Competent and Different


Driving home last night, I heard NPR “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross interviewing poet Molly McCully Brown, author of The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, a book of poetry that “explores themes of disability, eugenics, and faith.” I caught only the end of the interview while driving, but was so moved that when I arrived home, I logged onto NPR and heard the entire interview.

Link to listen to the entire interview:

What I had heard at the end was the author’s expression of appreciation for her brain. She has cerebral palsy. “Everything that is wrong with my body is a consequence of my brain,” she said. She added that it is “the same brain that has delivered me so many of the things that are most joyful in my life…that are useful and wonderful about who I am as a person.” The “ongoing project” of her life, she said, is grappling with “the simultaneous truth of both of those things.”

Because of her gross motor impairment, tight hamstrings, tight heel-strings, and crouched gait, Molly McCully Brown’s body “announces itself to the world” when she walks. She is most often in a wheelchair. When you listen to her poetry in this interview, you will observe the wonderful gift of that same brain that affects her gait and mobility.

You probably know what announces your ADHD to the world. The same brain that is impulsive, mindless, unfocused, and moody is also spontaneous, uncensored, creative, and spirited. The more competent you are, as the author is with her gift of poetic expression, the less your difference will matter. That is one good reason to find your passion and pursue it, to experience the joy of being. 


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