stigma//margaret robison


i have been watching a ton of movies lately. this latest, running with scissors, was based on a memoir by augusten burroughs about his life growing up the son of a would-be poet. augusten's mother was plagued with mental illness, in and out of hospitals until she finally gave her son up for adoption to her psychiatrist. margaret robison, his mother, can be heard in an interview here. alongside the interview is a brilliant poem that i just had to share. enjoy. --AL.


My friend spoke of me as heroic
struggling against the odds to come back
from the stroke that paralyzed
my left side. Heroic, she said,
for learning to speak again,
for learning to walk.
But when she heard about
my incarcerations in mental hospitals
I saw myself diminished in her eyes.
Better to write about those things
under a pseudonym, she said. Meaning
to protect me. And how many years
did it take me to be able to write
about that first incarceration that broke
my mind open, shattering
all my notions of who I was, leaving
me years of work to claim
the woman emerging?
Better to write under a pseudonym.
No. This is my life.
I write it under my own name. 

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