Different Enough by Caitlin

Guest post by Caitlin Wray of Welcome to Normal

Last year as part of her First Things First series, Hartley ran a post by Jennie Linthorst, who teaches poetry therapy, and is the wife of Eric Linthorst, maker of the acclaimed film Autistic-like. In her post, Jennie encouraged parents to "write it down" and explore their complex feelings through poetry.

Once upon a time, in what seems like the life of another woman, I was a "real" writer - short stories, poetry, and an abiding faith that I would indeed one day write the next great Canadian novel. Life took me on a different path... but I always believed I would find my way back to it.

A few weeks ago I was having one of those days when I am really struck by how much Simon's "invisible disabilities" position him to have the best and worst of both worlds; people expect him to be "normal" and yet it is an impossible order for him. The words that started to form in my mind, weren't really coherent thoughts or even complete sentences. They were more like... a poem.

So here is a poem that shares my perspective on who my young son is right now. And in writing it, perhaps I've taken a small step toward finding my way back to who I really am...

Different Enough

Different enough
to feel like an alien.
Same enough
To bleed red.

Different enough
To be hurt by your touch.
Same enough
To crave it.

Different enough
To get tongue tied.
Same enough
To have something to say.

Different enough
To be awkward.
Same enough
To know it.

Different enough
To struggle with standards.
Same enough
To be held to them.

Different enough
To garner their stares.
Same enough
To notice them.

Different enough
To be an outsider.
Same enough
To want in.


Diane said...

This is beautiful and really hits home. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope it's OK for me to share this link.

Lizbeth said...

Beautifully written and like Diane said, it hits so close to home.

winklett said...

I loved your beautiful poem and it definitely strikes a chord, as my own little boy has autism. Thank you for sharing!

"Normal is a Dryer Setting"

Yvette said...

Thank you, Caitlin. Your poem beautifully and simply expresses our kids' struggles and emotions. I'd love to share this with others as an advocacy tool!

Diane said...

Just replying to Amy to say I like your "Normal is a Dryer Setting" signature. :) It made me smile. I have a very big boy with autism.

Kristin said...

Beautiful!!! It hits home on so many aspects :)

Thank you for sharing. Is it ok to repost with a link back here???

Caitlin Wray said...

Thanks everyone, it feels very rewarding to know that my words can express the feelings of others, and not just myself. Please feel free to share as long as my full name appears as the author, and a link back to Hartley's site is included.


Patty O. said...

Oh, Caitlin, you summed it up perfectly. This poem is beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time. You brought me to tears.

sportsphotogirl said...

Thanks for sharing your poem. It was beautiful and makes me think of my DD.

Anonymous said...

That is beautiful.

Apples and Autobots said...

Oh my God--this poem is absolutely beautiful!!! I'm sharing on my blog. Thank you for permission to do so.

lana said...

Well I'm sitting in the Occupational Therapist office in the waiting room... crying. This poem says it all; everything I've been trying to put in to words for weeks now about my daughter.
Thank you for sharing it. I'm posting a link to this from my FB page and my blog.

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

You just described my precious niece. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful poem. It brought me to tears, which is awkward as I am at work and should be working, not reading poetry...

Caitlin Wray said...

Thank you :) I am sorry to have made you all cry in public... but I am happy to have found a way to express what so many of our children must be going through.

seenoi said...

Thank you so very much,everything in this poem describe my Brian. child. i love you to bits.

agear said...

I love this. It totally describes how I feel about myself. I have sensory issues too and ADHD. I think I have learning disabilities too but am having trouble finding a doc to test me. I also have arthrits, scoliosis, and sciatica. All of these are debilitating and make it hard for me to find a job. Everyone I tell says "you look fine to me" or "Everyone gets distracted sometimes" or "We all have pain to deal with"(these I hear from my own sister). I think sometimes it would be easier if I was in a wheelchair because then everyone would believe me and not call me a hypochondriac. I cry a lot in secret. This poem is so beautiful and really describes what it's like to have a hidden disability. Do you mind if I print it and hang it on my wall?


Caitlin Wray said...

I am honoured that you feel it represents your feelings April, and you can feel free to print it.