Different on the Inside by Susan Golubock part 2

Artwork by Loui Jover

Artwork by Loui Jover

Remember those awkward,

Social moments,

As an adolescent,

Or pre-adolescent,

When you were trying,

To fit in,

But didn’t really know,

What was in?

Or what was expected?

So you stood there,

In conspicuous silence,

Rehearsing everything ,

You wanted to say,

Waiting for the chance,

To speak,

Then blurted out,

Some untimely statement.

Or more,

Than you really intended,

To say?

Not knowing when,

Or how to stop?

Imagine having those moments,

Occur,

Regularly,

With family,

Friends,

And strangers alike.

Your best defense,

Is to memorize small talk,

Or keep your mouth shut,

And let others talk,

About themselves.

Meanwhile you struggle,

To filter out,

The background noise,

They so easily,

Seem to ignore,

Processing about 50%,

Of what they say.

Then there’s the feeling of panic,

When the dreaded question appears,

Requiring you to suddenly shift,

From processing to productive,

Without the time you need,

To do it.

It makes you wonder,

When it’s so difficult,

Why,

So many people,

Consider socializing,

To be,

So much,

Fun.

Different on the Inside by Susan Golubock

Different on the Inside. By Susan Golubock

Artwork by Tran Nguyen

Artwork by Tran Nguyen

“To look at us,

You and I appear very much the same.

Yet I have learned that we experience life,

And therefore view our experiences,

Very differently.

I have learned that I just don’t think like you,

No matter how hard I try,

And believe me I have.

My nervous system seems to be,

Configured differently.

I’ve learned to do,

What you do,

At least the mechanics of it,

But I don’t understand,

Why you do it.

I’ve memorized the words you use,

And can repeat them fluently.

Figuring out what you mean,

And why you say them,

Is the hard part.

I process words literally,

Concretely,

And naively,

Which often leaves me baffled,

And confused.

I thought that by pretending,

To BE you,

I would someday,

Understand you.

But I don’t.

Any more than you understand me.

There are times when I join in,

With you,

And truly enjoy,

Interacting with you,

But I rarely feel that I belong.

I can focus on you,

Or I can focus on me,

But understanding the complexity,

Of relationships,

Is very much beyond me.

There are times when I can connect,

With my feelings or yours,

But never both,

At the same time.

And some emotions not at all.

There are times when,

I really think,

I understand you,

Then you change,

And I don’t.

And even though,

I have stopped,

Trying,

To BE like you,

I haven’t stopped,

Trying,

To understand you.

It would mean a lot to me,

If you would try,

Just for a little while,

To understand,

What it must be like,

To be ME.”

This is an abstract from the poem “Different on the Inside” by Susan Golubock.

I will be your compass

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I look at you today,

And I know that although,

You’ve grown larger,

Your world has grown smaller,

Instead of expanding,

Yourself outwards,

You’re now shrinking,

Hunkering down,

Beneath your own skin,

So wary,

Of being bitten and torn,

By the words of others,

Hiding your scars,

As you return home to me daily,

Endlessly dazed and confused,

By the actions committed,

Against you,

The ones that make you feel stupid,

Lonely and small,

You are none of those things,

No,

Not at all.

You are lovely,

Intelligent,

And brave enough,

To go out into a world,

Every day,

In which you hold,

No internal compass,

No way to navigate,

The sea of another’s intent.

But I am here for you,

My darling girl,

And I will be your compass,

If you’ll let me.