Because We Breathe

photo: heather silva

You are not a glossy poster in the mall. You are not a magazine’s pages, slick paper. You are not a TV screen, buzzing glass.

You are real raw alive right now, breathing. Your ribs open as your lungs stretch like two pink balloons, your skin rubs against the air, the little hairs on your cheek brush the creased palm of your hand. You breathe out, lungs deflating. Your eyelashes meet, then spring apart. Your foot’s bones spread as you take a step, muscles grip up your calves and thighs, your hips support every movement, your spine flexes and pops, the bones and sockets and ligaments are together and moving and the veins are feeding them all with blood and racing back to your heart for more.

We live so far away from our bodies. We are profiles on Facebook and Myspace and Twitter, we are our bios written up in neat Times New Roman, we are our wit in a chat box.

When we do face our bodies, we do not look at ourselves moving laughing playing dreaming. We face our mirrors, our arms stiff at our sides, only moving enough to convince ourselves that we are pretty enough to leave The Bathroom.  Or we are pressed in between clicks of a camera, printed out on the screen looking frozen.

Our personalities cannot be contained by stillness. Don’t make a judgment on your motionless face. Movement is part of our beauty.

Movement is a wild sort of beauty. You can’t put mascara on it before you step outside. But it’s completely, totally you. You poke a friend in the ribs and dodge away, you lay your head on your best friend’s shoulder, you race across the room to get a glass of water, you twirl on your tiptoes when you’re happy. You kneel down to tie a three-year-old’s shoelaces, you take an old woman’s shriveled hand as you say hello, you cradle a weeping friend. What you choose to do with your body, how you choose to move, that shows who you are more than how you pose for your profile picture.

But your movement is not just a facet of your beauty. Your movement is beautiful, no matter what. You are a work of amazing art.

Glossy magazine pages sit on the table like a frozen runway, women striking poses so perfectly stylish that my heart aches. But they aren’t moving. They aren’t touching the world.

I close my eyes and I feel my heartbeat in my fingers and my belly and my feet. I feel the rush of me, pulling energy from my food, saliva wetting my mouth and swallowed down my throat, my brain shooting signals down my arms to tell them to lift, my elbows to bend, my fingers to scatter over the keyboard.

There are no airbrushes in reality, no stage lights or movie makeup, no Photoshop to lengthen short necks and minimize large ears. You can’t be perfect here. But there is movement. There are our fingers reaching out to catch things. There are our hearts pushing blood all through our bodies. There is life.

You have a body, and you use it every day. You are a work of beauty. Even your lungs full and fleshy in your chest is a miracle. Your diaphragm tightens, giving you space to hold the air. Your ribs push wide. Your mouth sucks in air, the top of your tongue prickling, or your nose does, buzzing with smells – kiwi slices, grass, french vanilla perfume. Your lungs fill. They wait for blood to harvest the oxygen.

You are beautiful because you move.

– Rebekah Burcham



  1. Stephen said,

    December 15, 2010 at 12:21 am

    It’s so true, “We live so far away from our bodies,” and “We do not face our bodies.”

  2. Marie said,

    December 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

    “Movement is a wild sort of beauty.”
    This is certainly an interesting way to look at things. there have been moments when a similar thought flashed through my mind but I didn’t slow down to reflect on it. When I picture myself, I’m always in motion. I can never imagine myself lying still. There is beauty in stillness, I am sure of that,. But I agree, there is also beauty in motion.

  3. Areya said,

    January 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    So true ❤

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