No Congratulations Needed

When I was assaulted, robbed, grossly insulted,
Framed for infractions I didn’t do,
And then went to the authorities
They called me a liar.

When I ignored pretentious fashions
Avoided parties of catty gossip
And shunned drinking and drugs
I was denounced as rebelling the wrong way.

When decided that I needed job skills
Concensus dictated I should take courses
That took advantage of my weakest abilities
Thus guaranteeing my employers’ disdain.

When I had the temerity
To suggest following a dream
That used my natural aptitudes
It was dismissed as pie in the sky.

When I was ill, and put off surgery
To struggle through the semester
They said I wasn’t a good student
And that I didn’t belong in school.

When my spirit broke down
And I could barely teach on weekends
Or write my monthly column
I was deemed not a contributing member of society.

Disability doesn’t mean much
When I’m off in my own little world
I function quite well
Working in my own way.

I work around my weaknesses
And do what I do best
Just as everyone else does
Even if not the same way everyone else does.

I become handicapped
When shoved into situations
That exploit what I cannot do well
And don’t acknowledge my skills.

There’s no need to congratulate me
For having “bravely overcome”
The insults and artificial obstacles
That people put in my way.