Sunday, August 31, 2014
About a decade ago, I met a man at an Episcopal Church in Atlanta. His name was Clackston, but I didn’t know that at first. I approached to greet him and asked him his name. He said, “Get out of here! Get out of here!”
I was taken by surprise by this unusual greeting; I knew this wasn’t normal protocol for Episcopalians. But then someone told me about Clackston’s journey. He always greeted people that way, because he had come to believe that “Get out of here!” was his name. After all, that’s what everybody always said to him.
It was as if Clackston had internalized the lack of welcome he received throughout his life. He began to believe that his first name was “Get Out” and his last name was “Of Here.” I learned further that he was dealing with mental health issues—while also finding that his struggles led others to deem him nonhuman.
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