To the Person Who Told Me ‘You Look Too Well-Presented to Be Sick’


woman smiling
Kate smiling.

“You look too well-presented to be sick.”

Why thank you for your compliment.
I thank you for your thoughts.

I thank you for noticing the effort it took
To make it out of my house.
The hour it took to shower and dress,
Then lie down on my bed.
The time to dab some makeup on,
And painfully do my hair.
The way I need to hide the nausea,
The breakfast left behind.
The excruciating pain that jolts my joints
That seized up on the drive.
To compensate for the slowed cognition,
The fog that clouds my brain.
The medications that sway my step
And make me live on edge.
I’m glad that I can hide this truth…
It is better left unseen.

“You look too well-presented to be sick.”

Why thank you for your compliment.
I thank you for your thoughts.

I thank you for noticing the values I hold dear.

They told me I needed to be at this meeting,
And so that is why I am here.
I turn up to my appointments.
I submit my paperwork on time.
I do my exercises,
I take my meds,
I mostly rest when told.

Yet turning up for this meeting,
Dressed and prepared to talk,
Has meant this is the only thing
My body can do today.

I am here before you in this moment,
A glimpse of me in my life.
I am a professional by education.
I am now a professional in sickness, too.
I pulled myself together,
I sacrificed to make it happen.
I went all out to be here.
You will not see what I couldn’t do
To make it all this way.
The cleaning, cooking, shopping
All left for others to do.
The future dreams left unfulfilled.
Yet I made it to this meeting,
You had better make it good.

“You look too well-presented to be sick.”

Why thank you for your compliment.
I thank you for your thoughts.

My age, my race, my education
Does not change a single thing.
Whether I ate all my veggies as a child
Or left the broccoli on the side.
Running a marathon, or lifting weights,
Or simply on a stroll,
This disease does not discriminate.
It does not pick and choose its playmates.
It takes each one of us captive,
It chooses how it takes its hold.

“You look too well-presented to be sick.”

Why thank you for your compliment,
But have you stopped and thought…

What does a sick person really look like?
All spotty and pale?
All woe to the world?
Or do I need to leave the house in my PJ’s
To make you tick the box?
Do my actions and my values whilst I am sick and ill,
Do my actions and my values need to change at all?

Yes I am sick and downtrodden.
My world has fallen apart.
My dreams, desires and life are on hold,
And I feel like rubbish all the time.
Yet I have hope and new formed dreams,
A future and a life.

So thank you for your compliment…
I must do chronic fatigue syndrome well!
If I can pull off looking this well
I trust that this is swell.
But maybe your thoughts towards sickness
Need to change as well.

So thank you for your compliment,
I thank you for your thoughts.

To me it shows that understanding
By health professionals and government agencies
Has a long, long way to go.

But thank you for your compliment,
Because obviously I am pulling off sickness like a pro!

Follow this journey on Make It, Bake It, Fake It.

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