I had a toothache

that resided deep in my jaw.

It stung and jolted and even 


This tooth was not like the others.

It didn't want to chew food.

This tooth wanted to hide it under beds and spit it out and drink water water water to cleanse me

It told me eating would give me cavities

and make me fat fat fat. 

I assumed if a tooth as hurting so badly it must have a point,

so I starved, and the pain ebbed away.


When my therapist first told me I had anorexia nervosa 

I did not cry

I did not feel shocked or hurt.

My tooth just ached

so badly I wanted to reach into my mouth

and pull it from the pink gums.

It's secret had been found out, given a name, and immortalized in the records.

It's mission was compromised.

This was no baby tooth.

This tooth was destined to reside in my mouth even after I am long gone in the ground.

This was a tooth I would feel every day 

every time I opened my mouth, chewed, and swallowed

calories and fat and everything I was most afraid of,

I would feel it. 

Begging me to keep my mouth shut

and never open it again. 

Therapy and meal planning acted as wires

ripping my mouth open

and keeping it open.

My aching tooth was dismayed.

It weakened.

It could not fight any longer.

Eventually, it got so sick of telling me not to eat through tiny needle pains it gave up. 

It stopped hurting.

Something I thought would be with me forever,


And the eating disorder was going, too.

The tooth has not fallen out, and on bad days the pain will zap my recovery brain,

trying to trick me.

But I fight.

I chew and I swallow and I enjoy it.

It's just a little toothache,

after all.



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