Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Harelip is a dirty word.

I have been wanting to write this post for a very long time. A few years ago, I wrote a book called The Snake Pit: Jr. High Can Be Torture. It tells the story of a young girl, Cinda, who was born with a cleft lip and palate. Because she looks different, she is bullied, literally to death. I wrote this story, because I, too, was  born with the same defect. This is what I looked like when I was born.
This is not a actual baby picture of me. In fact, there are no baby pictures of me that exist.   

Let's face it, this is not the face of a baby you rush off to the photographer every few weeks. At least not in the 60's when I was born. In fact, I didn't even go home with my parents until I was 6 months old. Imagine what it must have been like for my mother,
People have a great misconception about people with cleft palates. I've had people assume that I am mentally challenged, without ever talking to me. I have had people point and stare. I have had people refer to me as a monster on occasion. None of these people knew me, or wanted to know, these were just assumptions of strangers. 

Of all the names I have been called in my life, by far the most hurtful one is Harelip. People toss that word about as if it is just a common term for a cleft palate. It is not. It is an insult. Let me illustrate. 
This is a hare. I do not look like this.

This is what I look like. See the difference?

Let me put it another way. Think back to the last time you said the word Harelip. Perhaps you were just describing someone you saw on the street. Can you think of a time where you ever heard someone use that word as a compliment? I can tell you right now...NO. For me, two words are taboo in my vocabulary. Harelip and the N-word. I don't use them and I don't allow anyone to use them in my presence. Both are derogatory, hateful words, never spoken in a complimentary manner, and, therefore, should be banned from the english language permenantly. I cringe when I hear those two word casually tossed about when I know from experience just how deeply it hurts. 

I am 48 years old. I am a wife, a mother, and an author. Tomorrow I will go to the hospital for yet another recontructive surgery. How many have I had? People ask me that all the time. The truth is, there have been so many, that I lost track years ago.  I can ballpark it. Figure 1 or 2 a year til I was 18. Let's say 25..conservatively. I had 3 surgeries when I was 21, another in my 30's and tomorrow I will go in for what may be my final one. This scares me. It scares me because I know it will not be "right". What I come out looking like tomorrow will be what I will look like for the rest of my life. 
Will it be good enough. It will for the people who love me. For the people who don't know me, probably not. But, I learned a long time ago, not to live for those people, only to live for myself. 

So, the next time you stare at someone with a facial defect, or laugh, or call them some derogatory name. Stop. Stop and think about what they have possibly been through to try and be what you consider to be "normal". All the pain, the tears, the prayers and the wishful thinking they have been through. Think before you tear all that down with one hateful word.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Goodbye Winter...Hello Spring!

I don't have good luck writing in the winter. I'm okay up until Thanksgiving, but, after that...poof! All muse and ambition just flies out the window. Cabin fever? Possibly, though I have never had an issue with being cooped up during the cold season. Being cooped up with the kids is a whole different story. My kids like to be gone. They like hanging with their friends and swimming in the pool and enjoying the sunshine past 5 p.m. I can't concentrate with them all here.

December: worst month of the year for me (writing wise). Kids are all home, all the time. Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, Christmas parties, and, of course, Christmas. It's cold, it's snowing, nobody can find their boots, (coats, hats, gloves). Forget it, I'm lucky if I can write a shopping list successfully.

January: Once I've recovered from New Year's Eve, there are Christmas decorations to put away.(who can concentrate with all those colorful blinking lights anyway?) It's drab, it's cold, it's snowy. School is back in session and everyone, including me, is crabby. Football season ends and that brings a whole new level of sadness knowing I won't see another game until pre-season starts in August. And August is light-years away from January. I can't concentrate.

February: Still cold, still dreary, still snowing. Stupid Groundhog lets me down once again. I should write. Screw it, I'd rather take a nap.

You may be wondering if there is a point to this line of babble. Well, in fact, there is. A month ago, probably not, but it's March, the weather has broken and I have had an epiphany thanks to Mr. Stephen King, my personal hero and horror writer extraordinaire.

In a recent interview, King said that to be a serious writer you must write every day. Every day. I realized then that what I'd been doing is making excuses. No matter the weather, the chaos, the complete upheaval your life is in, a writer writes...always.

I read those words a few weeks ago and from that day on, I have sat down to write every day. The chapters are coming together and I am churning out pages at a rate I have never done before. And it is an amazing feeling. It feels like Spring.

So, no more excuses. A writer writes...always.

a Rafflecopter giveaway