Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Importance of Breasts

I’ve never had a healthy relationship with my breasts. Ever since I can remember, I’ve viewed them as a burden. I’m pretty sure this had a lot to do with the fact that my mother had enormous breasts.

I remember watching her dress when I was a toddler and wondering how she stood upright with all that cone-shaped weight dangling from her chest. Back then, the popular bras contorted women’s breasts into the shape of missiles. When she was fully dressed, her appearance baffled me even more. Why were her breasts so pointy? Didn’t it frustrate her that these pointy cones were always in the way? They pressed against doors whenever she opened them; they disrupted table settings at restaurants because every time she sat down her breasts pulled the tablecloth down too; they were an official landing ground for bread crumbs, spaghetti sauce, noodles and virtually anything else she ate. I wanted no part of them, but my mother warned me. “Yours’ll probably be this big,” she said. But I would scream, “No!”

My breasts are not as big as my mother’s, but they’re pretty damn big.  This pleases my husband immensely! Oftentimes, he greets me at the same time that he greets my breasts. He’ll come home and peck me on the lips while simultaneously caressing the sides of them. Sometimes he simply wants to check in with them. I’ll be minding my business, and he’ll come up to me and caress my nipples. “Ahh,” he says then he’ll go back to whatever he was doing. During these moments, I roll my eyes and let him have his way. Male obsession with breasts baffles me, but then I am equally obsessed with his penis. I greet it and check in with it at regular intervals just like he does with my breasts.

My point is this: I have always perceived my breasts as appendages to be dreaded, tolerated or ignored. It’s rare that I get off when my husband takes my nipples into his mouth or caresses them. That’s how it’s always been for me. Breasts’re just there? His skills are better used on other body parts that I’m more interested in. During sex, my breasts often get in the way, especially during a good ramming. They move so vigorously that all the weight converges toward the nipple at rapid speed then my breasts feel like balls of inflamed nerves. They actually start to hurt. I have to hold them still, so I can enjoy the ramming and my orgasm, which means that instead of enjoying the tactile sensation of my man’s chest, his arm muscles, his thighs and his ass, my hands are serving as a damn brassiere.

I’m at the age now where I have to get mammograms. Sure, I’ve read about women getting mastectomies, and I’ve seen images on television and in movies, but it’s always been a topic that existed in the garbage disposal of my brain. For the first time, I’m seriously thinking about my breasts in a new light. I like that they’re symmetrical. I like that they’re proportionate to my body. I like that my husband loves touching them. I like that they please him. I like that when he’s sleeping, he rolls over, slides his hand into my night shirt and rests it between my breasts, all without waking up.

I asked him how he would respond if I had to have a mastectomy, and he said, “I would be sad, but I would adjust. Wouldn’t you be sad?” he asked.

I thought about this then said, “I would be inconvenienced, but it’s easy for me to say that with two big healthy breasts.”

I had my first mammogram a few days ago. I do not have a history of breast cancer, or any other kind of cancer, in my family, and all the women in my family lived long lives. I am, however, concerned about breast-size, my eating habits and my typical American lifestyle. The matrilineal women in my family all had large breasts, and I know large breasts are correlated with breast cancer. My mother, grandmothers and great-grandmothers had a scarcity of food for most of their lives; whereas, I have an over-abundance. Also, they did not have to deal with excessive acrylamide and Bisphenol A (BPA) entering their system. They didn’t eat fast-food French fries on the regular like I did nor did they drink and eat out of plastic containers for much of their childhoods.

The mammogram went okay, I guess. Ain’t nothing fun about having your breasts squooshed between two cold, plastic trays. It wasn’t excruciatingly painful, but it was painful at times. I’m blessed that I have insurance, so I can get these preventative tests done without a problem. It makes me fear for women who don’t have insurance or access to doctors. It makes me fear for their babies who may lose them pre-maturely. It makes me understand the importance of breasts and female health beyond my own existence.

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