When I was twelve years old my underdeveloped breasts were inappropriately touched by someone very close to me. It had never happened before and did not happen again, and since a lot of alcohol was involved on their part it’s tough to say whether or not they had all of their wits about them. Nevertheless, the act affected me years down the road – well into my thirties; even dissuading me from breastfeeding either child – and brought heightened awareness to a body part I hadn’t thought of until then. At twelve, I was only just starting puberty. My menstrual cycle hadn’t begun but I was starting to feel the tinglings of pre-teenhood and this, well, this occurrence, gave me a whole new outlook on my developing breasts…
It made me hate them.
Over the years my disdain barely diminished. It would take a near act of God, a bite of my tongue, and a fighting back of tears for me to allow a boyfriend to get to first base. The memory would come crashing back and it would take all of the strength I could conjure not to run out of whoever’s bedroom we were in crying or worse, vomiting. I hated how they looked; uneven and small, but mostly, I loathed having them touched by anyone; man or woman. Even into my twenties as my relationships became more serious and I became more sexually active, that area was usually the one that my lovers knew to steer clear of though they never knew the real reason why. “Why can’t I suck on your breasts?” was a question often asked in the midst of a heated make-out session. “I just don’t like it, okay? It doesn’t turn me on. It kind of freaks me out if you really want to know” is how I would usually respond and for the most part that response was enough, but it took my first husband to finally draw the real reason out of me which is likely when I started on the path of healing.
In time I began to both appreciate and embrace my body as a whole more than I ever had in my teens or twenties. As I closed in on my thirties, my sexual desire monumentally grew and I was able to mostly compartmentalize the phobia I had as it pertained to my mammaries. I decisively opened myself up to allowing them to be a part of my sex life and even looked forward to having them licked, teased, and kissed, which meant I finally, finally, could look at them in the mirror without thinking of a time when I couldn’t. I knew their shapes, and their differences. I knew which was tenderer when a certain time of month rolled around. I welcomed their size, enjoyed their color, and decorated them with expensive bras and the occasional nipple clamp. These breasts were mine – they belonged to me, and no one else. They never did, they were always mine, and I loved them… I wholeheartedly, irrevocably loved them, and still do.
Next month I will be going in for my first ever mammogram. I knew this day would come sooner than later since I will be exactly six months away from my fortieth birthday on Friday. I had always assumed that it would come earlier for me since my maternal grandmother died of breast cancer in her forties but my OBGYN insisted after every past breast exam that I had nothing to worry about and that I could wait it out as long as possible. But now, the time has come, and there is a part of me that is just a little bit afraid having only been reunited with my breasts fully and happily in the last decade. I’m not ready to lose them, and while that’s a bit of a hyperbolic statement I can’t help but have this fear that they’ll go away before I know it, and I don’t want them to. I’m not ready for that, yet. I want my breasts and want others to want them too. I mean, I haven’t visited enough topless beaches in my life. I never flashed them in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. They still can’t hold up a pencil. Fuck, they’re not even pierced.
I guess what I’m saying to you – to the world, and even to my breasts – is that I’m sorry that I abandoned them for so long and that I hope that they can at least understand my reason, but that I’m here for them now and I will fight forever to never have to let them go again, so bring it… bring it on. Bring on the machine that will squish my boob to an inch of its life because I can take it. They can take it. Believe me, because they’ve taken a hell of a lot worse.