The Fascination with Breasts and Angelina Jolie

I’ll begin with what inspired me to write about this…and I can assure you that it is not Angelina Jolie. Yes, she does deserve a lot of merit for being so public about her double mastectomy, and apparently, she will go on to remove her ovaries as well. It is not an easy choice to make, for sure. However, Angelina has the benefit of being a celebrity and has the resources to get the best “medicine” money can buy. We can’t say the same for the rest of the women fighting breast cancer. In fact, Angelina went onto reconstruct her breasts after the surgery. Some women simply do not have that option.

You’d think that with the ridiculous amount of attention/fascination given to breasts, there would be more emphasis given to the state of its health, rather than just the shape, and size. I am pretty sure if Angelina was not the hot babe highlighting this issue, most people (men, in particular) would not have bothered to read or take notice.

All men seem to just see in a woman are her breasts and how big or small they are. Sometimes, they even forget that there is a real person attached to those pair of mammaries. And no, the size of their mammaries have no relation whatsoever to the size of their brains either.

women-breast-sizes chart

So, this post is not another homage to Angelina’s courage but it is to salute women like Kelly Davidson, as pictured below. To be honest,  it is this very picture of her that inspired me to write this.

She is no Angelina Jolie, but she has certainly done her fair share in coming out to the world about her battle with breast cancer. As you can see, she underwent a double mastectomy as well. Then, she went on to ink the motifs of fairies onto her chest.

For some, it might be uncomfortable seeing a woman without her most “defining assets”. I use that term loosely, by the way. Because, to me, a real woman’s most defining assets actually lie in the region of her mind and heart, and not her breasts. However, for this case, please do look at her chest area and not look away. Because, Kelly is baring herself to send a message. Thank you.

Kelly Davidson: Breast Cancer Survivor

Kelly Davidson: Breast Cancer Survivor

Now, some of you may not know that I had lost my paternal grandmother to cancer, and not to mention, a few dear friends as well. Some of my friends are also cancer survivors. So, cancer is a household name for me in more ways than one.

I, myself, had a scare about 6 years ago when the doctor found some lumps in my left breast. We had to do a biopsy and although everything turned out to be all right, I do remember that entire experience vividly.

I remember standing in the X-Ray room when they had to take an image of my left breast to pinpoint the exact location of the lump to be removed for biopsy. I remember being poked several times because they had to be so accurate as to where that darn chunk of mass was. So, imagine me being in that X-Ray room with the nurses, two doctors, and with two long pins stuck into my left breast. They would take an X-Ray, and then adjust those two pins until it hit the right exact spot. We had to repeat the X-Ray 4 times until they had it.

For a brief moment, I did wonder if the radiation exposure would have enhanced my risk to my possible cancer. I also wondered if my left breast would become significantly smaller than my right after the surgery. The doctor assured me that it would be just a small incision. My left breast would look the same after the surgery. Well, I just had to ask.

I recall being very calm and cool about going to the hospital alone on the day of the surgery. Then, one of my sisters insisted on accompanying me just to make sure I was going to be all right. I was very calm until they wheeled me into the operating theatre. Then it all changed.

Lying on that cold hard steel surgery table made me nervous and my heart rate started to rise sharply. I felt very cold and began to shake uncontrollably. They had to inject something into me to calm me down.

In retrospect, I was probably trembling from both the cold and the fear. A thousand things raced through my mind that day. They mostly revolved around my daughter.

What if it turned out to be cancerous, how would my life change from there? What would I need to do? Who will take care of my daughter and be there for her? Will I be able to survive it?

Finally, it came – the thought of losing my left breast, if it had to come to that. Would I feel less of a woman? Would I truly miss it?

Granted, I was never really fond of them when I was much younger. I have always thought they were a bit of a nuisance. When I was younger, I used to tape them down so that they’d be flattened and I could get away with not wearing a bra. Such were the silly things a child would do when she did not know any better. Naturally, now, they are part and parcel of who I am, and my femininity. I have grown to live with them, and even learnt to “enjoy” the benefits of having them as I grew older.

