My breasts never see the light of day. They are the whitest part of me–the skin there feels thinner and fragile. I have veins on my right breast that are visible through the pale breast skin.
These veins are a big deal emotionally. They make my right breast look different from my left. I have fears about my breast health.
Do you? Is it easy for you to relax about your health? I’d like to tell you about all of this.
content warning: medical trauma, mention of death
When I was a kid, maybe seven or eight years old, my mom noticed these dark green veins on my right breast. It was not really a breast yet–hard to tell. We called my proto-breasts chichis.
My mom was upset, to see these veins. “Why do you have those veins there?” she asked. She seemed angry-worried. Overwhelmed with emotions, she dragged me to the living room to show my dad.
I was humiliated, to stand in front of my dad without a shirt on. “Do you think these veins are ok?” she asked my dad.
“Yeah, I think so…?” my dad said. He was not too alarmed.
My mom had big health fears–I know it’s because her mom died young of cancer. My mom was always worried about my health. She worried about my death especially.
Years later when I was a teenager, I had a sore on my breast, and my mom saw it. Maybe I told her about it, not knowing she would freak out.
She took me to the doctor and demanded of the doctor, “What is this?”
I was humiliated then also. The doctor was a man, and the sore was near my areola. It scrunched up and my nipple poked out, when he was examining the sore.
My mom told the doctor, “When my mom was dying of cancer, she had sores like these all over her.”
The doctor assured my mom that this was not a cancer sore. It healed in a few days. But I carry her trauma still, these 30 years later.
fears of the parent
I feel sorry for my mom, that she was so afraid of death, especially mine. She was traumatized by the death of her mom, among other things. But she never worked to heal her trauma. She prayed to Jesus to cope, for her feelings to be taken away, so she could take more abuse from the men in her life.
There was no facing reality, admitting the truth, healing anything. No therapy for mama–just devotions, prayer, and avoiding painful topics as long as she could. She was mostly in denial and repression about everything.
Now I have my mom’s fears, especially about health. Anxiety is weird! It’s like paranoia. Probably the agents aren’t after me, but what if they are, this time? It’s technically possible.
I can be silly, worrying about some veins that have been prominent for decades, or I can worry about something else. The truth is, I will die one day. We don’t know what will get me, but possibly it could be related to my breasts.
“Yeah, I was writing this blog post? And I was talking about when my mom showed my chest to my dad, when I was a kid, and how terrible that was. I wasn’t really in charge of my body. She was in charge of my body, you know?” My spouse and I were walking at the mall, trying to enjoy cooler temperatures.
“Yeah,” my spouse said.
“Then I remembered how she also took me to the doctor when I had a sore on my breast, and it was about her mom’s death. It was all about that,” I said. “I’d forgotten about it. Or I hadn’t forgotten about it, but I hadn’t connected the two.”
“Yeah, I can see how that’s connected,” he said.
“It felt really painful, writing that post. To realize all these health fears are mostly not mine. I’m carrying a lot that’s not mine,” I said.
It reminds me of the seven of swords. It’s not that I stole the ideas–they were handed to me, and I took them as I thought I had to. But I’m free now. I can set them down.
I want to love my body unconditionally–my breasts, my eyes, my fat tummy, thighs, ass. My crooked teeth, the voices I hear, the thoughts I think. My past, my future–my present, I’m mostly naked, just black underwear. Resting in the half-dark, I’m typing on this laptop in bed as fans blow on me and I digest my dinner.
My breasts are not bad. No part of me is bad. I love all of me and respect my body, even the parts that will eventually be the end of me.