To the Unforgiving

April 25, 2008
By Harry Veilleux, Littleton, MA

I first want you to know that you are caring, affectionate, kind people. You love and respect people who are different than you; you accept those who have trouble fitting in because of physically, mental, or emotional difficulties. But there is one thing that I must make clear: caring, affectionate, kind, loving, and respectful does not equal omniscient.

You don't know everything.

You live in a bubble created in the factory of society. You love, you respect because you were told that these people deserve your love and your respect. Those of other races, of other creeds, of other sexual orientations, those who suffer from physical or mental handicaps: you give them your love because you know who they are. You know that they struggle.

But you don't know us.

We are the down-trodden children who are too proud or too afraid to voice to you our problems. We blend in with society, yet still we are different. You wouldn't be able to pick us out of a crowd as sufferers, but every day for us is torment.

Every day you look at us, but you don't see us.

We have the illnesses and disorders you cannot see. Every moment of every day, we push ourselves to the point of mental exhaustion just to achieve what you take for granted: the ability to function. We suffer from depression, trauma, fear, and mood, hyperactivity and social disorders.

You have no idea how we suffer.

Every move we make, we are terrified that we have done something wrong, something fundamentally unacceptable to your conceptions of normalcy. You look on in contempt, holding us to your principles of social and behavioral acceptability. Because you can function, you assume we can.

We struggle every day to meet your demands.

You are the unforgiving, the unforgetting. You give us no leeway, because you don't believe we deserve it. Your perfectionist values mock our plight as you wander through life, blissfully ignorant to our misery.

All we ask of you is your acknowledgement. Why are we less than those who you claim were also born unfortunate, with troubles beyond that of a "normal" person? In what way do we endure fewer hardships than others who are ostracized and abused by society?

You cannot shove us into a corner and wish us away. We will remain; we will endure. If you learn nothing else from me, remember this: though you may have a happy life living up to your "normal" views, it is the introverted, the insightful, the incorrigible, and the insane that will change the world.

And we will change it, whether you know us or not.

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