Many know Mary Lambert because of her work with Macklemore on the track "Same Love". Lesser known is the fact that her "part" in that song actually is the chorus of one of her own songs called "She Keeps Me Warm". Mary Lambert, as a singer, is amazing. But she is not just a singer. She is a singer, a poet, an activist. She's the real deal and the more I learn of her the more I love her.
I'm not a big fan of crying. Actually, I really hate crying. Or at least, being seen as a cryer. But I will be upfront and say that I honestly bawled the first time I heard Lambert's song "I Know Girls". Why? Because it's like, in the midst of the increasing wave of "Girl Power" anthems, Lambert's song is one of the first to come out and just hit you in the face with the issues behind the anthems. The reasons girls and women of all ages, ethnicities, and classes struggle every day to even look at themselves in the mirror without loathing. I've not yet reached the "girl power" level. How about just being able to find the strength to see another day?
The other reason that Mary Lambert's "I Know Girls" resonates with me is for personal reasons. Over the years, I've heard more and more heart-breaking stories of self-harm, suicide, and attempted suicide from people I know and love. If I'm perfectly honest, I'm one of those people, too. And Lambert doesn't back away from the subject of self harm. She hits it head-on and doesn't beat around the bush.
This song, to me, is like a stream-of-consciousness work on all the insecurities and questions that run through or are planted in our brains every moment of every day.
Anyway, I hope you take a moment to read and/or listen to "I Know Girls." It really is phenomenal. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
"I Know Girls (Body Love)"
by Mary Lambert
Like squeezing into last year's prom dress
I know girls who are low rise, MAC eyeshadow, and binge drinking
I know girls that wonder if they're disaster and sexy enough to fit in
I know girls who are fleeing bombs from the mosques of their skin
Playing russian roulette with death; it's never easy to accept
That our bodies are fallible and flawed
But when do we draw the line?
When the knife hits the skin?
Isn't it the same thing as purging
Because we're so obsessed with death
Some women just have more guts than others
The funny thing is women like us don't shoot
We swallow pills, still wanting to be beautiful at the morgue
Still proceeding to put on make-up
Still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive
We might as well be buried with our shoes
And handbags and scarves, girls
We flirt with death every time we etch a new tally mark
Into our skin
I know how to split my wrists to reveal a battlefield, too
But the time has come for us to
Reclaim our bodies
Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral
Offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say "I only know how to exist when I am wanted"
Girls like us are hardly ever wanted, you know
We're used up and sad and drunk and
Perpetually waiting by the phone for someone to pick up
And tell us that we did good
We did good.
(I know I am because I said am, my body is home)
Take your hands over your bumpy lovebody naked
And remember the first time you touched someone
With the sole purpose of learning all of them
Touched them because the light was pretty on them
And the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did
Touch yourself with a purpose
Your body is the most beautiful royal
Fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore
Are not your razor, no
Put the sharpness back
Lay your hands flat and feel the surface of scarred skin
I once touched a tree with charred limbs
The stump was still breathing
But the tops were just ashy remains
I wonder what it's like to come back from that
Sometimes I feel a forest fire erupting from my wrists
And the smoke signals sent out are the most beautiful things I've ever seen
Love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet
And brother, arm wrapping shoulders, and remember
This is important
You are worth more than who you fuck
You are worth more than a waistline
You are worth more than any naked body could proclaim
In the shadows, more than a man's whim
Or your father's mistake
You are no less valuable as a size 16, than a size 4
You are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c
Your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood
It is wisdom
You are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out