World Poetry Day
UNESCO originally declared World Poetry Day in 1999, with the goal of “supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.” Held each year on March 21, the observance celebrates one of the oldest and most treasured forms of cultural communication and identity, one that can transport us to another place entirely. The practice of reading, writing, and listening to poetry can be particularly helpful during times of strife and adversity, providing comfort, healing, and relief. A 2021 study in an American Academy of Pediatrics publication found that a poetry intervention had therapeutic effects on hospitalized pediatric patients’ emotional well-being, with statistically significant reductions in fearfulness, sadness, and anger. Numerous other studies have reinforced that poetry writing sessions can help alleviate depression and trauma symptoms, even helping caregivers including family members and counselors. Poetry is an arts-based tool that allows us to express ourselves in new, creative ways and helps us to collectively uncover new methods of healing and restoration.
Take a Ride - Vantasia
Some days I feel like I’m pushing against a wall
One that doesn’t move an inch
Other days I feel capable of doing the work
I wake up and drink my water
Shower and nourish my body
In this moment I have full control
Even if it lasts for a minute
There are 60 minutes in an hour all I need is one
To make the choice to try it and give a damn
If no one told you yet, RECOVERY IS A RIDE!
Come get on mine
This rollercoaster has twist and turns
Pulling me in multiple directions
Reminding me it’s okay to be sad and exhausted
The work I’m doing isn’t easy
Nor does it make me want to stay buckled in
Many days and night I want off this ride
Sometimes recovery is overwhelming and breathless
Those are the moments I recall why I try
I’m doing this for my future self and younger one
Who needed to be reminded they are worthy
It’s okay to ask for help and not struggle in silence
My ride pushes my high and sometimes the drops make me want to walk away
Growth is uncomfortable
It’s crying after a hard therapy session
Feeling like you are back at square one
Yet, you are far from it!
Now you acknowledge the pain and fear
Even if you still need grounding , IT’S OKAY!!
Recovery recognizes sometimes it rains
Other days it’s just doing the simple things to push through
Getting to the next moment counts
If all I can do is nourish myself, that counts
If I need to take the day off, I will
If I need another support group, I’ll sign up
I might’ve gotten on the ride but I control where it takes me
I don’t have to do recovery alone
All I need is one person in my corner
Rooting for me even on my hard days
Sometimes that’s what gets me to stay
I recognize my support looks different each day
Sometimes it’s writing positive affirmations on the mirror and dancing to Beyoncé
Other times it’s riding the wave
All while complaining the entire time
Reflecting that today is not the day to do the work
It’s saying I just need to sit here and be held because that all I have in me
Letting my support systems tell me I’m a bad ass person and
I’m worthy of love and recovery
Allowing someone else to secure my crown with bobby pins when it shifts
Falling down and taking rest days
Recovery is a ride
It requires me to try
Even on my darkest days
Because the sun sets and rises each day
My reminder that tomorrow I can try again
Even if it lasts for a minute
There are 60 minutes in an hour all I need is one
To choose me and nothing else
I’m worthy of trying, love, and kindness
I’m not alone in this recovery journey
I know it feels like your day must start with lamenting
Over the reflection from the mirror on the wall
But I'm here to remind you
You deserve to recover, once and for all
The meaningless gap between your thighs
Fails to disguise the pain in your eyes
The short-term relief when you step on a scale
Will dissipate the next time you feel that you failed
You laugh, you joke, you smile
But I know you're exhausted from running all those miles
You play with your food, take imaginary bites
Just to secretly exercise, all through the night
You meticulously count macros and calories
But your ED doesn't care about the high rate of anorexia fatalities
You wake up fighting demons in your head
With chaos in your heart
Recovery is not easy, but today's a great day to start
You can stop holding your breath
You can stop hiding your truth
You can relax your clenched fists
You deserve to live, not just exist
I'm not going to sugar coat it, recovery is hard
But so is life with an eating disorder - only you can pick your hard
You've survived your darkest days, you've weathered the storms
You are perfectly you, there's no need to conform
Recovery is more than just gaining weight
In fact, it's a lot more about a change of state
As you fuel your body and reverse malnutrition
Your smile will be brighter, you'll have a radiant disposition
Life is a gift and there's so much to do
Each day is a blessing, enjoy the view
So go out and dance in the rain
Adventures and confidence and brain space you may gain
Laugh a lot, try new things, it's ok to make mistakes
You can do whatever it takes
Life in recovery has proven to be brilliant
I know you can do it too, we know you're resilient
You and your ED can remain in strife
But choose recovery and you might just save your life
“Trigger warning: This piece includes a detailed description of someone’s experience with their body. Please use discretion and pause and take care of yourself.”
I DID WANT
I wanted thin.
I wanted inside pain to show outside,
to jut out with every awkward angle of bone.
I wanted lack,
absence of gelatinous flesh
that refused containment, justification.
This body is infested, an unsuitable habitat.
I wanted out.
I wanted pain and hunger,
emptiness and shrinking, shadows
for cheeks and holes for eyes, one-way mirrors.
