I’ve been thinking a lot about Eve Ensler’s story about the African woman describing her body. Somehow her words “love your tree” seem to resonate with me. Here’s the clip again, just in case you missed my post yesterday:
So today on my walk, I focused on looking at all of the different trees. I found all sizes and all shapes. Even trees that were the same species were different in many ways. I could look at each tree and see its beauty, from the young saplings to those that were tall with large sturdy trunks. Some trees were imperfect, damaged by disease or trimmed back to avoid power lines. But all were worthy and beautiful in some unique way.
Then I walked through a densely wooded area. There were many trees close together with tall trunks stretching up to the sky. It was hard to tell the difference between the types of trees. The sizes of the trees were mostly the same, except for the small saplings underneath. The trunks were about the same diameter and the leaves were very far up the trunk. All of these trees in the woods were competing for the limited resource of sunlight and water in order to grow. So to survive, they had to have tall thin trunks. There was no room to spread out branches until higher up. These trees that were competing for limited resources and adapted in order to survive. All the trees looked pretty much the same.
In the middle of these tall, narrow, similar trees, I thought about our society’s standard of beauty. Beautiful women are supposed to be thin and fit a certain look that’s in vogue. Are we being encouraged to live like those trees in the woods with limited resources? Does it mean that woman all have to be tall and thin in order to survive? Do women feel that they have to compete to get limited resources, such as love? Maybe it sounds crazy, but there in the woods I could imagine that I was surrounded by anorexic models that pretty much looked the same.
As I continued my walk beyond the woods, I noticed the trees with room to grow. Trees that don’t have to compete for sunlight and other resources are able to grow to their potential. I can tell the difference between a maple and an elm and a dogwood by the size of the tree and the shape of the branches. Trees with room to grow look the way nature intended. There were many different trees, but each was unique and beautiful in its way.
So it made me realize that I want my tree to be planted in a space with room to grow. I don’t want to be a tree in the woods, looking tall and skinny like the other trees so that I can better compete for limited resources. I want to look the way that I was meant to be, different but still beautiful.