Skinny Daily Post


The higher the IQ, the tougher the case. I swear it’s true. You take your average brainiac, and my advice to spend more time and attention on her body than she does now? Well that seems like a terrible idea. Moreover, it’s a distasteful subject. People who live in their heads do not like to be reminded what goes on below their chins.

People who live in their heads are known to devise elaborate fantasies about a future world where our troublesome, demanding, bleating bodies are no longer necessary. A time when we will be able to think, interact, procreate through the sheer magnificence of thought and idea, will and logic, spirt and personality, and whatever else goes on in our noggins that seems to them so far superior than what goes on with the rest of their matter.

I try logic. The simple logic that your brain won’t function for long if your body is diseased and forces an early exit. I point out that a lot of great thinking can be done while we’re in an ambulatory state. While walking, that is. I try to help them understand that there’s not only magic in them-there fruits and veggies and legumes, but some pretty logical chemistry too. They might want to look into it.

But fighting an idea as old as the mind/body separation is hard work. Sometimes people put up walls between their minds and bodies because of identity issues. I’m not a jock, I’m a smart kid. Sometimes it’s because they come from a long line of folks who bound, gagged, and muffled their bodies any way they could because some whacked theologian told them to. Sometimes people feel their bodies have let them down in some way, and they develop a deep resentfulness against their own flesh. Anyway, something happens, somewhere along the line, and a person crawls right up their neck, into their heads, and slams the door behind them.

If you’re living behind that mind/body door, maybe it’s time to loosen your hinges a bit. Remove the slash and discover how your mind-and-body work together. Spend some time this week considering your body and its needs. Write about the history of your mind/body disconnection. Consider giving your whole self at least the attention and respect you would give a household pet. That is, consider at least nourishing and exercising your body. Eventually, as you become more familiar with it and this attention allows it to heal itself, you may actually learn to respect it. I won’t hope for too much. One step at a time.

4 thoughts on “Smart people have bodies too

  1. seahag says:

    Don’t forget that OTHER PEOPLE (read, “parents”) may have encouraged that mind/body disconnect. I remember spending long hours riding my bike, running around the neighborhood, and messing around in the woods and by the creek behind our house. I never had a weight problem until after I turned 13 and my mom decided that I was “too old” for that kind of stuff. It was hinted, implied, but never stated, that “good girls” weren’t athletic, and heaven forbid you SWEAT. Ah, 1969–the end of an era–the one where the phrase “girls can’t do that” reigned supreme!

  2. Fran says:

    I agree with your post completely. When I was in high school the only offered sport for girls/women was basketball and the girls’ team was definitely the stepchild of the athletics program. They wore old uniforms and were not given the respect and encouragement the boys’ teams got. I graduated in 1971 and they were only 2 or 3 girls that I would now consider to be “athletic” in our class of 90.

  3. Hannah_phi says:

    Funny that you should write this on my birthday, since it applies to me so well. Thanks for the motivation! While I know that my brain needs my body to live I somehow seem to forget it sometimes. As a grad student often it feels more important to finish this reading or that paper or work on research than to go out of the library or office and exercise. Yet it is of the utmost importance. Not to mention the fact that I usually feel more energetic when I get exercise in my day and I feel more patient to sit and read or write.

  4. Marie says:

    Once again, so right on the nose. I think you read my mind. This is so like me. When I was real young I used to play outside and ride bikes etc. But I got older, got to studying (gotta get those As), got to reading more, and totally forgot about that stuff. And that combined with some truly hellacious school-gym experiences and I totally lost my taste for most of the physical stuff.

    These days there are always so many “braniac” things I’d like to learn, and do that I’d rather be doing than sweating. Did I mention I hate sweating? Though I realized lately that hey, walking really is kind of nice, at least on a nice day. Like being a kid again. Seriously it was a revelation….so THAT is what clouds look like again…what my neighbor’s houses look like.

    Trouble is, when time gets in a crunch as it always does, I start thinking about all the other things I want to do, involving books, the computer, or music things, brain things.. that I resent having to take the time to exercise also. Even though I like it more or less once I’ve done it.

    I’m still trying to rig up a system for either reading while on the exercise gadget, or listening to audio books while walking (with one ear open…makes me too nervous otherwise). I figure if I can combine my reading with my exercise, well it just might work right?

    Now if only I can convince Curves to play really good audio books between the beeps rather than that frantic music.

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