‘The Way Forward’: Yung Pueblo’s poetic guide to personal growth

10/16/23 By Olivia Flanz

On Friday, Yung Pueblo, real name Diego Perez, discussed his new collection, “The Way Forward,” in a conversation with NBC’s Donna Farizan at the Emerson Colonial Theatre. 

Diego Perez is a poet, mediator and speaker going by the pen name Yung Pueblo, ‘young people,’ in a reminder of his Ecuadorian roots. Perez was born in Ecuador but grew up locally in Jamaica Plain, Boston. Growing up, his family struggled financially, often causing strife within his home life, which he carried into years at Wesleyan University, where he developed a drinking problem and an addiction. 

“I didn’t want to admit to myself that I had all this heaviness inside of me. … There was a moment where I literally almost lost my life, and in that moment, I realized that I was deeply lying to myself.” 

It was thanks to a meditation course that Perez would take in 2012 that would provide the means for reflection that would lead him to get into writing. 

“When people take their own feelings seriously, the mind gets lighter, and these pathways of creativity just start opening up. … Without meditating, I definitely would not be right here”. 

Perez’s healing process led to “Inward” and “Clarity & Connection.” Now, “The Way Forward” is the final installment of his self-growth trilogy, which discusses self-discovery, finding your intuition and reaching one’s goals in this ever-changing world. Through the conversation, Perez explained how society emphasizes grind culture: the false narrative that one’s value is based upon how hard one works and produces. Subsequently, this belief is so narrow that it leaves out how everyone is so different when it comes to having the ability to create the same results as everyone else. 

“If all you can do is survive, if all you can do is move from one day to the next, that is a beautiful act, that is a heroic act, and should be celebrated.”

Perez also dives into how one can accomplish their goals and not let fear hold them back. 

“Fear creates this illusion that you think acting on fear will create safety, but the only thing that can actually create safety is love,” he said. 

He drives home the idea that building your identity, support system and relationships creates that safety net at the end of the day. But it’s hard not to feel that fear when looking at all the challenges we face as a society, but Perez has hope. 

“Geopolitical challenges, climate change, the constant threat of war, deep economic inequality, but at the same time all these different healing traditions from around the world, different mediation traditions from the eastern world, different forms of psychology from the western world, we now live in this globalized world and from here to Singapore, and yes, we have a ways to go in terms of accessible, but it is undeniable that different forms of healing are more available than ever before.”

He additionally announced his plan to release a new dating app, Ready, in the summer of 2024 for people who want to find a partner and keep their growth journey going. Not only does the app aim to get couples together but supports the couple through the thresholds of their relationship.