Spectrum

They don’t see it. 

You don’t see it.

No one sees it unless it’s pointed out to them.

No one sees me.

 

You don’t see the way my eyes flicker away when you stare me down,

The tiniest gaze that makes me uncomfortable.

You don’t notice the blundering way I trip over my own feet,

As if I’d forgotten my limbs existed.

You don’t see me hiding in the back of a crowded room, wishing I was truly alone,

Because I can’t relax with people everywhere.

 

You don’t know the way I can’t think when everyone’s talking,

The way the buzzing cacophony of voices makes me want to cut out my ears.

You don’t know the feeling I get when I make a joke that you don’t get,

I wait patiently for you to get the punchline—and you never do.

You don’t know how many thoughts I’ve kept inside.

You think what comes out of my mouth is strange? 

I swear, you haven’t heard the half of it.

 

You have no idea, do you?

Do you know what it’s like to be the only one staring blankly while everyone else cries?

And I know that I should too, but I can’t make myself cry.

I don’t cry unless I’m frustrated.

And then everyone asks why I’m upset and I’d like nothing better than to tell them to shut it, because they’re only making it worse.

Only I’m not supposed to.

 

There are about a million things I’m not supposed to do.

Like skipping pep rallies to hide in the library,

Or staying holed up in my room when strangers visit,

Or bringing a book to a party,

Or doing math homework without showing my work,

Or telling people what I really think,

Or trying to explain my obsessions to other people,

Or asking the questions that are so obvious to me, 

Yet no one else seems to think of them.

 

And then there are the things I’m supposed to be able to do, but I just can’t,

Like lying to people to make them feel better,

Or putting on some kind of social mask,

Or mingling and hanging out with strangers,

Or agreeing with everyone else,

Or working and thinking as a group—like I even could,

When I go from step A to J in a matter of seconds.

And I fit in about as well as Marty McFly in 1955.

 

There are a lot of words for what I am; special, high-functioning,

Neuro-atypical, clumsy, different, the list goes on and on. 

Space case, nerd, geek, freak, robot. 

And of course: a female Sheldon Cooper.

Some people tell me I have a disability. 

My sister disagrees. She calls it a superpower.

 

My parents were the first ones to tell me what they thought I had.

I looked at a site once and took a quiz to verify it.

The quiz told me I should check with a doctor or a psychologist.

It noted that I had a disability. 

It said I was “suffering” from something.

It was so damn wrong.

Because I am so much stronger than that.

 

I am so much more than those two little words

But I’ll say ‘em, just so there’s no doubt:

Asperger Syndrome.

And I am so much bigger than the other word.

The one no one seems to want to say.

The one that people think is some sort of death sentence or cuss word or disability:

Autism.

And the people who think it’s a handicap?

They’re so damn wrong.

It’s the exact opposite.

 

Maybe I’m a freak.

But I’ve got news for you.

So was Lincoln,

And Einstein,

And Van Gogh,

And Da Vinci.

And look what they accomplished.

 

And if you think that I’m a freak and you’re normal, 

You’re so damn wrong.

There aren’t two separate categories of weird and normal.

There’s a spectrum, actually.

And everyone’s on it, sunshine.

So yeah, I’m a freak.

But at least I know it.

And for the record, I rock it.

This poem is about: 
Me
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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