More Please

*collage by me
A quote that has been resonating with me lately comes from a poem by Marty McConnell that is called "Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell." While I find the entire poem incredibly inspiring and sometimes ponder the beauty of the lines "don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought" which just makes me feel so much better about my own history, today my focus is on this potent bit of text, "don’t lose too much weight, stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge; and you are not stupid." While I don't like being told I've been stupid, that line really wakes me up every time I read it. I don't see it merely as an attack on diets, but an assault on the countless, routine ways in which myself or other females attempt to diminish their own presence in society. What is the shrinking of bodies but an attempt to take up less space? Even on a subway or bus I find myself crossing my legs and keeping my arms tight to my body, tucking feet under the seat and holding my purse on my lap--turning my body into a pretzel in order to take up less bench space. Half of the time in this situation I can look across and see a young man sprawled with legs splayed wide and body stooped over as he consumes part of the space in front of his seat as well as.
When it comes time to pen resolutions for the coming year I'm once again struck by how many times the focus is on "less." Whether it's less fast food or less time spent online, the focus is on reducing and looking at current habits in a negative light. Sure, some things are destructive and should consume less of our days or lives, but approach and the way things are phrased matters. Instead of less fast food perhaps it can be more cooking at home (the goal of a new recipe a week), or instead of less time attached to your computer why not figure out what you do want to spend more time doing--reading, hiking, learning a new skill? It's merely language but language is the beginning of definitions and how we see ourselves and it's possible that if we change the root we can alter the entire pattern. So for me, 2014 is to be my year of "more."

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