Natural, un-enhanced womens breasts in a red satin bra with black lace edging and diamond detailhttp://theanjananetwork.net/2014/02/10/the-boobs-crave-acceptance/

Headlights, bazongas, baby-feeders, titties, jugs, knockers, ta-tas, boobies, whatever slang term is applied, breasts have been my focus since I was a very young girl. My maternal grandmother had enormous boobs for her 5 foot frame. My Aunt Helen was even more blessed than her. My mom and my aunt had average breasts — not too big, not too small. To me, as a child, I looked at breasts with admiration and wondered what my body would look like when I started to “bloom.”

In sixth grade, with special permission slips signed, I was taught through filmstrips and a rather dry lecture, about the changes my body was about to go through. I learned about menstruation and it horrified me that I was going to bleed from “THERE.” Every month? What the hell were they thinking?! That wasn’t going to happen to me. I was also taught that I was going to grow “public” hair which I proudly came home from school and told my mother about. After her initial shock wore off, she explained it was PUBIC, not public. To this day, I’m terribly amused at the irony.

“They said my boobs are going to grow. Is that true?” I asked my mother as she bustled about the kitchen.

“Yes, it happens to all women’s bodies. Sometimes they are big, sometimes they are small, but all women grow breasts,” replied my mother matter-of-factly.

“Will I get as big as Aunt Helen?”

“Probably not,” said my mother. In retrospect, mom still feels like she lied to me that day. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she did.

My friends called me flat tire in the fifth grade because I didn’t have boobs. They made fun of my body and I let them. When my breasts started budding during my sixth grade year mom bought me my first bra, a white trainer. I felt as humiliated wearing it, as if my friends were barraging me with proof of their ideas about my body.

The first day I wore it in public, it was under a short sleeved white sweater that had little knit flowers adorning the front. I was mortified when my friend Kim Tarpley told me she knew I was wearing a bra. Up until that point, I could believe in my mind that I was a boy. When it dawned on me that I wasn’t a boy, I realized I was a girl. It was noticeable after I’d taken off my coat in the hallway outside of Mr. Martinez’s classroom.

EVERYONE COULD SEE THE BRA! I ran to the bathroom and promptly removed it, hiding the ugly white declaration of womanhood in the sleeve of my coat before entering the room where I would sit for the rest of the day in misery, terrified that someone would discover my secret.

I told my mom I was wearing the bra she bought me, but we both knew I was lying. I didn’t want to become a woman. I didn’t want to be a girl. I wanted things to stay the same. I fought against the changes in my body, ignoring what I could, telling the other girls who proudly proclaimed they’d started their periods that I had as well so I wouldn’t feel so alone. My period didn’t show up until just after my 15th birthday so I’d been lying about it for three years before I could reveal the truth.

Why did I want to be a boy at that age? How badly did I want to be a boy? I remember telling my sixth grade student teacher (I’m sure it was after a shameful boob incident) that I didn’t like being a girl.

“Why wouldn’t you want to be a girl?” She asked me gently. She had a Dorothy Hamill haircut that was coffee brown and smelled like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. When she hugged me to her polyester blouse, I started crying. Love’s Baby Soft coated my cheeks when I’d settled enough to talk.

“I want to be a boy because boys don’t get hurt.” I sniffled. She handed me a tissue.

“What do you mean boys don’t get hurt?” She asked rubbing the comfort circle between my shoulder blades, as her face tilted towards mine in concern.

I wanted to tell her everything. I wanted to explain that girls have men that do things to them. I wanted to tell her that it happened to me. I wanted her to make it all better. I wanted her to wave a magic wand and make the changes in my body stop. I wanted to stop the clock and become the more powerful gender. I wanted to be a boy because of the horrible things I’d experienced at my father’s. I wanted to be a boy because my brothers and dad were strong and nobody could hurt them. I wanted it so badly. I wanted the freedom of running around without my shirt on in the summer sun. I wanted to love my body like I used to do.

Instead, I shook my head, sobbed some more with wadded tissues in my hands, “I don’t know.” I finally replied.

