How Can I Love Myself And Still Hate My Body?


Trigger warning: Eating disorders

A poet asked if I had an eating disorder once

My mouth formed a NO

Before my tongue could remember

How do I explain food is safety and poison all at once?

I binge like I’m still being starved

My stepmom’s favorite discipline was food

Needed a permission slip for one apple

It sits on the table after school cuz we’re not allowed to go in our own fridge

These cabinets

Jail cells

Food peaking out like prisoners

Childhood games

Rock paper scissors

Whose turn to ask for dinner?

A shaking arm expertly opening a creaky cabinet door

Sneaking three pretzels

Not four

She would notice

Counted whole-wheat goldfish

Serving sizes

Cell numbers

A second apple

Wrapped in paper towels

Shoved to the bottom of a clear bag


Cuz taking out the trash

Is a warden searching for contraband

Outsiders ask why I hide food

Can’t they see the hunger in my eyes?

Can this poet see the prison in my mind?

I call them invisible calories cuz I don’t look at them


I give them nicknames:

Fat Ass

Stomach Rolls

Stretch Marks

Count up every perceived flaw

Count them flawlessly

Thank my mirror for bearing my reflection

Thank my clothes for squeezing me in

Like she’d squeeze my stomach rolls

Said, See

This is what we need to get rid of

If my scale were a character in a Disney movie

It would be the evil stepmother

They even have the same sing along:

The horses eat

The dog eats

Your father eats

Then you

If I were a character

I’d be the pumpkin turned into a carriage

I see it whenever I dress up

Bruises covered until the midnight undressing

How can I love myself and still hate my body?

Why do I still feel like a butterfly forced to wear her ugly cocoon?

I wait on Somedays

Someday I’ll look in the mirror and love myself whole

Someday I’ll believe you when you say I’m beautiful

Someday I’ll be beautiful

Someone tell me

How can I be my own poison and savior all at once?

I whisper to my love

I hate my stomach

In a voice that is not my own

He says

I love your belly

Proves it with a thousand kisses

As I let the poison out

He cooks for me every night

As I learn to eat again

I kiss his belly

It tastes like love and somedays