So, I laid there and continued shaking and thinking until the cloud of darkness took over. Then, I was knocked out completely. The next moment I opened my eyes, the surgery was well and over. I was back in the privacy of my hospital room, with a groggy sensation.

Without fail, I have myself checked out every year. I didn’t use to before that incident. Yes, I have grown to be more aware and concerned over my health after that. As a result, I have also decided to change certain aspects of my lifestyle. I had decided to return to simplicity and just de-cluttered from inside out.

So, while I was one of the lucky few who managed to escape cancer, there are those who did not and could not.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to live without one’s breasts, but I can understand why many women who can afford to do so will proceed with reconstructing their breasts. After going through chemo and all sorts of medication/therapy, I would imagine everyone would like to return to some semblance of normalcy, as much as they could.  As I have mentioned earlier, there are also many women who simply can’t reconstruct their breasts, or their lives. Some are due to health issues or complications, while others just simply don’t have the funds for it. And some are badly traumatized by the whole event and they find it very challenging to cope without help or support. Hence, this is why I salute women like Kelly Davidson who has found her own way to embrace her own survival.

It saddens me tremendously that many people have criticised Kelly’s special tattoo as much as they have made fun of Angelina’s breasts. I even read a guy posting on Twitter asking if he could buy Angelina’s ex-breasts on eBay. Seriously?

There are always going to be these insensitive/inconsiderate fools who think it is funny until it actually happens to them. Then, like dried twigs, they would break into pieces. Believe me, when cancer comes to collect at their doorstep (touch wood), they’d be shitting in their pants and crying like babies. They’d be no different from me shivering uncontrollably when I was lying on that operating table 6 years ago. The fear is very real.

I wish these people would just learn to be grateful that it is not them, and act kinder or be more compassionate towards those who are suffering from this horrid disease. Cruelty is really so un-necessary, because life itself can be quite cruel as it is. We seriously do not need to add to the pain.

The truth is, some of us may not have the grace, courage and strength that Angelina and Kelly have displayed. However, all of us will have no choice but to find a way in order  to survive.

As much as we appreciate and even applaud beauty and breasts, or rather beauties with breasts, outer beauty is not something we can truly own. At best, our physical attributes are temporal. Because, disease and time will easily rob them from us without warning. Only our internal beauty remains long after time and illness have ravaged our physique. It is precisely at these very times that we get to witness the true beauty in one’s soul.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T TO ALL THE BRAVE AND COURAGEOUS MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE FIGHTING CANCER. AND ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO HAVE FOUGHT CANCER.

As always, start your own brand of fearless living and love the life you live.

Peace! 🙂

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

7 Comments
  • aditebanerjie
    May 17, 2013

    Shirley, you should check out this story for another point of view about the Angelina Jolie declaration… http://www.naturalnews.com/040365_Angelina_Jolie_gene_patents_Supreme_Court_decision.html

    • SHIRLEY MAYA TAN
      May 17, 2013

      Wow, Adite! You are really fast! I just uploaded this. Haha
      Yes, I will check it out. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • denmother
    May 17, 2013

    I totally agree that Angelina had options not accessible to the masses. I can’t help but think that a double mastectomy that is chosen and planned for would be significantly different experience overall when money is no object and you can reconstruct to possibly “better” breasts.
    Denmother

  • GK Adams
    May 17, 2013

    Angelina’s choice was exactly that: her choice. If I had her financial resources, I would do the same. Kelly Davidson, however, is the true hero in this story…as are all women inflicted with this disease and have fought it or continue to fight it. I admire her courage. Kelly should be a role model to all of us!

    • SHIRLEY MAYA TAN
      May 18, 2013

      Yup, I agree and even with the latest “controversial revelation” about Angelina being a part of a corporate PR scam, true or not, I cannot say but it is her choice. I am very sure if money is of no object, people will make very different choices for themselves. However, it is in those very limited options that we see the real triumph of the human spirit 🙂