Summer came and to my horror, so did boobs. I don’t mean that I grew into my body gracefully. I went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning with boobs that Dolly Parton would be envious of in seemingly an instant. My mother recalls how horrified she felt as I grew out of bra after bra on a weekly basis. I eventually landed on DDD’s on my 5’4” frame.

Okay, so maybe it was by the beginning of 8th grade, but it really was rapid, sudden, and I felt enormously ashamed. I could no longer hide the fact that I was a girl.

No matter which shirt I wore, bathing suit, blouse, dress, I couldn’t hide them. There they were as proud as anything screaming womanhood at the top of their…well, cleavage. My Aunt Helen tried to offer advice and solace, but I just looked down and wondered where the hell my feet went. She tried to guide me to select bras that would both support my “gift” and not dig into my shoulders so badly. I didn’t want to talk about it. In retrospect, that was a pretty large elephant sitting in the room. It felt like my body had betrayed my wishes to be a boy.

I felt self-conscious because nobody, and I mean nobody, had boobs the size of mine. Or maybe it was just that I couldn’t look at another girl/woman’s body and not wonder if they hated theirs too. When a boy/man looked at me, I felt like my boobs were the only thing they saw and that their thoughts were impure. I felt like a lunch buffet in front of sex-starved men. When girls looked at me, I heard their thoughts: “SLUT! WHORE! BITCH!” My entire identity became my boobs. I hated them.

At twenty I married for the first time. To spice up our sex life, we rented a video camera and taped our intimacy for future review. When I watched what my body looked like while involved in “The Act,” I felt such shame, not because I was having sex with my husband, but because my boobs dangled down in awkward heavy teardrop shaped pendulums. I felt repulsion towards my body so strongly that I decided to have a breast reduction done.

Halloween rolled around in 1991 and while my friends were planning their sexy costumes, I was planning to reduce my boobs to a manageable size. I didn’t feel fear of going under the knife. I wasn’t worried that I could die, in fact, at that time I felt it would have been the preferable choice. I wasn’t alarmed that it took a team of professionals to talk the insurance company into paying for the surgery for my overall health. The only thing I was wanted was for my boobs to match Marilyn Monroe’s size — a C-cup. My mother and my grandmother drove down from Michigan to Indiana to take care of me when the surgery was done. They were there when I was wheeled into surgery and there when I came out.

I woke up groggy from the anesthesia. My breasts were bound to my chest with bandages and I could, no kidding, see my feet. I tried to sit up to see if that changed, but fell back immediately weakened by the residual effects. I had drains under my arms that were uncomfortable. Did I mention I could see my feet? I ached all over. It hurt to breathe, but not like when you have a cold and you’re struggling to get a lungful of air, just achy deep in my chest.

When I got home later the next day, I laid on my couch while my mom brought me lunch. By the third day, the bandages had been removed at the doctor’s office, my mom had returned home, and I got to see what they looked like for the first time.

They weren’t pretty.

I had stapled wounds that wrapped from under my arms around my chest with only a two inch gap of unmarred skin between my breasts. I had stitches around each nipple that itched so badly I thought I would go mad while healing. I had no sensation on the bottoms of my new breasts. They looked like a Frankenstein experiment gone bad. But you know what? The mutilated remains of my former boobs made me feel a sense of power.

I was no longer defined by my boobs.

I had control over my breasts. They were but a symptom of my self-loathing. For the first time since I was called a flat tire when I was in the fifth grade, I felt like I could be okay with my boobs.After that problem had been eliminated, I started tearing down other parts of me.

I realized that my boobs hadn’t been the problem at all. It was me.

I discovered that I wasn’t just my boobs or just my vagina. I wasn’t just my physical person. I was more than that. I became an “I am” kind of gal. I am a woman. I love being a woman. I love the way my body looks, wiggles, giggles, shakes, and moves when I do. I love the way my breasts fluff out my clothing. The cleavage I see when I look down makes me happy. They may not be perfect in someone else’s eyes, but they are mine. They are a part of me. They are beautiful.

