Poems and Quotes - SEED | Eating Disorder Support Service



Poems and Quotes - SEED | Eating Disorder Support Service
Poems and Quotes
Leighah Beadle -Darcy Dip Coun; Dip Dance Therapy; BA(Hons), MA;
January 2015
“Our Journey In Life Makes Us Who We Are Today”
“Leighah’s role with SEED Eating Disorder Support Services is that of a facilitator, a therapist and an Advisor and Consultant. She does a tremendous job
for SEED and without her many people would not benefit from her dedicated approach to Eating Disorders. We support Leighah’s Poem Booklet and
hope that you enjoy reading them too.”.
This collection of poetry is taken from the poems I wrote when I went through Anorexia as a ballet
dancer in my late teens and early 20s. These particular poems were written during the height of the
Anorexia and the coming out of it at the age of 20-21. I was fortunate that I never reached a stage of
hospitalisation, but decided to recover before there was the possibility of reaching this stage.
I was a healthy young woman and dancer, until one day a ballet teacher said I was 'too big' for classical ballet. I was confused and told her that I am 5 feet 4 and a half, which is within the required height
for ballet, so that is not too big. She explained to me that it was not that sort of 'too big', but to do
with my weight, and explained I would make a good modern ballet dancer though as they don't have
to be a tiny and thin. I was not overweight, and was lean, athletic and svelte, but was not the
body size she was telling me about for classical ballet. I was devastated and in a dilemma. I wanted to
dance classical ballet most of all and had put in so much work in my ballet classes. What was I to do?
Keep as I was and give up the dream? Or change my body size and lose some weight to live the
dream? I decided to go on a diet...but not an unhealthy one. I lost some weight, but then decided to
lose a bit more 'just in case', and then I moved the goal post further. I wanted the 'ideal ballet body', I
wanted to be 'the perfect ballet dancer', technically, artistically and physically. I have perfectionistic
traits and these can be used adaptively or maladaptive. After a while, I began to abuse laxatives and
be sick, as a person cannot keep up restricting food without entering the opposite and bingeing at
times. It is a natural reaction to restricting food, but I panicked about the binges, and so would take
laxatives, be sick or over exercise to 'compensate'. What was a simple diet to lose a bit of weight for
the ballet dream had turned into a distressing eating disorder. My dancing was affected at times by
the eating disorder. The dream was going wrong. I decided to recover.
Part of my way through was writing, as writing and poetry is natural to me and I have written poetry
since childhood. I was able to express my feelings, my struggles and also try and make sense of what
was going on. Out of this came this collection. The poems are honest accounts of some of my struggles. The
perfection issues, control, and drive to be the perfect dancer, the wanting to be the ideal dancer, the
conflict of my Eating Disordered behaviours and my healthy logic.
The poem 'Spilling Over' is written by a client of mine, Sabah (who has given me permission to use her
poem and her name), who suffers from an Eating Disorder. The poem will resonate with many people
I am sure. I wanted to include it as I saw the potential in it to help people identify with Sabah's experience. I thank her for allowing me to include her poem.
I still dance and I am also a dance therapist, psychotherapist/counsellor, researcher and writer. My
weight is healthy, and I am free from issues around food and weight. Occasionally I have a thought
about how much or not I possess the 'ideal dancer body' and how being a dancer is a significant part
of my identity and history. However, I do not feel the need to take the measures I did all those years
ago. The dance world and society still have a long way to go in modelling a more healthy way. Part of
my vocation is to help to do that through my work and what I can give.
Vacant eyes and
wandering minds
causes skipped heart
beats. Trailing voices
Trial to silence and
A nothingness that
Spilling Over
This opening poem is by a client of mine, who has given me
permission to use her name and identity along with the
poem. She wrote the poem during a workshop of Creativity
that I was facilitating at SEED. I was moved by her poem
and amazed at her talent. 'Spilling Over' speaks of feeling
'too much and not enough', which can be translated in
many ways of being. Thank you to Sabah for allowing me
to share this poem.
Scream in quiet whispers
Of spilling over.
Spilling over designated lines
Hitting a maximum word count
Time up, shush, quieten down
Your lines, your lines
I wonder………
I wonder
I wonder who I would be,
were I not what I am now?
I wonder who I would be
Become too long and
or whether I would know
You spill over
who I am at all?
Spill over
I wonder if I would be
what I fear most?
Live like this
I wonder if I would be
Hold self tight
what I hope for most?
Must sit within
Not set back in my track,
This cage of lines
but moving forward.
Yet nothing you do
Life takes its course
is ever quite enough
Vacant eyes
Will not leave you alone
and we steer the wheel .
But we cannot control the enginethat is in higher hands.
