If you’re a man, you may as well know up front: Despite the word “breasts” in the title, YOU WILL NOT RELATE TO THIS POST.
Or at least, that’s my hope for you.
Of all the random things that we women develop a relationship with (plants, shoes, chocolate) our breasts are possibly the most close-to-heart of all – literally and figuratively.
This is partly because our breasts are the bridge between hopscotch and lipstick. It’s also because they begin to make an appearance during a time of confused contradictions.
Standing at the brink of teenage awareness, we look at the mysterious bosom of older women and a curious fascination is born. At the same time, our sprouting lumps become the favourite topic of conversation for our younger brothers and sisters. This distracts our secret fascination and causes us to hate the promise of our future breasts almost as much as we hate our siblings.
Although anatomically correct from birth, the fact that my brother and I were not built the same “down there” was never an issue until my chest started coming to life. Suddenly, the term “Mona’s boobs” from my brother’s mouth was all it took to trigger a fit of screaming embarrassment that bordered on looking like I was having an epileptic seizure.
Thanks to my budding boobs, life was changing. My brother and I no longer took baths together and oversized sweatshirts became my modus operandi whenever I was to go out in public.
In particular, I remember a trip we took – my parents, brother and I – to visit some friends of my parents who happened to have five sons.
As we drove to the airport, my brother was given strict instructions:
“You are not to talk about Mona’s boobs while we’re there. Do you understand?”
My brother barely shook his head in acknowledgement. I believed this was because he wasn’t sure he could trust himself. As for me, I was too embarrassed to even pretend to ignore my mother’s words and simply stared out the car window and prayed to whatever boob-god was listening to please have mercy on my humility. And if possible, open a hole in the sky and suck me into it.
“Now, please,” I begged in silence.
Either the gods did have mercy or my brother understood the severity of this conversation because he didn’t mention my boobs at all for the entire duration of our stay at this boy-infested house.
I remember feeling grateful and even started thinking about other things myself until the plane landed on our return flight and my brother suddenly turned to our mother and blurted, “Mom. . . how are Mona’s boobs?”
I think I died a little at that moment because the rest of the trip home is a complete blank to me.
Many years have passed since then and – like all women – I’ve managed to build a relationship with my breasts. One that borders on both appreciation and acceptance. They’ve nurtured my babies and – I like to imagine – have even served as a source of empowerment in the way that they quasi fill out my blouses and sweaters.