by Adalia Bogert

Globe representing the world

Let me guess,
You were one of them.

“Don’t have kids.”
“Speak up.”
“At least you’ll lose weight.”

I don’t have to tell you how bad that last one was.
In our world, we have rankings.
And Cancer is #1.

Now you’re one of us.
And you want to know the rules.

I’ll tell them to you,
Out of mercy.
Not spite.

I am a positive person, after all.

Rule No. 1:
You don’t have disabilities.
You have abilities and capabilities.
Some might call them gifts.
Superpowers even.

Everything happens for a reason.

Rule No. 2:
You are ever so grateful to be alive.
You are a fountain of optimism.
Spouting uplifting quotes.
Look at you!
Triumphing over adversity.

The climb is worth the view.

Rule No. 3:
You can never be mad or sad.
Don’t burn the world to the ground.
Or long for what once was.
Never speak the s-word.
Because this label means game over: Danger to yourself and others.

We all know what happens then.

Rule No. 4:
Man + disabled woman = mad man.
Woman + disabled man = Mother Teresa.
Queer + disabled = error.

You are so lucky
We live in such an inclusive world.

Just look at FDR! The possibilities are endless!

Rule No. 5:
Forget your name
You are now these things:
Liar. Faker.
Drama Queen.

Don’t forget damaged goods.
Oh, did I hit a nerve?
Where is your
G r a t i t u d e

You should be thanking me.
We’re at the end, but we’re not quite done.
Some of us have to please our able-bodied masters
If we want their h a n d – o u t s.

I wasn’t a good enough liar for them.
Too dark. Too depressing.
Just too tragic to make them believe
In fairy-tale magic.
But lie well enough and you could be
Their next Bethany Hamilton.

Remember their beloved expressions:
No pain, no gain.
Your disability doesn’t define you.
Happiness is a state of mind.

And the very best one of all—
Optimism cures disabilities.
It won’t regrow limbs, of course.
But you’ll be so much more fun to be around.
Can’t you at least try?

Someone always has it worse than you.

Category: Featured, Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU Student