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I Met A Girl Today

by Kevin Gadsey

I met a girl today
9, 10, or 11
Newly confined,
Newly limited.
A baby to disability.
Only 3 years old.

Wanting to come out of her chair.
Trying to do what her body can not.
Trying to go where her legs will not take her.
I see it in her eyes.
Wanting to be like everybody else.

I met a girl today.
Said "I've never met one kid in a wheelchair I liked."
An unspoken, "I don't like myself this way."
I heard it in her voice.
She wants to be 'normal.'

My soul screamed, my thoughts cried out.
"Baby, you have so much more,
You have weakness in your legs,
But your spirit is already stronger,
Your heart can be more loving,
Your mind will be more accepting.
Because of the struggle.
Because of the weakness.
Because of the heartache.
Your soul will be made true."

I met a girl today
President of her elementary school
A leader from birth.
Reminded me of myself.
Wanting to fit in.
Wanting to seem normal.

I met a future messiah today.
A potential leader in the world of disability.
Still chasing the dreams of their world.
Still walking in her mind.
Always one wheel behind those who compete,

those with muscle.

My eyes see a future for her; my tears cry now.
Let go of all that.
Find the beauty in weakness.
Find the joy in struggle.
Find the peace in being unique.
Find your true self.

I met a girl today

I gave her hope
I gave her a future
And she rolled away before
I could give her a dream.

Our eyes locked once again
But she refused to acknowledge me.
She refused to acknowledge herself
Or her weakness.
Or her comrades in chairs.
Just like me at her age.

She rolled away into her future
A future of competition.
A future of struggle.
A future of finding herself,
Finding beauty in weakness
And pride in the Truth born from it.

Someday, I'll meet a woman, a new messiah
A leader who knows how to love herself and her chair
She will roll back into the world of disability
As a leader in weakness.
To guide her comrades in chairs.
And my soul will rejoice.

Kevin Gadsey works as an Independent Living Specialist for Southeast Alaska Independent Living in Juneau, Alaska. A native of Tennessee, he experiences disability in the form of Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. His website is www.chaironwheels.com