We are voiceless.
Our feet are turned to iron.
We're lobbed into a torrential river
Ideals. They say,
“The perfect child is ours.
“No flaws here.
“Avoid her gaze and search elsewhere.”
We've spent ceaseless hours
Counting the specks of dust on our bathroom floors.
You don't understand us.
We are not perfect.
And we don't think we are, either.
That's what they called me.
Me, a little, shy, 6-year-old Texan girl,
With thick pigtails that curled with a mind of their own.
They put me in a room
With other kids like me.
“Regular courses are too facile for you.
“And don't be so Shy.”
Moving. New people. A new school.
One without my special class.
My peers saw a nerdy, intelligent, scrawny girl--
An easy target.
To them, I was a test.
“I've diagnosed you with anxiety. And OCD. We can fix that.
“Maybe some learning disability. And maybe a
“Social ineptitude to register the feelings of your peers,
“When it is used, and to know what to say to other people,
“And how to say it,
“How to explain your thoughts,
“And looking new people in the eyes,
“And how to transcribe your mind onto paper.
“This sounds suspiciously like the subject of a growing concern today.
“But, you're too intellectual for that. You're Gifted. Blessed.
“You're fine. You're just
I did my own research.
Inquiries spoken but
Drowned by raucous voices of society,
“Be perfect. We know you are.”
You don't know me.
I know my mind.
How I take in things
Is like starting a jigsaw puzzle
Laterally from both ends,
Then finding you've misplaced
The middle pieces.
You might have the box,
You can tell what it's supposed to be.
You might be able to see the outline of the picture,
But the two halves will never connect;
It will never be Complete.
I have certain strengths that
Obscure my weaknesses.
I can Tell you what Marlowe thought about life,
Can Tell you what the quadratic formula is,
But I cannot Explain
Understand that THIS
Is why I need
Something more than what I've been offered.
LISTEN to me when I tell you
I cannot follow directions in class
Unless each step is written down
And I can play connect-the-dots with them
To maybe help me find a basic understanding
Of what you expect of me today.
This is why I ask for things repeated
Over and over and over and over and over--
I'm a straight A student, but
My grades to not define me!
I am Smart, but I've had to work hard
To make the connections,
To seize opportunities I was not given,
To learn in an environment unfit
For my needs!
All because of a label
YOU ARE FINE.
APPRECIATE YOUR GIFTS.
THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.
I know what I mean when I say it,
Don't tell me I make no sense,
Don't think I'm lazy!
I want to learn with others.
I don't want to be segregated.
I thought we were over that 60 years ago
After Mr. Brown's case in 1954.
I need somewhere I can go
And be understood.
I just wanted to feel normal.
That's all I still want.
For all of us who are
And maybe more.