Some memories: The hairs on my mother’s knees glinting in the sunlight; two fuzzy domes rising over the smooth, freckled plains of her shins. A 7th-grade classmate pulling off her sports bra in the girls’ locker room, her breasts round and translucent, traced with a spider web of blue veins that converge around her nipples. The thumbprint crevice at the base of my sternum that rises and sinks with each breath, an objective marker of something satisfying and frightening. A 500-lb body, rolled and piled upon itself, lit by a crack of light under a beach-towel curtain. Two thighs spread open like butterfly wings, pain and hair and blood spilling out from in between, the folds that have concealed these things now splayed and open.

I have been fascinated by women’s bodies for as long as I can remember. This fascination has morphed over time, changing shape like a body in its own right, from need to longing to control to a fierce protectiveness, a cycle not unlike that of daughter to mother. It has shaped my psychology, my relationships, my career. I set out here to collect my memories of bodies—sometimes my own, but mostly those of other women—to help me find the roots of this fascination and perhaps to fertilize a seed of something new.

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