Separate

There are times I feel it
When not invited
When the conversation stops upon entering a room.
 
At these times
I don’t exist.
 
Like the megalithic bones on display
At the Museum of Natural History,
I am a novelty
Used for book reports
And admired by gawkers.
 
I am “the blind lady,”
And “the lady with the guide dog”
Coo-coo-ca-choo.
 
Often, I am not asked by others to share 
Because their assumptions
Prevent me from being included.
 
Blindness
Is so discomforting to others —
It is easier to dismiss me
Than to challenge the comfort zone.
 
I often think, how can I be more like them
Less like me?
 
I don’t fit in.
I won’t assuage their discomfort.
 
In the ebb and flow of the work day
How do I tell these folks that I matter?
That while I lack vision
I ache to be included.
 
When I am in the counseling room,
I ask patients to describe facial expressions, 
Not just feelings or thoughts
Denote a change in tone, context and timbre
Explore meanings
Root out exceptions
Grounding them
Softening the scars.
 
I am reminded that
At these times, I do matter.
 
But outside the room
Well, that is another story.
 
The forebears of family therapy would perish the thought of disability exclusion
Yet, here I am, typing the prose.
Expressing it, trying
To make sense of the rejection and pain I feel,
Knowing it is up to me to accept
What I cannot change.
 
— Ann Chiappetta