So I decided to share a poem I wrote, for a creative writing contest hosted by the Capital District Center for Independence, Inc. which will be held on June 16th...at the '14th Annual Celebration of Independence Luncheon'. Submissions are to be related to living life with a disability...winners are given a ticket to the event, and their submissions will be printed and distributed to the guests. Is there a cash prize? Well, no...unless you count what I would pay for the lunch, which will be held at the Wolf Road Marriot. And that's okay--I'm submitting the entry for the recognition, not for a monetary gain! At first I wanted to enter a story where I could explain what it was like to live life with CMT, as I continue to help raise awareness of this disability. The only problem is the piece has to be 250 words or LESS. Do you know how hard it is for me to write a story that short?? My first post, Let's Talk About Grace would have been a perfect submission...it describes how it physically feels to have CMT, and what it's like to live with a disability that no one's ever heard of, right down to the funny name. And then I checked the length...unfortunately it was 850 words (SHOOT!!) so I tried to figure out how I could shorten it, but it just didn't work. I guess I love words too much, and 250 of them is just not enough!
I figured the only way this would work was to write a poem, although I'm not as strong at writing poetry as I am at creating stories. Should it rhyme? Do I write a Haiku?? And what aspect of being disabled to I discuss? It's a complex topic...I could try to describe CMT, or make it broader and more universal so that any disabled person could relate. I made a few attempts: CMT...easy as 1, 2, 3! (okay...THAT won't work!) Charcot Marie Tooth...do you find it uncouth? (seriously...what would YOU rhyme with it??) And in the end I decided to go the more universal route, and discuss a topic that any person who faces life with a disability would understand...discrimination. Not the dark, dirty dregs of discrimination such as name calling and bullying (though I've experienced those too...) but the simple stares, raised eyebrows and people just passing me by because I'm different. I think anyone, even people who aren't disabled, knows what that's like. So, many hours (and ice packs) later, this is what I came up with. I hope you can relate in some way to the feeling of being and looking 'different', and wanting others to know not to pass you by...cause there is always more inside!
Just Like You
If we pass on the street, do I look the same?
Or does my walk stand out, like an open flame?
Do I turn your head, as my beauty shines,
Or do you stare at me, as you see the signs?
What you don’t know…what you can’t see,
Is the fact that there is more to me.
The funny walk, the way I stand,
Even the difference in my hands.
All of that is just the shell.
And it doesn’t always work too well!
Though what truly matters lies within…
To ignore that part would be a sin.
I laugh and love, from deep inside…
My emotions are hard for me to hide!
I wish, and dream, and set my goals…
I don’t always reach them, truth be told!
Sometimes I hurt, and even cry…
I face defeat with a mighty sigh.
Though it isn’t long before I bend,
And pick myself back up again.
Our differences are small, you see.
We want the same things, you and me.
To love and live, have dreams come true…
Clear out the old, bring in the new!
My shell, it may not win the game…
But I’ll get where I’m going, just the same.
So don’t just stare…please see what’s true.
That in the end, I’m just like you!