eating well

“you are what you eat.”
an english proverb - if you eat well, you will be well; but if you eat badly you will feel bad.
i used to eat icing behind the couch, shovel it into my mouth like the dirt i played with outside.
i’m seven and alive, and i have yet to know what fat-shaming is or thin-shaming is or the shame of eating that chocolate goop, but i do know my mother will kill me if she catches me eating the icing again.

 
to “eat.”
a verb meaning to put (food) into the mouth and chew and swallow it.
consume, devour, ingest, partake of;
i am nine, and i’ve begun nibbling on paper when i am too hungry.
i saw a story where a girl ate paper, and she was sickly thin.
i told myself i don’t want to be that thin. just a little thinner,
so i started with eating the clipping.
 
i am thirteen consuming paper and counting calories.
i drink green tea to increase my metabolism.
i develop orthorexia - the obsession to eat healthy - but my ideal is not to to be well, it is to be 129 and 100 and maybe lower.
i count my weight in kilos to make me feel smaller than the pounds i weigh,
and i blame my girly bits for the excess fat, and i wish my body wasn’t so wrong,
that i wasn’t so wrong.
 
you are what you eat, and i am eating well (enough), but i don’t feel well (enough).
(just) enough i am eating to be/look well, and i am wishing i was seven again.
 
“eat.”
noun. informal. - food or snacks.
food, sustenance, nourishment, fare;
i am fourteen, and high school is too hard. i go a month without eating and only drinking tea.
whenever i partake of anything i punish myself by digesting my fingers and letting them be devoured by my throat until all ingested comes out translucent into clear water or porcelain sinks.
 
i turn fifteen going on dead, and i am consuming colouring pills like i consume candy, and it keeps me awake/alive.
 
i am eating badly to match the bad i feel, and i am feeling guilty as the orthorexia fades but my obsession with being less doesn’t.
 
“you are what you eat.”
is a mondegreen. the proverb misheard itself.
“you are what you think” is betterly put because
i am nineteen going on finally alive,
and i’ve finally stopped counting the calories and the ounces and caring what i eat.
i have learnt that eating well doesn’t guarantee feeling well, and that eating badly doesn’t mean you feel bad,
but thinking well is feeling well, and thinking bad is feeling bad,
and that i am finally learning to devour my feelings and thoughts and swallow them whole and let them digest rather than holding them in until i vomit them out as things too taboo to be talked about (like (borderline) eating disorders and dysphoria) onto paper and into voice recordings.
and i know that you will eat up these pronounceable series of letters and digest them, vomit them out in recitation,
 
but i’m nineteen and too young to be devoured by my own thoughts, and i just know that if i say/write out these words, spit them out from the bottom of my heart and gut that the vocalisation of my internal communication, that they will stop threatening this life they belong to,
so i give you the bread of my soul to eat and sprinkle saccharine adjectives over my bitter utterance,
and i hope you are eating them well.
This poem is about: 
Me
My country
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

Comments

Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741