Dear patrons, for this week, I chose a simple poem from 2014, where I was addressing a complex matter – namely, navigating relationships while simultaneously navigating chronic pain, in particular, the kind of pain that is invisible to the outside observer. 

During my stint in a wheelchair, a decade earlier, I found that, while there are certainly a million downsides to being confined to a chair, the upside was that 1) people recognized, without my saying anything, that I had some physical sensitivities, limitations, and needs, 2) people believed me when I expressed all of the above, and 3) people were more willing to accomodate me, because they could see, and therefore connect with, what I was talking about. In some ways, being in a wheelchair made life a whole lot easier while navigating chronic and debilitating, yet invisible, pain. Find out more about that experience in my Washington Post article, “Heck on Wheels.”

Have you lived with a chronic health issue that’s invisible, or do you know someone who has? Do you relate to this poem somehow? I’d love to hear your thoughts, in the comments below.

Pain and Uncertainty
Sitting on the toilet
I am tired
And my head hurts
Sensitive to your touch
It gets tiring to ask you
To be more gentle
And do things differently
Over and over again
So I pick and choose
And pay the price
With pain and uncertainty

©2014 by Loolwa Khazzoom. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be copied without author’s permission.