I believe in words. I believe in voices, the unique cries of human beings as they pour their soul out into the sky. But most of all, I believe in stories.
Stories, be they written or spoken or painted onto the walls of caves, reaffirm our humanity. They give us back our own heartbeat, that dull pulse of blood, but more than that they give us our minds. They let us reach back and see where we’ve been, what we felt, what we believed. They form a mirror, let us see who we are, who we were.
And I believe that everyone has a story that deserves to be heard. But more and more I’m seeing that only some stories get told. You have books for children fully admitting that people have different bodies…but where is the admission of different minds? Why do no main characters have mental illness, or attention deficit, autism or dyslexia? Where are the movies about synesthetes, those with OCD, those battling depression?
This is not just a problem of children’s literature, it extends across all literature, all media. That crucial world of our inner landscapes, if deemed inferior, atypical, is all too often silenced. And this silence rings loud in the ears of those individuals who find their stories untold. It tells them that their unique set of experiences, the entire world they gather in their hands and eyes and ears, is nothing worthy of hearing or seeing. It prolongs the silence and the suffering of those who battle with their own struggles with no ear or eye to turn to, forcing them back into the shadows and robbing them of their dignity.
But we all have minds and we all live out our own stories. We all have voices worthy of being heard. It is time we start letting them be told.