Undercurrent

I don’t have an invisible disabilty, I have a disability visibly ignored.

You might, if you want, see it in my eyes if you look close enough; in my voice, with a keen ear.

There’s even, sometimes, a smell. Sickly sweet.

But yes, there are no obvious signs – no chair nor stick, and likely a smile slapped across my face.

So it might not make sense to you that I claim this word myself –

Disabled. Unseen. With cells that are broken but not limbs. Microcosms in disarray so deeply embedded that the surface stays smooth.

Calm water above deadly currents below. That threatens, always threatens, all life that dares to venture there.

Where it is deathly quiet, and too dark for your naked eye to see.

***

This week is Invisible Disabilities week. It is a time to raise awareness of people who may look healthy and well on the outside, or rather healthy and well enough for others to miss any signs of illness.

It’s the latter that inspired this poem. That and the year that people with M.E have had fighting for recognition and visibility of their condition. Especailly with the emergence of Long Covid, touted by many as a “new disease” that “took people by surprise” that “could not be predicted”. As if all those exclaiming incredulity were lined up with their backs to every person with M.E with their hands over their ears, visibly ignoring the fact that post-viral illnesses were nothing new and that Long Covid bore an uncanny resemblance to that thing they tried to label Yuppie Flu.

I don’t think there has ever been a time where I have felt more invisible. Not just in the fact my disability can’t be seen but also in the fact no-one seemed to want to see it. I don’t think you would find it a suprise that this level of dismissal takes its toll and that many people like me have felt desperate and hopeless in the face of such ignorance.

So this poem is written to those who still choose not to turn around and look at us all.  Right there, inches away. Visible and waiting to be seen.

Love and light, Kirstie ✨

Published by Kirstie Sivapalan

Writer. Poet. Indie Kid. Crystal Lady. Pisces. Enthuser. Cheerleader. Helper. Geordie Londoner. Sharer of stuff I know. Sometimes found working in HR (but not very often) Oh, and #spoonie, living with ME/CFS. That about covers it.

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