We are voiceless.

Our feet are turned to iron.

We're lobbed into a torrential river

Of expectations.

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.

Talented. Exceptional.

They put me in a room

With other kids like me.

“Regular courses are too facile for you.

“And don't be so Shy.”


Summers pass.

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,

“And sarcasm

“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






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.


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