these are the times to remember

Today, I left the window open in the bathroom, when I showered, because–well, there’s not a good story there. If there were a good story there, I would be happy to share it with you. Instead, it’s a smaller, yet vital component of a larger story. Hot shower, window open. The bathroom mirror fogging up, as it always does, but clearing up quickly, as I complete my grooming in front of the mirror.

I am used to the toning and the lotioning and the SPFing and the q-tipping and the hair gooping and poofing to all be done in front of a steam-blurred mirror, and I’ve always been happy that way, not being confronted with the challenge of liking myself and being totally positive and body-proud first thing in the morning. It is hard enough when you are awake, or sober, or not blind in one eye or do not have a concussion.

This morning, of course, however and luckily, in service of this story
I am telling you, the mirror was clear. I am absently rubbing styling
lotion through my shaggy hair and making it all spiky, and I catch my
own eye in the mirror, and I am momentarily astonished by my breasts,
number one and number two, sitting there on my chest.

My breasts that I had already dismissed, more or less, as being lost
causes, small and sad, starting to drift vaguely downward, beginning to
lose their roundness, occasionally demonstrating alarming signs of that
crepey-ness that loose and extra skin will provide at no extra
charge–these breasts that had saddened me so much I had entirely
blocked them from my consciousness, these breasts were looking back at
me in the mirror, and they looked really good. Small, but still
reasonably sized and in proportion; not as full and plump on top, but
reasonably shaped.

I was having a good breast day. Which is nice, of course. Because who
doesn’t want a day full of good breasts? Crazy communists, that’s who.
But I am still pretty unsure about how I feel, with this one day on,
several months off kind of body I have suddenly got. I am very firmly
of the opinion that it is not a matter of perception, of self-esteem
and body consciousness. I really think it is the contours of my body
changing every single day. It is the outline of my body shifting as I
sleep and eat and breathe and walk and talk and think. It moves
millimeters at a time; it is ever-changing. It is haunted and it is
freaking me out.

One day my breasts do not stand up at all; the next day they are perky!
And then the next day? Not so much, goddamn them. Which is possibly
more information than any one needs about my breasts. But there are
other weird parts, there are. I mean, my pants fit today! These new
pants I found at the bottom of my dresser, the smallest size I have
ever been in. They were snug and did not fit yesterday, but today they
are buttoned and zipped. Where did that bit of my stomach that kind of
drooped a bit go? For it is no longer there, and here is my belly
almost entirely flat and that is just fucking crazy, because it sure as
hell wasn’t flat last week. Two days ago. Last night, the skin was
loose, and this morning, the skin is not, like magic or some weird
science shit I don’t understand, which is extremely very much exactly
like magic, but twice as annoying because tomorrow I will get that
flappy belly back, with some friends on my thighs.

So no, it is not magic, because as far as I am concerned, magic is
not-annoying fairies and non-irritating unicorns. What this is, this
transmutable body of mine, is, in fact, creepy and so totally weird. It
is really really creepy to not be able to keep up with your own body,
or to recognize it and be able to lay claim to any section of it and
say yes, that’s what I look like, and the way that I am staying exactly
the same like this? That is me. Hello, me. Nice tits.

Will I keep these boobs? I am hoping I get to keep these boobs, and
that not only tomorrow, but when I am done with the losing weight up
here and that maybe I get to hang on to a part of my body which works
okay for me. The idea of plastic surgery is one that I’ve been kicking
around since even before I made the decision to get weight loss
surgery; the issue of loose skin and saggy things, that is something
you have to consider when you’re making up your mind, and it is a
serious consideration.

You have two options, and neither of them are perfect. You live with
the way your body ends up, which is sometimes a shock to people–but I’m
skinny now! I’m supposed to have a swimsuit model body! This is
bullshit and I want my money back! Or you live with the idea of getting
more elective surgery, hours and hours and hours of it that may contour
your body slightly closer to the way you imagined it would be, but it
is never perfect, no, and it hurts and could be lumpy and there is a
pattern of scars that will never entirely fade.

I don’t want to have to force my body into shapes I imagine will make
me happy; I don’t want to have plastic boobs and a lifted ass. I also
don’t want to have flaps of skin where my breasts used to be, and I
don’t want pendulousness where I should have a stomach, and I don’t
want this body I am getting, that only sometimes has good days. I guess
what I’m saying is that this is bullshit and I want my money back! I
guess what I’m saying is that you can seriously consider whatever you
want to seriously consider and you can think you are so smart and
well-adjusted, but just you wait because any minute now, you’re going
to be faced with things you couldn’t have imagined, like good breast
days. Or maybe that’s just me.