You, my dear,
Are a paradox
How did I get to where I am
now? - Leighah Darcy 1994/5
Of lines uncrossed
Yet spilling over
Fear grips you
A reality sinks
Too much yet not enough
Whatever you do
It will spill over
Sabah Yasin
October 2014
'I Wonder' came about from me contemplating who or what I
might be had I not embarked upon the journey of Anorexia...a
lot of this thought was around what my body would look like,
what my 'natural' size would be, and also how I might be as a
person, and what else I might be doing. During parts of the
Anorexic journey, I often had this parallel desire to find my
natural dancing body size, and whether this would be the
same as what it was before I became Anorexic. What I feared
most at this time was what if my 'natural body' was not suitable for the high level ballet at all, and then what could I do
about my 'dancing dream'?
The Road to Recovery is hard work and
takes commitment.
‘The Journey Ahead' tells peaks something
of the decision I made to recover from
Anorexia and what this might entail.
A Journey lies ahead of me,
I feel so alone.
And trapped.
Liked a caged animal;
knowing that when free,
I can run;
I can run free;
roam free and be with the others.
Yet as it is,
the bars hold me in;
Limiting my space and movement.
Some pass by:
'How beautiful!' they exclaim.
Others reckon I am better off held in,
yet they complain at my raging
behind the bars.
Lioness behind bars;
yet I don't bite.
I'm simply trapped
and alone.
Longing to be free.
Leighah Darcy
I can travel it, step back, or remain;
I must do half the toiling,
I must embark upon some pain.
But there's pleasure from that journey,
For light shines on the path A hope, a future, happiness,
Reason to smile and laugh.
The choice is mine to make it,
Only I can make that move;
Help is there to guide me,
Counsel, advise and soothe.
Yet the path is hard to conquer,
The journey a struggle and fight;
Yet I know that at the outcome
I encounter happiness and 'light'.
If I remain I will go backwards,
For there is no standing still,
For sliding down i all that happens
'Trapped' tells of feelings of being 'caged in' by the
eating disorder, when the control I thought I had began to take control of me and I felt alone, as many
begin to feel in the throes of an eating disorder, despite support or those that love them. I began to long
to be free again.
If you don't push up a muddy hill.
The decision I can't quite make yet,
I must consider how I might cope;
I need assurance, courage, honesty
before I am take the steps and live my
Leighah Darcy—1994/95
I hate the very thought of fat,
but only on myself.
On others, weight can suit them,
be part of them,
and I love them.
But I hate it on myself.
This causes me to
Sink low;
I was already down,
but now I sink lower down.
The trap of
drawing me deeper.
Until all I survive on is hope.
Even my dream fade away.
I feel so
And trapped.
Liked a caged animal;
knowing that when free,
I can run;
I can
run free;
roam free and be with the others.
Yet as it is,
the bars hold me in;
Limiting my space and movement.
Some pass by:
'How beautiful!' they exclaim.
Others reckon I am better off held in,
yet they complain at my raging
behind the bars.
Lioness behind bars;
yet I don't bite.
I'm simply trapped
and alone.
Longing to be free.
Leighah Darcy 1993/4
'Sinking' tells of how I would sink into
feeling more low when I examined my
body and body size in my desire for the
'perfect ballet body', to a point where I
feared my dream of being a ballet dancer fading away in the light of how I saw
my body in relation to how the 'ballet
body'. The dream seemed to be fading,
but I tried to create some hope.
Fat or Thin Does It Matter? …...
Fat or thin Does it matter?
Of course it must.
Which do I want?
I don't despise fat and thin people,
so why do I despise myself?
I want to be perfect.
Yet human;
yet superhuman;
Yet not.
Yet when my figure I described as 'perfect',
I get annoyed
and worried
and upset.
“The perfect figure' That means not thin doesn't it?
But I don't want to be thin.
Or actually do I?
'Slim' - does slim mean perfect?
Slim is not thin,
therefore I must be fat.
Yet I know I am not.
'Perfect' or 'Ideal',
any more would be 'excess',
Yet what is wrong with fat?
I don't despise people who are fat,
I don't despise people who are thin,
yet why do I despise my own body?
Leighah Darcy 1994/5
Fat or Thin Does It Matter
I began to question how much it really matters about weight,
regardless of the ballet issue. 'Fat or Thin: Does it Matter?' came
from my musings about this and about how I wanted my body to
be and some of the paradoxes.
'Diamond and Crystal'
Am I less worthy than everyone else?
Crystal instead of diamond?
Shiny and pretty;
sufficient for some things;
but next to diamond,
less brilliant.
Or forgotten.
Even if I set myself in gold,
it is obvious I am still crystal.
Crystal cannot turn to diamond.
So why hope?
I wish there were someone
who preferred Chrystal to diamond.
Chrystal can be beautiful;
Chrystal clear.
Diamond is checked for flaws;
Chrystal is not.
So why am I?
I want to be precious,
but am only semi-precious.
I shall polish myself;
And even though not as worthy,
I will outshine the diamonds.
Until I am preferred.
Or at least admired as much.
Leighah Darcy 1994/95
'Diamond and Crystal' speaks of the perception I held of myself of knowing I had some
beauty and talent, but felt a 'deficiency' in
comparison to selected others. I decided to
'polish' my talents, my physique, my looks
further to reach a 'higher standard'. Of
course, I was giving in to my perfectionism in
an unhealthy way.
