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Jul 2016 · 4.3k
Not Sick Enough
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2016
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?
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2016
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.
Apr 2016 · 291
Untitled
Naunie Baltzell Apr 2016
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.
Apr 2016 · 338
Phantom
Naunie Baltzell Apr 2016
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.
Naunie Baltzell Jan 2016
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".
Dec 2015 · 399
If Only
Naunie Baltzell Dec 2015
If only kisses to scars worked as well as they used to for scraped knees.

If only band-aids truly fixed bullet wounds.

If only laughter cured any form of sadness.

If only tears could wash away our troubles like they were nothing more than specks of dirt.

If only every big issue in life could be solved with kindergarten solutions.
Dec 2015 · 951
I'm Going to Hell for This
Naunie Baltzell Dec 2015
Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean I lack morality.
In fact, my morality
is what I pride myself on.
I have this strong urgency
to love everyone
because I refuse to listen to
the God of discrimination.
I certainly don't need a book
that condones ****, slavery,
misogyny, and genocide
to teach me right from wrong.

Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean my life has no meaning
It just means I have
the freedom to choose my own.
I have value
because I know how
to be a giving person
without having to be tempted
with eternal bliss.
If you're only being helpful
to others due to a promised reward,
does it not cease to
be a good deed?

Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean I have no one
to look up to.
God doesn't create us,
women do.
And why the hell
can't I praise a goddess?
We are creating misogyny
young, claiming that
little girls are always to
put a him first,
instead of themselves.

Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean I hate God.
It's impossible that which
you do not believe exists.
And I desperately don't want
him to exist, because if he does,
then that means he doesn't care,
that he's okay with
watching me suffer.
I don't need any more
people letting me down.

Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean I worship the devil.
It's impossible to worship
that which you do not
believe exists.
But if he did exist,
then I would embrace him
at hells entrance -
tell him I too know what it's like
to be turned into something evil.
Thank him for taking all
the rejected souls that God
turned away without a second glance
Remind him that losing
something good can win you
something great.

Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean I think
Billy Graham is a *******.
No, I actually do
think Billy Graham is a *******.
Anyone who has the audacity
to claim God wanted
marriage to be between
a man and a woman,
when marriage was constructed
long before Christianity was,
doesn't deserve to be
preaching to our children.
This is indoctrination
of the worst kind.

Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean I hate religious people,
only what they preach.
I'm tired of people blanketing
their bigotry with
"religious freedom"
and getting away with it.
If you build a fire
to warm yourself,
and end up burning down
someone's home,
your warmth doesn't bring
their house back.
And it doesn't let you off
the hook for accountability....
Unless you're a Christian
because America was founded
on Christian morals, right?
***** John Adams who says
"The Government of the
United States of America
is not in any sense founded on
the Christian religion."
Or Thomas Jefferson
who encourages you to
"Question with boldness
even the existence of a god."
Or James Madison who once said
"Christianity's fruits are
superstition, bigotry,
and persecution."
But what do the
founding fathers know anyway?
This nation was created only
for those deemed worthy,
those who never realize
they have the right to
think for themselves.

Just because I'm an atheist,
doesn't mean I have all the answers.
But neither do you.
Oct 2015 · 358
Flighty Love
Naunie Baltzell Oct 2015
Airports may be one of the busiest places on earth, but they are also one of the loneliest. The walls echo with words unsaid, the I love you's and please don't go's that plague the halls are so evident that if you stay silent long enough, you're bound to hear the whispers. Strangely enough, I've always been in love with them.. This must be the reason why I always treat relationships like they're nothing more than a pit stop on my journey. A place to restore my energy and get me back on my feet, so that I may once again leave. I don't know how to force myself to stay.... I'm scared I never will.
Naunie Baltzell Oct 2015
150: "I've never had a fat girlfriend" your now ex-boyfriend explains when questioned about the reason why he said the two of you just won't work. He tells you that "he thinks you're cute, but would be much cuter if you lost a few pounds". His words echo in your brain until eventually insults are the only thing you can force yourself to swallow.

120: Everyone is congratulating you on your extraordinary weight loss, they all want to know your secrets. You don't tell them that every night you're on your knees worshipping the toilet bowl. That the only chocolate you've tasted in months is the chalky, sweetness of the laxatives that you take like a daily vitamin. That you don't allow yourself food until the emptiness inside you threatens to steal your consciousness. Instead, you smile and say "must be good genes".

90: You get into a fight with your mother after she tries to force you to eat dinner with your family. You ate yesterday, this will throw off all the goals you've been striving towards. You no longer know how to survive if you're not destroying yourself in the process.

