The psychiatrist sat at his desk in that small office and said tell me what you see when you go down Michigan Avenue. Everything? I asked. Everything, he said. I closed my eyes and began. When I was finished he whistled through his teeth. You know, he said, others don’t see what you see. I was too frightened to ask what others saw. My world had crashed and we were trying to put it together again.
I remembered when my senior class in high school was having difficulty in social studies not understanding how all men were created equal. Mr. Kane was hearing us out. Everyone agreed we were not created equal. Different status, different talents, cultures, education , some with no talent and no money, and the list went on. Come on think, he pleaded, think in what way we are equal. Silence. In God’s eyes? I ventured, because that was my upbringing. Only in our humanity he said. Only in that we are human, and I was to learn differently because I was already searching and learning the twig is already bent apriori, a history arrives.
So many differences that even my mother questioned why I had to be different. I was too young to know that I had the freedom of a decision. I was who I was. Why can’t you be like your brothers and sister? Who put the cry in crisis for me and the said in the unsaid. We have heard you can’t stay home from school with another stomach ache. A child was told you have to take your ulcer medicine before school , yes. Another headache? Familiar?
Before we can have a world at peace we must accept the different ones at our table before we send them out the door. Wars are waged within the family before they are taken out in the streets. Every child must have the right to be wanted by parents who have loved wisely and well. It should be a sacred obligation we have as parents.
Many years ago I wrote the following poem, Detrevni. . . inverted spelled backwards. I tried to show how the varied world appears to some of us, as an introduction to differences in approaches. There are more planets circling around that are being discovered with a different sun. Years ago Frank Herbert had his Reverend Mother in ChapterHouse Dune say what would people think if they truly thought they were the only life in the Universe? Or if they were not? Truly thought it through. Think on it. Different life elsewhere will one day have to be dealt with. No matter their size, the children must be prepared.
or sometimes called a learning disability
It is a world I see where ‘was’ is ‘saw’
and ‘eht’ is ‘the’
and everyone speaks this peculiar language.
The trees grow leaves
cushioning sturdy trunks,
blossoming with sturdy roots.
Daffodils bury their golden heads
while bulbs, transparent,
shoot hairs out of themselves.
They are beautiful.
Men stand on heads
with toes balancing words,
and eyes are located in their belly buttons.
Hands helplessly try to manipulate a world
and that is the same everywhere.
I do not speak of this other place
because you would think me even more peculiar,
though my eyes and nose and arms
are appropriately spaced.
What it is I see and hear you cannot measure
because I cannot see what you want me to see.
‘Evol’ is love in any language
because love shines from the heart
and arms embrace from any direction.
Sometimes it is called a learning disability
but there are places I know
where I fit right in.
Make this world one of them.
(I am ever grateful to Jane Roberts and the Seth Books who let me know I was part of the world. And Frank Herbert who reminded me of worlds I could not forget.)