“i’ve got a perfect body ’cause my eyelashes catch my sweat”;

realizing that my limbs aren’t just there to look nice is always an interesting lesson. realizing that, when i was seventeen, i never could relate to any of the “real girl” models in seventeen magazine and being okay with it. they never had tips that suited my short pixie hair cuts that i gave myself in my garage on particularly humid floridian afternoons in july (and again when i was nineteen, whoops). all i can think about is how cool it is that my hair is just a bunch of long strands of dead protein.

realizing that the body does really cool things like convert just-eaten bananas to muscle and energy (i mean, it’s much more than that. but i digress) is far more fascinating than finding out what size pants your friend wears at forever 21 (and to those girls who actually inquire about your friends’ sizes, i just.. ijustdon’tunderstandyou).

to be quite frank, i’d much rather have my legs covered by my favorite pair of bike shorts on their way to a place they’ve never been before. or covered in mud. god, i could write a whole novel about how much i like mud and getting muddy. or stained by the grass. or sticky with accidental cherry-red popsicle stains from an intermission at contra dancing. my body does cool things every second of the day. even when i’m sleeping.

a few weekends ago i had the pleasure of biking the boston marathon route at midnight. my old roommate remarked half way through the ride, “man, mackenzie. you have very nice, long legs.” at first i was flattered. and then i wanted to say, “these legs just biked thirteen mile. that’s not the point?!” but then i stifled myself because i like to keep my angry fire breathing feminist dragon at bay. and because my mother always taught me to take a compliment.

it’s taken me a while to get to this point. it’s taken a lot of listening to regina spektor’s “folding chair” on repeat to solidify this idea that a perfect body is one that has eyelashes to catch sweat.  it’s taken a lot of eye-opening eve ensler ted talks like this one to realize that twenty year olds don’t need to feel bad about upper arm jiggle because it allows them to converse or relate with other twenty year old girls. i just want to shake those girls and say “your legs and torso GOT you to this clothing store. isn’t that amazing?!” to become disembodied from your own body is the saddest thing you can ever let happen. because really, i don’t even know what size i wear at forever 21, so why should you?

my body enjoys at least two cups of half-caf iced instant coffee a day with soy creamer. it doesn’t mind the feel and the history of thrifted clothing. it feels coziest on electric blankets, on a road bike going across the mass ave. bridge, and on my wooded floor when i have the time for my “diy-mani-pedi-‘twilight zone’-viewing-hour”. it thrives off of new linguistic factoids, a new library book, a new route. if it could be described as any piece of clothing that i own, my body would be my knee-high mustard-colored boots.

it’s not here to look good. that’s not the point.

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5 thoughts on ““i’ve got a perfect body ’cause my eyelashes catch my sweat”;

  1. mackenzie! you dazzling girl!
    thank you (deeply) for this post. it was such a timely read for me. my sister and i were talking about body image and our own self-loathing and how we hate that we self-loathe and when have we felt most beautiful. we both worked at an organic farm all last summer. 8-10 hour days in the soil, in the mud, in the weeds, in the truck bed, in the prep tent, in the sun, rain. in the elements. in our element. we both agreed that we had never felt more beautiful. because we felt strong, we felt capable, we were working collaboratively with the earth, we were attentive to anything it had to teach us. we were brown, we were stinky, we were natural. we felt like organic humans.
    lately i’ve found myself limiting myself by numbers and the thickness of my ankles. all that shit i’ve fought and rejected in others, in society…suddenly i realized i was doing it to myself. the blame all on me.
    i lose these lessons so easily and so your post has been well-timed, no-nonsense, and centered reminder. not only does nothing look as good as strong feels but it’s never been about a LOOK, or THE look.
    do you mind if i share this post?
    and please write the novel about mud. i feel the same. my nails are in constant disarray and my feet are always stained from barefoot exploring and mud-delighting.

  2. I actually lol’ed when I read “angry fire breathing feminist dragon”.

    This kind of post is really important to me, because I have very little formal exposure to feminism (why isn’t this a required course?), so every time I encounter feminist ideas, it’s always a little wake-up call for me…very much appreciated.

    I’ve also NEVER been able to relate to just about anything in beauty magazines, and after years of trying, I swore off of them. Beauty magazines are collections of recipes for unhappiness.

    Also, I do hope you appreciate your beautiful, biking legs. =)

  3. giirrllll, you always find a way to enlighten me! i’ve never heard that song or speech before, but both are fantastic! i believe that those will now be steady parts of my life. so thank you for being witty and traveling far (:

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