90: You run into your ex boyfriend at the local Walmart with his new girlfriend. She's heavier than you are, but her eyes still shine like lighthouses, he hasn't gotten to her yet. You try to telepathically tell her to run, to leave while she's still whole, but you know the message gets lost on its way. So you settle for a smile, and a compliment to the figure she still has.

120: It's so hard to live in a society where perfection is unattainable but at the same time required... However, it's not impossible. You are already in recovery, you've made it through the hardest part. It's so much better to be full of food than full of empty wishes.

150: Your new girlfriend whines about how jealous she is of your curves, compares your body to that of an ancient goddess. You hesitantly accept the compliment, still not comfortable with imagining your body as anything other than the curse he made you think it was. Darling, your body is not the curse, your body is the blessing... I'm glad you've finally started treating it as such.
Naunie Baltzell Oct 2015
The first boy to enter my life never let me finish a sentence without kissing me.
And I remember all the girls saying how romantic it is being interrupted mid-sentence with a kiss.

I did not find this romantic.
Forced silence is not romantic.
Forced silence is not "relationship goals".
Forced silence is degrading.
Forced silence is a sign that the purpose of your lips is to please others instead of speaking your mind.

And maybe I'm overreacting.
I'm sure I'm overreacting.
Because if not, others would have spoken up....right?
Aug 2015 · 569
Giving myself away
Naunie Baltzell Aug 2015
My mind wanders off
in normal conversations
to thoughts of you.
I guess I could say you've
invaded my brain.

I can only think of you,
how kissing you feels like
the key to a treasure
I never previously knew existed,
or how listening to your laugh is the same as listening to
Tinkerbell speak,
or the way I curl my tongue
to say your name and
instead pronounce the word home.

All I know for sure is that
this is one attack of the brain
that I don't want a cure for.
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2015
I've never felt so at home,
as I did the day I met her.
For once I couldn't hear
the bickering of voices in my head,
and that's how I knew.
Home is wherever your demons
go mute, and the feeling of
her palm on mine is
a better silencer than
antidepressants ever were.

She makes me feel whole,
like the only reason my heart
is aching is because I
cannot possibly love her more.

She smiles at me like
there might actually be
something there to smile about.

When I am with her,
I forget that society did not
teach me to love this way.
Did not teach me that
sometimes love arrives
in a package tied with a pink bow.

And I could change all the pronouns
in my love poems to him,
if it would make others
more comfortable,
but it wouldn't change the truth.

The truth is that nothing
has ever came easy in life,
except for loving her.
Jul 2015 · 1.1k
Sacrifices
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2015
My older sister once told me
that if you aren't making
sacrifices for someone,
it isn't love.

So I wondered if she
would be proud of the way
I'd sacrificed parts of myself
to make it easier for you
to hold me. The way
I'd cut off friends due to
your paranoia of being left
before you were able to
do the leaving. Or how
I gave up my dream job
so you would never have to
face up to your problem
of codependency.

I swore to her I would
be giving. It's funny
how ironic life loves to be,
isn't it?

Because while I was sharing
everything with you,
you were desperately
clinging to your only child
mentality. A little boy,
still scared of sharing toys
and feelings. The problem is,
I'm not a little girl anymore.

I've outgrown the myth
that boys hit you because
they like you.
Boys hit you because
you learn how great the
word no feels rolling
off your tongue.
Boys hit you because
alcohol turns smart
men stupid.
Boys hit you because
they are terrified
that you will realize
your worth.

And I finally have.
I do love you,
but I love myself more.

