Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2018 Finalists

What Matters 2018 Finalists

2018 What Matters? TAS Year 9/10 Runner Up

A Sense of Normalcy



Devonport High School


Trapped, unable to escape. Your muscles are your hand cuffs and your skin is your cell.

You can’t breathe as you start to sweat.

Everyone’s watching you, judging you.

Laughing, at you.

Your stomach starts to churn but you endure it, knowing everything would be better this way, that way ‘they’ would notice you less. But alas,

‘They’ always notice.

You’re not normal, after all, your part of the ‘unlucky 14%’ of Australians, according to experts, plagued with this, this, irrational fear…

This anxiety.

Everywhere you go, it follows. You see, people treat you differently, once they find out you’re on ‘the spectrum’.

Even though everyone on this end of the spectrum is different; some actually have ways to help them calm down. But you don’t. They all don’t work anymore.

But they don’t understand, they never will. They’re normal, unburdened with this, defect.

The majority looking down on the minority that they don’t understand - typical society.

Few may accept you, even with your… ‘Issue’, but they never treat you the same. They treat you like some fragile slip of glass, set and ready to shatter at any second, as if on command. Or they may use it for their personal gain and your blatant downfall.

But you will always be different, a fact you can never escape, so others walking on egg shells around you will never cease to happen.

You wish you could be normal, for even a moment.

Like a sweet taste in the mouth that you can NEVER experience, but everyone around you takes for granted.

But that moment will never come.

You go to counselling, but the only thing they can do is let you talk.

Sometimes talking isn’t enough.

You go to school but you don’t talk to anyone.

You eat your lunch like normal, but you’re alone.

2018 What Matters?Jenna Beck