the body project

After my friends and I did this project there were comments.  Lots and lots of comments.  And many of those comments said this: I want to do it, too!

Which gave me an idea.  Other people should do it, too.

I cannot tell you how soothing, amazing, and comforting it is to paint words of kindness on the body of a friend.  And from what Jenny has said, it’s pretty great to be painted-on, as well. (That’s her self-portrait up top!)  And there’s no reason Karen, Jenny, and I should get to have all the fun.


So grab some friends and a camera and make it happen!  Then come here and leave a link to the photos in the comments (please keep the photos PG).  I’d love to make a gallery of the photos on my website.  Wouldn’t the world just be a slightly better place for women if we all just went out and did this?  And if there were a little place on the web where we could all just relax and celebrate all different kinds of beautiful?

Plus, it’s just really fun.


  • Pick a friend you feel very comfortable with.
  • Use only kind words.  Nothing mean.
  • Wear whatever you’re comfortable in, but please keep photos PG.
  • Use a small paintbrush.  Too thick gets gloppy.
  • Use water-based acrylic paint, and add a little water to it. It paints smoother that way.
  • The light outdoors is better for photographs.  Close-up shots work better than far-away ones.
  • Make some words big and some words small.  Use printing and cursive.  Use stamps, if you like!  Write all over the body, or just in one place…

Here are some suggestions for things you could write:  (But feel free to write what you like.  As long as it’s kind.)

  1. Make a list of things that are beautiful about your friend, and then paint them on her.  And have her do the same for you.
  2. Make a list of ways you can look for beauty (in yourself) instead of flaws.
  3. Make a list of things you would say to your daughter or mother about what makes a person beautiful.
  4. Use this quote from Everyone is Beautiful. (Or parts of it…)  This is the paragraph we used, and you are welcome to use it, too!

And here, after all that, is what I have come to believe about beauty:

Laughter is beautiful.  Kindness is beautiful.  Cellulite is beautiful.  Softness and plumpness and roundness are beautiful.  It’s more important to be interesting, to be vivid, and to be adventurous than to sit pretty for pictures.  The soft tummy of a woman is a miracle of nature.  Beauty comes from tenderness.  Beauty comes from variety, from specificity, from the fact that no person in the world looks exactly like anyone else.  Beauty comes from the tragedy that each person’s life is destined to be lost to time.  I believe women are too hard on themselves.  I believe that when you love someone, she becomes beautiful to you.  I believe the eyes see everything through the heart, that nothing in the world feels as good as resting them on someone you love.  I have trained my eyes to look for beauty, and I’ve gotten very good at finding it.  You can argue and tell me it’s not true, but I really don’t care what anyone says.

I have come at last to believe in the title of the book: Everyone Is Beautiful.


I really do agree with the main character of Everyone Is Beautiful.  Women are too hard on themeselves.  And I don’t know exactly how we learn to be kinder.  But I can tell you from experience that doing this project is a very good start.