Laughing Buddha

T/W: Eating disorders & self harm


There’s something you don’t know about me

I’ve been pregnant for most of my life.

When I was born,
my limbs were skeletal,
as if someone had
pulled my skin across my body
like an ironing board,
the creases and angles jutting out underneath.

But, when I was 12,
an Evil Boy and a
Wicked Girl,
guided by their impish,
fat fingers – a compass
pointing southward –
found me,
made me
their
unwilling surrogate.

Their saw-toothed words
wedged themselves
down my throat,
gnawing at my oesophagus.
That week,
instead of morning sickness,
I lost my voice.

The following week
I felt the words finally
settle in the bubbles of my stomach,
and they grew a n d g r e w   a  n  d   g   r   e   w
and I swelled a n d s w e l l e d   a   n  d   s   w  e  l  l  e  d . . .

When I walked,
I heard their gurgling
and the accompaniment of
giggles,
as I waddled my way through town.
Every step,
the bubbles rubbed against each other,
like balloons.

I wanted to get them out of me,
so one night,
alone,
in the bathroom,
my fat fingers went
southward,
past the oesophagus
to my stomach.

But,
the balloons had no strings,
nothing I could use to pull them out of me.

So, yeah, since that day I’ve been pregnant.

Nothing grows inside of me, though.
There is no reward for the back rolls from this belly.

After 8 years,
I have finally learnt to tame those teeth,
to saw down the sharp ends
so the words don’t hurt as much.
I sit and file each tooth
every day
for hours,
but still
they gnaw at my stomach,
opening sounds of the weeks before,
that had only just begun to heal.

On those days,
I watch the blood pour out of me
and wish it to wash me away with it,
as the Evil Girl and Wicked Boy
push me into the stream.

But there are some days when my belly is not
so evil.
When the bubbles put their teeth away,
reminding me that
I can be more Laughing Buddha
than Grimm Fairy-tale.

And so,
I laugh, a n d l a u g h  a  n  d  l  a  u  g  h
and my belly shakes
and jiggles,
like a baby rocking itself to sleep.

And in that moment,
I am
no longer
pregnant.

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