I dreamed I had many lovely dresses. More ornate and beautiful than any earthly garments I've seen. They were colorful and detailed, elegant and heavy. I tried five of them on and, with the help of my daughter, chose one. I was uncomfortable in all of it's beauty and felt inadequate in my body to wear such a lovely womanly gown. But I kept it on and sported around barefooted to get accustomed to the dress and to adapt to its magnificence. Jenna said it looked wonderful on me, so I tried to see and convince myself, perhaps she's right, maybe I am worthy and graceful enough to wear such a royal gown.
There have been clothes in the past that my sisters have encourage me to wear. The same has been true for the make-up they so eagerly pile on my face. I always look in the mirror and scream: "EEK! Isn't that too much? Don't my eyes seem dark? Are you sure this is beautiful? Or are you secretly laughing your heads off at the fact that you've just made me look like a whore clown?" Probably my insecurities and perceptions of what a woman is, or at least what she is supposed to look like, plagues me. Being tall and lanky, I've been mistaken for a young man twice now. I inherited my daddy's facial features and his flat board chest. I can see where they could get confused. So uncertain am I of my own femininity that I'm not at all surprised it slipped into my dreams.
I remember being sixteen and finally getting the courage to ask my mom if she thought my boobs would ever get bigger. I can't remember her reply. I was so humiliated that I had ever asked. So desperately wanting a chest, nice full round breasts, I tried exercises. You know the one, "I must... I must... I must increase my bust." My Mema (grandmother) was aware of my less than adequate situation and decided to give me Lecithin tablets. She said she had read they have been known to enhance the mammary glands. I would swallow as many tablets as she would dish out and then eagerly rush to the main bathroom decorated in Pepto-Bismol pink and lift my blouse to see the miracle occur. I Tried hard to see any change and kind of convinced myself that perhaps there was indeed a little lift. Needless to say, the only time my breasts grew was when I was nine months pregnant and only for the sole purpose of producing and storing milk. Each child was well fed and then, when they were weaned, they didn't leave a little extra behind. They actually took a little more than they were entitled to, leaving me feeling like I was six years old and not even needing a training bra.
I try to reassure myself by saying, "Flat chests are sexy and at least I'll never have back troubles or those deep permanent valleys in my shoulders." Also on the bright side: I'll never have to go to the dreaded mammogram machine where they squish the large overflowing fleshy breasts to see what no man can see. Girlfriend, you and me and every man can see there are no lumps or bumps here. In fact, if there were, they would show up and fill out my shirt in such an odd way that the whole populous would notice and say, "What's that on your chest?"
Recently I've lost eighteen pounds. It was a special diet due to Candida; not my choice, mind you. Needless to say, I'm still wearing a padded bra to create the illusion that I have a little more than nipples. Well, I take that contraption off when I'm at home because, face it, I'm not fooling my husband in the least. My daughter, who has been blessed with a full B cup, noticed the truth. We were lounging together on the couch watching our favorite mother/daughter show when she announced, "Mom, you don't have any boobs! Oh, I'm sorry, that's so sad!" All I could do was sigh and agree. Yeah, it's too bad. I could just hear her thoughts: "Wow, I'm so glad I didn't get that gene! Oh, I hope I don't lose the little I got! God, please!"
Now that I'm forty-two and one hundred days late on my period, I realize this too is unfair. Not only am I flat-chested and spent my whole youth wondering if I was truly womanly enough to be a member of the female club, but now I'm in the throes of menopause, something my peers won't know for another eight to ten years! Where is the humor in all this? I'm not sure, but I do laugh!
I've decided to accept my plight and to embrace my lack of curves; to consider my own beauty and shape of it; to continue to focus on the inner being and its shape. My soul is large, bigger than a double D. It is alive and vibrant and eternal, not dying off one egg at a time. My loving, peaceful, joyful spirit supersedes my physical inadequacies. It rises up and bubbles over and grows more voluptuous every day. Does it really matter if I am a woman who doesn't "fill" the mold? Does it matter that I am female at all? I dare to say no, for I am more than two boobs and I am more than a uterus and two ovaries. I am heart and I am soul and I am eternal and I am life and I am love. Oh, what a glorious body I am!
I think I'll keep all the beautiful dressing gowns in my dream and perhaps I'll go shopping for a real flashy dress- -one with beads and sparkles, and a deep scooping neck line. Then I'll swing into Victoria's Secret to buy some lovely lingerie, a sexy nightgown, lacy panties and maybe, just maybe, a new padded bra.
Published in The Talking Stick, Volume Seventeen, 2008