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Bodies Revealed: A Non-Linear Essay

“I am going on a diet,” she announced.
“But McKenzie, you’re only six! Besides, you’re beautiful!” I shot back.
“But,” she insisted, “I need to lose weight.”
“No, you do not. I’m your nanny, I know these things. Now eat your lunch.”
Later that day, we watched an episode of Hannah Montana. In the silence after I turned off the television, McKenzie sighed and said “I wish I could look like her.”

My friend Angel is three, adorable, and innocent. Whenever someone tells her she’s pretty, she blushes and says, “I know.” Her confidence in herself is astounding, the kind only a small child can have. How do we lose that?

I remember the first time I found out about calories.
I was around the age of six, eating a mac-and-cheese lunch with my family. I reached for a second spoonful, and my mother said, “Honey, you don't need that.”
“Why, Mom?”
“Because it has lots of these things called calories and the doctor said says you don't need to eat as many.”
This information astounded me. I'd always thought I was normal, maybe even perfect. Like Adam and Eve after the fall, my world had shifted.
Ever since that day, I have been plagued by the feeling of being more, yet less. I felt more chubby than I should be, yet somehow less of a person. It's ludicrous, but I accepted this more-yet-less paradox to be true.

7th Grade: A One-Act Play
Act 1, Scene 3
Setting: School Bathroom. Three girls stand in front of a mirror, primping.
Skinny Sami: (Turns to side, pinches skin on stomach) Ugh, I am so fat. I need to lose like, ten pounds.
Perfect Paige: (Fluffs perfect hair) My hair is so frizzy and disgusting!
(Candace looks at her wiry hair and less than flat stomach, and says nothing.)
Fade to black.

Women who think they’re beautiful complain about their looks, knowing someone will contradict them. Women who dislike the way they look rarely gripe, for they fear someone will agree.

One in every 2,500 female babies is born with Turner Syndrome. According to kidshealth.org, Turner Syndrome probably occurs when part of the X chromosome is missing. Women with this condition grow to an average of 4 foot 7 and never go through puberty with out medical treatments.
In a society where women are defined by their bodies, those with Turner Syndrome face many challenges. The abnormal have never been treated well in any culture, particularly image-obsessed America. How would the life of a woman with the body of a prepubescent girl differ from others? I don’t know how it would affect personal relationships, but her job options would likely be limited. Certainly, she couldn’t get a job like a new anchor or a TV personality, no matter how qualified. Television is fixated on the young and the beautiful, and while women with Turner Syndrome certainly look young, they don’t fit the ideal of beauty.

I will never get Botox. I think you can really tell a lot about a person by their wrinkles. Some people have a ‘W’ of lines stamped on their forehead between their eyebrows, a mark of a consistent worrier. Chronic smokers have little pucker lines scattering out from their lips, a signal they’ve spent a lifetime cradling cigarettes. The kind of wrinkles I want are laugh lines: deep creases fanning from my eyes, half moons framing my smile. Worry never changes anything, and smoking makes me cough, but laughter is a legacy I want carved into my features.




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SallySunshine said...
Feb. 11, 2009 at 1:18 am:
That was amazing! I think it should be published!
 
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