Progress (and a Poem)


Mackenzie Dowson

date published

Nov. 10, 2021, noon



This morning while I was searching for a notebook, I found my “Miracle Day” poem, written by 17-year-old me on the sixth day of a three-month long intensive inpatient program. For those who haven’t completed the “miracle day” exercise,  it is an opportunity to imagine a day without an eating disorder. At the time, anorexia was a part of my identity and a friend I held tightly because I felt I had lost everything else. Being assigned this project in the first week of the program seemed daunting and a bit ridiculous because surely, I would have an eating disorder for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to get better, and I didn’t want to grow. I wanted to disappear. And so, I wrote a poem to describe my “miracle day,” all the while feeling like a silly daydreamer and a traitor to the part of me that longed to self-destruct. I wrote it, I shared it with my team and stashed it away. 

Almost a decade later and I haven’t just had a miracle day, I have had a miracle year and I feel like I am living a miracle life. Recovery is the best thing that ever happened to me, but it didn’t just happen, I worked for it. I fell and got back up over and over again. For so long, I didn’t think I wanted recovery and I didn’t think I deserved it, but I did, and so do you. Feeling alive again is a glorious thing. Being happy is wild and wonderful. I have ended my dangerous pursuit of perfection and have started to be kind to myself. Reading my poem today allowed me to see how far I have come. I wanted to share so that maybe someone reading this decides to choose recovery, to fight the fight and feel alive again. You can do it! 

Good morning beautiful girl,

Oh, what a curious thought to think,

The knots inside my mind uncurl,

I did not dream of ways to shrink.

I stretch towards the ceiling,

The sun is shining through the glass,

I have forgotten about this feeling,

How I hope this moment will not pass.

I wonder how much time has gone,

Though I guess it never really mattered,

Even a minute is too long,

For someone’s spirit to be shattered. 

I peek out at the mirror,

I do not search for imperfection,

I don’t shed a single tear,

I am not afraid of my reflection.

I feel a lightness in my soul

That is about freedom and not weight,

There is a sense of being whole,

Of self-love instead of hate.

I will paint away the hours,

Creating wonderfully flawed galleries,

I will dance among the flowers,

Counting cartwheels instead of calories. 

I am happy and have no guilt,

I deserve to smile not to frown,

Today my life has turned on tilt, 

And I love this being upside down. 

The stars are shining in the night,

I am no longer feeling numb,

I make no wishes on their light,

For my miracle day has come.

Author’s Bio

My name is Mackenzie and I am re-learning to love life. I am proudly in recovery from anorexia and in remission from blood cancer (but that’s another story). When I am not studying,  I like to write poems and do handstands and go on adventures with friends. If you would like, you can connect with me on Instagram:  @kenziedows

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