The importance of respecting ND language as diverse and poetic
April 13, 2016 § 3 Comments
(A photograph of a broken doll’s hand. Something I’m planning to work with in my studio. One click…)
The internet is a tricksy beast. One click and your most immediate thoughts and responses become potentially global. We have the power to appear imperiously on each other’s timelines on almost any platform you chose to name. I am as guilty as any other of the sin of quick comment without true consideration, but never more. Censure or correction takes this a step further. I too have been there. But I won’t be going back now that I’ve experienced it from the other side.
The other day, having posted a poem about my experience as an autistic woman, I received the following correction on Twitter for the title for my piece.
Twitter respondent: “No such thing as “a school for autism.” A school for autistic PEOPLE, perhaps?”
Sonia Boué: “its a poem so not intended to be about a real institution.”
Let me expand.
Because this is a poem there is no such thing as this school of which I write. Except conversely there was such a place because it was the school I went to, or the school of life, or being schooled as an undiagnosed autistic, or any such allusion you care to name – all of which are correct because this is poetry and it is my lived experience; a blend of imagination and memory. Imagination is free.
Ironically the poem is about silencing and correction – of sitting on my pulse as people told me that my way was wrong and I must do it their way. In the poem I describe this as a cage.
After this experience I understand even more the need to be particularly sensitive about correcting other ND individual’s use of language. Otherwise things can quickly become one way or no way. This is also a cage.
A piece of creative writing, a soul piece about an authentic experience expressed by an ND person needs space to breathe and to be allowed to exist – just as we are asking wider society to allow us to breathe and exist.
All my life I have been corrected and I have often felt like a ghost in my own life story, walking in the shadows as a result. I won’t now be silent. I won’t now sit on my hands or quiet my pulse. I will use the language of my choosing.