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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Second by Marcia Cummings

I read the poem below last week at The City of Toronto's International Day of People with Disabilities.  It stuck with me and that night, I read it to my friend Sheba.

I love my independence.  Maybe too much?  I don't know, but it is a part of who I am. 

I pride myself on wanting to help others.  It is such a formative part of my identity and guides many of my motivations in life.  I've even made a career based on it.

This poem was a humbling reminder that even with the best of intentions of helping someone, you can be infringing on their independence and second guessing their abilities. I've read and re-read it so many times.

Take a read and let me know what you think. 

The Second by Marcia Cummings

Please, give me back the second!

The second it takes to hear the traffic move at the beginning of a cycle -
why should I trust you more than the traffic patterns?

The second it takes to hear where the nearest subway door is -
yes, I can hear them open and would rather make my own choice!

The second it takes to verify the direction of an escalator -
there is a convenient way to do this - it's not rocket science!

The second it takes to find the beginning of a staricase -
that's what my white cane is for!

The second it takes to turn around after passing that landmark -
then again, maybe I was enjoying the walk!

The second it takes to find the door -
it's often easier if I open my own doors - then I know where the door actually is!

The second it takes to avoid your groping hands -
I often wisdh I could return the favour and grope you, too!

The second it takes to avoid probing questions  -
just why do you need to know where I am going?

The second it takes to be independent -
unless that's too much to ask?


bklyn76 said...

this poem made me think differently about *helping* ppl. reading it on my own again reinforced the idea that just not everyone is asking for help just b/c they do things differently than i do. thanks for sharing!

Bianca J said...

This made me think a lot. I had a friend in high school who was permanently in a wheelchair and one day a friend was supposed to pick us up and take us into town but he never showed, so we had to make our own way there. I felt awkward because it was quite a long way and I really wanted to ask if he wanted me to help push him up the steep hills or just give his arms a break, but I knew how he liked being able to do things for himself.

Thank you so much for the beautiful package miss :) I'm popping a little note in the mail for you today. I'm still thinking about my own gratitude list to post on my blog. Hope you're well!

Faiza said...

I've felt that awkwardness too Bianca. It's because you are a caring people person and your instinct is to help others. Good for you for recognizing that he could do it for himself.

Really looking forward to your gratitude list. That list might be a good way to start 2010.

Happy holidays to you.

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