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."


~K said...

I have been pondering the same thing for my resolutions. I wanted to say no more lazy cooking, but it's so much nicer to say try a new recipe out each month. A big one for me was 'be less mundane' but I changed that to 'have more adventures, see somewhere new once a month'.

I concur 2014 is the year of more!
I'm very much looking forward to reading your story of more!

Happy new year to you!

~ K

Rina said...

Very wise words! It is musings like this that make your blog such a rich experience (and I *love* your photography).

I've been reading and enjoying your blog for several years. I am so inspired by your style, and I'm 50 years old! Happy New Year, and I look forward to your outfits, photos, musings, and adventures in 2014!

Sonya Mann said...

I love this. Language is important! The way we talk about things definitely shapes the way we think about things, and subsequently how we act. I want to be unafraid to take up space.

Clair said...

This quote is actually from a poem by Marty McConnell that is called "Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell" - just thought I would let you know in case you wanted to look into some of her other poetry!

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

@Clair, ha whoops! good to know. I'll definitely check more of her work out.

Ruby said...

This is something I've been thinking about lately, how I always fold up into myself, thinking I must ask permission to occupy the space around me. Your words remind me of this very personal and moving performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQucWXWXp3k

Margot Meanie said...

Wow, really well written and well thought out! We are always trying to deminish and punish ourselves. I very much like the idea of changing the language and looking to the opportunity a goal or resolution offers instead.

Margot Meanie

Isabella said...

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Thanks for your positive and empowering words! And for giving me yet another reason to love Frida :)


Dus of Cuddly Cacti said...

This is a great post that absolutely needs to be said, more and more. I actually talked about this in my post back in late summer here, if you were interested: http://cuddlycacti.blogspot.com/2013/09/you-not-just_3.html although i didn't have a nice poem to explain it as eloquently as you did, but i also mentioned how i think women blogger esp downplay themselves by language, especially "i'm just a girl..." which is why my title says you're NOT just! and certainly body language as well, w/ hunched up poses, etc. There's a great Ted talk i linked to in my post as well you might be interested in regarding body language, and LeanIn has some goods things on how women don't use as powerful body language as men, like you mention.