• Darcy Reed

Exclusion and belonging

I’m concerned today about those people in life who always get excluded for some reason. Those excluded usually don’t know why, what they did wrong, or what is wrong with them that they are being shunned or excluded from groups they want to appreciate them.


Of course, I understand exclusion as a person who is autistic. I experience it always, not in my family, but in the public world of life. In the poetry world, for instance, they don’t seem to include autistic poetry or me and that is hurtful and infuriating. When I did read a couple of times, I was greatly appreciated. But since I don’t sit at anyone’s feet in some club of mutual self-admiration or interact socially, I get excluded.


It is the same way for anyone who has something to offer -- if they don’t play the game they are excluded. It’s just the way it is. There are many, many secret clubs of people in the world and they have club rules. If you don’t follow them, you can’t be in the club. But they won’t tell you the rules because they hate competition, so unless you are aggressive about your talent and egoistic like them, you get excluded, period.


Sometimes it seems that ordinary social beings require eternal sororities and fraternities and if you don’t pledge to join, just forget it. The shy people or introverts have to just sit and listen to the aggressively outgoing folks with strong egos, not always talent, but strong egos and lots of energy.


Those people rule the world, so it seems. The deeply meaningful things they could learn, see, or hear from those of us who don’t play their games would astound them. It would twist their little heads around like spirals on a wine bottle and then they would pop like cheap Champagne.

It’s almost as if there were a universal rule: If you can really listen to the quiet ones, you will be blessed. But you can’t hear them because you’re talking. It’s a regular deal, the universal politics of exclusion. It is how people sometimes divide themselves up into the haves and the have nots. It’s an ongoing human problem needing change but never getting it.


We know this here in my talented family and we just don’t play the social games enough to be included, so there it is, isolated talent alone in the distant suburbs. It might be worth trying harder but the real problem then becomes why would you want to be a part of a club that excluded you?


One is finally led to believe in art for art’s sake, not art for the other artists. I’m just lucky that I can use the internet to get my writing out, even though I am not likely to be included in any group of artists my age in the non-virtual world.


The listeners will hear us when the time is right but for the exclusionary feelings of being outside the fold, no one will ever know why exactly that has to be. I have witnessed so much intolerance in the name of tolerance that I just end up confused by it all, no matter how much I try to understand belonging.


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