the hyphens that define my life

Boobies July 18, 2013

Conversations with my 7 year old, Andre, take you down random paths you had no plans travelling.  Today’s random topic while soothing him from cracking himself in the head with the ball of a Kendama, focused on not understanding why boys and girls start out the same, with flat chests (pronounced chest-is), then girls get boobies.  How does that happen?  Easy enough, I can answer that one, puberty.  He didn’t understand.  Rather than go into the medical definition of puberty, I threw a curve ball of my own.  “Did you know that there are fish that are first boys and then become girls?”  “What?!?”  he shreiked.  “True story”.  “That’s just freaky” he proclaimed before running off to torture his brothers.

Probably not my finest maternal hour but I succeeded in two things: 1) he was distracted enough not to fret over bonking his head and 2) be careful who you drag with you down a strange path, they just might surprise you.

You’ve read this far, now you’re being dragged down a strange path.  Welcome.

I recently read Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s memoir, I’m Not Myself These Days.  This is an adventure filled journey through Manhattan as a transvestite by night and advertising director by day.  Don’t judge the book by it’s cute goldfish cover.  I was surprised, I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought this book at a yard sale.  I loved the book and I can’t wait to read Kilmer-Purcell’s two other novels.

In costume as Aqua, his transvestite persona, Josh had costumes designed to accommodate plastic globes with water and goldfish that he wore as boobs. Genius and awesome.  The one photo of Aqua in the book is impressive.  Aqua retired and Josh became a successful writer, happily ever after.

Earlier this year, I read an article about a woman, a triathlete, that, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a double mastectomy, decided not to have reconstructive surgery.  In the magazine, she was photographed, topless, showing her scars.  How brave.  I have since seen other photos where cancer survivors have opted for tattoos over their scars instead of reconstructive surgery.  tattoos covering scars totally make sense to me (see earlier post where tattoos boggle my mind).  After reading the article (forgive me for not remembering which magazine), I told Vince that I would not opt for reconstructive surgery either.  He raised his bushy eyebrows  but didn’t comment beyond, “ok”, which sounded more like ooooooooh kayyyyyyyy.  He’s learned long ago to just roll with whatever I throw at him.

I’m certain this post is going to ruffle some feathers. Reconstructive surgery is a personal choice.  I respect your decision to reconstruct, to go bigger or to downsize, reconstruction just isn’t for me.  I have not been diagnosed with breast cancer so I’m not subject to making that decision and hopefully will never be in that position.  I am confident I would stick with not opting for reconstructive surgery based on my own cancer history and having a third of my colon removed (right hemicolectomy) without reconstructive surgery.  As a woman, I’m not defined by my colon, my boobs, or by the length of my hair for that matter, but by how I live my life.

Remember it is ok to swim upstream, to be you, to consider all options and do what’s best for you.  Goldfish could be the way to go.



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