Love Your Tree: Wisdom from Eve Ensler & a 74-yr-old Masai woman


Last week we watched America the Beautiful, a film by Darryl Roberts. While the documentary left me feeling silent, brooding the questions around beauty and obsession in our society and wondering what some of the answers could be, the highlight of the documentary was a short interview with Eve Ensler of Vagina Monologues’ fame. You might know this already, but I love her spunk.

In the documentary, Ensler related an encounter she had with a 74-year-old Masai woman on one of her trips to Africa. I’ve found myself using words from this encounter this past week. These words are sticky. Gooey. Delicious. So when I found that this story is documented in Ensler’s book The Good Body I wanted to share it. So here goes:

Eve asked Leah whether she likes her own body and the encounter goes something like this:

Leah: Do I like my body? Do I like my body? My body. My body. I love my body. God made this body. God gave me this body. My body. Oh goodness, I love my body.

My fingers, look at my fingers. I love my fingernails, little crescent moons.

My hands, my hands, the way they flutter in the air and fall, they lead right up to my arms- so strong-they carry things along- I love my arms – and my legs, my legs are long. Masai people, we are tall, I get there fast. My legs can wrap around a man and hold him there. My breasts … My breasts, well look at them, they’re mine, my breasts still round and full and fine.

Eve: Leah, wait, I don’t know how to do this. I want to feel like you. I want to love my body and stop hating my stomach.

Leah: What’s wrong with it?

Eve: It’s round. It used to be flat.

Leah: It’s your stomach. It’s meant to be seen. Eve, look at that tree? Do you see that tree? Now look at that tree. (points to another tree) Do you like that tree? Do you hate that tree ’cause it doesn’t look like that tree?

Do you say the tree isn’t pretty ’cause it doesn’t look like that tree? We’re all trees. You’re a tree. I’m a tree. You’ve got to love your body, Eve. You’ve got to love your tree. Love your tree.

Makes me want to be kinder, more generous with my tree. So, for the sake of my girls and the women in my life, I commit to loving my tree.

  • Erin Wilson

    Oh my. This made me ball. Thank you for posting it.

    • Mary Elliott OReilly

      I think maybe you meant ‘bawl’ – ?

  • idelette

    Have you seen the documentary? I wish you could see Eve saying it. It’s so lovely. I keep hearing her voice in my head.

  • Erin Wilson

    No, I haven’t seen it. Might have to work up to it…

  • alie

    I love my tree , am thankful for my tree, but I want it to be stronger !
    This was a significant part of the documentary for me as well.

    My interpretation :In its simplicity, Eve is explaining, that like the tree, which is of this earth, created on this earth ; so is our body. Not one person is the same , and so We must love and embrace where we stem from. Be empowered by who we are as individuals. There IS strength in a woman!

  • idelette

    Speak it, Alie girl! You’ve been working on that tree strength of yours.

    Erin, the documentary is good, but really left me with a lot of questions. Not a bad thing. I wish just the Eve clip was available on youtube. I love hearing her relate the story.

  • dannigurl

    Loved it.

  • Jimmy

    We should appreciate and be thankful for what God has given us – good and bad.
    ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made’ Psam 139.

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