“Hey ED, We’re Done” – Breaking Up With My Eating Disorder Through Poetry

Hey ED,

Look at me.

Wait, don’t.

Just listen for once.

Andrea once said that autumn is the hardest season,

But they’re all hard.

What I mean is summer shines light on places

I hoped no one would ever see,

And fall leaves me falling

Into winter to be buried by the ice-cold shame,

And in spring the clocks move forward

As if they are in a hurry to get to summer,

But I need that hour—

Just that one hour.

Our mind is as cluttered as my room

And I don’t have the strength to clean either

Because I feel dirty—

No, a shower won’t help, ED.

The shower makes things worse.

The shower makes me strip near a mirror

So I’m stripped of my strength

To be drenched in the reminder that

I can’t ever wash away what’s really draining me.

But you already know that,

Don’t you?

Every day I teach the value of words

So that maybe my students will use words with value,

So that maybe they will value themselves and each other,

And maybe words won’t hurt as much,

But words hurt so much.

That day he called me a whale

Will forever trump the day I was called smart,

And whales are smart, but I don’t want to be one.

I want to be one,

With my mind, body, and soul I mean.

But they are three and I can’t figure out how to make them add up

With you in my head.

I’ve never been good at math.

Because of you, I only know cups and teaspoons,

I know servings and grams,

I know how much to eat but I always have too much on my plate.

And yet I’m never full.

I’m empty even when I’m full.

Let me be full, let me be whole, ED.

I need to stop counting calories

And start counting blessings,

But it’s hard when I count on you to pick me back up.

Each meal is a battle

And when I want to surrender

I remember that means you win.

I’ve been at war with myself for too long.

But I’m here.

I’m still here.

I’m still fighting —

I hear what you’re saying, ED

But that’s the problem.

I hear you

And the problem is that I agree.

The problem is I can’t say “no”.

The problem is no one else is in my head

To tell you “no” when I can’t.

With you constantly talking,

I forget everything

Because I can’t forget that

I ate


Because of you,

I’m afraid to take up space.

I don’t want to take up the space

Those pictures say I should have between my thighs.

I don’t want to take up the space

We should have between us, ED.

But I need to take up space.

I need space because

I don’t want to feel guilty for being loved.

Or want to cringe every time I am touched

Just because I’ve lost touch with reality.

But it’s hard to realize that

I need to create something

I’ve been trying to destroy

For so long.

We live in a world where

Having your cake

And eating it too

Are two different things

And so I avoid cake altogether because

I don’t want to make the wrong choice.

Do you see the issue here?

I need — No, you need to go.

Everyone around me is driven farther away

And you’re the driver taking them against my will.

All I want is to slam on the brakes

But I’m afraid I’ll break without you.

I’m sorry but —

No I’m not sorry, I’m tired,

Tired of scales that won’t help me scale

The side of a mountain of healing.

And all I’ve amounted to is

Someone who has everything to gain

When gaining is scary.

With you everything

Makes perfect nonsense.

I need space, ED.

It’s not me, it’s you—

Please don’t speak.

Don’t say a word.

ED, we’re done.

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