Anonymous; she/her; Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alopecia, Raynaud's, etc
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can attack different areas of the body. Symptoms can include fatigue, joint pain, fever, rash, etc, and are typically chronic but worsen during "flare-ups". Although it is incurable there is medication that can be helpful for some. 1.5 Americans are thought to have lupus.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that targets the joints. With chronic pain as well as swelling, this disease tends to worsen over time. There is no cure, and it's thought to affect around 1.3 million Americans, 75% of which are female bodied.
The immune system's sudden attacking of hair follicles is referred to as Alopecia. This condition can occur by itself, due to stress, or alongside other autoimmune disorders such as Lupus.
When I was discussing this portrait with the subject, she told me a poignant story of raising butterflies with her kids, only to find one year that when the chrysalises opened it was not a beautiful butterfly that emerged but in fact a parasitic wasp. This was the metaphor she chose to represent her symptoms, while she gazes at us not with suffering but with a look of peace and strength.