Blythe Baird – “When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny” (NPS 2015)


The year of skinny pop and sugar-free jello cups, we guzzled vitamin water and vodka toasting to high school and survival
complimenting each other’s thigh gaps trying diets we found on the internet:
menthol cigarettes, eating in front of a mirror, donating blood replacing meals with other practical hobbies
like making flower crowns or fainting wondering why I haven’t had my period in months
why breakfast tastes like giving up or how many more productive ways I could have
spent my time today besides googling the calories in the
glue of a US envelope watching America’s Next Top Model like the
gospel hunching naked over a bathroom scale shrine
crying into an empty bowl of cocoa puffs because I only feel pretty
when I’m hungry If you are not recovering,
you are dying. By the time I was sixteen, I had already experienced
being clinically overweight, underweight, and obese. As a child, Fat was the first word people
used to describe me, which didn’t offend me until I found out it was supposed to. When I lost weight, my dad was so proud
he started carrying my before-and-after photo in his wallet.
so relieved he could stop worrying about me getting diabetes.
He saw a program on the news about the epidemic with obesity
said he is just so glad to finally see me taking care of myself. If you develop an eating disorder when you
are already thin to begin with, you go to the hospital. If you develop an eating disorder when you
are not thin to begin with, you are a success story. So when I evaporated, of course
everyone congratulated me on getting healthy. Girls at school who never spoke to me before
stopped me in the hallway to ask how I did it. I say, I am sick. They say
No, you’re an inspiration. How could I not fall in love with my illness?
With becoming the kind of silhouette people are supposed to fall in love with? Why would I ever want to stop being hungry
when anorexia was the most interesting thing about me? So how lucky it is, now, to be boring
The way not going to the hospital is boring. The way looking at an apple and seeing only
an apple, not sixty or half an hour of sit-ups is boring. My story may not be as exciting as it used
to, but at least there is nothing left to count.
The calculator in my head finally stopped. I used to love the feeling of drinking
water on an empty stomach waiting for the coolness to slip
all the way down and land in the well, not obsessed with being empty
but afraid of being full. I used to be proud when I was
cold in a warm room. Now, I am proud I have stopped seeking revenge
on this body. This was the year of eating when I was hungry
without punishing myself and I know it sounds ridiculous, but that
shit is hard. When I was little, someone asked me
what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said “small.”

100 thoughts on “Blythe Baird – “When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny” (NPS 2015)

  1. “When I was little, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said small” that got me

  2. I never got compliments untill I didn't eat for a week, a girl I never talked to me said how pretty I looked. Thats when it happened. A friend of mine knew and encouraged it. I used to update her on my weight loss daily and she would congratulate me.

  3. The society just keeps on chewing at the right image we should have and it breaks a lot of hearts more than a broken relationship.
    Just watched this video and she said it so well.

  4. "because i feel pretty when i am hungry"

    Never thought i Wil EVER feel like this. But lately i've been feeling this thing. I feel so wrong when i eat and feel like a monster. This makes me reflecting about lots of things..

  5. “because i only feel pretty when i’m hungry” is such a strong and relatable statment. i love and respect everything that blythe baird says in her poems. “so how lucky it is now to be boring”. anorexia is an illness that takes over your life. it becomes all that we are.

  6. The only time I’ve ever felt pretty was when I was anorexic and it’s hard not to miss it. I had to choose between feeling pretty or gaining weight and being safe from pedophiles and neither was a fun option.

  7. I'm 14 and when I was 12 I stopped eating lunch. Then when I was 13 I stopped eating breakfast. Now its barely any dinner. My parents think I'm anorexic and I dont what I am. I dont tell anyone because I dont want attention. I'm pretty small as it is

  8. I written so many poems trying to express my experiences with anorexia which started when I was nine. I'm now 15, formally recovered, and still find myself thinking `Just starve yourself. That will sort it out`. I think I've gotten it right a few times but there's so much linked to it it can't be explained to people who have no idea in just one poem. Or three. Or ten. But this, despite being a different story to my own, has reflected my own words back at me in a way I couldn't get them to look. Thank you.

  9. "How could I not fall in love with my illness"

    Same I used to look in the mirror and just think why can't I be skinny and pick out all of my flaws but now I look in the mirror and love myself even though I know it's hurting me but I feel pretty on the if I don't eat I feel pretty on an empty stomach

  10. "Eating when I was hungry without punishing myself, and i know it sounds ridiculous, but that shit is hard." Most relatable thing I've heard.😕

  11. That shit hurt. Not because I ever experienced this myself but because I realized that this must have been what my sister experienced when she developed an eating disorder.

  12. Anorexia is not real, you don't see it in fucking Africa, They want to eat while some disgusting americans CHOSE not to eat. You fucking liar'

  13. The Arkansas Department of Education should watch this clip. It should be mandatory screening. They're currently in practice of sending overweight and obesity reports to 12 and 13 year olds' parents, evidently they believe children should only come in one size and could care less that they may be 'feeding' a child's inclination to develop an eating disorder.

  14. I am underweight.
    But I still think I am not, so I have an eating disorder.
    I try to recover.
    But it’s so hard.
    I mean, when people started noticing in the school at lunch I never ate.
    I decided to eat. It felt weird.
    But then I would always go and puke after.
    So that’s how I eat.
    But still, don’t eat.