My Gerber servers, holy grails, whoopee cushions, humpback whales, flying saucers, traffic stoppers, super big gulps, double whoppers, pillows, billows, Don DeLillos, soft-serve cones and armadillos, chi-chis, balloons, whatever you want to call them, my breasts are wonderful and I’m glad I’m no longer defined by them. Further, I AM glad I am a woman.

(Slang terms for breasts found in the final paragraph are found at: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=99+words+for+boobs)

Graphic Language: Safe for Work

After an injury left me unable to walk at will for over a year (first I broke the foot then the nerve grew around the artery), I became a vicariously alive person because I lived on Facebook. It became my window to the outside world. I commonly spent 8-10 hours a day more or less monitoring the lives my friends with greater mobility were experiencing. I watched, commented, thought, read, and digested their lives like a good bowl of popcorn with occasional seeds to be discarded. As time passed, I noticed patterns.

I noticed the trending topics by the shared news stories, quizzes, videos, and other miscellaneous clutter. For clarity, I do visit traditional news sites, but honestly world news is hard to witness without me feeling bad about my first world problems and shame that I find them so important when I’m not on day 15 without food or fresh water.

Doctor Who and the T.A.R.D.I.S.

Doctor Who and the T.A.R.D.I.S.

I check about once a day on the world news and I subscribe to a local news site for more immediate happenings. The patterns, because I’ve been watching for over a year are pretty obvious to me. For example: Normally, if there is a death of a beloved public figure, how long they remain in my feed is usually an indication of how widespread their actions are revered. Maya Angelou stayed in my feed consistently for nearly two weeks before the fervor died down. That dude from the Fast and the Furious…Paul Walker, stayed up for about a day, minus one of my friends who is a dedicated fan of the F&F franchise. Trends, although sometimes disturbing, helped me to gauge topics of conversation when I did get to go out in public.

One of my primary complaints against Facebook are quizzes. Quizzes are popular because most people that take them religiously are usually working on who they are, who they want to be, and in order to do that, they need definitions of their starting point. I won’t sit here and shallowly say that I don’t take those ridiculous quizzes that were probably written by junior high school students (Yes, I’m mocking myself here), but they aren’t psychological evaluations. There is no reason on this earth I need to know what type of cheese I’ve been in a past life according to my aura color that I learned by discovering which animal I was murdered by when I was a fish.

Another strike against Facebook are the graphics (that I also shamelessly share). If I feel they apply, I normally don’t even think about why, I just share. It started me thinking how I really see myself. If I strip away my bravado, my superhero cape, my wild clothing, my humor, and my (I hope it is) clever writing, who am I? How would I be described if I dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow? What will be my legacy?

My Mama says I am

My Mama says I am

I remember in a writing class I took where it was drilled into our heads: Show don’t tell. Over and over I’d get papers handed back to me with red marks screaming that insult at me. I hated that teacher with the keen passion that only a young student can despise said instructor. But those words held far more wisdom that the murdered works of my lame attempts at writing in junior high school.

Those words have become more of a life lesson for me. I can tell you all day long who I want you to see me be. I can wave my fancy feathered fan in front of my naked body allowing you glimpses of who I really am. I could rip off my spiritual bindings while groaning with effort and continued fear that I’ll not be seen as I wish but through someone’s eyes that perhaps doesn’t see me in as kind of a light as I shine on myself.
Show me who you are. Don’t just tell me with cutesy graphics and clever slogans because those are the thoughts of someone else. Using them to describe who you are limits a person to mediocrity, labels, and acceptance of someone else’s beliefs. Quotes help us to understand how things work to some extent but that’s accepting that the author thinks like each of us does. One thought may match but that doesn’t mean it’s the very definition of who you are.

I don’t want to be remembered with someone else’s words on my lips (ironic, isn’t it?) but with my own actions a reflection of my spirit. I do not intentionally set out to change the world, it just happens because my intent is to be like a firefighter, fully engaged in whatever I’m doing. I require blazes of activity to spark up via conversations, actions, laughter, outrage towards injustice, or by committing random acts of kindness (again with the irony!) I want to be remembered as someone who mattered to someone else as much as I matter to me.

Wave it and bring it

Wave it and bring it!

