Welcome to the Freakshow

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Step right up, under the Big Top. Straight from the science fiction books, it’s the Girl With the Spotted Brain. Hardly able to contain their curiosity, spectators shuffle through the line. They hand over their tickets and step into the tent for a peek at the freakshow.

Inside, there is only darkness and a murmur makes its way through the crowd as the show begins. A black and white image appears on the screen, too small to make out at first but begins to grow larger. It’s a brain – my brain, crafted by the whirs and thuds of an MRI machine. Nondescript and so very ordinary, the image continues to grow until the screen can no longer accommodate its size and it disappears. As quickly as it went, a new image, another MRI splice, takes its place, first starting small and growing larger until it too disappears.

The cycle continues and the familiar thumps and bumps of the MRI machine can now be heard in the background, faintly at first, but growing louder with each image. As it bangs and clanks in the background, the images move faster and faster, dizzying the crowd. Just as the onlookers begin to shield their eyes or turn away, the contrast enhances and the spots emerge, lighting up the brain like a series of blinding flashbulbs, one after another in shades of blue, orange, green, and violet.

The whirs and thumps of the MRI machine grow louder and the spots begin to pulse various words: Brain Fog, Fatigue, Numbness, Vertigo, Nausea, Burning Pain, Weakness, Tingling, Memory Loss. The spots continue to pulse, faster and faster like a strobe until suddenly it stops and only one image appears – an image of me, giving the thumbs up. No spots. No fatigue. No fog. No numbness. Just me.

I am the face of MS, a face that so completely hides the spots and the havoc they wreak on my body. On the outside I am just an ordinary face but inside I am the main attraction in a circus freakshow.

Inspired by the Daily Post prompt: Circus.


4 thoughts on “Welcome to the Freakshow

  1. You are not a freakshow by any sense of the word. You are a warm, wonderful human being who is undergoing prolonged symptoms due to a debilitating disease. You are still you. Never surrender to self depreciation or discouragement. How many people do you know that would be as courageous to write about themselves as you do? Keep writing (I’ll keep reading) and never, never, never give up. God bless you.


    1. Thank you. I know that I’m not really a freakshow. It just feels that way sometimes when I try to describe my symptoms or even MS in general to someone and they just stare at me with a confused look on their face trying to understand how your skin can be both numb and hypersensitive. I never knew some of these symptoms existed until I had them so I guess I don’t expect anyone else to get it either.

      This post also toys with the idea that what goes on in my brain when the disease progresses or when it attempts to work around the scarred spots is truly fascinating. That in and of itself is something to be marveled at.


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