An Eating Disorder Isn’t Such a Big Deal

In the style of Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 An eating disorder isn't such a big deal
      if you've never fallen victim to one.

 After all, how could an illness
      often glamorized
           be anything more 
than a passing phase,
      a choice to be made,
           a mere fad,
                or a teenage craze?

 No, an eating disorder isn't such a big deal
      if you don't mind
 living in a hell
      created by your own doing.

 If you don't mind spending
      every waking moment
           of every single day
 (and more often than not,
      nighttimes too)
 consumed by thoughts so inconceivable
      you could never share them with anyone.

 No, an eating disorder isn't such a big deal.
If you don't mind
counting the calories in toothpaste
      or on a postage stamp,
           restricting food so you are hungry
 all the time
      and thinking about food
 all the time.

 If you don't mind exercising to punish your body
      for its imperfections,
 or hiding food in garbage bags
      tucked away in the back of your closet,
 or swallowing handfuls of laxatives
 or drinking syrup of ipecac because you were weak
      and ate a spoonful of ice cream 
          or a bite of a cookie 
               or a forkful of cake.

 If you don't mind stepping on the scale several times a day
      and letting the number determine your self worth.

 If you don't mind measuring yourself every night
      and leaving the window open and covers off
           to burn more calories.

 If you don't mind being too weak
      to crawl out of bed to get to the bathroom in time.

 If you don't mind systematically
      checking for protruding bones,
 or embracing the emptiness in your stomach,
      because the emptiness in your stomach
 is easier to acknowledge
      than the emptiness in your life.

 It's not a big deal at all.

 If you don't mind avoiding social situations
     because you are afraid people will see you
 for who you are...
     or more importantly, for who you aren't.

 Or if you don't mind distancing yourself from those who love you
      because you feel you are unworthy of being loved.

 Or if you don't mind crying yourself to sleep at night
      because you feel alone
 and so very out of control
      and you have no idea 
how to be normal again.

 No, it's really not a big deal.

 If you don't mind
      striving for perfection in all you do,
 and feeling like a failure in all you do
     because perfection was never meant to be attained.

 No, really, an eating disorder is nothing serious at all.

 If you don't mind a life filled with
 and the deprecation and abomination
      of self.

 No, it's not a big deal.

      after all,
 doesn't it make sense
 that the best way to be noticed

 That the best way to feel in control
      is to completely lose it?

 No. An eating disorder
      isn't a big deal
until you or are
     under its control.

 Karen Hovie