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Girl in the Mirror

For R.

By Rachel

For the longest time, I had no idea
that I wasn’t just me, I had harboured someone else
in my body, that took the form of occasional rashes and fatigue.
One day, it stopped me from moving my left shoulder, left wrist and left fingers.
Young and blooming, I turned into a withered flower
losing some control and losing all power that I had before.
I looked into the mirror that was once clear,
summoning the courage to look myself in the eye yet not recognise myself
anymore.
My plate is full
of words I struggle to say when people ask me
why I had disappeared and couldn’t come to work, to make merry, or just simply be
present.
The person in the mirror stares back at me,
sometimes I think of how I’ll take a cloth and scrub and wipe and wash that mirror
hard, and clean, until everything becomes clear.
Then I remember – the deep love from those I hold dear,
and that gratitude washes away the rage.
I will continue to face my foggy mirror, and tell that girl in the mirror to lean
on shoulders, on pillars, and trudge on -
with quiet courage.

Author's Note:

Reconciliation with who R once was, and who she now is, and realising that they are the same person, yet different as well, is a theme that I seek to explore with this poem. I wanted to explore her personal struggle and journey with lupus, and how she tries to reconcile with the fact that even with lupus, she can still be herself. While that might not be fully accomplished, it is an ongoing feat, and she will continue to trudge on with strength and support from her loved ones. It was a joy to be able to hear the perspective of someone with lupus, as I face a similar journey as well. Being able to understand her struggles definitely helped me add a personal touch to this poem.