Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is the guest editor for September’s issue of British Vogue. In the issue, she celebrates 15 women whom she describes as “Forces for Change.” These women who include; American actress and LGBT+ activist Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, boxer Ramla Ali, climate change activist and student Greta Thunberg, and many other amazing and inspiring women all appear on the magazine’s cover.
Meghan Markle is not just responsible for Vogue’s September cover, she has also filled to glossy pages with personal touches including an interview with lawyer, former first lady of the U.S and author of Becoming, Michelle Obama. In this magazine edition, you will also find a feature in which Prince Harry sits down with English primatologist and anthropologist Dr Jane Goodall and articles written by The Good Place actress and activist Jameela Jamil, and author and motivational speaker Dr Brené Brown.
In the magazine’s art and culture section, the Duchess of Sussex also used her role as guest editor to share her favourite poem. Matt Haig’s A Note from the Beach is a poem which challenges the idea of being ‘beach-body ready’ and the pressure people, especially girls, face in the summer to fit one ‘ideal’ pushed upon the by the media, social media, and even those around them. Meghan Markle writes that the poem is “A personal favourite and the best reminder during the summer season or any season, as a matter of fact.”
A Note from the Beach by Matt Haig reads as follows;
I am the beach.
I am created by waves and currents.
I am made of eroded rocks.
I exist next to the sea.
I have been around for millions of years.
I was around at the dawn of life itself.
And I have to tell you something.
I don’t care about your body.
I am a beach.
I literally don’t give a fuck.
I am entirely indifferent to your body mass index.
I am not impressed that your abdominal muscles are visible to the naked eye.
I am oblivious.
You are one of 200,000 generations of human beings.
I have seen them all.
I will see all the generations that come after you, too.
It won’t be as many. I’m sorry.
I hear the whispers the sea tells me.
(The sea hates you. The Poisoners. That’s what it calls you. A bit melodramatic, I know. But that’s the sea for you. All drama.)
And I have to tell you something else.
Even the other people on the beach don’t care about your body.
They are staring at the sea, or they are obsessed with their own appearance.
And if they are thinking about you, why do you care?
Why do you humans worry so much about a stranger’s opinion?
Why don’t you do what I do? Let it wash all over you.
Allow yourself just to be as you are.
In a tweet, author Matt Haig noted that the poem A Note from the Beach, which also appears to comment on pollution and environmental issues, is actually an excerpt from his book Notes on a Nervous Planet. Notes on a Nervous Planet was published in 2018 as a follow up to his international best-selling memoir Reasons to Stay Alive in which Haig writes about mental health and his own battle with depression. Like Reasons to Stay Alive, Notes on a Nervous Planet is a non-fiction book which this time focuses on the modern world and the ways in which is feeds our anxiety. Haig explores how to stay calm and happy in a digital world full of pressures like being ‘beach-body ready’.
September’s edition of British Vogue, guest edited by Meghan Markle, is available in stores now and a sneak peek at what the poem looks like inside can be seen below.
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