I met my friend, Bonnie, through the art scene in Baltimore and she is an amazing, wonderful, joyful human being. I’m so happy to know her and every time I cross paths with her is a pure pleasure. She recently sent me an e-mail with a poem and the following message, “Mary, I’ve always felt different and when I was much younger, it bothered me in some ways. But as I aged, I began to see it as a blessing. Here is a poem I wrote in 1997 that I think you’ll appreciate.” I asked her if I could share it on my blog and she said yes, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. (By the way, Bonnie is an incredible photographer. I’m including some of her photos for you to check out! And you can also visit her website!)

Perspective: A Poem Of Self-Love | Uncustomary

I’ve always felt alone—

just never understood why.

Oh, there were friends, conversations, parties, family, busy-ness,

but it was as if we were all watching the same movie while

mine was in a different language

            which only I understood.

I used to be jealous of the rest of them,

            their 20-20 vision


I saw through a kaleidoscope,

            or a microscope,

            or an inner scope.

I was envious of their hearing

            carefully defined sounds

            coming from clear and

            certain places.

I heard shadows sliding and

            unspoken whispers from

ambiguous spaces.

Perspective: A Poem Of Self-Love | Uncustomary

I tasted the same garden fresh peas they did

but was disappointed when I tasted only

            green dream particles.

I failed to smell the fresh rose bloom they did because

            a worm brought the scent of

            rich brown earth to me.

I was envious of how they could feel the warm dishwater while

I felt only the bubbles

            giggling against my arm.

Naively I tried to learn, imitate,

            be one of them,

            but failed.

I was always looking up when

            they were looking down.

I photographed cracks in walls

            while they were snapping cracking smiles.

They asked who

            and I asked why.

They raved about exotic cruises while

I rambled about

            dust in ghost towns.

Perspective: A Poem Of Self-Love | Uncustomary

They looked at life from the outside in.

I always began on the inside, constantly lost,

            sometimes even forgetting

            there was an outside at all.

I used to wish that I—like them—

            knew where to begin and

            when and how to end.

I couldn’t get the hang of their perspective and

finally gave up.

Now I embrace

            my inside-out

            upside-down vision

            which leads the way

            to life from the

            inside of a kaleidoscope

            and it is such a joy!

                                    Bonnie Schupp


Do you identify with this poem at all?

Photos: Bonnie Schupp