Merry Christmas, Everyone

I walked today.
I had to.
I needed to think.
To escape the pressure
Of the holiday.
It’s insanity.
For just a little while.

Don’t tell me I can’t be this way.
I am this way.
Always have been.
Always will be.

There are things I’ve never said.
Because.
Because I know
They would be like
Throwing a torch
In a vat of gasoline.
Pressing a branding iron,
Glowing white-hot
From the fire it was heated in,
To the chest of everyone.
Even me.

Because I know
The reaction the words would receive.
The same reaction
They’ve received
Time after time.
For the last 53 years.

People resist change.

But I have to ask
A couple of things.
I won’t answer them.
I have answers of my own.
I’ll leave the reader
On their own
To find the answers.
Or to ignore the questions.
Or to rant and rave,
As they explain to everyone around them
Why I was removed
From the working world.
Why the people I once knew
Avoid me now
As if by simple contact
They could catch
Whatever’s wrong with me.

I can’t help but sigh.
And shake my head.
And wonder.
Will anyone I know
That is that way
Ever wake up?

I already know
The answer to that question.
I won’t say it.
I won’t share it.
It’s a question
Each of you must answer
On your own.

Don’t tell me that’s not fair.
Don’t tell me I should share.
Don’t tell me I’m being mean.
For you don’t believe
What I believe.
The answer’s different
For you and me.
Because we’re not the same.

And that’s how life’s supposed to be.

Think of your friends.
The people you know.
Those you go to lunch with.
Those you work with.
Those within your church.
Those within your group.
Your click.
Your peers.

What happens in that group
When you see someone
Who doesn’t dress like you?
Who doesn’t talk like you?
Who doesn’t shave each day, like you?
Who has long, stringy hair?

What happens in that group
When you see two men walking,
Holding hands?
When you see two women walking,
Holding hands?
When you see a man
Dressed in a Scottish Kilt?

How does your group react
To the girl with the tattoos
On her arms?
On her back?
On her legs?

How does your group react
To the girl dressed all in black,
With a long black skirt,
And platform boots
With big metal buckles on them.

How does your group react
To the girl with bright blue hair?
The one with a buzz cut?
The one with a collar
Around her neck?

And how about that guy
With an ear-ring in one ear?
What’s up with that?

How does your group react
To the man in the median?
You know the one.
With the little cardboard sign
That says,
“Will work for food.”

Or that 15-year-old girl
That’s six months pregnant.
And isn’t married.

Why is it you never think
Before you act?

I told you when I began
Writing down these words.
I wasn’t going to answer
Any questions that I asked.

And I’m not.
Instead I’m going to tell you
Once again.
The answers that I found
May not match the ones
You could find on your own.
I won’t share mine with you.
Because I have no way of knowing
If what I’ve learned
Is right for you or not.

I only ask the questions.

Find the answers
On your own.

Merry Christmas,
Everyone.

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