El Jones: A poem on Neurodiversity

Read first on CBC’s website

Hi, my name is “normal.”

I’m just here to invite you

To measure yourself against some standards

That I made for just a few

I just don’t like variety

I thrive on people all alike

So I’d like to put you in a box

And tell you what’s the right you

And I’ve brought along some labels

That I’d like to stick like glue

And maybe you’ve already met this tool I call IQ

Hey, if you don’t fit this test

That I devised

There must be something wrong with you

And this world just has no room for people who are like you

And you know that throughout history

I built institutions just to hide you

And you might know me from the language

That I still use to describe you.

So if you don’t qualify as me

I’m afraid I’ll have to strike through

And I’m just waiting on a cure

And then I might just wipe you out

I’ll size you up and deprive you

Til you take it on inside you

Until you hide who you are

Or at the very least you try to

And when I’m the only one who’s telling stories

Then we’re only seeing life through

The eyes of people without the knowledge

But the power to define you

And with only fictional portrayals

And my labels here to guide you

I’ll silence all your voices

And then say that I can’t find you

I’ll categorize you as the problem

Not the world that’s not designed for you

And there’s a full range of being human

That believing in me denies you

I’m going to bring you stigma,

But you still find your pride

And then I see you up on Youtube

Saying these are lines you drew

And I’m tired of applying you

So now I’m going choose to fight you

You say I’m not a kitten on a poster

Who’s only here to inspire you

And now you’re saying you prefer

A world of many bright hues

And saying actually, human beings

Are so much wider than you

And normal’s just a construct

So I prefer my view

So, normal, the world’s a richer place

When we just say goodbye to you.

– El Jones

El Jones: A poem on Neurodiversity

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