Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Anything more than a handful is wasted"

Digitally enhanced breasts? Do they really do that? (Duh, of course they do, they do everything). Sometime during this past summer, I read a story regarding Keira Knightley, the lovely actress of Pirates of the Caribbean fame (and the little gem Bend it Like Beckham), and her alleged refusal to have her “small” breasts digitally enhanced for promotional photos for her new movie, “Duchess.” There’s some controversy as to whether or not the story is actually true, but I hope it is. Wouldn’t it be nice if all those celebrities would stop the Photoshop madness and be brave enough to face their public as themselves--without all the airbrushing to do away with their supposed flaws--wrinkles, pimples, cottage cheese thighs, and oh my, small breasts? Isn’t that why all those inane celebrity rags sporting celebrities in their bikinis sans make-up on their covers sell so well? Despite our best efforts to transcend the limitations of the aging process, through endless, insatiable rounds of plastic surgery, Botox-injections, and the insistence that whatever we received, in the evolutionary, genetic shuffle, just isn’t quite good enough, I suppose we’re all human after all. Keira Knightley’s brave stand aside, it sure would be nice if someone would stand up for small breasts amidst all the mockery and disparagement.

No takers? I suppose that leaves it to me. Oh, and Nicole Richie, who declared that she "used to want a bigger chest, but now I like being flat. Clothes fit better, and I don't really need to wear a bra." Awright!

I’m quite happy with my girls, small or not. After all, there are so many benefits to having small breasts. I feel that I can say this with some authority, for I have been many sizes in my life--from the annoying little speed bumps that graced my adolescent frame to the mega-milk machines that swelled during my nursing years, from the grotesquely over-expanded bionic floozy of my pre-exchange surgery to my new nipple-less girl during these reconstruction days--I’ve experienced cup size A to D, and everything in between, and I must say, that life is a whole lot easier with an A cup.

For one thing, small breasts don’t flop and flip around when you’re trying to run, jump, leap, skip, hop, dance, or do anything requiring upward motion, so…fewer black eyes, and that is a bonus. So you could say that small breasts are better behaved: for instance, they don’t get grab onto the coat rack as you’re walking by (really, this happened to me after my left girl-in-progress had been abducted by aliens and was looking, and acting, a bit bizarre), get hooked on the door jam, or careen carelessly into anything that happens to be standing about at shoulder height. Let us not forget that smaller breasts mean less strain on the back. Plus, you don’t really need to wear a bra for support, so have many more options, from layer tank tops and those camisole tops with built-in shelf bras to lovely soft cup bras and Wonder bras when you want a little oomph. Or better yet, go bra-less, and really save money on bras.

The benefits truly are endless: Easier to squeeze through small places. Much better for tackling. The explosive, fully-engorged, hyper-nursing-sized breasts are still manageable. Fewer fill ups needed during reconstruction. Easier to rebuild. Always fun to laugh at. And, you can always make small breasts look bigger. It’s a bit harder to make large breasts look smaller, and if you are wondering why anyone would want to do that, trust me, there are many women who’d like to be not so large, particularly when they were younger, and forced to dodge unwanted comments and stares from those who thought their early, ample buds easy targets for their misguided hilarity.

And finally, small breasts are simply more economical. As my great grandfather Damon used to say, “Anything more than a handful is wasted.”

The funny thing about the Keira Knightly story was that the writers (if they can call themselves that) referred to her breasts not as her “girls” but her “lady lumps.” Lady lumps. Hmm, never heard that one before. Reminds me of gravy for some reason. Or the kind of lumps women don’t want to find in their breasts. Probably not the effect the writers were after. But while we’re on the subject:

Is it Fergie who sings “My humps, my humps, my lovely little humps,” as if she were some camel walking the desert, those Bedouin Black Eyed Peas spanking her along? I’ve called my earliest set of breasts “annoying little speed bumps,” but never lumps or humps. Lumps, typically, are something that women do not want in any way, shape or form, in their breasts. Lumps are something that women, especially of a certain advanced age, find in their breasts every now and then and immediately feel a deep terror that either propels them into action or paralysis. Either get the lump checked, or leave it to fester. Better to deal with the lump, even if that lump must be removed, biopsied, and examined by a pathologist, and hope it‘s benign, just a lump, a lady lump. After all, 80% of lumps are just lumps, and not malignant tumor grumpy clumps of unstable, fairly cuckoo cells. But it’s always good to get them checked out anyway. So let's not call our girls "lumps." Okay? Can we all agree on that?

Of course, when my speed bumps failed to grow any bigger, they were chumps, for failing to swell as my cheeks did with the mumps. At their perky best, they were like ski jumps, with a soft landing spot below.

My nursing breasts took on the more gargantuan proportions of camel humps--and, if one side had been drained and the other still sported that engorged mega-inflated size, then the proportions would be more akin to a lone dromedary hump. It was during my nursing days, when I had enough milk to feed twins, when my breasts would sometimes overflow, grow rock-hard and sore and so full my nipples would get so pushed and overcrowded that the babies couldn’t latch on, and they’d be instantly frustrated and scream with a ravenous rage. So I’d have to drain a bit, take the “cream off the top” with the electric pump that I would have to attach to each nipple, one after the other, the plastic suction mouth slurping noisily in an artificial, very non-baby sort of way that made me feel like a cow hooked up to a milking machine. But it worked. The babies would finally be able to latch on, and start their power suck, jaws working overtime, little Sump-Pumps saving Mom from the flood, their crazy baby hunger quelled for the time being.

