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.

5 Comments

  1. Dave said,

    8 February 2007 at 12:06

    OMG, I just discovered your blog when I came over from the comment you left on my blog. This is awesome. I do have a questin for you … I’m working on a book that is a collection of quotes about disability / difference and there are a couple of things I’d like to include from your blog. But I only know your name as Andrea. Please let me know if you’d be comfortable with putting your full name to the quotes I’d like to use. My email address, you now have. If you choose not to, cool, but WOW what an awesome site. It’s going to take some time to go through it all as I came late, but what an adventure. Dave

  2. Book Girl said,

    28 January 2007 at 14:41

    Perfectly put, just perfect. Thank you. :-)

    Especially the last verse

  3. Tokah said,

    26 January 2007 at 6:50

    Thank you very much, that was a beautiful way to speak of a great truth.

  4. David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said,

    22 January 2007 at 13:51

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

    This equates well with my experience.

    If it weren’t for systems putting obstacles there in the first place, maybe I wouldn’t have had to wear myself out trying to prove I could ‘overcome’ them. It’s not through bravery that I ‘overcame’ and of these obstacles… it’s through sheer persistence, and the sad fact is that most ‘normal’ people wouldn’t have that sort of persistence.

    The reason why the guy in my MEd thesis didn’t do well at polytechnic wasn’t because of his being autistic or having specific learning difficulties: it was because the system rigidly insisted on him doing things in a way that suited IT rather than one that suited HIM.

    In an age when we know full well that people learn in different ways and show that learning in different ways, there is absolutely NO excuse for the way in which educational systems hang onto old ‘tried and not so trustworthy’ ways when we know that better ways exist.

    Seems to me that it’s more about exclusion than inclusion. Goes for most things in life these days, too.

  5. Estee said,

    22 January 2007 at 12:39

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

    Exactly…that’s how I feel living with Adam every day. It doesn’t mean much, it doesn’t matter…it’s going out into an ignorant world that can hurt. And yet, when we meet those who are not ignorant, it is such a relief, such a joy.


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