Growing Up

Growing Up

An eating disorders awareness poem.

Innocent, fresh and ever so pure
When we are children we don’t know much more.
We are taught while were young to be kind to others,
To use manners when needed and to not hit your brother.
Don’t judge a book by a cover, they say,
So I wonder how and why it happens anyway.

At the young age of 5, or for some right before,
We become little humans that like to explore.
We grow into a world that’s structured yet free,
Where they tell us to be who we want to be.
A vet! An astronaut! A teacher! We choose,
Not thinking about if we win or we lose.

In the blink of an eye we’re 7 or 8,
Ready for cursive, division and opinions to create.
It may not be realized or noticed per say,
But the small details we see affect us each day.
The makeup put on and the clothes that are worn,
By surrounding people is becoming the norm.

12 years old and on top of the world,
A middle school hero that’s about to be whirled.
Things start to matter that shouldn’t be looked at,
Like how much you weigh or some natural belly fat.
You are given a number for the size on your jeans,
Bullies appear and are nothing but mean.
Not overweight, not even close,
But your mind starts to question if you start to look “gross.”
You wake up each morning and step on the scale,
Not happy with the number, you think that you fail.
Not a big deal, I’ll just lose some weight,
Maybe start exercising for a month straight.

Next thing you know three months have passed,
And with just exercise you're losing pounds fast.
It's rewarding, addictive and all good no harm,
Until you can’t stop, which should be the alarm.
But that doesn’t matter; you’re skinny or thin,
Whatever you call it, it’s considered a win.
Nothing else matters, not family or friends,
Who you now lie to, to stick with your cleanse.

15 years old and you enter tenth grade,
A world full of pressure but you get delayed.
Your body is weak and looks skeleton-like,
Not able to think and your blood pressure spikes.
Your hair becomes frail and you lose all your breasts,
Your belly keeps growling as you try to get rest.
Nothing seems to matter but the food on your plate,
Which you give to the dog and use it as bait.

People start talking; they notice your face,
You’re the girl that barely takes up any space.
Although obvious, you have not a clue,
That what people are saying turns out to be true.
They say you need help, to get food in your system,
But you just ignore, and think you have all wisdom.
Mental breakdowns make you open your eyes,
To finally see your minds full of lies.

Recovery, they say, is the most grueling part,
It takes energy, time and all of your heart.
It’s not just your body, it’s your mental state too,
You must be strong, tough and find the real you.
Behind the disorder lies a beautiful human,
Who’s struggling to thrive in the new world they’re viewed in.
Progress is made, and weight is put on,
A smile starts showing, insecurities gone.

Just turned 18 and ready for college,
Still nervous you might not have all the knowledge.
Move into the dorms, to make a second home,
With unfamiliar places so you start to roam.
Discovering life is amazing and brilliant,
And also discovering that you are resilient.
You are kind, caring, brave, smart and level-headed,
Ready to take on whatever might be dreaded.
You have been through hell, nothing could be worse,
Eating disorders…they have no remorse.

So you leave it in the past, never to return,
Because you have mastered the lesson to be learned.
That life is a gift and there is so much to do,
Like walking to the ocean and enjoying the view.
Taking pleasure in art and playing with puppies,
Going out on the weekends and looking for hubbies.
Running for joy and the smell of spring flowers,
Your comfiest pillow and endless hot showers.
A genuine laugh that makes your belly hurt,
And a dance in the rain, who cares about dirt.

Find your passion, your push, your desire or love,
Whatever you choose it will fit like a glove.
You’re your own person, imperfections and all,
You’re your own hero when it comes to a flaw.
Be happy, be healthy and be grateful above all,
For you’re given this life where you’re ever so small.
Don’t be too serious and learn from mistakes,
And always remember do whatever it takes.

-Jessica Dyrek

West Chester University

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.


Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I Didn't Choose To Be A Dance Major, It Chose Me

How my passion became my purpose


I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember the process. I remember moments in time and the way joy has manifested itself into my life. Perhaps this is the meaning of life—a slow growing journey of finding yourself through experiences and delightfully long conversations with people we care about, long nights filled with laughter, early mornings with dew beneath our toes, waves of utter joy, followed by waves of somber; it's all just part of it. And within these waves and moments of our lives, we begin to see with clarity—a slow but steady process. Clarity occurs when the fog is lifted. It's when you find that thing you're passionate about, and you do it relentlessly. This is the art of becoming.

So, I don't really remember when I became a dancer. I suppose it's been a lifetime of becoming. I can't even really say that it's a choice. I don't think it is. I know that I was born to dance. And this has nothing to do with how I look or anything like that. But it has everything to do with how I feel when I dance. It's this sense of sheer release, and to be able to get to that point of really, truly not having a care in world; this is how you know you're in the process of becoming. It's in the moments where I'm the most lost—the moments where I've really given myself over completely that result in the greatest rewards, usually in the form of self-knowledge. This is clarity.

I have not chosen to become a dancer, but inevitably dance has so gracefully chosen me. And with great appreciation, I've accepted the invitation. I've since made the mindful choice to immerse myself in this art form, because to me this is how joy has chosen to manifest itself in my life. Through movement, and love of music, and love of creating, this is how I've chosen joy.

It recently dawned on me that dance is what we as humans use to declare our vitality. It's an appreciation of being alive. And more so, it's a celebration: of being alive, of our bodies, of human contact, but mostly just of life. We as humans dance to celebrate life.

So with this joy that I've been so lucky to find, I am compelled to study dance. And not just take classes, and not just take notes, but to really study—to really understand what it means to be alive, and to feel gratitude for every ounce of my life.

This is why I'm a dance major.

So before you question me, and perhaps tell me that my major is useless or is not setting me up for a successful life, maybe consider that I've chosen a life of joy. I've chosen to be passionate and throw myself into gaining a greater kinesthetic awareness, a more profound appreciation for music, and for art, and for culture, and just life in general.

I have chosen to celebrate my life, and celebrate what my body allows me to do every day. And through my choices, I've begun to master the art of becoming.

Author's note: The theme of "becoming" was subconsciously inspired by Michelle Obama.

Related Content

Facebook Comments