  15. How bad is this on a scale of "do you even know English" to "I guess it's fine but maybe stick to sleeping" ????

    sadness is the third bowl of ice cream; it’s the second pizza. 
    it’s the fifth night that you’ve cried to an obscure disney movie 
    Alone.
    it’s taking long showers because they’re warm and make noise—almost like a friend. 
    sadness is being happy, but not trusting it. it’s being obnoxiously
    Lazy
    or staring at sharp objects for too long. 
    sadness is whatever it wants to be.
    some people have tried to tell me that i’m 
    Depressed. 
    but that can’t be right. i’m just
    Sensitive.
    i just need a little more sleep and i’ll be 
    Fine.
    i mean, everyone loses friends because they’re too 
    Difficult
    to be around, right? i simply need to 
    Grow up.
    i’m not quite sure what a couple years would do for me, but i could
    Die! 
    not that i want that, but it could solve things. 
    i’m only sad. 
    sadness is an emotion that babies feel. so, really, sadness is not a big deal.
    but then, why do i feel so
    Defeated

  16. I’m so glad that I never had friends who pressured me to do this kind of thing. It is so much easier to escape without people trying to bring you down.

  17. This feels like a rip off of the ‘hello I am a slut’ spoken poem… if you search it on YouTube you’ll see what I’m taking about. Wish this girl gave credit where credit is due

  18. I've always had nearly exactly the same BMI which was totally average since I was a child and I never did anything. Forever grateful I never went through this horror. Bless you this fighting with anorexia and those who survived it.

  19. My mum noticed I wasn’t eating as much and how I was turning away food I used to love, she said she was glad I was going on a diet. That I was going to pretty for prom. Was I not pretty to begin with. Can’t I be a fat and beautiful?

  20. When I went in to the hospital for mental health issues including my eating disorder
    time after time I'd get "you'll grow into your body, you're not fat your curvy, you're presently plump", and my favorite: "I've seen worse" like my mother brought me here because I passed out from not eating and that's what I get? But as soon as I'm thin and pale everyone stares at me like a hurt puppy chooses their words very carefully and baby me, that's how it is because of you've got fat there's no way in hell you have an eating disorder but if your skinny then people you've never met before want to make it their business

  21. I hadn’t had my period in 5 months. Guess what. 5 months ago I got in a breakup with my now ex.. hmm.. coincidence? I think not.. I was trying to eat more but it was hard. School came back and I saw him and it was hard. First week was terrible.. everyone calls me anorexic and I’m 13 and I’m 112 pounds.. that was hard to wright.. I hate my weight. Thinking it’s way to much.. now the first weekend where I can relax I finally got my period.. knowing that that means I’m eating more makes me more upset when I should be happy.. but I’m not. I’m scared I’m getting fat and I don’t know if I am or if it’s period bloat..

  22. A year a could look at this and not understand a thing. This past few months I’ve barely eaten anything. Checking the calories for every breath I take. Exercising until my body was falling over and I couldn’t stop my eyes from closing. Feeling so bad when comparing. Always wanting to be small like my friends. Always wanting to be 40 kilos like them. Of course I got compliments (from a few people. The most didn’t even notice), flooding in and out of my ears. I didn’t feel a thing and nothing mattered. My parents kept praising me and they where the only people whose opinions I thought mattered. I feel so in control when I don’t eat. Like I’m stopping myself from what my body wants and needs is healthy. Seeing everyone around me barely eating doesn’t help either. They’re the size of my pinky and looking at them makes me feel pathetic. Everything hurts and doesn’t feel right and almost no one notices I lost weight. Just those few people. It makes me wanna try harder tho. Eat less, exercise more.
    (Sorry I may seem like I want attention really bad but I needed this out of my system and I don’t want to make their life harder cuz of me.)

  23. I used to be chubby but I worked out a lot and now I’m ok, though I still want to exercise more cause I’m gaining weight from binging so much.

  24. I'm crying so hard i'm actually going trough this shit asking why i do this to my parents, my sister and myself
    Can't see the answer yet
    This hit me real hard

  25. I cant believe I've stumbled across this again, so many years later. I used to know this almost by heart. And when I heard that first line again, after all that time, it's really brought me back…

  26. I found this poem four years ago through someones blog and it will never fail to make me cry. This is my story as well. "If you develop and eating disorder when you are already thin to begin with you you go to the hospital. when you develop an eating disorder when you are not already thin to begin with you are a success story. how could I not fall in love with my illness?"

  27. “Not obsessed with being empty, but afraid of being full” this is so true, my mom always told me that people with anorexia are addicted to being hungry but their scared of it.

  28. How do you tell if you have anorexia? Honestly I’ve been over weight for years and I’m 13. I never eat breakfast or lunch. I normally only eat dinner. I never have an appetite. Can someone please let me know

  29. I'm scared… My really rude lunch teacher stopped me and asked why I haven't eaten I made an excuse but I'm scared she's gonna talk to my parents… I'm not ready to go to a clinic it's to much I'm scared…

  30. Coming back to this poem after watching her most recent. She has grown so much and is an inspiration to anybody going through eating disorders

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