Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why Mary Lambert Is My Hero.

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

I know girls who are trying to fit into the social norm
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) 

Try this 
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 
Reborn

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