Poetry

From knowers to no ones


 

It’s amazing how everything can change in an instant

A click of a camera

An image captured in time

Interpreted by a human

Who then had the authority to take my humanity away

I stood there

In a body

That evapourated in an instant

My breath left me

You told me she was broken

And you broke me

 

The pieces will never be put back together in the same way they were before

I believed in a system, in processes, in expertise

In many ways I was an actor in and of these systems myself

A professor

A holder of knowledge

Someone who is listened to

Respected Or at least not shit on

 

You asked me if I wanted a doctor’s note

To excuse my absence from work

My absence from the class I was teaching

100 fourth year undergrad Early Childhood Studies students

Looking to me for knowledge

Those notes come to me

But now you offered me one

“Offered”

Truly you let me know my place with that note

I walked in here someone

I left as no one

And nothing

With no path back to the person I was when I came to you

Looking for help

For reassurance that she would be okay

Never had she, and I, been so not okay

 

It was a long road

Full of fear, anxiety and disappointment

I came to believe in my nothingness

I came to believe I’d always been nothing and had tricked the world into thinking I was something

You never told me outright that I was no one – no that would have been much too direct

That would have been mean

And you don’t want to look mean

So you treated me that way

You hid information from me

You lied to me

You lied to others about me

You made up stories

And everyone believe you

Because you wrote the note and I need it

You assumed, and soon so would I, that no one would listen to me

You already knew what I was about to come to know

In my bones

In my body

In my heart

That now, no one would take the time to know me

That your word was the truth and mine was worthless

A lie

I would have preferred you call me nothing

No one.

Instead of treating me like that

Because it slowly soaked all the knowing ouf of me

Knowing as a professor

Knowing as a mother

Knowing as human who has been harmed before

You left me in a heap

And then lit. me on fire

For years.

Until I just let myself be burned.

 

But I didn’t die.

I’ve come closer than I’d like to admit a few times

I couldn’t find the life left inside me

And truly there wasn’t

I had to build a new one

A new reason

A new purpose

A new way of going on

And perhaps, most ironically, in taking away my knowing, and leaving me to rot, or born, or decompose in whatever way

I did find a new life

With so many wonderful people around me who would not let me give up

And four children looking to me to keep their worlds turning

I stayed

I fought back

I made space for my place as a knower

At first it felt like I was tricking the world again

But I realized that his was the most real I’d ever been

I knew more now that I ever could have then

In becoming a no one I came to know what I never could otherwise

And if I am indeed, once again, a knower

Then I’ll spend the rest of my life making space for the no ones

Because no ones know way more than you ever could

So stop.

Listen.

Hear.

The messiness.

The sadness

The grief.

The fear.

The helplessness and hopelessness

It’s all about together in those no ones

We don’t want your notes thanks.

We’ll write our own.