(quick tw: r-slur, aba therapy/abuse, bullying)
we were the lost generation-
the generation of fear and stigma
that echoed on the ground beneath our feet.
we were the generation of “retard” and “go home, freak!”
from an early age we were taught
no one’s gonna like you anyway.
we were the generation who were forced to SIT
and were GOOD GIRLS or GOOD BOYS when we passed by-
the invisible line between normality and everything else.
forty hours a week at four, and it increased or decreased
depending on “good” or “bad”.
our hands were thrown to the ground and our legs strapped to chairs-
“use your words” the sugary-sweet lies said,
but you- you who couldn’t- sat there with a heart full of love,
a heart whom expressed it without a single word,
hugs, cuddles, dances- everything that made you you-
you sat there with angry tears in your eyes, a lump in your throat,
and a heart that was starting to harden.
there was more than one you.
and the world clapped- after all, they hated us-
the same people who highlighted the fear against us-
they were the ones who made ads about how we’d “ruin the lives of-”
we didn’t need to hear the rest.
i was like you too, a while ago-
spiraling into a genetic code that was different from the family tree.
autism, they said, through whispers and gasps.
mourn for her. she won’t do much anyway.
and they shoved me away into a cabinet of wasted potential
and the loss of a homecoming queen.
two states, two programs-
one that was kind, and the other-
held a boy by his neck as he cried.
and the world split in half for us-
good versus bad, right versus wrong-
somehow we were always wrong, shown by
your “friends” at autism camp where you ate lunch on the dirty floors.
(no wonder i went into a pill bottle later on.)
no one cared enough to fix it.
my mother held books on how to “cure” me.
they were there too, diagnosed at fifteen-
unsure where to turn.
afraid, and unaware-
they saw what the world said
and hid in shame.
the kids used to make fun of their hands-
hands that praised and shouted and cried-
and they sat on it until they went numb.
we were the lost generation who patched our wounds in bathrooms-
vowing to someone behind the mirror that we would be good.
we never saw ourselves on TV or in the movies,
and when we did, we were the laughingstock.
we were the lost generation,
who unwrapped ourselves like Christmas gifts,
and began to heal.
- k.t. , stories of an autistic