My body dictates who I am. I work the way I do because of my body, I vote the way I do because of my body and I live the way I do because of my body. It is not my body that is at fault, but society's failure to deal with bodies like mine. I might be in pain, but I am whole. I refuse to have the difficult parts cropped out.
Kylie Maslen has been living with invisible illness for twenty years—more than half her life. Its impact is felt in every aspect of her day-to-day existence: from work to dating; from her fears for what the future holds to her difficulty getting out of bed some mornings.
Through pop music, art, literature, TV, film and online culture, Maslen explores the lived experience of invisible illness with sensitivity and wit, drawing back the veil on a reality many struggle—or refuse—to recognise. Show Me Where it Hurts is a powerful collection of essays that speak to those who have encountered the brush-off from doctors, faced endless tests and treatments, and endured chronic pain and suffering. But it is also a bridge reaching out to partners, families, friends, colleagues, doctors: all those who want to understand what life looks like when you cannot simply show others where it hurts.
Kylie Maslen is a writer and critic. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Adelaide Review, Crikey and Junkee, among other outlets. In 2018 she was the recipient of the Kill Your Darlings New Critics Award, and her essay 'I'm Trying to Tell You I'm Not Okay' was longlisted for the Lifted Brow & RMIT non/fictionLab Prize for Experimental Non-fiction. She lives in Adelaide on Kaurna Country.
'Show Me Where It Hurts gives new energy to the unspeakable grind of chronic illness—it's arresting, honest and rightfully angry. An essential read for anyone who cares about anyone else.' Anna Spargo-Ryan
'Everyone must read Show Me Where It Hurts. This collection of essays about chronic pain and invisible illness not only validates and represents the experiences of those who have too long been ignored, gaslighted or diminished by medical professionals and wider society, but acts as a much-needed wake-up call for those who are able-bodied yet presume to know what it might be like to live with disability. Maslen is a writer of formidable intelligence, and has an uncanny ability to pull apart the fabric of popular culture to reveal the prejudices threaded throughout. Show Me Where It Hurts is honest, powerful and brilliant. It will change minds.' Hannah Kent