Ode to Invisible Disablities

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You tell me, Wow, you don’t look sick,” when makeup’s on my face
As I venture out courageously concealing my back brace

You tell me,”Hey. you don’t look sick,” when I try to look carefree
but theres a crippling pain within that you will never see

You tell me, “Great, you don’t look sick!” and congratulate my stance
but you don’t know how long it took to don this shirt and pants

You tell me, “But you don’t look sick,” and I should feel my power
but don’t you know that it was hard to just get in the shower

And when you say, “You don’t look sick,” I often don’t reply
but when you say these hurtful words I often want to cry

I try so hard to fit in with the world of able-bodies
but I can’t go out running or do Yoga or Pilates

For when I do the pain is such that I can’t even stand
and then you wonder why you haven’t seen me lately, “Damn!”

I can’t get out of bed sometimes to simply brush my teeth
and must rely on other folks to bring me food to eat

So when you say, “You don’t look sick,” please take a bit more care
To think about the feelings of which you are unaware

For when you say,”You don’t look sick,” you disrespect my strife
my smile does not reflect the pain that I have in my life

And when you say, “You don’t look sick,” I ask you to look deep
and recognize that looks deceive and pain can be discreet

At times I’m wheelchair-bound and I know you can’t understand
but when you see me in my rig, just gently take my hand

Try asking how I’m doing -I will say, “The best I can,”

…and that’s enough.

(C) Copyright -Stacey M. Patterson. All rights reserved.

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A is for Armor (Blogging from A to Z)

armor

There are times when the acridity in my voice is castrating. I have been known to slice steel with my remarks. Why? From where do these hateful remarks come? I think I know. Somewhere behind my gold-plated ARMOR is a woman who feels she must cut before being cut. She must strike before being struck. She must destroy before being destroyed.This woman protects the child within. This woman relies on a sniper to dutifully guard the seemingly fragile child. Even in times of peace, the sniper is alert in a Cold War, awaiting any onslaught, any perceived threat.Duty calls!

Nevertheless, due to new and thoughtfully-placed boundaries that the woman had been sorely lacking in the past, the child begins to thrive and grow. Day by day, the woman observes the inverse relationship between appropriate boundary-setting and the decreased need for the sniper. The woman observes the newfound beauty that arises in the child when the sniper no longer feels the need to protect or retaliate. The woman is taking off her armor. The woman is trusting herself to set appropriate boundaries. The woman is protecting the child. The sniper is becoming unnecessary. Safety is returning. The child is losing its fragility. The woman is taking her seat at the head of her life’s table.