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Recovery Anthem

by Gravity

Author's Note: This is a poem I wrote while I was in treatment the first go-around for my eating disorder. I re-read this on bad days, when my urges to use eating disorder behaviors feel overwhelming. I want to preface this by saying there are all kinds of eating disorders, and people who have them come in all different shapes and sizes. I refer to my eating disorder as Ed, many people who have EDs do. Personifying Ed as an abusive partner, a bully, and at times, a friend has helped me and many others in my recovery. This is my anthem, my fight song, the letter etched into my heart and in my bones. I am sharing this because I want to help people understand what living with an eating disorder feels like. If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder or other mental illness issues, please visit the NEDA website or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

I used to binge and restrict everything
TV, school, sleep, socialization, and food.
Now I know that living life in terms of extremes is not sustainable or fulfilling.
I used to tell myself that friendship was overrated because rejection terrified me.
Now I have people who love me and accept me, people who run over scales with big red trucks or cut off hydrangea blossoms for me to keep just because they make me happy.
I used to second guess everything I said, long after I'd said it.
Now I know that speaking my truth is more important than the opinions of others.
I used to feel unworthy of reaching for stars or even taking up space.
Now I... I'm working on it.

I used to think that myself and Ed are one and the same.
Now I know we are different.
I used to feel condemned, forsaken, ashamed, unworthy, and forgotten. I used to think I was hopeless, that prosperity was out of my grasp.

Now I have hope.

I hope for a time when mindfulness is easier and experiences don't need to be consumed in excess to be worthwhile.
I hope to be able to try new restaurants without anxiety threatening to rip out my stomach.
I hope to feel safe, loved, and nourished.
I hope to have a dog.
I hope to find my halcyon days.
I wish my journey was easier than it is.
I wish for the strength to move forward.

I wish I could lose weight, but I can't.
So instead I'll recover.
I wish I could always be perfect, but I can't.
So instead I'll be brave.

Ending Note: I am taking the plunge and adopting a dog tomorrow. I still struggle with my eating disorder, but I am further in recovery than I ever thought I would be. I try new restaurants all the time and don't have panic attacks, I work on challenging my perfectionism every single day. My only request is if you comment or review this, that you don't use numbers (sizes, weights, calories, exercise distances, etc.) that you don't describe your own eating habits, that you don't comment food judgments (i.e. good/bad food) and that you don't talk about health in terms of body size. People do this a lot when I tell them I have an ED. And also, anyone can have an eating disorder. I live in a fat body, and I don't use the word fat negatively. Weight loss is not an option for my recovery. I am telling you this so you can avoid triggering/invalidating people who struggle with the same things. Otherwise, have at it.

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User avatar
25 Reviews

Points: 2050
Reviews: 25

Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:36 pm
RanaNoodles wrote a review...

Okay, I absolutely love this piece. Even the title is so powerful! It sounds so proud and bold.
The poem didn't really sound like a poem, per se, but for some reason that was fine with me. It emphasized that you can't be perfect, and that you're working to improve your perception of being perfect.
The concept is maybe the most powerful thing about this poem. It's so -- I don't know-- open. Like, most people wouldn't be comfortable sharing this stuff with the world. But you are. And that's really brave.
The only thing that bugged me, and this isn't your fault, it's the margin it gives you to put your piece in, is the overlap of lines, like the ones that overflowed onto the next line. I don't know how you could fix that, but I just wanted to put it out there.
Besides that, this piece is incredible!
I hope this was helpful!
-Rana Noodles

User avatar
128 Reviews

Points: 228
Reviews: 128

Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:28 pm
nogutsnoglory wrote a review...

Hi Gravity! Oliver here to review!

First off, I'm gonna preface this by saying that your piece caught my eye because, well, I also have disordered eating (I hesitate to call it an eating disorder because of my size, but I recognize that I do have a problem). So I kind of get where you're coming from.

It's a great piece. I'm glad it's helped you in your recovery, and I hope your recovery is going well.

Now, to get to the critique part:

The biggest problem I have with this 'poem' is that it reads more like prose. The lines are long, there's no real rhythm or flow - it just reads like prose. And while there is a way to write prose poetry, this just comes across as a prose piece.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.

I feel like a way to make it more poem like would be to break up the longer lines into shorter ones and to work on the flow of the poem.

Aside from that, like I said, it's a great piece and wonderfully written. It's relatable, it's honest, it's vulnerable. I love it.

As well, I really loved this part:

I used to feel unworthy of reaching for stars or even taking up space.
Now I... I'm working on it.

That really struck a chord with me because god damn, is recovery hard. It's not an easy process and it definitely doesn't happen overnight, and at the most, all we can ever do is keep trying. All we can ever do is keep working on it - even if we know that we'll never be fully recovered, or perfect, or healthy. At least we're trying.

Good job on this poem. Like I said, the form and flow could use some work, but the authenticity is there. I really enjoyed this piece, and I wish you luck in your recovery.

Keep writing,


Gravity says...

Thank you so much for your feedback! If you read the author%u2019s notes you%u2019ll see that I live in a bigger body, I am a plus sized woman. Eating disorders have nothing to do with size and they have everything to do with our relationship to food. If you have questions about recovery resources feel free to PM me!

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables