1999, Berkeley CA
I emerged from the pool, carefully avoiding putting weight on my right foot. For almost an hour, I walked, sprinted, kicked and swam without any pain. But once back on land, my foot reminded me why I was at the pool instead of the dance studio: I was injured and couldn't dance. So instead of leaping and spinning with all my 20-something friends in leotards, I was at a dank pool, surrounded by gray haired retirees bobbing around in skirted bathing suits.
Waddling to the locker room, I clumsily avoided the many lose, crumbling tiles and sighed with relief when I saw that the large shower room was empty. Alone, I stripped off my suit and put my face directly in the water to drown out my self-pitying thoughts.
After minutes of wasteful, blissful water use, I came back to reality with the sound of many voices entering the locker room. A class was evidently about to begin. These ladies began stepping into the shower room, as I tried to hurry through the washing portion of my shower - I was a little shy about showering naked in front of strangers. When I finally turned off my shower and turned around, I was stunned by what I saw.
The women who stood before me were all scarred. Some had no brea$ts, some had one. My eyes darted quickly around in shock and then dropped to the floor as I began to leave. A woman near the doorway grabbed my arm as I passed.
"It's okay, sweetheart," she said kindly. "We know we're a scary sight. Appreciate your brea$ts while you have them. While they're so beautiful."
2014, Northern VA
For most of my life, I've been disappointed by my b00bs.
(I started to type the word "hate" but since I vehemently protest whenever my girls use that dull, blunt word to describe something as benign as mashed potatoes, I think I should be a little more precise in my word choice.)
(and, yes, I know, who in their right mind HATES mashed potatoes?!)
I spent my teenage years seething at my b00bs' incredibly late arrival. When they did decide to make an appearance, it was an easy entrance to miss. I was frustrated by their size (A cup, on a good day, with the wind at my back) and shape (ski slope flat on top, droopy underneath.)
I was convinced that b00bs were a vital currency for a teenage girl and, as such, I was nearly broke.
But my b00bs have really come into their own. First they miraculously fed both my daughters, a gift that ranks among my life's highlights.
And now, they have once again pulled through.
My biopsy results were normal.
Dear b00bs, I'm sorry I haven't appreciated you enough. I'm sorry I ever doubted you. Thanks for sticking by me, and sticking around.