A Message From the Heart

TRIGGER AND CONTENT WARNING: Though mostly metaphorically described with imagery, there are some very real and graphic lines concerning the effects of anorexia nervosa and other mental illnesses. Please continue at your own discretion.

I’m not going to tell you how much I weighed, because that is a number that I wear branded on my heart, sewn deeply away under flesh and muscle and bone 

And there’s a reason why even today I back up onto a scale with my gaze fixed determinedly on the wall in front of me, because that value isn’t to be known

A year ago I slept in a bed that I kept folded up into a gentle V because this way I could more easily tuck my knees into my chest and cradle my body

A body that I so loathed even when the paleness of my skin curved itself perfectly against the ridges of my vertebrae, and I simply sobbed in pain ungodly

I don’t remember the day I opened my eyes to the world; we’re not supposed to, anyways, and besides, I have pictures of my red little face to recall it by

And I’m sure I spent a lot of my formative years screwing up that same face until my squinting eyes disappeared in my cheeks as I started to cry

But it wasn’t until I opened these eyes to the darkness of a room cast in pallid shades of grey, stretched my aching frame, and felt wires twist

Cold against my already shivering body that nothing could melt, for my heart was freezing and they needed to chart the beats it missed

So, like a strange plastic organ on my chest, they grafted a monitor to my abdomen with five little green lights that were always lit

No, not til I became fully aware, once my mind cleared out the fog monsters that distorted the corners of my cognition; then it hit

More structurally unsound than a castle constructed of toothpicks and miniature marshmallows, with sharp corners jabbing at my sanity

A greater chance at being mistaken for a crease in the layered blankets adorning my bed than an actual living being; oh, that gravity

It sunk down deep into the widening pores of my skeleton and rooted itself there, digging in fingers with nails like claws

As my frightened heart, a sailor tossed alone on a stormy sea, continued to thump irregularly against all of nature’s laws

I’d wasted away into a decrepit bag of pieces, first made by omnipotent genetic forces, but now falling apart

I wasn’t allowed to walk without a companion dressed in scrubs, so I stayed in my bed as if I were glued there and stared at charts

Save for the times I rose from my coffined enclosure to perform basic human functions like pee or brush my teeth or drag on new clothes

Except I didn’t get anything but washed out blue pants I’d argued my way into like a pro, and a patterned johnny with holes

For my arms, my head, and a cute pocket protector designed to shelter the infernal weight of the grey rectangle attached to me 

I was lucky that I could wear my own undergarments and socks, which I made as colorful as possible to try and feel positively

Besides that, I kept on a necklace and numerous kooky beautiful bracelets, as well as some makeup to make myself look alive

While my mind grew further and further deadened from listening to the nonstop track of my eating disorder’s constant and pestilent lies

At the same time, my depression worked to crush my flickering resolve like fine powder and sprinkle it into the blustery wind

My anxiety sawed away at my thoughts and invited in demons that I could not wrangle out from the corners where they quietly hid

My obsessiveness relegated me to rituals and habits, as fragile as the girl making them, that were transparent calls for aid

And my borderline strapped me into cuddling close to a iron clad dictator that would never be truly happy til my life I’d paid

I won’t divulge how many times I contemplated acquiescing to that demand and flinging myself into death’s waiting arms

Or how many milligrams of meds I’ve been instructed to religiously ingest to keep me from causing myself any more harm 

I might not look like the girl from beyond the grave anymore, but that doesn’t even begin to mean I’ve suddenly healed all of my scars

In fact I’ve got lots; some showing where wires used to attach, several riding along my back, and others written in the stars

A mystery waiting to be unlocked so that I might understand why I’ve tortured myself so with words and crunches and lonely panicked nights

And why, when I used to look into the mirror at the concave brittleness staring me down, I felt absolutely no semblance of fright

You see, I can’t offer you any answers as to how to prevent what’s happened to me from happening to you or your child or your neighbor or anyone at all

But I so wish, with every fiber of my slowly recovering being, that I could reach out my arms and protect everyone from this fall

No matter who you are or what your story, neither you nor it deserve to be tarnished by a dark mark smeared across you as if you were waste

It’s as plain as the nose on my once-again dimpled face, I’ve definitely gained back pounds that my self-hatred schlepped off of me with haste

Guess what, though; I’ve had to regain essentially a whole person, organs, cellulite, strength, hope, mobility, and most of all, my soul

I’ve learned that there’s really no definition; no recipe, tongue in cheek, as to what integral parts and gears make a person whole

Don’t get me wrong, every day I open these damn eyes, not to a whole new world nor a hospital, but a familiar textured white ceiling

Tug on what I like, though my autonomy to pick my clothes again results in eclectic outfits, and get ready to keep healing

Through lessons unwritten that teach me just how precious a gift being here on this earth really is, with absolutely breathtaking power

That scream in vibrant rainbows of voices, each one unique to what emanates from our very cores, that we must take back what is ours

Love who you are without exceptions, beyond the lines you draw onto your skin, in spite of whatever society says that you measure

Because you are the rising sun in the sky of someone’s darkness, you are the comforting shield of a hug, and you are a priceless treasure

I almost didn’t make it; I survived by a twist of fate that wrapped itself around my fingers and refused an early close of my play

But I believe I’m here for a reason, and perhaps that is to tell you that you are precious, you are strong, and you deserve every single day.

(photo is my own)


11 thoughts on “A Message From the Heart

  1. I relate to this so much. I miss the days where I was that thin. I miss my brittle hair and I miss how my cheeks would hurt when I placed them on pillows because the nerves were hardly covered by a layer of skin. I’ve been in and out of mental hospitals three times because of my ED. My parents control all of my food and they’ve managed to make my life a living hell. I feel so damn awful all the time looking in the mirror and seeing a morbidly obese person.


    1. You know you’re not morbidly anything though, except morbidly tied to an eating disorder. Your parents undoubtedly love you unfathomably much that they’ll do what has to be done, even if you feel like you hate them for it, because they want you living and they want you to love yourself just as much.
      Way fucking easier said than done. But you’re surely a beautiful girl, and you’ve been to hell and back. Please give recovery a shot; it’s worth so much more to see and discover all the good waiting for a girl with a real body and heart than a skeleton. I promise. Keep fighting lovely girl ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If only I could write these powerful eloquent deep heartening words Emma.
    Thank you,thank you, thank you!
    Thank you for being willing to share your story or at least part of.
    I can relate in many many ways.
    Praise God you are alive even though the enticing thoughts at those deepest darkest times pulled you in but yet you saw the light,you saw that with your brilliance and fortitude to pull thru.
    Definitely,no,not every day is great or gleaming but at least it’s not so dark and dismal.
    I love you Emma

    Liked by 1 person

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