Most recently, and post-operatively, my left girl, stuffing knocked out, was definitely down in the dumps. But I’ve got a new girl, and she’s feeling better. Things are looking up.

Jenny’s, of course, were, for just one night, Forrest Gump’s. I don’t even want to think about Donald Trump’s.

Rumps are lumps and humps of another kind. And it seems that mine, like my girl, is always under reconstruction. A couple of years ago I lost sight of my butt. Where’d it go? Oh look, there it is! On the floor! It’s hard work at my age to try to coax your middle aged lady fanny off the floor and into something more respectable, or anything even remotely resembling my callipygian youth …

Another story that caught my eye this summer was about the golden retriever who adopted the three tiger cubs at the Kansas Zoo. The cubs had been abandoned by their mother, and so put in the care of Isabella, who had just weaned her own litter of pups, and who, according to her owner, “didn’t know the difference.” Uh-huh. What a convenient justification for turning your dog into a milking machine. Of course she knows the difference. She’s just being a good dog. Dogs evolved to please humans, so it’s in their nature to obey. And those mothering instincts are hard to turn off--so of course she “licks, cleans, and feeds the cubs.” And while she’s taking care of them, I would bet that those little sharp kitty claws feel a bit different than puppy claws. And do tiger cubs‘ paws smell like Fritos? Because all puppy paws smell like Fritos. It’s a known fact. What, I wonder, is going through Isabella’s mind? Oh, that’s funny, I thought I was done with the nursing thing this time around, but look, here they are again. But how strange, they’ve shrunk in size and they smell different and taste different and look different, but what the hey! I’ll keep cleaning their butts and letting them nurse, because the tall taillesses are giving me extra food, so I’m cool with it! So, just because she’s doing her thing, doesn’t mean she doesn’t know that these cubs aren’t exactly “hers.” Puh-leeze.

When I was caught in the days of torturous waiting this past winter, in between mammogram retakes, botched procedures, and finally, a surgical biopsy, and a diagnosis, that would either put my deepest, darkest fears to rest or stir the embers into a fiery blaze of terror, I ran into a woman I know in town, and we were talking about the waiting, and wondering what might come next, and she said to me, “Well, you might just get bigger boobs out of it, and that wouldn’t be so bad--that’d be awesome!” I remember feeling so caught off guard by what she said, that I think I laughed it off before telling her that “no, small breasts were fine, thank you.” I knew she hadn’t meant any harm by it, and maybe she was just trying to put her own positive spin on it, pointing out what may be a silver lining in her sky, just not time. As my focus shifted to my left breast, which was then suffering from post-surgical TKO deflation, I couldn’t help feeling that despite her apparent good intentions, this woman’s comment was completely and wholly off the mark for how I felt about my breasts, about the prospect of losing one or both of them to mastectomy, and about having to undergo reconstruction to build new breasts. None of it seemed “awesome” to me.

What is it about our obsession with having bigger breasts? Women flock to the offices of plastic surgeons as if they were heading out to a clothing store, hoping to get a great sale on cashmere sweaters, a new Wonder bra at Victoria’s Secret, a new set of bodacious ta-tas that they hope will finally quell their anxieties about not measuring up. And with their purchase, they receive a taste of conformity and acceptance, a little boost, to breast and ego, measured in cup size. Fix me. My breasts are too small. Make them bigger. Make me better. Make me whole. Make me feel like a woman. I’m not good enough.

The marketing pitch is persistent, inescapable, annoying, like a mosquito buzzing about your ears at night while you’re trying to sleep. And it starts early--this quest for bigger breasts, the perfect nose, the model-thin body--and it’s dangerous, insidiously dangerous, for girls and women to take on at any age. In the case of bigger breasts, I opt out.

My new girl is “awesome,” to be sure. But I did not “go bigger” as many people encouraged, and I’m glad for my decision to stay in the ‘hood. I might not have the surgically or digitally enhanced breasts of the Photoshop-aided, Botox-inflated celebrity world, but I don’t want them. Having a new, beautiful, surgically reconstructed girl to go with my old, though still sprightly right girl, is enough for me. The scar that lays red tracks across her milky white face serves as a poignant reminder of this, my most recent journey, where I was opened up, dismantled, scraped clean, and stitched back up again. And now, struggling to find the missing pieces, still, I venture down this winding, spiraling trail into my depths, to shed light on some of the darkest, dustiest corners of my soul, where boxes of blocked energy and emotion sit, brewing, stewing, fluttering, and flush with anticipation as they await release from within.

And let's not forget the promise of a new nipple--talk about anticipation! (actually, when I imagine what it'll feel like, all I can think of is OW and gee, that really smarts.) And each and every day, as I pick, pick, carefully pick the thumb-sized purplish pink raspberries that ripen in the sunshine, there are times when I only see nipples, pink, boisterous, and stitched on tight, delicate and robust, their blood staining my finger tips.

One may decide that the nipple most nearly resembles a newly ripened raspberry (never, be it noted, the plonk of water on a pond at the commencement of a drizzle, a simple bladder nozzle built on the suction principal gum bubble, mole, or birth ward, bumpy metal button, or the painful red eruption of a swelling), but does one care to see his breakfast fruit as a sweetened milky bowl of snipped nips? no. ~ William Gass

Your nipples are stitched up like sutures
and although I suck
I suck air....
~ Anne Sexton

1 comment:

Hadewisa said...

Maybe you are interested in this site.

Small Breasts, does size really matter?

I wish you´ll like it and it´ll be useful for you. Regards.