Welcome to Winter '14 Scholarship



Topic: Please submit a 'visual poem', in a style of your choosing, on the theme of overcoming a personal challenge.

Statement from 1800wheelchair

1800wheelchair is very proud to announce the winner of our Winter 2014 scholarship contest. This round produced many interesting works. However, this one stood apart. In accordance to the author/artists request, we have withheld attribution.

Winning Submission: Personal Statement

I’m transgender, which I grew to be more aware of as I got older. I always knew I was different and masculine, but I didn’t know there were other people like me, or that there was a label for it (there was little representation of trans people in books or movies while I was growing up, but I discovered more in my late teens). I felt uncomfortable with this term when I first discovered it, but over time I realized that I could be who I wanted to be if I embraced it.

There were always signs that I was trans, which I felt and often displayed in my personality throughout my life, but they really grew stronger in high school. I was homeschooled from preschool onwards, and became shy around age twelve, and as a teenager I wasn’t around a lot of people other than a couple of close friends. I was a bookworm and lived in a town I disliked, so I didn’t leave my house much except for a few set activities I ventured forth to do. It was difficult for me to go out and socialize in general, but being treated like a girl most times I tried made it worse --it made me never want to leave my house. I like rural areas, and I thought that living the life of a self-sustaining hermit and being horribly lonely would be better than feeling I was betraying myself and letting other people treat me in a fashion that I hated. On some incredible days, though, strangers thought I was a guy. They gave me hope, and made me happy. Those occurrences got more common as I got older.

I struggled the most when deciding whether or not to go to college. I was applying for a spot in a big city. I didn’t think I could handle being treated like a girl constantly. It didn’t seem worth the pain. However, I decided to risk the anguish and find out what would happen. I applied and got in. My first semester was phenomenal. I was treated like a guy by all of my new friends and instructors, and most strangers thought I was a guy. Some know I'm biologically female, like my friends, and others do not. Now I’m able to live the way I had always dreamed of living. I didn’t know how to explain myself to people, or felt too self-conscious once I had someone in front of me, so I’d always hoped people would understand just by looking at me—here at college, this is finally, and amazingly, happening. I still get some of the difficult interactions, but I have so many positive experiences to cushion me now, and I can work through them. Before I came to school, I was terrified at what would become of me—now, because I was brave enough to throw myself out in the world and see what it would make of me, I’m living fully. I’m here, in college, talking to new people every day, doing all kinds of activities, and doing all the things I was scared of doing before. I’m still shy, but knowing that people are capable of being receptive to who I really am helps me press through my nervousness and achieve.


Winning Submission: Poem

Cocooned in myself
In my woven world
Couldn’t peel it back
For the feared menace
Of others out there
Blind to difference

Each peek I ventured
Caught people’s stingers
Most didn’t know they had
But their barbs stuck the same
Unseen they burned me
I couldn’t fit anymore

Here inside I saw
My inner difference
Eyes of the unknown
Sometimes saw this too
Often unaware
That delighted me

Here inside I saw
My inner difference
That if I emerged
No one known would see
Pull back the cover
And be denied

The pupae assembly line
“We see no difference
In your design
Your mold is this
You’re one of us
Stop putting on airs
You’ve no right to fuss
You need to reform
You’ve come out half-baked
Go back in
You’re a mistake”

If that’s what awaits
I’ll molder inside
My pupal tomb
If I step out despite
And resign to it
I’ve already died

Restless imago
Set the shield aside
And tried thin air
The wingless tempt free-fall
None of my own
Caught on others’ wings
Friends’ compound eyes
Saw my faceted self

Strangers see me of the other spun
Not the one I crawled from
But the cocoon of my identity
Origins hidden, my pattern blends
I can survive