the eating disorder recovery poem

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Ona Artist

I know you hate this body

so much you’d rather crucify it with juice cleanses and midnight binges

than remove your brittle bones from the cross of self-doubt,

but sometimes it’s better to cut yourself down from the noose

than to make yourself smaller just to fit into the loop.

This is your body

hidden beneath layer after layer of skin like two thousand leagues of ocean

protecting an entire underwater city below.

Don’t let your city get rusted; keep it clean.

What I know about love is that sometimes it’s directed as far away from yourself

as the earth is from the sun, but all those millions of miles in between

are a journey worth taking, and the jet pack you’ll need for the trip

is a healthy weight to put on.

So stop carving yourself into smaller and smaller crawl spaces

and use that same knife to drive your flag of survival into the moon.

Make your recovery sign visible all the way from outer space.

I know you hate this body

but you’ll never find yourself in the toilet bowl-

the reflection in the swirling water is as distorted

as the idea that tiny equates to pretty.

What’s pretty is a belly full of moonsongs and sunrays,

a belly and soul so full of joy a whale could swim through them

and still not bump its head on their walls.

So keep the fire between your bones lit

instead of making them so delicate they could snap in half like matchsticks.

I know you hate this body

but shedding all this weight like a bird molting

won’t give you the power to fly. It’ll just turn you into a pair of busted wings

trying their hardest to lift up off the ground.

So stop holding your breath hoping the lack of air will make you deflate-

make you tinier, make you shrink-

and start letting it out instead.

Not just your breath.

All of it. Self-hate, self-doubt, the rage, the grief, the despair.

The defeat.

Keep going.

Until it’s gone. TC mark

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