What I Learned From The Elephant Man

19 Dec

I recently came across this strong poem when by chance I read the story of the elephant man that I thought I’d share. He overcame so many odds to live the kind of life that he lived and he is an inspiration to anyone who has ever felt like they were lacking or deformed or otherwise inferior.

“Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind’s the standard of the man.”

 —poem used by Joseph Merrick to end his letters, adapted from “False Greatness” by Isaac Watts.
I’m not a poetry fan- far from it (though these days I’m beginning to enjoy it more and more).
For some reason though, I really felt moved by this. It speaks of someone who seems to have finally accepted himself after much time had been spent questioning why he was made the way he was and I can totally relate to that. For the longest time I wondered why I was made this way, whether I was already destined for damnation from the day of my birth. I knew I liked boys from an early age, and growing up I began to feel guilty for having these thoughts so much so that I resisted any form of intercourse for the longest time (no, I’m not even 40 yet!).
I have never wanted to question God since I felt there really had to be a reason why I am who I am. At least now I can  use the word ‘who’ and not ‘what’ to describe myself. The Bible says we were all “fearfully and wonderfully made” and this means everyone, not just straight people. If this is not something I chose but something that I am, I do not see why I should be punished, ostracized for simply being me. It’s been a struggle to get to where I am, to not think about how life would be better for everyone if I were dead or straight. Joy and peace do come with the morning and everyday I find more inner peace.
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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in The Business of Living


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