Archive | May, 2013

YouMe

13 May

YouMe

 

It was sixth grade

When I first realized my disability,

I mean–

sure, I knew what it was at age eight or nine

but not what it meant to me.

I didn’t see myself through

my peers’ eyes

my vision of their vision of me was warped

by my insecurities

and my magnifying glass of me

always trying to fit in

celebrating myself

and compensating for low self-esteem

masking with a self-centered aura

missing signals,

unaware of my peers Theory of Mind

their mind

my mind

yeah.

 

I finally learned

what it means to be disabled

a person with a disability

or at least, I started thinking about it

and how I was different

and what I wanted to do with my life

when I was older, who would I be?

Would I still be me?

Would society change me,

and was I happy

with me?

That’s what my mom told me

“I don’t want you cured”

eighth grade

changed my life

my mom

made me who I am today,

a serious advocate

 

I didn’t connect

with other

“diffs,”

really,

until high school, I guess

I mean, just because I was in sped classes

and rode the shortbus

and had speddy friends

doesn’t mean I understood how we were united

as Speddies

–that’s what my cousin calls me, Speddy–

relax, it’s just a joke–

I knew some other diffs,

even my best friend was a diff,

I knew my uncle used a ‘chair,

but that was it.

I spoke out about disability.

I spoke for myself.

I spoke alone.

the time of exploration – I’m still in it, I guess –

started in middle school

and then, I transitioned,

and life got … realer.

 

It may sound strange to you,

but this is my culture.

These are my people

my people –

and we’re united

by our abilities

disabilities

our common beliefs,

or diverse beliefs,

and the deep, damned battle

for acceptance.

In high school,

I learned the joy of mentoring others

and I gained a best friend,

a soulmate really,

with disabilities,

and she’s perfect just the way she is.

sometimes I think I’m the only one who sees who she really is.

I don’t need to look past her disabilities-

they’re a part of who she is –

but I look past my own past ideas

of what disability is

and I search for the soul

the girl I’ve come to know

and the time we share

is precious, every second

I wish we had more of it

but that’s life, isn’t it?

 

High school

I spent more time in sped rooms

my opinions grew

they shaped themselves,

or were shaped,

and I grew up

and started to understand what it meant

to be part of a larger community

of disability,

of you-and-you-and-me,

and then I got into advocacy

activism

not just putting up posters once a year

at school

but online –

and yeah, it was slow at first,

but I was networking.

I was making connections.

And I got more fans, and followers

I started blogging

– rarely, barely

scarcely-

but blogging.

And now I’m getting Facebook hits

crazy hits

“I don’t suffer from autism, I enjoy every minute of it”

networking with other bloggers –

great ones

awesome

they’re amazing –

“I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone”

In the words of Tracy Chapman

A favorite artist of mine

I feel empowered

my written word

I’m undeterred

I’m making my way,

finding my place,

finally being heard

I feel I can change the world

of disability

and how folks like you

view folks like me.

 

Thanks, DB for inspiring a poem. Again. You gave me the idea and I ran with it.