Alice Placert

Alice Placert is a vivacious, single-mother living with her 4-year old son Hunter in lower Manhattan. I didn't know anything about Ali before I met her, and all that I know about her — and all that we have said to each other — is in this interview, except for the doughnut. I bought her son a glazed doughnut and the two of us bonded immediately.

Ali's lives a tumultuous life. She approved this interview informally but, because of other pressing concerns, was unable to provide me with formal approval. So, while this transcript is verbatim, I've given her and her son pseudonyms for the time being.

In mythology the underworld is the domain of transformation. It lies beyond fear and boredom, somewhere in the big empty hole at the end of the road to nowhere. It's dark and forbiding because moving toward, and through a dead end is frightening. Ali's transformation was as frightening as could be.

Interview Excerpts
Read the full interview :

"For me, the process of becoming an adult was very… abrupt.

"… I got raped, and I got pregnant with my son, at a party by some random guy who I don’t know, and I still don’t know who he is. And after that I went nuts. I was 20.

"… I wound up sleeping in the park, and being in the shelter system. I was raped again. I was stabbed twice while at the shelters, once in the belly while I was pregnant, and once underneath my arm when I got in a fight with a girl with a knife… I don’t remember being upset about it at the time, because there’s more important things to worry about than wallowing in self-pity…

"It always feels better to be able to take care of yourself, and to be responsible for your own choices. At the end of the day, when you look back on your life and what you’ve done, you have to answer to yourself…

"I feel like a lot of people get stuck in their life… They buy into something that they want without really understanding what it is… because they plan: “I don’t want to have kids until I’m 30, so if I get pregnant before then I’ll have an abortion no matter what.” They don’t even think about it. You’re giving up stuff that may be a good thing in your life because you’re so focused on a goal. And then, when you get it, you’re not even happy…

"I can honestly say that I would not change anything in my life, at all, that has happened, because I’m really happy… I can’t imagine a different life. I am, right now, pretty much exactly where I want to be. I don’t know how else I would be here."

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