Behind the Mask (Poem)

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    • Behind the Mask (Poem)

      Make me a mask so that no-one can see
      that the face that I’m wearing is not really me
      Get me a glaze to go over my eyes
      To look like I’m looking while melting inside

      Fetch me some specs that can read between line
      Fit me antennae that pick up the signs
      Lend me a lens that reads unwritten rules
      Bless me with patience to help suffer fools

      Find me a babel fish trained to translate
      The looks and the hints and the traps and the bait
      Arm me with ammo so I’m never caught
      In the crossfire of banter without a retort

      Fit me a filter to sift out distraction
      Teach me a trick to predict a reaction
      Create me a coat like the back of a duck

      So nothing will stick when they throw enough muck
      Install me a switch that will turn of my thinking
      Considering, probing, deciphering, linking
      At least fit a dimmer or slow-mo or pause
      To turn down the volume or close all the doors

      Give me that gift that they call ‘inhibition’
      So I know when to hush and reserve my position
      Programme an app that decodes all the crap
      Build me a bridge ‘cross the processing gap


      Make me a world where not every place
      Is buzzing with noise or invading my space
      Set up society so you can converse
      And I can obsess and neither is worse

      Where statements are clear and where reasoning’s sound
      Where some holes are square ‘cos not all pegs are round
      Where life on a spectrum is not to be feared
      Diversity’s normal and no-one is weird

      Ditch the requirement for all to conform
      Broaden our meaning of what is the norm
      Change the arrangements, compete rather less
      Co-operate more, re-envision ‘success’

      Where a living’s a right not a gift or a perk
      Where we’re working to live, we’re not living to work
      Where skills are acknowledged and talents are freed
      From each by ability, to each by need

      Design a fresh start where there’s room to relax
      To think, to imagine, to heal up the cracks
      Agree some new rules where we all have control
      Of our workplaces, life spaces, world as a whole

      A future where fear, hate and bullying stop
      A system where people not profit come top

      Surely this isn’t too much that I ask
      But until we achieve it – please make me that mask

      (By Janine Booth 2015 - Source: Autism Equality in the Workplace)
      I could work hard to be normal, but I prefer to hold myself a higher standard. Ego lex sum.