In the spring of 2022, the Hogg Foundation launched the New Voices Showcase. The goal of this project is to highlight talented writers and creatives who are living with or in recovery from mental health challenges. Throughout the coming weeks we will be featuring worthy submissions on this blog.
This blog post was authored by Cole Patrick Weaver and is one of the prize-winning entries of the New Voices Showcase. We thank Mr. Weaver for his submission.
The New Voices Showcase is a feature for voices from the community, whose views do not represent those of the Hogg Foundation.
I am a human being… right…?
I was born into this world by human beings
Just as everyone else was,
If that’s the case…why do I feel like such an alien…?
Stuck… on the wrong planet…?
These other beings… that I live amongst…
They appear to regard one another as fellow neighbors
They seem to share a feeling of familiarity within their conformity
They can communicate with one another rather fluently
They are always able to read and understand each other.
Why is that…?
Is it because their minds work the same? Are all of their thoughts and feelings experienced the same way?
Do they all share the same goals and desires in life?
Then again… why am I… so different…?
Why do I see this world through a completely different lens?
Why am I the only one that is always thinking about the biggest questions?
Why are all of my thoughts and feelings experienced on much deeper levels?
Why is my communication so foreign to my peers?
My core desire is and has always been to connect with authentic souls…
I always wish to befriend genuine hearts that I can trust
I am always hoping to form everlasting bonds
Yet… for as far back as my memories go
The world has always regarded me as… a problem…
A nuisance people wish they didn’t have to put up with
A bad apple because I don’t think nor act the same way as all of the other kids
An inferior loser stacked against better accomplished and more attractive classmates
An incompetent partner with unintelligent ideas and unworthy skills
A man who is weak for having emotional sensitivity
An African American to be feared and never trusted
A kindhearted friend to be taken advantage of
A thing undeserving of love and acceptance
Perhaps… it’s in these people’s nature to render those who are different as beneath them
I have witnessed countless examples of these creatures demonizing each other for their differences
They will often go so far as to take on a self-righteous crusade of extinguishing their different kinds from existence
That would explain why I have faced constant mistreatment from the people of this world throughout my entire life…
I have faced loneliness and solitude
From experiencing my entire upbringing as an outcast
I have felt resentment and frustration
From constantly being misunderstood by my own family
I have self-loathing and trust issues
From facing abandonment by friends I thought cared about me
I have unhealed emotional wounds
From being inflicted by various forms of hate
I have dealt with anxiety and despair
From losing my entire support network for my well-being
I have faced trauma and despair
From enduring the nightmare of mental health crisis
I have fallen into deep sadness and depression
From having never felt loved enough by everyone in my life
Do I believe however that this is all that human beings are?
I won’t shy away from being honest and admit that I do think this way from time to time
However, it’s not even because of the cruelty I experience from humans on a daily basis
Even I have hurt others… numerous people… throughout my own life…
When I had experienced overwhelming emotional pain… I allowed myself to give in… to rage…
I surrendered my conscious control… to my inner tiger… locked inside a cage… within the depths of my soul…
The demon becomes enraged! It breaks out from its cage! It goes on a rampage!
My tiger demon would always take out my emotional turmoil on the people that… matter most… to me…
I struggle… to this very day… to forgive myself for these deeds
Even long after my loved ones have forgiven me… I still have trouble convincing myself… that I am worthy of forgiveness…
The world has already told me… countless times throughout my life
I am too subhuman to be loved
I am too flawed to have connections
I make too many mistakes to be supported
I will never be appreciated as a fellow neighbor
I deserve the misfortunes I experience
Yet, despite all of this darkness that lurks in my heart
I still manage to hold onto to the hope that humanity is still capable of evolving into a truly wholesome community
I believe in the possibility that humans can one day come to the understanding
That no one is less than anyone else for being different, having flaws, or making mistakes
That every single one of us is imperfect in nature but that does not mean we are broken
That each of us possesses gifts and talents worth contributing to the greater good
That we can all grow and learn from our mistakes
That all of us are capable of forgiveness and reconciliation
And that everyone in this world deserves love, understanding and acceptance
Instead of conflicting with one another because of our differences
Why don’t we mature as a species and figure out how to cooperate?
Why aren’t we more understanding of people who think and act differently?
Why can’t we learn to accept one another in spite of our diversity?
Why do we judge others as less than because they don’t conform to ourselves?
Why are we so blind to the gifts and strengths every one of us have?
Why aren’t we open minded about people who have different communication styles?
Why must we shun others when all of us are trying to live together on this Earth?
Isn’t it about time… this doesn’t have to be a dream anymore…?
Cole Weaver is a neuro-divergent African American, and more than glad to be a voice of hope for the mental health community.