraged and ridiculed. Her opening poem, I Am Alive, packs added punch when you know that her future was written off a few years ago when she lived in Ontario. Teresa was forced into an Ontario nursing home against her will. The health-care system had wrapped her in—as disability advocate Paul Young aptly describes it —“a cocoon of impossibility”. Against her wishes, Teresa’s liberty and freedom was traded for a single bed in an end-of-life nursing home. It was a violation of her human rights. She did not want to be there. Teresa had things to do, places to go, and people to meet! In the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Teresa has found her voice. It is a voice that talks about feeling “butterflies”, but still finds the courage to fly.
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