Monday, February 24, 2014

Deafening Whispers: The Moments that Stay

"You can't play with us," they said, "because you can't jump. Only people who can jump can play hopscotch."

"Cripple," she murmured under her breath, her voice dripping with malice.

"WHY. ARE. YOU. SO. SLOW?" she screamed in my face, each measured syllable like a knife.

"What's wrong with you?"

"You walk like a drunk person."

"Maybe God is punishing you for something."

"If you went to the gym more often, you'd be just like everyone else."
 
"Such a shame, such a shame..."

I never knew that whispers could be so loud, never knew that single moments could stick with us for a lifetime.  

But for every comment and action that sent me to my knees, there were many others that helped me up again...

The students in my fourth-grade class who took my hand and showed me that even if I can't jump, I can still jump rope. 

The boys and girls in my karate class who rooted for me as I stumbled through the obstacle course.

My entire fifth-grade class, whose cheers and congratulations filled my ears when I scored a point in our Friday afternoon kickball game. 

My best friend in elementary school, who helped me up and walked me to the nurse each time I fell, and who accompanied me outside of gym class whenever I couldn't participate. 

My middle-school friends, who threw me a surprise party for my fourteenth birthday when I was home-bound after my accident.

My five-year-old, soft-spoken brother, who hurried to my side and stood up for me when he heard the piercing words directed towards me in the kindergarten bus line. 

My amazing girlfriends, who waited for me as we waded through a thunderstorm. 

One of my college friends, who wrote on my whiteboard:
"You are an amazing person in every way."
and another, who wrote me a letter that said at the bottom:
"You are perfect just as you are, so don't ever stop being you... ever!"

If you're reading this post, I only ask that you take a few extra moments to consider your words and actions. Because those that hurt can create permanent scars...and those that help can give us strength that sustains us for decades.

If it hadn't been for the others, then perhaps I would have gone through my life thinking that that we live in a world where only those who can jump can play hopscotch. Perhaps I would have believed that we live in a world where I was defective and worthless and broken, and worse still, that I was being punished by God ever since I was a baby for a deed that I couldn't remember committing. Perhaps I would have viewed my disability as something that was my own fault, as something that I could wipe away if only I was a little more driven and a little more worthy. Perhaps I would have considered my own life to be something to be ashamed of, a mistake, a burden.

Thank God for the others.

I never knew that whispers could be so loud, never knew that single moments could stick with us for a lifetime. 

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. I'm so glad you had those other whispers and loud shouts to drown out the meanness of ugly-soul people.

    *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it's so important for us ... especially disability bloggers ... to thank the people who support us, who "get it" without having to have disability explained to them seventy times. And I love that you are so specific, because so much of the good is doing the right things, not just having good intentions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank God for the Others, but more, thank God for the Yous. For you. I love this. Can you do a version for Our Land? Remember when we talked about you being a Regulah? I don't want to interfere with college. But can you do this for Our Land? Please???? And can you call me if you need to vent?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh I love the OTHERS. This resonates with my post today. How words are powerful. And my friend, YOUR words are powerful. and moving. and just well, perfect. You are so much more than words though.

    Cause you are perfect.

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Thanks! :-)