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The Flower with an Eating Disorder

By: Amanda Wall

With eating disorders affecting nine percent of the population, this mental health problem affects us all. And as a middle school teacher, my heart breaks when students struggle to see how valuable, worthy, and precious they are.

Honorable Mention · Adult Writing (2022)

A young flower stretches her petals to soak in the warm sun. She opens her eyes to realize she has been replanted in a garden full of many types of flowers. She sees daisies, carnations, tulips, and roses, among many more.


The small flower falls asleep that night content in her new home. The next morning, she hears new sounds carried in the wind. Footsteps scurry along a nearby path. Voices carry through the nearby trees along with the leaves that rustle, a stream of background noise.

“Aren’t those roses beautiful.”
“Wow, look at the color on that rose.”


The flower falls asleep that night suddenly aware of something within her – a hole within herself.


The next morning the new feeling is still there. She thinks If I take in less sunlight, will I grow smaller like a rose? Will my petals not fan out in various directions? And so the flower hides herself from the sun, from the nutrients, from the vitaminas in hopes of becoming more like the rose.


The flower still looks like a flower. No one knows she is suffering. The flower does a great job of hiding her struggle.


One day, the flower hears a calm voice nearby. A set of fingers gingerly lifts her petals. “You are so special to me, little flower. I need you to make my garden complete. No other flower is like you. Let’s pull back some of these leaves you have tucked yourself under so you get more sunlight.”


The flower, over time, altered her brain’s view of herself. Now, she has to learn to see her value. Without the variety of flowers, the garden would not be as interesting or as rich. Every flower has purpose, just as they naturally are.

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