Dear Dismal Digestion,

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 21:00 -- joey.

We met in the summer of eighth grade

you didn’t knock on my door for a civilized visit

you slammed into me like a high-speed train on adderall

made me forget to breathe & 

forget to want to breathe

undiagnosed gastrointestinal disorder they said

inconclusive tests

while they diagnosed, we danced:

you, me and pain

You changed me, unmade me and for a while I didn’t know

too much about anything. You were good at that—

making me doubt myself. Even my own body

wasn’t on my side. You made sure I knew

that the real monsters weren’t under my bed

but hiding in thoughts in my head that three months ago I wouldn’t have

recognized as mine. You showed me thoughts and monsters.

Reflections of myself (bloated, bitter, macerating in self-hate)

that I stepped into, like shoes that pinch, they left me swollen. You changed me.

 

But this/ isn’t about you. This is about me.

About how I changed myself.

I woke up one day with a dream in my hand

when all I’d had were nightmares,

 a dream where I had gotten drunk on sky,

feasted on sunlight, a dream where my lungs had remembered

how to love the air

I woke up that day, tied to the railroad tracks, and decided

to get a new pair of shoes

decided

to walk, to jump,

to feel fourteen, instead of angry and afraid – to dance,

because I was fourteen

 

But first:

I grew claws and fought, hard, for my health

tooth and nail and sweat and bone

I didn’t fight pretty

but damn I fought pretty well

because I wanted it, bad

bad enough to let the walls down

enough to believe in myself when few others would

enough to spend months learning, researching, searching for a cure

or a compromise

I wanted it bad enough to swear off milkshakes, my favorite food group, and other rich, creamy things you loved to hate

enough to lift weights at the gym, even though I felt incredibly small and out of place

enough to be stubborn about it, to be determined and driven and dedicated and

enough to be brave

 

I still can’t eat fast food and I still get cramps and once in a while I still look 5 months pregnant but I just wanted to let you know that it’s ok, now

that I don’t hate you the way I used to

that I don’t hate myself the way I used to

 

In fact I’m liking myself a lot these days

liking what I see in myself when I look in the mirror  

strength

resilience

courage

courage

courage

 

And you know I talk about you

about us

I tell people what you did to me

how you made me feel

how I stood up to you, said enough is enough

and you know they say How horrible!

 

But I don’t think you are

horrible, I mean, I don’t think you’re horrible because

you showed me thoughts and monsters but

what teenager hasn’t had to deal with those?

you showed me reflections of myself

bloated, bitter, macerating but also

strong, resilient and brave

 

I wasn’t this brave before.

 

And I know you don’t come around often anymore

but you’re always close by

So let’s catch up some time

I’ll show you sky, how to be brave and

how to get drunk on dreams

 

 

Yours always,

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This poem is about: 
Me

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