"Be Not Afraid”
Be not afraid of your excellence.
Excellence takes courage.
make a mountain shout for joy,
You take pride in who you are
it’s time to look fear in the eyes, tell it that you are a champion.
You shall no longer allow fear to delegate your experience.
You are brave and you are strong.
The days of mistreatment are long gone.
Be not afraid of the power that you possess,
The power of kindness, gentleness and most importantly respect.
We are Special Olympics athletes, we may not always win gold but the bigger prize is that we rise.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Rock your confidence like no other.
Had my head shaved when I was younger, my head scarred, my stomach has the wounds of who Hydrocephalus thought I was.
“You are ugly” I would hear, and it would bring me to tears.
Black and Indian, they make me, who I am.
Years later, I let my long hair down.
Put on a cold shoulder, and my tattoo say peekaboo.
Hip- hugger jeans to outline my hourglass.
Ruby red paint would line my lips.
Made my own earrings, to let the world know I’m making a statement.
I still have, Hydrocephalus, Low Vision,
I am beautiful as I am, my scars, imperfections, and disabilities give me confidence.
“ Marching Strong”
I know, I have always
Normalcy was never an option.
At the age of 26, I earned my heroes cape.
When I opened my heart to the possibilities , I was able to save the day.
I have Autism, a unique gift.
Sometimes it may look different to others, but if so I don’t want to be the same.
I want to play by my own rules, and create my own games.
I have released and let go of the shame of what it means to be different.
Those of us with Autism we are heroes, our hearts shine bright to the call to love one another.
As we stand together we are brave and strong.
April is national Autism month so, we will keep marching strong.
I have lived several lives,
And still I don’t think you understand.
My impact is nothing that has been done before and I still dare to dance.
A waltz with differences and i’ll tango with adversity.
I may have been called out, that’s fine because you’ll never be like me.
I’ve dealt with autism and flawed vision.
My struggle has been apparent from day one but my strength comes from within.
I’ve lived several lives, I've been through the worst of it.
21 brain surgeries are only the tip of the iceberg, until you keep chipping away you’ll find a cancer diagnosis just waiting in the wings.
So I’m up to the challenge I’ve made my battle cry. I refuse to be silent.
I will not deny that my life has been traumatic because my destiny is huge.
Not everybody is chosen to live several lives.
Why did yoy diu choose me? I'm so confused.
Others laugh at me and make me feel sad.
I spend most of my time alone, never included in anything.
Why did you choose me? I don't understand.
I'm so odd or so I am told by my family.
One day, my heart opened up and let light in.
I picked up a pen and began to write about where I came from.
I cried many nights, as I reflected on the many rejections I had in my life because of my differences.
So, Autism, I finally know why you chose me...
You chose me to be a voice, so I could change other lives.
Number dictate who I will be? The things I will accomplish?
67, is the number that autism assigned me. What does it mean? I believe it just a number. Can’t tell who I am. You can’t tell me how to love. You can’t stop me from making my plans or writing my name in the sand.
67, is just a number, so I am told. Let’s release the negative stereotypes about what it holds.
67, Can you hear me stop talking back! I may not pass every test, but I’ll give it my best shot.
67, make it known. You can try all you want to make me cry. But I refuse to let this number define my life.
67, I’ll rise above with those around me who showed love and compassion for who I’ve always been. Way before a number claimed who I was supposed to be.
67, you may have challenged me intellectually, but that has nothing to do with who I am and who I will be.
67 is another one of those poems that is really quite eye-opening. I talk about how 67 is just a number and I don’t really understand why we all have to be judged by a certain set of numbers. It has nothing to do with accomplishments or achievements or the type of person you’re going to be. I was inspired to write this poem right after being diagnosed with autism as a way to speak out and prove my point that there’s nothing wrong with me in spite of what the numbers say.”
My name is not slowpoke, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not bit, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not colored, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not crippled, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not midget, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not spaz, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not four eyes so please don’t call me that.
My name is not retard, so please don’t call me that.
I have these labels but they do not define me.
This is certainly not what my mom named me.
I feel shame when you call me out of my name.
My name is Amanda and I deserve to be called nothing less.
This poem was written several years after I defended my senior thesis in which I spoke about the effects of using the “R”word. It’s amazing how the use of that word can make you feel devalued. I hear that word being used on a regular basis and it makes me just cringe. I believe that people need to be kinder to each other and realize when words like that are being used not only do you hurt feelings, but in some cases you can take away a person’s soul.”