I Know How It Feels

He is as sharp as the blades against my skin. 
Ever so smart, I watch him speak, 
Words like droplets of water
Spouting from his mouth as though from a shower head. 
It’s more mechanical than it is passionate. 
Of course he’s taken a class in everything,
Read every book, watched every film; 
He’s even passed his entry psych course.
The trivia goes on for miles and while they stretch out between us, I have to ask myself: does he know how it feels? 
Emotional turmoil is something everyone goes through,
But I know he will never understand what fresh blood looks like
On the pristine tile of your grandmother’s bathroom, 
Or the smell of sweat as you wear jackets in summer. 
He can never experience the head-clearing sharpness
And the dull aching that comes after, 
Or how it feels years later to stumble across the box of old razors 
You forget you kept behind your childhood dresser. 
This is a type of physical pain that will never be on his list of recognition
And honestly he should thank God for that. 

She tells me how it is to be me 
Even while she doesn’t know she speaks about me. 
They’re crazy, they're vain, they’re out for attention.
If they had real problems they wouldn’t need to make any up. 
She’s fatter than I am, but her collar bones are better (I bet her bmi is around 19.6). 
I sit with her at lunch and listen to her comment on my iced diet soda 
And I have to ask myself: does she know where it comes from? 
Self-consciousness is something everyone has at least just a bit of, but
She is not familiar with the crippling shudder that runs through your body
Or incessant burning in your stomach when someone tells you you’re pretty 
Because you know they’re wrong.
She cannot recognize the nausea that comes with every bite 
Or the way your brain wrestles with itself so violently
You feel like it could rip itself apart any moment. 
The hollow weakness that follows you some days 
And the bursting fullness that follows you others 
Are things she will never to have to learn how to live with. 
And when we watch that episode where the rich girl purges 
I pretend I don’t hear her scoffing.

How well can you study suffering? 
How well can you understand another’s experience?
Why is always a contest, when we talk about pain? 
They tell me they know how it feels, 
They tell me all the ways to fix the problem, 
And the funniest thing is that no one knows I have that problem. 
They like to whisper about how they’d do things differently. 
They watch from afar and wonder: how can someone do that to themselves? 
Do they understand that sometimes you don’t have a choice? 
I only had a choice once;
And I made the wrong one.

--Zoe Z., Adult