To be beautiful, to be perfect

a womans lips and nose behind pink paper

--this poem references eating disorders and mental illness--


What I Would Say To...


Sometimes I think you're my oldest friend. The bones.

But I know you're not. 

Sometimes I think I miss you, the aches.

But I know I don't. 

All the time, I think I need you.

But I know I deserve more. 

Actual more. 

Not one pound less, one bone more, make me gaunter make me "more"

Skinnier, prettier, flimsier when all I wanted was control.

Maybe life will stop screaming if I never have anything more.


I would say to this unspecified eating disorder:

You were a broken scared little girl, who's body would soon be as torn apart as your mind.

I understand. It's all we had.

But you didn't make me more. 

You were a shattered traumatized young girl trying to scrape by.

I could only see the mirror, so I thought I'm what had to run and hide.

I used you, ED, to cut myself down, to evaporate, 

because life was too painful and I couldn't handle getting hurt anymore.

But I lost so, much, time.


And I look back on those years and I always cry. 

I get you were just trying to survive, but you killed me, slowly and surely, just like any of them.

The evil was still inside. 

I would say to myself:

I see your pain. You don't need to hide. It is not your fault. 


So you can let go now. Breathe a little more. 

I wont let anyone hurt you, not one more second, not anymore. 


I would say to my ED, who let you inside? I was broken and young but it must have started somewhere in my mind.

Before the assault, before any words. 

I needed to be perfect, or I would rather die. 


I'd say:

I'm beautiful now don't you see?

Although myself, you tried to kill me.

Everything I've done, to be pretty,

To cover up what I and others did to me.


It's not just eating, it's breathing, it's living.

Every time I think I got it down, 

another month has gone by and I realize what I've been seeing.


I've been seeing my life through a birds eye view

Since I first hung onto you at 11

Twisting and shifting from my bones and my hair and how people must see me.


I just wanted to see me. 

I almost disappeared trying to see me


But I'd also say, after years of therapy, and growing, and going around the bend with myself:

I'm still here.

I am beautiful.


Because what I say matters.

This mouth and these hands, like the years I've spent

Bent and ripped apart.

It's like me.

I was broken.

But I came back.


I don;t need to starve myself to be whole,

To know who I am. 


I can walk and I can laugh and I can wink.

One day I won't even wince when I eat. 

And I'll do it just fine.

Without you. 


And no thank you for the memories. 

You never made me feel pretty. You were just an impossible painful chase that not even my life would be enough to satisfy.

I don't owe perfection anything.



Perfection isn't beauty. Beauty's real. It makes people feel good. 

Perfection will never be me. Maybe I never knew what it is. 

But at least I know me, and I'm real, whether or not I'm pretty. 

United States of America