‘Authenticity’ of who I am has long been important to me. And
yet I have often had an 'ideal self'. Sometimes parts of this might
have matched who I authentically am, and sometimes not. In the
following poem, a lot of my thought was around my physical
body and what was 'authentic' to me and what was 'ideal' as in my
desire for the 'ideal ballet body'. It extended beyond the physical,
of course, and the paradox and conflict was despite my 'ideal, I
had a drive towards simply desiring to be my authentic self. I
now realise the highest 'ideal' is my 'authentic' self, whether including the 'ideal ballet body' or not! If this means I am not permitted into a desired dance company, then I would have choices
to consider, and decision to make.
'Ideal Self vs Authentic Self'
Just wanting to be me,
yet wanting to be others.
Searching for myself Sometimes a long, tedious journey;
I know,
I understand.
I know,
yet I do not
Words without action.
Action without control.
Without control
over that which I control.
What next?
What I want
is not what I want.
I want half,
but not the other half.
Yet sometimes an eye-opening revelation.
I cannot go on,
yet I must.
Struggle as I might,
Trying to create a character -
I must go on.
Observing and loving the traits of others,
Yet why don't I go in the healthy
Because I know,
but I cannot control.
and planning their likeness.
Careful self-monitoring.
Wanting to be like them;
Yet journeying simply to be
myself.—Leighah Darcy 1994/5
The 'Conflict'.
Knowing what I the healthy way forward, understanding the issue, and yet feeling 'driven' towards keeping the control and
keeping the Anorexia. Understanding the conflict, wanting to be
free from the Anorexia, and yet feeling compelled to keep on with
it. This was what was going on behind the writing of this poem.
I understand,
yet I am trapped.
I know,
yet I reject the knowledge.
Because I must.
Leighah Darcy—1994/5
'Surviving the Deep , Dark Waters'
From deep dark waters flow tears of pain.
Inexpressible anguish hiding behind smiles.
Yet somehow not succeeding.
Drop by Drop the tears are released,
until the film can hold them no more.
Gushing forth
with a power that causes pain;
drowning all happiness,
which somewhere must be buried.
Such weakness, fatigue, sighing.
The fountain of happiness which once bathed the child,
is now a torrent of acid water;
stinging the child,
overwhelming her.
Yet she cannot swim.
She closes her eyes
and flusters
searching for a hand.
The torrent becomes
a whirlpool, sucking her in.
She keeps on reaching and searching.
A hand takes hers;
she must hold tight too.
She's scared;
if one lets go,
she drowns.
The current gets stronger
the sky overhead gets darker;
her body gets heavier
her mind gets weaker;
her eyes get tired
One is only left to wonder
whether she will survive.
Leighah Darcy 1994/5
‘Surviving Deep Dark Waters’
The following poem speaks of the deep,
dark and painful waters of my journey
back then, the hiding behind smiles, yet
knowing I was not succeeding to appear
OK. I was deeply aware of my inner life,
and this poem is an honest expression of
what was going on for me at the time of
Or am I being extreme?
Lacking self-worth.
I know I could do more.
What stops me?
Scared of trying too hard
as that eliminates excuses.
That's a desire;
I live in hope of it.
But the flesh is weak.
I understand that more now.
But it's difficult to accept.
I long for the day when
I am in control
Is it possible?
Will that day ever come?
I live in hope.
But if I knew it would not
I would rather die.
But I hate
running away.
I want to be strong.
Strong and in control.
That is success,
along with the rest.
I think when we
strip all bare,
there is a hope,
a desire,
even a need.
for perfection.
Leighah 1994/5
Perfection speaks for itself about the desire for perfection and the
control I wanted to keep to reach this so-called 'perfection' of the
'ideal ballet body' and the exquisite ballet technique ability I wanted to have...along with other things.
I wrote '10 Ways to Love Yourself' last year, and my aim I to encourage myself and others with it. It may be
that you cannot always do all or even many of them, but even one is a start and may make a big difference
to your life. Your life is precious, make the most of it.
10 Ways To Love Yourself
1. Breathe deeply and tell yourself you are alive for a purpose : as long as you are
breathing you are meant to be in this life, physis is in you
2. Take a walk in nature and experience what it is to be part of and connect to the Universe, to the earth
3. Eat a balanced diet, sleep well, rest when necessary and play without inhibition
4. In as much as possible, find work ...(paid, employed, voluntary, creative) that you
enjoy and which nourishes you
5. Take time to read works from authentic people on Love, Creativity and Self Development
6. Learn to nurture both the child and the adult within you...seek assistance on this if
7. Express yourself creatively (whatever that means for you) - you have a right to be
8. Learn to say 'No' when you need to
9. Learn to recognise (and silence) your inner critic
10. Take a risk (within wisdom) to receive Love
Leighah Beadle-Darcy February 2014