a poem about my eating disorder

Sometimes, I make myself sick,
both literally and metaphorically speaking:
like, ‘the ick’s not right if it’s inside me,’
like sustenance makes my stomach sticky.
Fingers in my mouth press down on the trigger
when I am a loaded gun.

I’m loaded…more so with liquor than bullets
but my tongue can’t taste the difference –
bile tastes like metal.
My whole life tastes like metal.
My forge is a melting inferno.
Self-Esteem drops a smoldering cigarette butt before leaving in a hurry
and I am on fire again.

See, in this scenario my thoughts are the sparks
while my flesh plays the part of kindling.
Ego breaks binge-eating bones over knee caps, easily,
while picturing a body that was and never will be her own.
Reflection so easily flushed down the toilet or ground in the garbage disposal.
When she fantasizes about what the metal in her kitchen sink tastes like
she says she’s in control again.
She’s lying.

I’m lying.

The sink tastes like steel bullets,
which is to say, stainless and above reproach.
I am innocent only when empty
and this statement still holds, whether I’m referring to purging or starving myself,
because neither method nor big picture matter here.
The Devil is in the details…

The Devil hitches a ride on food particles that haven’t been digested yet,
only muddled by stomach acid and panic attacks,
both internal, both incrementally ravaging my smile,
filling my mouth with dragon’s breath
so it will forever stink of brimstone.

The Devil is the feeling of whiplash you get when missing the turnoff
toward consequences you have deemed acceptable.
Since missing your exit is not an option, you backpedal,
turn around so quick that even your intentions are clueless,
because the promise you made to yourself,
that you would rather risk lethal accidents than acknowledge you are human,
makes no sense to them.
In fact, you haven’t really made much sense since you learned to drive in the first place,
your youthful ignorance immortalized in a driver’s license photo
taken while you were in the throws of your first go-around with disordered eating.

When you flip a bitch on the highway despite oncoming traffic
you know this ain’t your first rodeo.
You’ve learned a few tricks since last time.
You’ve learned to call the Devil by his first name and like it
as he fans the flames of dysmorphia, you will tell yourself you are illuminated
when, really, the smoke blinded you years ago,
singeing your tongue in the process,
which is why ice-cream still tastes sweet mixed with hydrochloric acid
and all this seems to taste better than unconditional love does.

Tell me, are you afraid that Self-Love is just another thing to binge on?
One more guilty pleasure to usurp all your rational faculties?
Because, if not, maybe this is how you should be framing it,
since this logic has worked wonders for Self-Hatred.
Self-Hatred is the Devil
and I, his humble servant.

But, sometimes, the Devil can’t be exorcised by purging him.
Sometimes, it takes being gentle…
Remember, kindness is not sinful but generous.
Remember to be generous with yourself.
Your body is the only vessel God gave you.
Please remember to treat it as such.


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