By Florence Brown
The first thing you want to do when you come home from corps is to try and absorb everything at once. More sleep, more friends, more television, more food. Your skin starts coming off on your towel after you shower, but you pay no mind because that's what's supposed to happen. You start gaining weight and your clothes start fitting properly again. That's a good thing, right? Right. I studied women's studies here in San Francisco, which is quite obviously drowning in politics, feminism and diversity. One of the most important messages I was taught was that people should appreciate the beauty they already possess, not just the beauty they see in others. I can already hear the muttered objections to this theory, the brushing aside of these theories because they were created by "bra-burning feminists" and "tree-hugging hippies." The most common argument against self-image appreciation is that being "fat" is unhealthy, and that obesity leads to other conditions such as heart failure and respiratory complications. But you're not fat when you come home from corps. You're probably underweight and pretty darn solid as far as muscle goes. It's alright to let yourself slip a little, so go ahead and have your cake. Eat it too. Besides that, being skinny is just as unhealthy as obesity. Believe it or not, the semistarved and sleep-deprived state you're kept in during corps isn't considered "healthy." Neither is bulimia or anorexia, which lead to cardiac arrest. The reason this post-tour body image problem came to my attention was because the members of the beautiful Glassmen color guard have gotten into working out habitually, and almost fanatically. I was a member also, but I'm certainly not swept up in the craze. I firmly believe that health is better than image. I eat correctly, and I run if I have the time. I'm also 5'5" and 140 pounds. No matter what I do, my body will hover somewhere around this size because I'm a Samoan girl. Big, jovial, happy Samoan people are quite pleased with their self-image. They measure the worth of their tribes by the size of their women. I'm all for it. If you're concerned about looking different after tour, you shouldn't be. Consider the implications of just magically maintaining your sickly thin body and scandalously dark skin after tour ... it would be freakish. Everyone would want to do it. We'd have models trying to do drum corps. Naomi Campbell playing contra isn't something I ever want to see. Florence Brown, 19, is a journalism major (with a minor in dance) at San Francisco State University. This spring, she will transfer to the University of North Texas. She marched with the Glassmen in 2002 and 2003, and with the San Jose Raiders World in 2003.