Voices: “Flawless”

Thank you for joining me for the final week of our “Voices” series. This week I want to focus on the recovery side of mental illness- at least, the journey towards recovery. This short poem was written in a little burst of self-awareness I had about five years ago. I was still extremely ill, and just a couple of months away from entering inpatient care. But every now and then something would break through my denial and it would occur to me that eventually this shit would have to stop if I was going to survive. This was one of those moments.




What does it mean to be perfect?

I have searched my whole life but don’t know

I have tried and have lied and I’ve nearly died

And I’ve put on a grand little show

But the truth, I’ve discovered, is that there’s no magic

There’s no way to opt out of yourself

There’s only this life, and if you choose to stay

You must play the hand you’ve been dealt

There are rules in this life by which you must abide

And you can be pissed and that’s fine

But you will have to eat, take your pills, and take care

Of the body that houses your mind

You will learn to accept things that you used to hate

You will learn that perfection can’t be

You will learn that your so-called flaws make you you

And that self-respect will set you free

If you want to move on then you will have to grieve

And you’ll have to fight like all hell

But when it’s all over, the pain will subside

And you’ll be able to say “I am well”

© Sarah Henderson 2006


About writingforrecovery

Sarah is a writer and poet who speaks out about issues that make people uncomfortable. Sarah advocates for causes such a sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental illness, and often speaks openly about her own experiences. She is determined to abolish the stigma associated with these issues and believes that it starts with people telling their stories, so she started a blog called Writing for Recovery where people can do just that. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and is currently at work on her fourth. She is convinced that there's a novel somewhere in her, and occasionally picks at the chapters so far. View all posts by writingforrecovery

3 responses to “Voices: “Flawless”

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