Three Poems – Blythe Baird

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THE YEAR OF SKINNY POP AND SUGAR-FREE JELLO CUPS,

we guzzled vitamin water and vodka 
toasting to high school and survival
complimenting each other’s thigh gaps

trying diets we found on the internet:

menthol cigarettes
eating in front of a mirror
donating blood

replacing meals with other practical hobbies
like making flower crowns

or fainting 

wondering why I haven't had my period 
in months or why breakfast tastes like giving 
up or how many more productive ways 
I could have spent my time today 

besides googling the calories in the glue 
of a US envelope 

watching America's Next Top Model 
like the gospel

hunching naked over a bathroom scale shrine
crying into an empty bowl of cocoa puffs

because I only feel pretty 
when I'm hungry




IF YOU ARE NOT RECOVERING,

you are dying.

By the time I was sixteen, I had already experienced 
being clinically overweight, underweight, and obese.

As a child, Fat was the first word people used to describe me
which didn’t offend me until I found out it was supposed to. 

When I lost weight, my dad was so proud
he started carrying my before-and-after photo in his wallet.

So relieved he could stop worrying about me 
getting diabetes. He saw a program on the news 
about the epidemic with obesity. 

Says he is just so glad 
to finally see me taking care of myself.

If you develop an eating disorder 
when you are already thin to begin with,
you go to the hospital. 

If you develop an eating disorder 
when you are not thin to begin with, 
you are a success story. 

So when I evaporated, of course 
everyone congratulated me on getting healthy.

Girls at school who never spoke to me before
stopped me in the hallway to ask how I did it.

I say, I am sick. They say
No, you’re an inspiration.

How could I not fall in love with my illness?
With becoming the kind of silhouette people are supposed to 
fall in love with?

Why would I ever want to stop being hungry
when anorexia was the most interesting thing about me?




SO HOW LUCKY IT IS, NOW, 

to be boring.

The way not going to the hospital is boring. 
The way looking at an apple and seeing only 
an apple, not sixty or half an hour of sit-ups

is boring.

My story may not be as exciting as it used to, 
but at least there is nothing left to count.

The calculator in my head finally stopped. 

I used to love the feeling of drinking
water on an empty stomach

waiting for the coolness to slip 
all the way down and land in the well,

not obsessed with being empty
but afraid of being full. 

I used to take pride in being able to feel cold 
in a warm room. Now, I am proud 
I have stopped seeking revenge on this body. 

This was the year of eating when I was hungry 
without punishing myself 

and I know it sounds ridiculous, 
but that shit is hard. 
 
When I was little, someone asked me 
what I wanted to be when I grew up

and I said “small”
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About Blythe Baird

Blythe Baird is a 19-year-old author, actress, and student. Her work has been published or featured by The Huffington Post, Write Bloody, EverydayFeminism, and more. Her first book GIVE ME A GOD I CAN RELATE TO is available through Where Are You Press here: http://whereareyoupressstore.com/collections/frontpage/products/pre-order-give-me-a-god-i-can-relate-to/ View all posts by Blythe Baird

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