“How Can I Ever Believe That I’m Beautiful?”: My Journey + A Poem

We had just got home from a basketball event my senior year of high school.

My mom told me it had taken everything she had not to cry, as she looked at me from behind and watched my jersey fall off my back; my bones burst through my skin. She grabbed me by the shoulders, crying and begging me to please stop what I was doing.

“You are beautiful,” she told me.

It took me a long time to finally believe my mother’s words. I was in complete denial, chasing after a body I thought would bring me peace when all it did was cause me and the people around me so much pain.

My eating disorder was something in my life I felt I had mastered. And I didn’t want to let it go.

I was afraid that if I let go, I’d be left without nothing. Now, I realize what a lie that was.

The last two years have been one heck of a journey. But through my faith, I’ve discovered the truth of my identity.

I wrote this poem to record the places I once felt trapped, but have now been set free from.

Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

You — are fearfully and wonderfully made.

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Not yet fully grown: a poem

Hips, boxy and bony

Placed on a young girl not yet fully grown
She looks in the mirror, over and over

Why am I like this? She wonders

She looks at her friends—skinny and small
What is wrong with me? She asks

She hates her body
And feels misunderstood by those who don’t

Her Father sees beauty
Creation
Process

She sees mistakes

Flaws

Error

Little by little, subtle changes are made

They go unnoticed until soon, she is wasting away
Lacking food, nourishment, fulfillment, and love
She is craving attention but will it ever be enough?

She feels empty—she is empty
More comments are made
More control she seeks

So she keeps running

Emotionally
Physically
But most of all, spiritually

Child, where are you going?
I’m right here
You— you are right there

Underneath the pain
Underneath the facade
I see you

Now look
Look in the mirror once more
My daughter, see what I see

But she can’t stop
She believes her worth comes at a price

A price that must be paid
There are no shortcuts
There is no way out
All that is good must be paid for, regardless of the cost

Her mother grabs her by the shoulders
Darling, look at me
You’re beautiful
You don’t need to change a thing

This isn’t healthy
This isn’t you

She wants to take this as truth
All of it
But her mirror and mind say differently
They repeat back to her lies

Lies that she believes
This isn’t good enough
Those damn hips
And those damn thighs

Go, get running

Go, don’t stop

No carbs this week
No dairy
Cancel your dinner plans
Take those pills
Add an extra mile
Restrict, restrict, restrict

Hips, boxy and bony
Placed on a young girl not yet fully grown
She looks in the mirror and remembers her name

Holy and blameless, she tells herself

Chosen and predestined, she starts to believe

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