An Eating Disorder isn’t Such a Big Deal   

In the style of Lawrence Ferlinghetti


An eating disorder isn’t such a big deal

if you’ve never fallen victim to one.

After all, how could an illness

often glamorized

be anything more than a passing phase,

a choice to be made,

a mere fad,

or a teenage craze?


No, an eating disorder isn’t such a big deal

if you don’t mind

living in a hell

created by your own doing.

If you don’t mind spending

every waking moment

of every single day

(and more often than not,

nighttimes too)

consumed by thoughts so inconceivable

you could never share them with anyone.


No, an eating disorder isn’t such a big deal,

if you don’t mind

counting the calories in toothpaste

or on a postage stamp,

restricting food so you are hungry

all the time

and think about food

all the time.

If you don’t mind exercising to punish your body

for its imperfections,

or hiding food in garbage bags

tucked away in the back of your closet,

or swallowing bottles of laxatives

or syrup of ipecac because you were weak

and ate ice cream or a cookie or a piece of cake.

If you don’t mind stepping on the scale several times a day

and letting the number determine you self worth.

If you don’t mind measuring yourself every night

and leaving the window open and covers off

to burn more calories.

If you don’t mind being too weak

to crawl out of bed to get to the bathroom in time.

If you don’t mind systematically

checking for protruding bones,

or embracing the emptiness in your stomach

because the emptiness in your stomach

is easier to acknowledge

than the emptiness you feel in your life.


Nope. Not a big deal at all,

if you don’t mind avoiding social situations

because you are afraid people will see you

for who you are

and who you aren’t,

or if you don’t mind distancing yourself from those who love you

because you feel you are unworthy of being loved,

or if you don’t mind crying yourself to sleep at night

because you feel alone

and so very out of contol

and you have no idea how to

be normal again.


No, it’s really not a big deal

if you don’t mind

striving for perfection in all that you do,

and feeling like a failure in all that you do

because perfection was never meant to be attained.


No, really, an eating disorder is nothing serious at all,

if you don’t mind a life filled with




and the deprecation and abomination

of self.


Nope, it’s not a big deal.


after all,

doesn’t it make sense

that the best way to be noticed

is to simply disappear?

That the best way to feel in control

is to completely lose it?


Nope. An eating disorder

isn’t a big deal

until you or someone you love

is under its control.


Karen Hovie