Friday, April 12, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day Eleven: If I Have to Be Honest

If I Have to Be Honest

To all of the dear, sweet
well-intentioned people
who praise me for my strength
in having a special-needs-child

who tell me how beautiful she is
like I need convincing

who share the horrible facebook pages
"like" if you think this special-needs-child is beautiful too!
"like" that this marine took  special-needs-girl to the ball!

who try so hard to say the right thing and
only focus on her "special needs"

y'all go bite me okay?

We can totally talk about her challenges,
and get the difficult stuff out of the way.
You won't hurt me.
You won't hurt her.
You can tell me that you don't know what to say...
(sometimes I don't either.)
Let's get that done.

and then she can be Aoife, and not just

written 4/12/13 for 

Today's challenge was to write something that you always wanted to say but wouldn't. I have written about how I hate how people who have special needs are reduced to just "special-needs-people", like that is all that they are. I think it's lazy thinking, and I think that it is the way that "retarded" has become a "bad" word. I find that it's mostly people who genuinely care, but are surprised, or trying to be supportive who tend to irk me the most. And since she is so young, and this is still so new to me, I don't know how to respond to them either. So, I keep to myself the "shut up" or "bite me", or even the occasional "fuck you".  Because also, I know that there is no one right or perfect way to react when surprised. So, I forgive the people I cuss out in my head, and hope, that if they read this, they'll forgive me too. Maybe we'll get a chance to really talk about it.


  1. This cuts to the heart of every "PC" subject in society. Everyone is so terribly afraid of this topic, or of hurting someone's feelings that we never actually say anything of value. this also makes me want to sit down with you over coffee (or wine) and have a good long chat about...everything.

    1. Hi Mary! It's a date. I'll bring the sweet tea. I know that I am guilty of this behavior as well which kind of makes me tongue-tied when I am on the receiving end.

  2. I enjoy your frankness. Good poem. I don't believe in politically correct behaviour. It is dishonest and fosters censorship. One can be polite empathetic and sensitive without being pc. Few people share my views about most things..but I express them anyway. I hope you get some genuine support along the way!

    Cressida de Nova

    1. Hi Cressida, welcome to the lasagna. I think that the intentions behind the pc movement are encourage people to really think about what they are saying rather than saying the easy thing. I just think that it has missed to a certain extent. I agree with you that it has been used as a censorship and shaming tool. Ironically, people use it as an excuse for lazy thinking. Maybe that was part of the frustration behind this poem. I appreciate you stopping by and I enjoyed your comments. Thanks!

  3. I'll confess to being both--feeling embarrassed and not knowing what to say and awkwardly just saying something that should not have been said, and, feeling offended when a well-intentioned someone says the wrong thing.
    I realized when Michael, as a preschooler, innocently asked what happened to a handicapped man in the grocery store that a smile and hello from a child is usually welcomed by everyone. As I stumbled through telling Michael I did not know, the man smiled and explained that he lost his leg in an accident. Michael smiled and I grew a little at that time, but not enough.
    Our experiences with Kim after the hit-and-run helped with understanding. However, I'm still awkward talking face-to-face; I do better with notes which I can carefully read over before I post.
    And, I'm STILL trying to grow!
    I love your fierce protection of your sweeties. As Kim would say "Good Mama!" Love you bunches.

    When our Kim could finally go out shopping after awaking fromher coma, she felt no shame in approaching those she saw with a need and i

    1. Hey Tutta! It is hard, so I hope that I don't alienate anyone with this post. I wish I could figure out some sort of funny segue that would dispel the tension and get us to the topic (whatever that may be.) I'm also a better communicator in notes rather than person.

  4. We are strange us humans Heidi – we don’t know how to deal with things we don’t quite understand and as a result fumble through our conversation. Our awkwardness makes us say the wrong things – but I guess this is because we are uncertain of what is the right thing to say. It is difficult – well-intentioned remarks and shows of interest can be cutting, annoying to the receiver.

    We ‘look’ at someone who is ‘different’ – and I do think this part of our inquisitive nature – but tend to ignore the person we regard as different. I see this ?embarrassed ignorant behaviour with regards to my hubs – and I think that is why (ex) friends and close relatives ceased visiting... the way to cope with their own inadequacies is not to visit at all… Even our GP talks to ME as if hubs doesn’t quite exist (and I glare at him and indicate hubs with another glance) and suggest he talks to my handsome one and I will interject if required.

    We are complicated things and I do not see us changing – unless we ourselves experience ‘difference’ – and it is then we understand.

    Hugs to you and your wonderful family.

    Anna :o]

    1. Hi Anna! What a wonderful, thoughtful comment. I think that I am getting a much better idea of the nature of forgiveness. Most of the time, I am forgiving myself for something completely human: the envy I feel when I see my friends holding coherent conversations with their children who are younger than my daughter, the guilt that I feel when I let myself daydream that we'll wake up tomorrow and all of her challenges will be gone and she will be like any other boring little kid, my own frustration and not being able to say the one perfect thing that will fix whatever is hurting someone I care about. It's the last one that I have the hardest time with. Even knowing that there is no such words, I want to find them and make it all better. I try to remind myself of that desire whenever someone says something that rubs me the wrong way or that silence stops the conversation dead.

      I thought you post "Frayed" was beautiful and it reminded me of taking care of my Meme. I think that it was dancing in the back of my mind while I was thinking about writing this poem. I did not want to write it, even though I like it now. I also wanted to extend an offer to you. There's always a link to my email at the top, right hand corner of my blog, so if you ever just need to vent, and it isn't taking the form of something beautiful and helpful like your post, please feel free to email me. I promise to send back hugs and not try to fix anything.

      Hugs to you and your handsome one!


  5. Hi Heidi

    Just returned here today and thank you for your kind and honest response.

    I do understand your envy and envy is a strange thing too... I will copy and paste your email and will write on my days off (start Wednesday)

    I am so glad I came back here and found your response!

    Anna :o]


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