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Normal - what does it mean to people who are different?
Note: this poem was written to a dear friend, someone who is different. This is meant to attempt to illustrate mine and their feelings.
It is a word that has no definition.
In an ever-changing world,
What is normal, you may ask?
Is it the straight white men, like society says?
This group is classified as normal,
But our world thrives with diversity.
We are now all so different
That this small group is a minority.
This world now has made me think,
Perhaps no one is normal,
For every day it is preached to us
That we are all unique.
But our uniqueness makes me different,
Ostracized and alienated
Not always visibly!
The silence is uncomfortable.
Every day we walk through hallways,
People start to stare and whisper;
Not loudly enough to be heard,
But what they say is always obvious.
It’s the weird ones, they say.
I don’t get them, they mutter.
‘Have you heard what people
said about them?’ they ask.
Exclusion is an invisible illness,
One we can’t see but is omnipresent.
It haunts you and I and each day
But together we fight it relentlessly.
And while exclusion is invisible,
It is a form of something we recognise.
It’s something we’re all guilty of,
A sin we have committed: Judgement.
Perhaps you think that you are innocent,
You’ve never judged someone at glance.
But try this as a test of judging -
Simply look across the hallways.
There’s the boy standing there,
A wide smile on his face.
The large group of girls,
There’s the girl in the queue,
Her expression is a frown.
And the boy in the corner,
A tear trickles down his face.
When you say all these people,
Did you think about the backstory?
Did you analyze their expressions
Trying to find the underlying cause?
Why was the boy grinning so widely?
What joke had made the girls laugh?
What made the girl frown in anger?
What caused the boy to start to cry?
You simply glanced and judged their faces -
They’re frowning, therefore they are sad.
They smile, therefore they are happy.
But we are not such simple people.
If you truly want to rid yourself
Of this inevitable crime,
Think about these questions,
Attempt to answer them.
Walk up to the boy who cries,
Ask him, ‘Is everything all right?’
Look at him with non-judgemental eyes,
At least, until you know his truth.