10 years old is for cars 

for tire swings, spelling bees, and candybars 

10 years old is not for hospital lobbies

not for scans of imperfect bodies 

you’re different, but that’s fine, they said

you have a unique mind ticking in your head 

Take a label, wear it lake a sticker 

You’re autistic, they said

and I wore it like a blister 

10 years old is hard for trying 

I was afraid, there’s no denying. 

I went to school, went and wanted 

can I be cool, or simply hunted? 

There was a girl, but did she know my name?

I failed at sports and felt ashamed 

they spoke around me like I didn’t exist

when it came to parties, I never made the list 

14 years is not for hiding 

not for loneliness, fear, and nail biting 

I tore the label from my skin 

I replaced it with pride and wore as a grin 

I will belong, I will succeed... now lets begin 

I feared the best 

I feared the worst 

I feared for trying I’d be cursed 

Then all the gifts I used to hide 

came to my aid and I felt alive 

I felt known for the very first time

I saw that hiding had been a crime

18 years is for long black gowns 

not for being shy, not for backing down

I gave my speech, I faced the crowd

I flipped my tassel and sat back down. 

20 is for freedom, is it not?

I’m grown up now and I’ll give it my best shot 

when fear grabs hold, and tells me I’m less

it makes me bold and I tell him I’m blessed

I kissed that girl and she kissed back

I went to college and stayed on track 

I’ll chase my dreams and never look back

Different may be true, but Special is a fact



This poem is about: 


Jan Wienen

Thank you

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