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Be your Valentine

Mary Kate Malone | Thursday, February 14, 2008

Men and women of Notre Dame, Spring Break is nearly two weeks away.

We all want to be tan, fit and beautiful when we’re basking on the beach.

Though the tan will have to wait for the sun, achieving the perfect figure should be no problem. Rolfs and the Rock are open seven days a week! So sign up for six boxes on the fancy Precor treadmills, climb the Stairmaster, beat everyone on Rolfs tiny track, and crunch those abs harder than you ever have before.

Spring break is coming, people. And as the good Notre Dame students you are, you’ve got to be at your best.



Set your Elliptical level down a few digits and listen up.

You’re beautiful just the way you are.

In the preface to her play, “The Good Body,” Eve Ensler urges every person on earth to do the one thing so many never will: Love your body.

“Tell the image makers and magazine sellers and the plastic surgeons that you are not afraid,” she writes. “That what you fear the most is the death of imagination and originality and metaphor and passion. Then be bold and love your body. Stop fixing it. It was never broken.”

Maybe Eve Ensler is just an idealistic playwright out of touch with the pressures of college life and the pursuit of perfection at Notre Dame.

But I’m inclined to believe she’s on to something.

Maybe it’s time we stop lifting and twisting and crunching and pressing … and start loving ourselves.

It’s puzzling how eager Notre Dame students are to help the world, but how slow we are to take care of ourselves. We volunteer at levels unheard of at other schools.

And when the day is nearly done – when we’ve served the poor, finished our homework, ate a salad for lunch, spoken up in class, cleaned our rooms and snagged the summer internship, we head to the gym. Even with a growling stomach or a tired body.

Because, God forbid, we fail at looking flawless in our swimsuits.

But the perfect body is as elusive as a 4.0 at Notre Dame. Many want it, few have it, and those who do probably aren’t much happier than those who don’t.

So on this Valentine’s Day, I’m choosing to not work out. Eve Ensler is keeping me from the frenzied afternoon rush at Rolfs.

Though a part of me says I need the exercise, a better, bolder one says take a break.

I’m going to take a nap and eat a deliciously unhealthy dinner.

It’s not laziness. It’s care for the soul.

Try it. I dare you.