lip lit: attention people with body parts
‘Dear fingernails…I’m sorry it took me so long to realise your cracks and peels were beautiful and alive. I’m still coming to realise that my cracks and imperfections are beautiful, too.’
This is an excerpt from Attention: People with Body Parts, a collection of words offered by various contributors to the project, now published in a book. Lexie Bean conceived the international art collaboration as a way to celebrate our connections with our bodies.
‘Standards form, unrealistic standards,’ she writes in the book’s introduction, ‘And it has become difficult to determine whether insecurity is innate or contagious.’
In an interview with Lip Mag‘s Ruby Mahoney last year, Bean described her vision for the project.
‘True positivity comes from accepting every body as a whole, filled up to the brim with stories that break bones and puts fire in our bellies.’
The submissions included in the book are diverse and are a fascinating snapshot of the relationship we have towards our earthly vessels.
‘In Praise of My Feet’ details the wonder of encountering soft grass and and sandy shallows barefoot. A cellist exalts her left hand while a contributor writes a hate-filled ‘Fuck. You.’ to cancer. Body parts such as skin or vaginas are recognised for producing the social experience of their owners, and odes of love are written to hips and thighs.
Some contributors make the link between inner being and outer; a letter to ‘the creature in my chest’ is a conversation with the physical weight of anxiety, while a note of gratitude to a belly details the way our bodily sensations can express intuition.
There are poems, letters, shocking prose, clichés, and grammatical inconsistencies; the writers’ honesty in all forms creates a rawness that is hard to ignore. Attention: People with Body Parts and the corresponding art project is game-changing – the message of body appreciation is in stark contrast to the ‘not good enough’ mantra played out in magazines throughout the Western world.
Equally critical of body shame in women’s media, fashion blogger Bethany Carmen Rutter writes on her blog:
Do you know why I’m not rude about fat women’s bodies? Or why I don’t feel the need to shame women who are slim? Or comment on whether or not your outfit is flattering? Because I have no shame or loathing to project away from me. I like my… body and myself so much that I can just do me, and let you do you.
Attention: People With Body Parts not only lets you do you and me do me, but encourages us to celebrate our limbs, torsos, organs and whatever in between, in order to understand them as vibrant and capable parts of us, essential to our experience. It is a movement to inspire a heart of gratitude, and urge a step towards self-love.
‘To the fat on my stomach…I love you, from the bottom of my heart. Because without you I simply wouldn’t be me, and it turns out that me isn’t such a bad thing to be anymore.’
If you’d like to contribute to Attention: People With Body Parts, or explore the project, go here.