Monica is a special person. She is my youngest sister and suffers from Downs Syndrome. Monica is 27 years old but emotionally she is only about 4 years old because as an infant she had meningitis and was in a coma for four months. She came out of the coma severely brain damaged. She is a constant blessing in my life, she is loving and supportive in all things. Our other sister, Janelle, coreographed a ballet for Monica while studying at the UCT Ballet School and this poem was used in the sound track. The entire Downs Syndrome association arrived for the performance and there was not a dry eye in the audience. This is dedicated to all out there who are trapped in their own bodies, who long to communicate and for someone to understand them. Remember that the Heavenly Father knows you well.
Behind my smile hides a lifetime of tears and frustration
You think Iím stupid because of miscommunication
Donít avoid making eye contact when I look your way
Donít drop your voice to a whisper as you have your say
I am here and I am a real person just like you
Only, I canít do all the things that you can do
You see Iím trapped in a physical jail called ďmeĒ
The bars of my own mind will not let me free
Iím called ďmentally disabledĒ. What is ďableĒ anyway?
Is there nothing wrong with you? Are you perfect in every way?
Downs Syndrome is the label theyíve given to my condition
You cannot cure or save me. Iím not a charity or mission.
You donít know my life. You donít even know my name.
Who are you to look at me with pity and say, ďAh shameĒ?
When I look at you, I smile a pure and honest smile.
I connect with your mind and soul and bless it for a while.
If you are looking sad or down or feeling any kind of fears
I will wrap my arms around you and share your pain and tears
I have no complications nor do I harbour insecurity
I love everyone I meet and accept them unconditionally
My eyes may be slanted but I can see you clearly
My mind may be immature but I still feel emotions dearly
I am luckier than what you are in almost every other way,
I have no worries for tomorrow and bare no regrets from yesterday.
The next time you see me, look right at me and know
Thereís much more to me than what my physical features show
If you are daring, you might even get to know me and in the end
Youíll see that I can become a very special and loving friend
My name is Monica, by the way
Thank you for letting me talk to you today
Bronwyn Johnson, March 2002
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