I’d like for someone to make a graphic about me that reads, “Man, if only you’d known her. She was a fireball like none other. She’d crack jokes so fast you’d swear she Googled the answers then turn around and poke your conscience into action regarding a noticed injustice. And even though she gave up a lot, she wasn’t a quitter. She’d fight to the bitter end if she believed in it and without even realizing it, you’d be right there with her not questioning because she was trustworthy in action and word.”

P.S. I just posted another graphic I identify with and just completed a quiz about how bitchy I am. My intentions are good, I swear!

The Coffee Hours Symphony

Our personal music composed itself
on the breezy breaths of our being.
Our eyes blinked in metronome
as we witnessed our lives quietly,
the creak of a knee as it’s repositioned for comfort,
the crumpling of the cushion’s fabric
the way the richly creamed coffee we share
is sipped and swallowed with sensational delight
eliciting murmurs of approval.
You spoke truthfully to me with words
that had no letters, no order, no punctuation,
But every meaning I needed was there.
I heard you. I understood.
You are not alone.
I let out a deep sigh.
Your eyebrow quirked upwards
making a question mark of your eyes.
I smiled half way lost in our song
because it has been sung so often
brought up familiarly during times of great loss
And yet this symphony remains blank of content
consolation filled with the tunes we know by heart.
You place your mug on the table with a wobbly balance
reaching out your hand to hold mine.
Your eyes remove the question reassure me the answer,
that you’re with me; I am not alone.

Get Naked

It would seem that my expectation of spiritual nudity is met with skepticism or anger
Put trust in this vision (which is your own, undiscovered), you’re in no danger
Who you are without labels or signs arranges itself with the setting in your mind blurred
Protecting yourself with the clothing of shame, guilt, and fears of the unkind word.
Set them down. Remove them. Take them off. Unlock the shackles of expectations
Release your shame. Discard your guilt. Turn away from fears; your lamentations.
The ugly words displayed, rescinded of power, like rejected clothes on a clearance rack
The ones returned without receipts, the embracing of personal worth, you get full money back.
Turn your heart on full blast, your eyes gleaming with anticipation like kids on Christmas
Get up off your knees where you’ve been held in fervent prayer to be esteemed as religious
Align your eyes with who you are created to be without excuse, with your modesty lifted
Rip open your shirt like Superman, bare your “S” to declare and expose everything you’re gifted
It’s only then, for those who seek, that you will find a secret world steeped in personal happiness
It’s not for the weak or blundering who hide behind their timid veils of charity waiting for their bliss
It’s for the holy warriors that take on social norms with scratches, bruises and courage as their battle swords

Unexpected actions from injury

Last night I went walking through my neighborhood in an effort to exercise. The night was cool, punctuated by firecrackers and painted with darkness where the streetlights don’t quite reach. The route I’d chosen has a medium grade hill which I wanted to take advantage of so my thighs would tune more to my personal music. I was having a text conversation with my mother-in-law and walking fast enough to hear the groans of protest in my muscles.

When I got to the corner of my street, within eye-shot of my home, my ankle decided to throw me forward onto the asphalt tearing a nickel sized dime deep chunk off my knee, slicing my thumb, and wrenching my back. As I rolled over to sit up, I held my knee and breathed a Peter Griffin for a good while as tears rolled down my face.

A car pulled up in the intersection and two young men asked me if I was okay. Through my tears I explained that I needed to get to my husband. They asked if I could stand. I wasn’t sure since I hadn’t attempted it yet. I was still trying to get my breath. Then they got out of their car and as if approaching an untamed animal they said, “We’re not going to hurt you. We’re just going to help you up.” One on my right side, one on my left, and they lifted me rather easily to standing. A few test steps and I thanked them as they walked back to their car and left.

Other than a nasty gash and a wobbly ankle, I was okay enough to walk to my house and get doctored up by my husband and neighbor. I’m no worse for wear but, in my world, walking and chewing gum are not recommended.

The only thing that really bothered me of all that was their approach of me. They were non-threatening Samaritans reassuring me as I sat in the dark on the street huddled with injury but that they had to even identify themselves as such felt wrong. It felt like they shouldn’t have to introduce themselves as if at a job interview just to help an injured female party.

