This I Believe

Jennifer - Cockeysville, Maryland
Entered on May 16, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

Two for Show

I overheard my work neighbor today. She was calling about a mastectomy. She was making an appointment to amputate half of her womanhood.

She is going to be half-titted.

My heart hurts. Is her womanhood going to kill her? She jokes later about the surgery, saying that they are going to give her a tummy tuck to make a new breast. She smiled but there is fear in her eyes.

She was crying the other day, softly. She just found out that she has cancer. She is a woman, scared, beautiful, afraid.

America is breast obsessed. The breast is a fixation of American culture. Women are never happy with what we have been given. We always want more or less, but we always want two.

I even joined the ranks of breast augmentation. I got rid of some. I was taught to hate my body before I had a body to hate. My relatives would say to me, “ if you turn out like your grandma, WE ARE GOING TO GET YOU A BREAST REDUCTION.” I did both. The boys loved it and I hated myself.

My cousins used to call a bra a double barrel sling shot.

Even clothing lines hate too much or too little. There is equipment to add a little or to squeeze ‘em in to make them smaller. What is enough? I don’t know but it is always a pair.

What are breasts? Mammary glands, used to feed offspring, all mammals have them.

I knew a beautiful woman, with perfect breasts, who bottle-feed her baby. What a waste of a body!

Breasts have been given such a difficult task, bearing the brunt of what makes a woman attractive, unattractive, confident or insecure. Whatever the conflict is too much or too little, sloppy, flabby, perky, beautiful: whenever they are mentioned, it is always in two’s. This I believe is true.