A reminder! I want your pictures, please. I am figuring out the details now. E-mail me at anneotate@gmail.com if you’d like to participate–and I hope you will.

  8 comments for “these are the times to remember

  1. August 14, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    My boobs do the same thing! I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight, but it still happens. One day, I feel like I’m having to hoist them up from my waist and use a complicated pulley system to wrangle them into my bra, the next day they’re standing at attention like good little recruits. It is SO annoying, but at the same time I’m not going to complain because in my experience if I do that too much I’ll just lose the perky days and be stuck with consistant droopy days. I have noticed that the bra I wore the day before seems to play a small part, if it’s a pushup-ish or balconette the girls are much higher the next day. If it’s a typical underwire that kinda lets them do their own thing they seem to hang a bit lower the next day.

    As for the plastic surgery, I know what you mean. As a 38D since High School (though I didn’t really admit it until college and kept shoving myself into C cups) I have already given myself permission to have a breast lift at 50. I just don’t want to feel like I’m stuck with what my rebelling body is doing. At the same time, though, we’ll see how I feel when it’s actually time to go into the office and lie down on the table. I also have a small fear that if my tits end up looking awesome I’ll go back for the tummy tuck and the eye lift and blah blah until I’m just not myself anymore.

  2. La Wade
    August 14, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    All this seems totally par for the course to me and it is called “having a menstrual cycle.”

  3. August 14, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    I wish I had a picture to share with you, but I’m still in my before stages. :P

  4. August 14, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about your photoreality project…not in terms of before and after, but in terms of then and now. So many times I thought I was fat and wasn’t (I now see)…and now that I am I like myself a lot more. Most of the time. Like on Saturday when I looked pretty amazing and actually managed to have my photo taken in that state.

    And then there are ‘those’ pictures…like ones of me teaching a two year old to do the chicken dance or whatever…where I wonder at the enormity of myself…where did it come from? How did I let it happen?

    I’m thinking seriously about your project…about photos and what I thought of myself / my body at various times.

  5. MM
    August 15, 2007 at 10:39 am

    I have flat tea-bags now after losing weight. If I lay down, they go toward my armpits or I am entirely flat.

  6. August 15, 2007 at 10:59 am

    La Wade, I love you for that comment. It’s funny because it’s true!

    Also, Miss Anne, I’ve suddenly developed saddlebags. 5 1/2 weeks after surgery, and boom! Saddlebags where there were no saddlebags before, thanks to the fact that all of my fat seems to think shifting downward is the thing to do. I expect that in six months I will have rolls of skin around my ankles like little old ladies have droopy stockings.

  7. August 15, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    I agree with LaWade, and this is true not only of my breasts but my tummy, my gut, my below-the-boob area, etc… some days I look in the mirror and think “Day-um, self, you look hawt!” and other days I think “Shit, I liked my body better fat, at least I didn’t have all these weird skin things goin’ on.”

    But, in clothes, I like the way I look. I can deal with the rest.

  8. Amy
    August 15, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Hurrah for small breasts! Mine do the same. I think my boobs were lazy during puberty. I developed huge areolas and mid-sized nipples, but the rest of my breasts didn’t fully expand as one would expect with the size of my aerolas and nipples. Therefore, I am stuck with these more triangular than round breasts that looks like eggs sunny-side up. And my right boob is noticeably bigger than my left!

    But there are days, lemme tell you, that my boobs look fantastic. Almost round, very perky. And from what I’ve heard, a handful is all you need, and I certainly have that.

    My belly is a whole different story. It’s shrinking at my sides, but it seems to be sinking in the middle. I’ve always carried most of my weight in my belly. I’m about 50 pounds down with 50 to go, and while the front view shows a MUCH smaller belly (and my boobs almost stick out further than my belly now), the side view shows a lumpy belly that seems to be sinking into my socks in the middle. Like a big wad of wet toliet paper slowly losing its grip on the ceiling in the boys bathroom.

    And my thighs! Firm on the outside, front, and back. Lumpy on the inside! What’s that all about?! I am lumpier now than I was 50 pounds ago, though my thighs are thinner.

    Still, every morning, by the time I get into the bathroom to take off my robe, dry my hair, and do all of those beauty maintenance/enhancement rituals, the mirror is clear, and I am faced with the body my body decides to be for the day.

    But now, instead of looking away and cringing, I stare. Just like Forrest Gump’s mama said in comparison between life and a box of chocolates, you really never know what you’re gonna get.

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