Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thank You for the Cages

Katie from Tomahawk and 25 of her gifted peers spent a day in January with me focusing on self-advocacy - creating their learner profiles and plotting their unique paths to graduation.  We also took time to vent some frustrations.
Thank you, Katie, for sharing your heartfelt and provocative insights.

Thank You for the Cages.

There was once a time
When there were no cages.

Society said I was too smart,
And led me down a sticky-sweet road
Into gleefully agreeing to be chained
To kids I didn’t know,
Who had already sewn together
Friendships and cliques
And I was an awkward, missing button.
Thank you for the cage.

It was once wonderful
To be strong and unique,
To live in my own way.

Society injected the wicked serum
Of sameness
Into the students pulsing toward middle school
I was quarantined, and stayed different.
I didn’t want the sameness
Until it was too late.
Once again alone.
Thank you for the cage.

I was once free to frolic
To play, and enjoy all things movement.

Society snapped up the kids,
All but me, the odd one out,
And sorted them like packages
Into endless rounds of sports,
Demanding and competitive.
I was thrown into the group
Of the few kids who hadn’t chosen sports
At age seven
Because I simply hadn’t wanted to.
And now it was too late.
Thank you for the cage.

I once felt the joy of difference,
Tasted the nectar of being admired and different.

My un-sameness attracted attention,
Earning me friends and enjoyment.
But my weirdness became repetitive and annoying,
An old sideshow everyone’s already seen
And moved on to the next novelty,
Leaving me alone with my new identity
And no friends.
Small ways to vent my wayward thoughts
Could not replace the companions I thought were mine.
Thank you for the cage.

I had no choice but to be alone.
But I learned to enjoy it.
I soon learned that this was acceptable.

Isolation, any weak ties to others severed,
A lone, roaming island.
I relished my freedom, my flexibility
Which so many others seemed to crave.
I accepted my lone wolf status.
Others did not.
“People are talking behind your back”.

I scraped some adequate social behavior from the bottom
Of a box of nuts and bolts,
People who had been rejected like me,
But not for my reasons,
For I was still a misfit among the forgotten.
I was restricted, and still no happier.

Because there is no one.
Because I was the one who stepped into
The cages I was given

Society, thank you for the cages.
Now I just need the keys
Probably twirling lazily on the finger
Of someone who doesn’t exist,
And not a person in the world
Will help me find it
Because I am
My own person
And all that gets me is a lot of cages.

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