Amazing story, I know what you mean about it choosing you. I remember being about 9 and writing poetry and loving it and thinking I really liked my own poems.
We've also come close to losing everything so although we managed to get through it, I know the stress of watching everything hang in the balance.
I can also relate to your upbringing, not because it's similar to mine but it sounds exactly like my husband. He is super smart but was from a working-class family (London born and bred), school bored him so he left at 16 never even thinking University could be an option, it was just expected that he'd get a job right out of school.
He never got to pursue his education though, and now we're saving to send our daughter to Uni so she doesn't make the same mistakes we have. (He's also an excellent writer and has written a few unpublished children's and YA books)
I loved your article, so inspiring and lovely to read, welcome to Illumination! I can't wait to scroll down and read more and also read your future posts!