Last night I had the pleasure of being one of five photographers at the Divas Changing Lives – A Beautiful You Extravaganza. It was an amazing night for women who are fighting or who have fought breast cancer. We even got a nice set of boobs to take home ! Or a least a REALLY fancy boob bag.
Now I thought it was a bit of a weird purse but apparently, so I was told, it’s to put your bra in. My response ? I don’t have a fancy enough bra to warrant this kind of coddling ! Bless the woman who answered that I should get one as a treat instead of going: Hey, Dingbat. It’s for women who have to carry their boobs around in a bag.
This didn’t hit me until today. These amazing “purses” are for the women who have fought the fight against cancer and have come out minus their mammaries. These are for the women whose mammaries are but memories. To have gone through that painful battle deserves something more than a pretty bag but this was an excellent start. This whole night was about remembering the mammaries that have been loved and lost and celebrating being alive. It was about so much more than being beautiful. It was about being a strong, warrior woman and getting a fancy boob bag was a nice bonus.
With breast cancer being so prevalent in the news, you can become desensitized to it. Like the victims of tsunami’s and those needing clean water, we can start to tune out the call for help. The support pours in at first but like the tsunami, at some point the wave recedes and the victims are left to pick up the pieces on their own. The thing is, the wave of breast cancer is not receding. Rates might be dropping but a lot of women are still ending up carrying their boobs in a bag. We need to make sure that the strength that started the wave continues. Divas Changing Lives is helping to make that happen.
I had nothing to do with organizing this fantastic event. It was by a sheer stroke of luck that I happen to meet a woman on the committee. Through conversation and a shared love of photography, she asked me to volunteer to document the A Beautiful You Extravaganza. My mammaries and I will be forever grateful that she did. Like most women, I take my boobs for granted. I have no family history, I don’t smoke, take no meds, lead a fairly health lifestyle, etc. but in researching this disease, I’ve discovered that none of that matters. Cancer doesn’t care if your momma’s mammaries are still attached and scar free. Cancer can mess with you anyway.
Documenting last night gave me the chance to think about my mammaries in a whole new way. Boobs are the epitome of femininity. They are coveted and adored by men. They are sexualized in advertising. And they can kill us. Are boobs worth dying for ? Quite frankly, if I have the choice of carrying my boobs in a bag or dying, I’m going to dig out my pretty Burberry inspired mammary mobilizer and lop my boobs off. Why I am so comfortable saying that ? Because of last night. Because I know there will be strong, supportive, caring women to hold me as I cry and mourn my mammaries.
To all the women who are battling for their boobs: I salute you. I stand humbled and in awe of your fight and pray that I never have to be that strong. If the day comes and my mammaries have to become memories, then I will take comfort knowing that women like those of Divas Changing Lives will be fighting right along side me. I will carry my mammary mobilizer as a shield and talisman of strength. I will feel beautiful knowing that I am a strong, warrior woman. And I will remember that like so many others, my mammaries might be memories but at least I’m still here to celebrate being alive.