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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
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Taking the Words from my Mouth (Poem)

A poem about living with Asperger's Syndrome.
stress

Taking the words from my mouth,
Twisting them, stretching them, turning them round and round,
Negating their true meaning, as it was meant to be heard,
You hear what you want without really listening.

Although I squeak and stutter when I have to speak,
And I get so nervous, confused, and completely terrified to say the wrong thing,
One wrong word can alienate others, and make them stay away,
One ill placed word can alter completely what I meant to say.

Sometimes when I come near them,
People turn around and walk the other way,
Never speaking, never caring just how much joy
Hello would bring me, how much light it would bring to my life.

Every time I’m around others,
The need to monitor words, expressions, the language of the body
A conscious effort, a constant analyzing of others,
Prevents me from feeling comfortable, stops me from ever relaxing.

I would give so much, just to know, just to feel
What it would be like, just once in a lifetime,
Once, and only once for an hour
To be able to see as others see, learn as others learn, hear as others hear
The in between the lines of any given conversation.
Being me is like a scientist who can’t experiment,
A mathematician who cannot count,
An author who cannot write,
A teacher unable to teach,
A competitive runner being unable to use his feet.

Everything I want with all my heart,
Falls into the space of those things I miss,
The mannerisms, nuances, facial expressions, body language,
When talking to others, teachers, bosses, friends, parents of students,
All these things others take for granted, I practice, I sweat over,
Til I no longer feel incapable, I rehearse my lines as if I have a role to play,
This is my life, this is why I feel so disconnected, as if an observer, an outsider.

This is a description of what it feels like to be me, a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome,
Every conversation, every word thought over,
Analyzed under the finest microscope,
Before they, words, are spoken, uttered aloud,
Sometimes, mostly never, see the light of day,
Because its too late,
The time has passed to say them,
Their usefulness expired, as if never needed at all,
Always, forever, missing the boat,
Only ready to sail further when the boat’s 10 miles ahead,
Docked at new pier,
Ready to go to a new destination.

Forever on the outside looking in,
Never on the fast track,
Always slow, never have an in,
Feels like a piece is missing,
As if I am a puzzle, missing a piece,
A boat with no sail,
A snail without shell,
A butterfly with no wings;
Forever longing for the missing part of me
To take its place,
To be on the inside looking out with a smile,
To look out over the water and know that this time,
The boat and I will arrive together at a new point; in harmony at last.

Always wondering if what I see and interpret is right,
The emotions, signaled through a look, a motion of the body,
For those missing all these little signs, considered an insignificant skill by most,
For those without the ability, to discern, to differentiate,
Between one look and the next,
One motion from the other,
A challenge, a war waged, a battle ensues
Constantly, consciously taking note of every reaction, translating;
Working so hard to follow, to give the illusion, of sameness, belonging.

Wanting to share for the first time a genuine reaction to a joke,
Ironic statement, contribute a comment, observation,
Without missing the point is the opposite than its literal meaning,
Because of seeing one dimensional instead of three,
Thinking of it as flat not round,
Circle instead of sphere,
Imagining your emotions crumbling inside,
wanting to cry, as you once again realize-
You have missed the true meaning,
Getting away, tears streaming, truly defeated:
The feelings, you know once again, how much was overlooked,
How little you truly know about it all,
Life, that is, the way others are, the way others feel, conveyed
By the nonverbal aspects, the things people like me can’t seem to observe,
People like me miss the obvious to others,
In plain sight to see, but to have no clue of the how, the why,

It’s heartbreaking to know how simple others find it,
This skill that gives everyone, but people like me the ability to function,
To understand the whole of a conversation, read between the lines,
Sometimes, the tears come before I can hide,
Before I can imitate, be like everyone else,
Sometimes the tears, are the only way to show I don’t know,
Don’t comprehend, the confusing mess that to everyone else is the simple interaction amid the throng of humanity.

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One Response to “Taking the Words from my Mouth (Poem)”

  1. Grace Acosta says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

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Taking the words from my mouth,
Twisting them, stretching them, turning them round and round,
Negating their true meaning, as it was meant to be heard,
You hear what you want without really listening.

A poem about living with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Greetings to all, my name is Nachalah, I am a 24-year-old student. I am studying communications and graphic designing at Sapir College… Sapir College in Southern Israel is under fire, situated near Sderot and the surrounding Kibbutzim, where the bravest children in the world live.

It was the mid ‘60s and I was living with my mother and brother in public housing on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We moved there from Brooklyn a decade earlier to be near my mother’s family when my father died suddenly of a stroke.

You’ve gotta settle, stop being so choosy, it’s a boy’s world after all
And you’re just one of the millions who think their worth something, have the gall.
You’ve got to start looking better, so that you’ll be noticed when you walk through town
And perhaps you can lose a few pounds too, so we can pull your resume dress size down.

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