Amanda Harrinauth began writing poetry as a way to heal this world of discrimination, bullying and intolerance.
I also became dissatisfied with others with disabilities not being able to live their dream. I may be vision impaired and autistic but I have big dreams. I want to become a life coach because everyone should be able to chase a dream.
Amanda is a student at the Academy for Coaching Excellence in Sacramento. She thanks her coaches, Maria, Beth Ann, Josh, Jeremy, Allison, and Zo. They helped her find her voice. She no longer has to sit on the sidelines or wait to be rescued. She’s on the journey to become “a person that I have always wanted to be.”
I asked Amanda to share 3 of her poems along with her inspiration for writing them:
“My name is not”
My name is not slowpoke, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not bit, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not colored, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not crippled, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not midget, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not spaz, so please don’t call me that.
My name is not four eyes so please don’t call me that.
My name is not retard, so please don’t call me that.
I have these labels but they do not define me.
This is certainly not what my mom named me.
I feel shame when you call me out of my name.
My name is Amanda and I deserve to be called nothing less.
“This poem was written several years after I defended my senior thesis in which I spoke about the effects of using the “R”word. It’s amazing how the use of that word can make you feel devalued. I hear that word being used on a regular basis and it makes me just cringe. I believe that people need to be kinder to each other and realize when words like that are being used not only do you hurt feelings, but in some cases you can take away a person’s soul.”
Number dictate who I will be? The things I will accomplish?
67, is the number that autism assigned me. What does it mean? I believe it just a number. Can’t tell who I am. You can’t tell me how to love. You can’t stop me from making my plans or writing my name in the sand.
67, is just a number, so I am told. Let’s release the negative stereotypes about what it holds.
67, Can you hear me stop talking back! I may not pass every test, but I’ll give it my best shot.
67, make it known. You can try all you want to make me cry. But I refuse to let this number define my life.
67, I’ll rise above with those around me who showed love and compassion for who I’ve always been. Way before a number claimed who I was supposed to be.
67, you may have challenged me intellectually, but that has nothing to do with who I am and who I will be.
“67 is another one of those poems that is really quite eye-opening. I talk about how 67 is just a number and I don’t really understand why we all have to be judged by a certain set of numbers. It has nothing to do with accomplishments or achievements or the type of person you’re going to be. I was inspired to write this poem right after being diagnosed with autism as a way to speak out and prove my point that there’s nothing wrong with me in spite of what the numbers say.”
Proud to be
I am proud to be unique.
I am proud to be beautiful.
I am proud to be kind.
I am proud to be intelligent.
I am proud to be creative.
I am proud to be funny.
I am proud to be honest.
I am proud to be clever.
I am proud to be autistic.
And oh yeah, I am proud to be…
“This has to be one of my favorite poems. it’s in a simple format that really looks like a grocery list. Typically, when people say that they are proud to be, they mention they’re proud to be intelligent, clever and so forth. In this piece I call out the fact that I’m proud to be disabled. You don’t hear that very often, so I just want to make it known that God made me a certain way for a reason. Therefore, I’m proud to be. This is not to say that it isn’t difficult but you can’t have a testimony without going through test.”
Find Amanda’s poetry on her:
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