Neurodivergent Disabled Person That I Am
By Aidan Zingler
What’s on your mind, Aidan Zingler?
Facebook says for the umpteenth time.
I stare at the screen my mind thundering
Thoughts, images, words, and music all
Jostling for their place to be validated.
What’s on your mind, Bird?
My nickname a quiet in the hurricane
as my words slip into formation
arranging and mixing on screen
ready for listening or reading.
Will people listen this time, I hope.
What’s on your mind, friend?
Memories of hurtful moments
Attempts to call out patterns
of harm that continued for months
until I disintegrate into nothing
my words deflected and projected
and I am drowning, drowning, drowning.
What’s on your mind, fool?
I trust and love too easily with abandon
I speak truth and can’t stop myself
Neurotypical modes of existing
make no sense to me, and I fail.
I will pay the price, for there’s always one.
What’s on your mind, Aidan?
I am a nonbinary neurodivergent disabled person.
I struggle to speak my truth, better at writing
My vulnerability catches the eyes of those
that wish to control, to harm, to manipulate
I fail to see, I assume the best, red flags appear.
I know, in the end, my word will mean little.
For in the eyes of society, I am nothing.
Ableism teaches us that disability is
to escape from, to be liberated from,
to be horrified by, to be ignored,
to be not believed for aren’t we faking it–
over and over, from even loved ones
who frame their arguments and words
just as society taught them, perpetuating
the same harm that threatens my life.
Can’t you see our inherent beauty?
Can’t you see our gifts are magnificent?
Can’t you see our unique perspectives
reveal hidden nooks you overlooked?
Can’t you see the worth embedded?
Can’t you see our words and stories
are real and true, valid and heartful?
We are not your inspiration porn,
We may never live up to society’s
impossible expectations but remember
we live a fantastic existence as us.
Impact matters more than context
Impact matters more than intentions.
We are all human, we all make mistakes.
And all I’ve ever asked of anyone
is to own yours, to not deflect, to not project
to not gaslight, to not derail — own yours
and don’t go putting another weight
on my already broken and tattered back.
Because you owning it means change
is finally on its way, and hope is rekindled.
Because now I don’t got to carry it alone,
now we can work to rebuild a better world.