And now I finally
understand what
my sister meant.
Jul 2015 · 430
Everything Holy
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2015
She is a daisy
found in the middle
of a blizzard.
She is the five
dollars you found
laying in the road.
She is the surprise
birthday party thrown
for you after you
were convinced
everyone forgot.
She is every
unexpected, wondrous
joy you've been blessed
enough to receive in life.
She is watching
a child blow bubbles.
She is listening to
a baby's heartbeat
for the very first time.
She is a teenagers
first nervous, shaky
kiss that they
never forget.
She is everything
beautiful and holy.
She is the rain
pattering down on
your rooftop on
lazy Sunday mornings.
She is meeting someone
who teaches you how
to love your flaws.
She is old home
movies, filmed before
your parents divorce,
when everything was
still innocent and
the world hadn't
yet touched you.
She is the comfort of
returning home after years
of being lost inside
your own head.
Jul 2015 · 440
My Mother's Protection
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2015
My mother has recently taken
it upon herself to sleep in
my room with me.
Afraid to leave me
alone for even a minute
out of fear that I will escape
this life sentence.
Which causes me to wonder:
Can you tell I'm on the
verge of death? Do I
wear it like a broken heart
on my sleeve? Are my
intentions as transparent
as a sheet of glass?
I'm aware she is only
concerned out of love...
But can she not tell
that she is only driving
me closer to the brink of insanity?
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2015
Dear eleven year old Briauna,
Sixth grade will be a long year for you; don't worry, it ends.
You are going to be tempted
to cut off all your hair to look like
Alice from Twilight. DON'T.
You'll regret it the day later,
and the only thing more ******
than making a horrible decision,
is making a horrible decision
because others tell you to. Besides,
you'll soon learn how important
your individuality is. After you start
to change, your friends won't
feel like home anymore,
but don't stress over this, there are
many other apartments that
you have never explored.
You'll find one that fits
your needs better anyway.
Twelve,
I remember this as the divorce year.
The year you learn that family units
are hard to split evenly. The time
you finally realize how it feels
to be a magician's assistant,
being sawed in half until there are two
of you. You will try to make sure
mom and dad get an equal piece
when this happens... They won't.
Mom needs your ear and
dad your shoulder. Let mom rant.
Let dad cry oceans over mom,
I promise it will make you an expert
at sailing through the waves.
Thirteen,
The year depression creeps in
like smoke under a doorway
in a house fire - slowly rising up,
taking over the space, quickly
eliminating your ability to breathe.
The fire extinguisher is found
years down the road, but for now
just let the water pour from your eyes,
it will diminish the flames.
Fourteen,
Kate Moss, unfortunately,
becomes your idol this year.
Boys take the backseat to body image.
Your diet will consist of apples
and carrots, and you will assure yourself that THIS is what being
a teenage girl is.
THIS IS NOT WHAT BEING A
TEENAGE GIRL IS.
Teenage girls are sleepovers and
gossip and impossible daydreams
made possible through extreme ambition. Teenage girls
are ******* kickass warriors,
but they are also sensitive and fragile.
They often need reassurances;
someone to remind them that
their body is just the casing that protects the essence of their soul,
someone to appreciate the beauty
that they produce, someone to say
**** diamonds, food is
a girls best friend, no matter how
much our weight obsessed culture
try's to convince you otherwise.
Fifteen,
This has so far been your best year.
Treasure it. This year you'll meet a boy
who reminds you to be unapologetically yourself.
When you kiss him for the first time,
don't apologize after. He hates
the way you take blame for all of
the world's problems. He will soon
slip through your fingers so quickly
that you won't be able to tell if
he was even real or simply
a daydream that you wanted so badly,
you went along with the delusion.
Other boys will come and go,
but he will always return. Let him.
Sixteen,
This is the year you let your depression
run rampant, spewing destruction
on anything that could possibly
bring you joy. You'll turn
to alcohol and razors, anything
to numb the constant assault
from your brain. Right before your
seventeenth birthday, you will
swallow a bottle of antidepressants
you kept hidden in your sock drawer,
but it won't **** you.
Instead it will empower you.
You will use your survival to promote recovery. You will take your passion
and throw it into poetry.
In fact, as I write this poem,
you are now four months clean.
Dear twenty-five year old Briauna,
I imagine you surrounded by beauty. Beautiful cities, beautiful people,
beautiful talents. It comforts me
to remember that you and I
may be in different places
right now, but we're on the same path.
The happiness you currently feel,
I will eventually feel too.
Thanks for not giving up on us.
I'm really excited to meet you.
Jul 2015 · 615
The place I call home
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2015
There is a town I call home
where streets are filled
with empty people.
People whose only way of death
is by taking their own lives.
When my older brother
committed suicide, that was
the first and last time
I set foot on Holy Ground.
There are people I know
who clutch nooses
instead of rosarys
and maybe this is
the reason my throat
closes up when I am asked
to say my hail Mary's.
But that doesn't stop the
young women in my town
from clutching Bibles
to their chests because
even though we don't
believe in God, we all
still need something
to hold onto.
Jul 2015 · 762
Fire and Ice
Naunie Baltzell Jul 2015
I am the stovetop
your mother warned you
not to touch when you were five.
You did it anyways, of course,
because you wanted to see if
you could survive the pain.
I remember you telling me
that story on our third date
after I told you I've never met anyone
I didn't end up hurting.
Masochism runs in the family
you said. Wreckage runs in mine.
When I was five I put aluminum foil
in the microwave just to
sit and watch the destruction
it created. When we met, I knew
we wouldn't last long.
Fire and ice together never does.

— The End —