Yes, I understand why they did it. Yes, I understand society’s rules about approaching another human when you intend to touch them. Yes, I see all of that, but they were reacting appropriately to a fellow human. They weren’t invasive, just cautious. I hate that it were necessary.

I’ve struggled a lot with Love Thy Neighbor on a personal level lately. I’ve written, spoken, and thought less than stellar horrible reviews of where I live. With snipers on my birthday descending on a gun wielding neighbor in the next building and bandy rooster posturing about who is the biggest and strongest among the children and the adults, while adding in a sprinkle of drug addicted/using/dealing people and the imagery is stark.

But.

The young men who stopped to help me get on my feet, my young neighbor who saw me crying and immediately called for his mom to help me, his mom who came jumping over the wall when she saw my injury and her subsequent doctoring, with the assistance of my husband, of my body demonstrates to me that Love Thy Neighbor isn’t just a phrase. It’s a purposeful direction of a human’s attention that creates a supportive network of kind hearts helping one another in times of need.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe there is hope hidden in my neighborhood, I just haven’t unlocked that door yet. I’ll just have to keep trying.

Did you hear the one about…?

 

Let me coax your lips a bit to peak interest at an amusing anecdote.
Let me tease your cheeks higher without using a comb (unless you have a beard).
Let me crinkle the corners of your eyes like cellophane gels colored with humor.
Let me witness your laughter rolling around on your tongue,
snorting a bit up the back of your nose, peppered with a touch of “NO WAY!”
Let me tickle your giggler with half-assed ideas
baked into our conversations with all the sprinkled puns and frosting
we can stuff into our groaning bellies and leaking eyeballs
that drown in our gasps for air, revived by our knee slapping.

Deepest loss

In my experience there has not been a greater loss felt than that of a child.

In my experience there has not been a greater loss felt than that of a child.

I’ve loved you since before you were born
When I saw your face pressed
Like a violet captured
In an ultrasound I know longer have
But cherish as a vivid revered memory
As in fairy tales of old
Many lies were told
And you were stolen and kept far from your home,
from my active loving heart.
And I wept.

I’ve loved you since the papers crumpled
Unused, only to be recycled,
When the death of hope is heard
In the confetti shaped heart
That is irreparable, devoid of cohesion
Bleeding the tears of mourning
That burn with the lies told
The familial curse stood as firmly as a parapet.
And still I wept.

I’ve loved you since I witnessed your slavery
Removed with greed, falsehoods,
Shifting legends of half-truths expressed
Under the guise of protection
Under the threat of theft called the improper noun
Rebuked with abandonment
Suffered the neglect of compassion
A soul reviled, refused encouragement
Violated in every way possible.
I still wept.

I’ve loved you since before I strapped on my armor
To storm the cotton fields wrought with personal terror
With machete drawn high in the air,
Shackles of truth for the liars to wear
Jangling on my hip with keys nowhere to be found.
The hovel proclaimed as his kingdom rotted
From the inside out with starving zombies
Clawing at the doors and windows trying to escape
I saw your fetal position and spirited you away
And we wept.

I’ve loved you since I became your Harriet Tubman,
Your underground railroad to freedom
I sheltered you in loving arms with my heart repaired
Embracing the Old to reject the new wave
At the same time embracing the New and rejecting the old
Hearing your pain mocked, examining trauma
After trauma after trauma after trauma after trauma
And feeling the rebuke of your fears whipped at me
The refusal of your champion for lack of worth
The loss of faith in hope and healing
And I weep.

I loved who I became because of your life
My superhero cape dancing in the wind
As I advocated for the better world that you deserve
As I championed a life with choices once denied you
As I believed in your potential, indulgent of possibilities
Lifting your chin so your eyes could see success
Found with the wings of encouragement
With every required tool available
At the beckoning of your unwilling fingers,
Your imprisoned mind,
Your blinded foresight,
Your despised, abused, and hated body.
You have removed my necessity, discarded my gifts
Refused your glory for the sake of self-loathing
And I weep, but always I will love you.