It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

I didn’t think I had to post this,
Until yesterday afternoon.
I walked in to the women’s restroom and I saw a woman pulling the same tricks I used to. I waited for her outside and politely, subtly, reached out to her.

This was my big guilty issue for years and I am proud that it isn’t one any longer. I saw on PostSecret that this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, so I have decided to re-post a poem I wrote in October about my struggle. For her.

I am often told that my poetry is shocking in its honesty,  many people told me they admire my ability to go on stage and reveal these things. It was never difficult for me, until I wrote this piece. There is so much shame that goes along with bulimia, the entire illness is about it. With the help of my sister and my mother I no longer struggle with it, but the thought of reading this poem in front of my father terrified me. He’s old school Italian-American and these issues are often tricky to convey across gender lines.
Over Christmas I recited it for him.
It felt good.

So, before the poetry, here are a few links:

PostSecret has some great cards up this week
http://postsecret.com/
Frank Warren offered this link on his social media:
https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/locator/nedsp/
Here are a few links I recommend:
For more information and how to get help:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
A questionnaire from Overeaters Anonymous(who offers online meetings and resources)
http://www.oa.org/newcomers/is-oa-for-you/

Now, My story.

The Diet Plan of J. Alfred Prufrock

Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons
I have measured out my own in grams,
Ounces, pounds
Percentages.
All these countless measurements
In the relentless pursuit of precision,
Perfection.
Let me tell you the ingredients that
Make up a  pastry chef
Sugar, spice,
And blind determination.

For I have worked them all already,
worked them all:

Have worked the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life in tablespoons,
I know the soufflés falling with a dying fall
Within the oven in the other room
So what shall I consume?

And yet,
The rest of my life has been
An endless cycle of
Restrict
Binge
Purge

Sugar has always been my
Drug of choice
Hell, I made I career out of it.
Just another desperate attempt to
Control the thing that
Controls everything.

All these numbers crush in on me
Memories of the day
I weighed 107 pounds
And Kyle told me I looked
fucking amazing

The best part of my mother’s death
Was that it was the only time in my life
That I ever stopped
Eating.
I guess,
I lost the greatest part of me.
In the end she weighed about 17 pounds.

Sometimes I wonder, what it was
That brought me to that place
Where I just,
I couldn’t
Eat.
Now I look back at photos of her funeral
And think
God, I was so skinny.

Last year I gave up my body
For a job.
I quit sleeping,
Destroyed my metabolism
Ate my feelings.

Last year he broke my heart
It bled into the rest of my body.
Expanded.
Until there were all these
Extra bits of me
To criticize.

I have spent the last 6 months
In the body of another woman
Looking at her through my own eyes
I look back at my journals
Realize that I wasn’t much happier then, at
114
111
107

In the end  my life
Has not been ruled by numbers,
But by shame
(They will say: “How her arms are growing thin!”)
Guilt
Binge
Purge
Restrict
Just another woman’s circus bit
Pay your dime, buy your ticket!
Watch me perform my greatest trick.
My World-Famous Disappearing Act!!

And maybe if I just give this up,
God will give her back.
Or maybe if I just
Sacrifice this meal
Everything will be alright.
Or maybe if I just
Reach this number
Then then the anxiety will get better
(“I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker”)

I’m unsure if any of these realizations
Have left me anywhere better because
All the self-loathing
All the extra bits of me
Are still here.

I guess I am just terrified to fall in love again.
To let anyone see this,
Unwrapped,
As what it is.
This, Meaning me.
Me, Meaning my body.

 Love complicates everything.
Love has left me, at least this evening
Staring at my empty stomach
Thinking- What if he should see this?
Should I go back to my old habits?
Is it worth it?

It isn’t.

There are moments
When I despise myself enough
That I would invite all of that pain back
If only just
To watch myself
Disintegrate.
Because I keep on thinking.

Won’t losing weight fix everything?

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