You can’t see my illness,
so you can’t understand
why I take extra time
getting my makeup just right
so you’ll notice my eyes
instead of the way I walk
in tender steps
hiding the pain behind my mask.
Or why I emphasize my clothes, my hair,
to deflect from the truth of my limitations.
I tire so easily
but I push through.
Working hard, caring for my family,
carting off here and there
wherever I’m needed
because I don’t want to concede.
I don’t want to give up.
I need to rest.
My body works against me
I am a woman of stature and girth
and so you see strength and fortitude –
You judge what you do not know.
It really is a choice
to wake up strong and determined
when your body speaks a different language
you comprehend all too well.
The disease says you cannot persevere,
and yet you do.
You push through
not in spite of the pain,
but because of it.
You endure each ache with steadfast stubbornness
because a defeatist mentality
would be all too easy.
And no one would blame you,
if they could speak your language.