I found this poem I wrote when I was 19. Ain’t bad for a 19 year old! However, it is heartbreaking. I was severely anorexic and I share it again to provide hope to anyone suffering. The poem is about my eating disorder and how I wanted to fade away. I wish you all Healing. Please reach out if you need me.
Treeness by Jen Pastiloff age 19
Suspended by thin wrists, I hang,
swinging, branches snapping.
I can hear the snapping.
I am ready for it.
Its in my bones.
My feet don’t touch the ground, they dangle
soles slightly above the earth.
The branch: a thick arm, muscular,
strapping and mighty,
lets me grow into it,
to enter its treeness as I might enter water or age.
Casually it absorbs me.
My branch is bending, now closer than usual to the ground,
it aches to spring away from me.
I can feel it resisting, tearing to free
its weight from mine,
From my mass, this birch lurches.
Its veins, bulge out of its tree skin
Like little faces trying to press their way through wood.
It wants to pull away from me, from my arms
now covered with leaves and bark.
It sees my ugliness, realizes it is becoming part of me, I of it.
I am breaking it.
I am breaking.
For a while, I am still,
not yet rooted.
Feet still arched over the earth,
I talk to my tree.
You are lucky, I tell it, you can live on air.
The tree is tired,
And sags like an uneven breast,
One limb lies flat on the stomach of the tree.
My body attached to unflinching tree fingers.
Its humanness astounds me.
It wants to know if I’ll fall off soon?
And I will.
My bones too are snapping, I tell it, ready to break.
Pale and brittle: they lack me.
Somehow they can’t carry me.
Soon my own breast will drop heavy,
Slowly I am the cedar, willing myself to bark,
to puncture the earth, to push forward with no sense
of leaving or growing.
I will fall off like old cells, bracelets,
people trying to keep to a certain rhythm,
bodies on horseback.
Like them, I will fall out and off,
by accident, or at night while asleep, or without realizing it.
I will slip into the hole in the earth,
swimming through dark, wet mud,
But while here I dangle
pendulous, I tell the tree what I am,
what has made me, why my bones break,
and why, suspended by thin wrists,
Sad how much an illness can nearly take a life. It helps me feel the sadness and heaviness that anorexia brings. It sadly expresses the pain and loss you felt and allows for others to maybe recognize their pain in it, leading to hope and healing. Sadly beautiful.
Beautiful and disturbing at the same time…true art and talent mixed with honesty and pain-vintage JJP…again you amaze. Love you!
This is sadly beautiful. love u Jen. So proud of you and all that you have overcome!
Absolutely amazing for a 19-year-old, or an any-year-old!
w o w