It’s a disposable world we live in … or so retailers would have us believe. Clothing, shoes, and accessories are cheap and abundant here in the U.S. of A., and we seem to like it that way. We turn a blind eye to cost-suppressing labor practices and schnarf up the low-quality, low-cost goodies. And since we can get undies for $3 a throw at Target, sundresses for $14 at H&M, and stilettos for $23 at Payless, we may not spend much effort caring for the items we ALREADY possess.
This is a photo of my body that I purposely took myself, and took without employing any photo-posing tricks to make it look different/better. This is a photo of my body after I’ve just eaten a cheeseburger the size of a basketball. And a mess of fries. This is a photo of my body that has not been altered in any way. (OK, I tried to clone out the fire extinguisher, but it was too damn hard.) This is a photo of my body in an outfit that does not emphasize my best physical features.
Earlier this year, blogher.com invited its members to compose letters addressed to their own bodies. It doesn’t look like the site has had an overwhelming number of takers, but I’m certainly intrigued by the concept. (AMENDED! There is a HUGE list of takers! I’m #140 – just scroll to the bottom of the blogher page that I’ve linked to above to read some astonishing letters.)
When I was in middle school – a supersmart goody-two-shoes suffocating under the awkward bloat of adolescence – I would daydream about being a disembodied brain. I knew I was smart, and I knew that intelligence had enduring value. But faced with physical tasks, any trace of self-confidence vanished. I hated gym, never participated in any sports, and nearly barfed the first time I was made to run a mile. Couldn’t I just put my brain in a jar? Couldn’t I just discard the cumbersome shell of my body and let my powerful intellect roam unencumbered? I remember being terrified of French kissing my first boyfriend because I just couldn’t stand myself. I didn’t want to get that intimate with someone else because it meant acknowledging the importance of my own body. I simply wasn’t ready to do that.