What I Would Say to Her

That little girl
Hiding in corners with books
Dreaming of a world
Full of color and
Love and
Laughter and
Support
Making herself smaller
Quiet
To survive

Don’t be afraid to speak
They will misunderstand you
Over and over again
But that is not your fault
You just speak a different language
And they force you to fumble through theirs

To that little girl
Who doesn’t understand
Why people lie
Why people hurt others
Why people pass on the pain
That was given to them
When they could just not
Hurt those who come after
That little girl
Who never will understand it

They assume you lie
Because they lie
They assume you intend to hurt
Because they do
They assume you are calling them out
When you are trying to help
Because they are afraid
Of being seen as lacking
They project themselves onto you
To make you a mirror
Of their darkness
Of their weakness
Of their fear

But you are not their mirror
You are a star
Shining so bright
That you hurt their eyes
The flowers you always carry
The colorful leaves
Are the true reflection of your soul
Of your love
Because that is what you are
You are love
In a human container

The girl you are
Will blossom
And you will find that you are enough
You were always enough
Never too much

You are right that
You are different
No matter what anyone tells you now
And you will get to be yourself someday

You will find that you are
The things you were taught to hate
But it turns out
They are glorious
More wonderful
Than you can currently imagine

You are funny
Even though they misunderstand your jokes
You will find people who get them
Who get you

The light you carry
Will be seen by others
Throughout your life

Some will hate you for it
Some will love you for it
What matters is that you
Love yourself for it
It will dull sometimes
Know that’s okay
You are not responsible
For what others do to you
And the ways they hurt you
It will shine brightly again
It’s not the challenges that make you strong
You are already stronger than you know

You will find your people
They will see you and
They will love you
For who you really are
Your quirks
Your humor
Your audacity
Your openness
Your honesty
Your love
Your vulnerability

There are challenges to come
I will not sugarcoat them
But you will find that you are
Stronger than others think you are
When they look at you

You will learn that one moment
Doesn’t make or break you
You will learn that you teach others
How you will allow them to treat you
That you cannot control fate
But usually controlling your own choices
Is enough
That it’s okay
To just be barely getting by sometimes

I know that you can’t believe it now
But you will let go
Of the religious fables
That have tied you down
In knots
You will grow wings
And you will soar

You will see that it’s okay
To be yourself
To love people of
Any gender
That it’s not a curse
That it’s not something to fight
It is love
It’s a gift
whether or not others see it that way

You will find that you aren’t
Just a girl or a woman
Those labels can’t hold you
You are genderfae
Genderfluid
Not masculine
But everything else
Shimmering
Magical
Fragile
Strong

You are
More a they
Than a she

Someday you will find words
That make sense of your differences
And you will rejoice
To finally be seen

Autism
Dyslexia
Dyscalculia
Dyspraxia
ADHD
Aphantasia
Prosopagnosia
Misophonia
Sensory Processing Disorder

All those times
They told you
You were too smart
To have any challenges
To need any help
While getting upset
That you couldn’t do something
They were wrong
You will find this out
After lots of struggling
But you will find it
And you will finally
Make sense
To yourself

People call them ‘deficits’
But you are not lacking
While you will struggle
You also will
Fly
Because of them

That little girl
Hiding in her books
The dyslexic reading machine
Will see the real world
Will have her own stories to tell
And their own stories to tell
When they find their voice
Some people will even listen

What can I tell you
Little girl
That can help you?

Don’t be afraid
Of rejection
Of pain
Of loss
Of broken hearts
You will have them
But there is no living
Without some pain

Don’t be afraid
Of who you are
Of what will happen to you
Of disability
Because that is in your future too
You will learn to live with pain
As much as that can be done
You won’t be able to do
Everything you want
Everything your friends can
But you will still be you
Others will see you shine
Even when you don’t
See it yourself

Take care of yourself
Don’t hurt yourself to try to meet
Others’ expectations
You need that energy for yourself
You aren’t built like they are
And that is okay

Workplaces won’t
Be designed for you
Office politics
Are not something you can get
Your brain around
The deceit and backstabbing
Do not make sense
That is not your failure
It is theirs
They don’t want
People like you
As your very existence
Shines light on what they
Want to keep dark

Although they give lip service
To diversity
The glass ceiling
Is much lower for you
Because they see but
Don’t value your gifts
They want only
Conformity

You
Love
Were not made for
Conformity

Anyone who does not accept you
For all that you are
Is not worthy of you
How others treat you
Is a reflection of them
Not of your own worth

Your boundaries are always valid
Walk away from anyone
Who doesn’t respect
A single one of them
If you can
It is a warning sign
Heed your own
Internal compass
Listen to your instincts
You know more than you think

You are worthy
Of all the
Good things in life
Love
Support
Care
We all are interdependent
Independence is a myth
What you earn
Does not determine your worth
Your worth is inherent

Now go out into the world
Be yourself
Be loud
Be proud
Find yourself
Find your people
Because you will
I promise it
You will

All along the way
Embrace yourself
Because you will
Paint the future
In bright colors
And it will sparkle
Partly because of you

©2021 April Marie Mai
Neon Nights Painting

“Neon Nights” by April Marie Mai
A square impasto thick paint acrylic abstract painting with lots of black, with neon red, neon pink, neon yellow, neon blue, neon green, pink, purple, teal,  and a little white combining in an expressive palette knife movement style. Bright colors are popping out of the darkness. The bottom has more black and the top left corner is more pink and the top right more purple, with all the colors swirling in between. Each swipe of the palette knife is different and contains multiple colors.

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