That Kid


United States
45° 28' 50.7072" N, 122° 38' 33.8532" W

When I was ten.
Let me tell you about then
When I was ten I went to Disneyland and was terrified of Space Mountain and the giant whale
I got a puppy
Played football with my neighbors
Read my first big kid book
I was mainstreamed from private school to public
And I learned
I learned when I was ten I was that kid
I was that kid who couldn’t sit still
That kid who had to have a toy to play with
To keep my ticks under control
That kid who had a Special seat
And the Special worksheets
And the Special classes
In the Special Rooms
With a Special file
Saying I was Special with a capital S
But not the kind you put a bumper sticker on your minivan to brag about
I was Special with a capital S, yes
And I had a stigma with a capital S and a slur with a capital R to match
Got called retard every single day
I was treated like I was diseased
“Stop being such a retard”
“They shouldn’t let people like YOU here.”
“Ew! Why did they let the retard in?!”
When you’re a normal ten year old, you don’t really sugarcoat
When you’re Not-Bumper-Sticker-Worthy-Special, you’re worse
You have no filter, you say whatever random thoughts that come into your head
“Wow, that dress is ugly!”
You’re awkward
You cry when kids make fun of you
You eat alone a lot
And you don’t understand why kids hate you because of this new name they came up for you
You also think that everyone’s nice
And you get fixated on little things like
Why. Is. That. Little. Purple. Paint. Chip.On. My. Desk.
I freaked.
What’s funny is that when you’re ten
People already look down on you because you’re short
When you’re a Not-Bumper-Sticker-Worth-Special ten year old
People look down on you because of that name your “friends” gave you
Your parents, teachers, case specialist, speech pathologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapist, ist, ist, ist
All see how special you are and the ists rate your specialness to see if there’s hope for you.
Then, there wasn’t
They decided to not tell me
Until one day
I remember like it was yesterday
It was May and I started crying in Speech Therapy
Because I didn’t know why people had problems with me
I was crying in Speech Therapy because I saw my file and it said there was something wrong with me
So I was sat down her office a puddle of tears
And she told me the truth
“Yes, there’s something wrong with you.”
“No, we can’t fix it.”
“But don’t worry, honey, you weren’t going to go to college anyway, the world needs janitors and bus drivers, right?”
I ran out the door with my childhood jumping out the window
I went to bed a kid that night and woke up a shell
I felt like hell
I stayed home because “Mommy, I don’t feel well.”
I wanted to get away from that ist
That stigma
That class
That world
Because I was that kid
And kids like that kid don’t do well
Kids like that kid don’t amount to anything
Kids like that kid end up on the streets
Well, this kid like that has dreams
This kid like that pulled herself up by the bootstraps when no one gave her shoes
This kid like that is going to college
This kid like that is going to law school
This kid like that has a world go see
After I drop this mike, remember that
You haven’t seen the last of this kid like that

Poetry Slam: 


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