Being Proud of our Differences



For four appointments I drove through LA traffic

To meet with a specialist who designed

A wig for me to hide my thinning hair

she helps celebrities who have the same problem

She has a heart of gold and a skill set

Using yak and human hair to create

The illusion of a genuine head of hair

it was my solution for my fight to belong

I could recount a list of many more

Traits I wish I could have a do over on

As I’m sure we all can.

Where did we lose the way of viewing

Our individuality as a gift rather than a curse?

I bought into the judgment

And condemned myself into action

I believe we’re creating a tipping point

For standing up with our differences

And speaking up for what is right

And using our voice for the oppression


I want to share this poem by Laura Hershey who is nationally recognized for her activism and advocacy on a wide range of disability rights and social justice issues.

YOU GET PROUD BY PRACTICING

By Laura Hershey

If you are not proud

For who you are, for what you say, for how you look;

If every time you stop

To think of yourself, you do not see yourself glowing

With golden light; do not, therefore, give up on yourself,

You can get proud.

You do not need

A better body, a purer spirit or a Ph.D.

To be proud.

You do not need

A lot of money, a handsome boyfriend or a nice car.

You do not need

To be able to walk or see or hear

Or use big, complicated words

Or do any of those things that you just can’t do

To be proud. A caseworker

Cannot make you proud

Or a doctor.

You only need more practice.

You get proud by practicing.

There are many many ways to get proud

You can try riding a horse, or skiing on one leg

Or playing guitar,

And do well or not so well,

And be glad you tried

Either way.

You can show

Something you’ve made

To someone you respect

And be happy with it no matter

What they say.

You can say

What you think, though you know

Other people do not think the same way, and you can

Keep saying it, even if they tell you

You are crazy.

You can add your voice

All night to the voices

Of a hundred and fifty others