When it comes to fashion, I've always erred on the side of caution. I prefer tailored suits and cozy sweaters to the big reveal. But the drapery has for years hidden one of my best assets. I come from a long line of Irish women with shapely gams and architecturally sound declotte. My mother has a photo of herself walking arm-in-arm with her sisters back in the 1940's and heaven help us, bombshells all of them. But not a hint of cleavage in sight.
It was by default that I overcame the notion that disgression is the better part of vavoom. Opting not to buy a new dress in these times, I resurrected an evening gown from the far reaches of my closet that I hadn't worn in ten years. Let me tell you, I felt immense relief when the zipper complied. It still fit me, albeit snugly. But I couldn't find the little jacket that goes with it--the one that sheaths the girls! I went three rounds with my closet until finally, collapsing in a heap of frustration and mussed hair, I caved. I would have to put them out there.
Well, it felt great. It was empowering, to be honest. So much so that I posted a photo of me in the dress on Facebook. But it also gave me pause. They've always been there--a very private, very hidden part of me. I've never exploited them to advantage, nor offered them up as a part of some package marked: "sexy female". They didn't help me achieve anything in life beyond being a good mother. But I like to think they contribute to the well-rounded woman I am.
So, as Breast Cancer Awareness month concludes, I now understand why my girlfriend, having lost her sister to breast cancer found a lump in her own and resolutely directed her doctor to, "Take them both off." When I tried to suggest something less extreme, she told me what I now accept as truth: "I want to be healthy. I don't want to be afraid of my own breasts. They don't make me and they won't break me."