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– Essay by Alysha Brooks –

Featured in issue 15 of Dreamers Magazine

I can’t be smart I’m not allowed to be smart. Smart people can read and write with their own hands and their own brain no need for interpreters both human or robotic. I look at a page my brain sputters and whirls. Through my eye a stream of letters march through the swirling clump of brain matter that resides inside of my skull. Instead of the words keeping in there straight restrictive lines whispering knowing and meaning into the squishy underbelly of my brain, they decide to rebel. Run, trip, fall and scatter. In retaliation my brain decides to chop them, Dismember the circles and lines into an incomprehensible swirl of nothingness leaving sharp edges to plunge deep within the squelching mass that is my brain. That must be what happens. They get lodged inside unable to leave as fully formed words stuck unable to straighten out into legible sentences through comprehension or through the written word. That must be how it happens that’s why it hurts so much. Sometimes I vomit from it. I gag and choke on the broken-up letters the disappointment that sits in the acid of my stomach and the pain that pounds in my head. Yet they told me I don’t try hard enough. If I just tried harder my brain would change the structure and would morph into a normal one. A brain who obeys the laws of the western written word. A simple right to left a straight line subservient, dutiful, correct. Instead of a brain who inspects every line and swirl dip and bump. Who yearns to understand what lies underneath. Who dares to disobey the ease of restriction instead. moving all things in a dance glide and twirls and uncovers goes beyond a simple line, with its simple truth. A brain that understands the world itself is incomprehensible and therefore refuses to comprehend the simple notion of the written word. And so, I am stupid, due to my inability to force my brain to conform, to obey the laws and rules and so it must be punished, I must be punished. Until my brain can submit and be normal, I will always be stupid. I will never have worth I will never be able to do anything. Oh, how I wish I could beat my brain into submission. Then I would be perfect, I would be smart. I would be able to be all the things that I can’t. I would be able to be myself but instead I’m what they make me an idiot. I’ve given up now. I know I’ll never be able to read. Or at least that’s what they say I’ve given up. I know that my writing is false even though they’re my words and the relinquishing of my soul. It means nothing because I cannot hold the pen instead, I stab it into my flesh punishing myself for my inability to not be disabled. I guess I shouldn’t say that. They told me that I shouldn’t call myself that. I should call myself a person with learning difficulties. I should use person first language as if this thing has not defined every part of me. It’s hard to know that I will never be myself, I will never be smart, I will never be whole and I will never be disabled because I don’t stammer or limp. When I say I can’t read they told me “There is no such thing as can’t”. When I asked them if they would say that to someone in a wheelchair who says they can’t walk, they say I’m dramatic. Or I guess I just don’t understand because I’m stupid I’m illiterate there’s synonyms apparently. It’s funny how they don’t even know the meaning of their own words but I guess I can’t actually know, because I can’t read them, so I guess I can’t ever actually know. I guess these words aren’t actually mine. I guess this whole page is meaningless, is pointless, there’s nothing. I guess you’re not reading it now. You can’t be because I can’t write and I can’t read and I’m an idiot this is illegible, this is a garbled mess. Maybe if you tried harder, maybe if you threw up if you cried, maybe if you sobbed, were punished. maybe then you’d understand.

About the Author – Alysha Brooks
Alysha Brooks

Alysha Brooks was born in British Columbia, Canada, in 2001. For Alysha writing is a last resort for making Meaning out of meaninglessness forcing beauty in the most hideous of places and the reclaiming of one’s own story.

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