i sleep, and the sickness sleeps with me. it curls up safely inside me, making itself right at home. i wake, and the sickness wakes with me. keeping me company in every motion, every inhale, every exhale. the sickness is a sucker for theatrics. it drowns me in discomfort, it torments my body at every twist, every turn. and when the sickness is done admiring their handiwork, it hands me the broom and the dustpan on its way out the door, leaving me to clean up the mess. it promises to be back when i wake the next day. do not fret, you haven’t seen the last of me. it’s an invisible crest i carry with me, a scarlet letter of sorts. do not get too comfortable, the sickness taunts. it threatens to make a mockery out of me, bringing me to my knees in submission. the sickness has made a warrior out of me; i train daily for another opportunity to outsmart it, evade it, destroy it once and for all. but the sickness has secrets, a private arsenal i am not privy to. it is always one step ahead of me, no matter what i bring to the fight. most times i wonder: what does the world see when they look at me? do they just see the illness, the ugly, the scars, and the bruises? do they only see the war-torn shell of a human, making a fool of herself every chance that she gets? do they see weakness, do they lament my pitiful efforts? am i just another walking liability, a tragedy in mortal form? they must not see the talented gifts and passions that i possess. no, they must not see the daughter, the sister, the friend. the elusive illness ruins the party once again.