Sometimes i want to take all 84 capsules of Prozac
and I find myself holding the bottles
Frequently i want to pry my veins open and watch the sadness pour out
And i find myself holding a razor blade
Occasionally i want to jump off of a building
And i find myself driving towards the city
Every so often I want to wrap my car around a tree
And i find myself letting go of the wheel
Once in a blue moon I feel too full and “you’re fat you’re fat you’re fat” reverberates around my skull
And i find myself kneeling on the bathroom floor
From time to time I forget to get out of bed
a week goes by and i find myself saying “i had the flu”
Now and then i avoid my homework
And find myself staring at 27 missing assignments
No matter how i say it, i always find myself reaching toward destruction and turning away from help
I have become comfortable living with my illness
We have become inseparable
Mostly because i forgot who i was before
And i can’t remember if i liked her.
Time expands and collapses and crumbles in my hands
I’m caught in a hurricane of thoughts refusing to escape my being
Insults created especially for me echo through the shell that i have become
I feel my legs bouncing like they’re convincing themselves to leave me
My stomach churns like the spin cycle on a washing machine
I’m tired of feeling empty yet so full and heavy that each step i take is a battle in and of itself because my legs alone are 10,000 insufferable pounds
I watch my chest rise and fall but it feels like an overweight white man is sitting directly on my lungs
I am consumed by the urge to cry out for help but my mouth has been sewn shut by your assumptions that each move i make is for attention.
Sixth grade was the first time I remember feeling out of place in my own body. I tried on a shirt from the year before and realized I wasn't the same size anymore. I felt strange for a moment, then brushed it off. I threw away the shirt the next day. By the end of middle school I knew I was bigger than my friends, but I tried to avoid thinking about it. I just wanted to fit in like the rest of them.
Freshman year I got called fat and decided to make myself invisible. Treated every food as if it an allergy. Lost 30 pounds in 60 days. Told my parents I already ate. Told my friends I was eliminating junk food. Told no one my secret for years.
Gained my weight back then lost it just as quickly. The never ending cycle of starving, binging, purging.
Starving, binging, purging.
Starving, binging, purging.
Nobody notices when I fall off track because disordered eating is only cared about when the victim is skinny enough that you can see the evidence. I have been terrified for four years to speak out for fear nobody would believe me when I told them.
No one expects a bigger girl to not know how to feed herself.
There is something to say about a culture so warped that I get upset by the fact I don't have a stereotypical eating disorder body.
Sometimes I wish it was more obvious, so at least that way they could see how hard I'm trying to be perfect... To fit in.
America, am I not sick enough for you already?
My dad has always wanted me to write more happy poems, but joy has never rolled off my tongue as eloquently as sorrow.
I tried to sit down the other day and write a poem about the before. But after hours of searching my brain, I realized that I don't remember my body as anything other than the desolate, war-torn site it currently is.
I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment the switch was flipped. Go back to the day I woke up unhappy and force myself to go back to bed. I wish I could rewrite history and completely erase the first time I skipped a meal. I'd throw all the laxatives in the garbage. I never would have bought my first razor blade. Or my second. Or my third. I wouldn't have gotten sent to the hospital.
I guess it's true what they say about hindsight being 20/20. It's so much easier for me to look back on it, knowing what I know now.
I know that people didn't suddenly love me more just because I was less to take in. And scars are permanent; they don't fade just because the feelings attached to them do. I also realize that the only thing the hospital stay did was make me more of a burden to my family.
I'd love to tell 10 year old Briauna all this before she has to face it on her own, but why would she believe me? I wouldn't want to believe me either. Who would want to go watch a movie, when all the reviews rated it a waste of time?
So if I were to go back into the past, I'd focus on telling my younger self about the rebirth rather than the wreckage. I would tell her that tattoos will someday take the place of self-inflicted scars. That this time around there was a beauty behind the pain. That one day she will relearn what it means to eat whenever she's hungry and not stop until she's full. I'd tell her that nothing good ever came from being empty. I'd talk about how she adores others blindly and never lets her passion be dimmed. I'd tell her not to stress when the urge to claw her skin off remains well into recovered territory because she gets better at remembering to trim her nails.
I'd say baby girl I know you can get through this because I'm standing right here.
We'll get through this.
We're getting through this.
We got through this.
My therapist always tells me that one day I will be grateful for the fact that I can empathize more than the typical person, assures me that the need to place myself in others shoes is a privilege, not a curse. But how many miles can you walk in other's shoes before you collapse from always being on the move? How long does it take before the lines begin to blur between support and codependency? How many people do I have to help before my existence feels valid? Will someone else please take a turn bearing the cross because I've grown tired and it's time for me to rest.
Is it appropriate to mourn for something you only came close to losing? Because lately I've been stumbling through graveyards wondering why it's the only place I feel at home.
This isn't me saying that I want to attempt suicide again, but rather a way of me saying that I didn't survive the first time around.
I am merely a phantom of who I used to be.
I just hope that whenever my feet are finally dancing a lethal dance at a bridge's ledge, that your voice is the one I hear shouting "don't jump".