I wanted to disappear
and go so far up inside me
that no one would find me until I was long gone.
I wanted gone.
I wanted to relieve the burden
that I am, lift my weight from family, friends,
and the poor people in China whose earth trembles
when I walk. I wanted
for all the ways I’m evil. I wanted eaten
from the insides because I’m rotten and I wanted stagnancy
so no one must hear my shrill voice and I wanted quiet. I did want not to
want so much.
I NOW HAVE
I have billow and pillows
I have room for a nap with rekindled
friends on my warm belly-
bed. My new stuffing teems
with grace and truth and authenticity.
I have sweetness. The sweet “muffin top” peeking up and over the pants to say hello to worlds and possibilities.
I have a rounder bum my pants cup with gentle, loving “Congratulations”
in rhinestone-bedazzled pockets
for bum-kicking ED to the curb in wins small
and grand. I have stretch marks,
remembrancers, of rivers and tides, tears
I have shed
in the excruciating and joyful process to get here.
And yet, and still. Tears shed,
a watershed for my soul-garden. Finally, a habitat
for me. I also have garden-ripening fruits that say, “I have enough--
enough love in this, my recovering, to share.”
I still want
and now want so much
Remember me - Clover Johnson
When your mind summons images of tear-soaked faces
Caught in cycles where disorder replaces
Dreams … of what I hoped my life could be
Conjure me among your thoughts
Let my Brown face anchor in your mind
Hear me when I tell you that
I am digesting internalized oppression with every bite
Do not catch me in your gaze as spectacle
But please see me still
I am underseen, underdiagnosed, undertreated
Do not hide your face from me too
I too have been in the ruins when not in the room
I need your support too
Touch me and let the unfolding of my disordered consumption
Feel warmth of support felt by those already at the table
I am exhausted through the trauma of my ups and downs
Make a seat for me also
My pain is often tied to tired tropes themselves tied to the color of my skin
I am not lazy, on welfare, sitting at home
Waiting for a check to come in
DSM does not seem to view me in the intersections
But you are beginning to
Hear me, see me, treat me
Window of Opportunity - Andy McLoughlin
Look at that guy in the window
He always seems so sad
Everyone says how much they love him
But he always looks very bad
I bet he's ungrateful or selfish
And probably thinks he's above
All those kind souls around him
He might be unworthy of love
The guy in the window is lazy
With so many people wishing him well
He just can’t seem to be bothered
Climbing out of his own personal hell
I wish I could ask him one question
A question to help him explain
Why he won't try to find shelter
From his own allegorical rain
I know everyone says he's awesome
But that's impossible for me to believe
I'm not sure I could ever trust him
Is he hiding something up his sleeve?
This guy in the window is pissing me off
He needs to make up his damn mind
Is he someone people should invest in
Or give up on, and leave behind?
I don't understand his contentment
With wallowing in self-pity and hate.
Maybe I should try to do something
And help him before it's too late
I guess I can try to talk to the guy
And at least let him know that I'm here
I wouldn't mind getting to know him
And show him there's nothing to fear
Yes! I think I'll go help him
He's just a human being like me
If I insert myself in his moment
Who knows what the outcome might be!?
No time to be wasted
He has suffered enough
Knock, knock, knock on his window
He's still looking rough
Perhaps all is not lost
I see hope in his eyes.
As he turns toward my knocking
With a look of surprise
He approaches the window
with slight hesitation
He seems to be wary
of my surprise visitation
With the window still closed
He yells through the glass
"What do you want?"
In a tone, rather crass
"Would you like to talk?"
I asked with a smile
He shakes his head no
After thinking a while
"Every time that we talk,
You just tell me I'm fat
How disgusting I am
And more things like that"
"What do you mean?
We've never spoken before!"
I yell through the window
Might as well be a door
The guy winces sharply
And turns in my direction
With a look on his face
Of betrayal and affection
His face was as close
As it could possibly be
And with just enough volume
For his words to reach me
He said "Last time we talked"
Then he paused with a sigh
"You claimed I'd live alone,
And that alone I would die"
I don't remember this talk
Or speaking with such fury
"Please explain this to me"
I requested with worry
The guy in the window
Shook his head and closed his eyes
Then he calmly retorted
"When will you realize?"
"Realize what man?"
I said in a yelp
"It's you, it's your window
I knocked on to help!"
"No that's not true"
Said in a much softer tone
"You think you're here to help me
But I'm actually alone
I do welcome your help
You have such a large role
In fact, you and I together
Are two halves of a whole"
"When you tapped on my window
my day got much queerer
you offered discussion
and moved yourself nearer
You thought you could help me
To see things a bit clearer
But you never realized that
My window is your mirror”
Don't be scared now,
Nothing has changed
You're not going crazy
And I'm not deranged
This first step had to be made
Before steps two and three
Changing "I" and "you" to "we" and "us"
So that now, our "we" is "ME"
That guy in the mirror is me
Not sure how I missed it before
People outside love him
But inside I love him more