I have always been tough. I have a will like steel. I am the nail and the hammer that hits it. I am the wolf. The lion. The last one standing. I do not cry in public, complain when I am hurt, or give up. I push harder. I am a fighter.
But sickness? Sickness comes for you no matter how tough you are. I can try to ignore it, to push it away, but the truth is still there, hard and edgeless: I have lost something that cannot be recovered. There is something stubborn and unwelcome in my body and it is stronger than my will.
My illness is not a death sentence, at least not an immediate one. If all goes well, I have a lot more years ahead. The struggle now is to accept the dichotomy: to be sick and still be whole. To be sick and still be tough. To be sick, and maybe even to be tougher than I was before.
Now I live side-by-side with the thing that hurts me. It is there when I laugh and kiss my boyfriend and write poetry. It is there when I take my pills, when my hair comes out in clumps, and when I can’t sleep from the pain. My sickness is there when I look in the mirror. It is not all that I am, but it is an inexorable part of me. I am finally beginning to accept that. Which is to say, I am learning to accept the world in all of its contradictions and live as best I can within them.
— Clementine von Radics