Some time ago I went shopping for a dress for a specific occasion. I had been thinking about this purchase for a couple days, and I had in mind exactly the dress I wanted, down to the cut, color and fabric. So you can imagine how frustrated I was after several afternoons of several hours of shopping did not produce the dress I was looking for. Then, when I had almost given up, I found the dress. It was the exact colour and design I wanted, in the exact fabric I imagined. I was over the moon – until I tried it on and it didn’t look at all how I thought it would. I was beyond disappointed.
I spend most of my days with children. Some days I am with children who are functional. Other days I am with children who function differently. Society has lots of labels for this second set, labels that are mostly polite ways for saying they are damaged. We live in a world where broken-ness is not tolerated. Instead it is something to be defined, analysed and fixed. This is fairly easy to do when you wear your damage at a surface level – when the way you walk or talk or behave is clearly different from the way everyone else does. But what about when your malfunction is not on the surface? What about what your broken-ness is so deep inside that no one can see it? Or so deeply woven into who you are that you don’t realize it is broken-ness until you try to untangle the reasons you behave the way you do?