In my last entry, I was discussing a memory that has bothered me for some time. I then mentioned interrupting my writing to watch the movie “Patch Adams” with Drew.
That movie spoke to me on multiple levels. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s based on a true story.
I don’t want to spend this entry describing a movie, so let me just tell you that I was on the verge of tears through the whole thing, mostly because of the pure, beautiful humanity of it. I think Patch and I are kindred spirits.
But there was a brief scene between patch and his love interest that broke down all pretense of happy tears and opened yet another floodgate.
So this entry is about my body – specifically, my breasts.
At the age of eight years old, I developed a lump on one side of my chest. My mom was sure that I had breast cancer and rushed me over to the neighbor’s apartment, because she was a nurse. No. Not cancer. Just developing breasts very early. Most women start on one side first. It wasn’t long before there were two cute little buds.
I was excited about it at the time. Most little girls can’t wait to get boobies and periods. My mom bought me training bras and I felt like I was growing up.
I got so accustomed to wearing those training bras, I felt naked if I went to school without one. Gotta keep them covered.
Any woman who has breasts knows that they are not at all what they are cracked up to be. I began to attract the wrong kinds of attention.
My brothers were probably the worst offenders in the beginning. They were younger than me, and thought it was hysterical to run up and jab me in the chest. I’d scream and they’d run off giggling.
When we moved back to California from Texas, I was in sixth grade. People often mistook me for an adult. I had cleavage.
At the time, my mom and my siblings and I all slept in the garage. I was in my nightgown one night, and crawled across the bed, exposing myself accidentally. The younger of my two brothers laughed his ass off. He was seven years old, and rolled on the ground laughing like an old man, “I touched her tit! Haha, I saw her tit!”
And no one was around to beat his ass for being a disrespectful punk, so I began wearing a bra to bed.
It wasn’t long before I hated them (my breasts, not my brothers). They were nothing but trouble (my brothers and my breasts). They were also “deformed.”
And then came boyfriends. I’ve written before about how I had every intention of saving myself for marriage. I got my first boyfriend early in 8th grade. It took almost the whole school year before he would hold my hand for the first time. We entered 9th grade as a couple, and just before Halloween, he kissed me for the first time.
As slow as he took things in the beginning, there were no holds barred once we’d kissed. He’d try to cop a feel, and I’d push his hands away. Time would pass and he’d try again and I’d push him away again. We’d go on trips with the marching band, and on the way back, in the dark, he’s have his hands all over me. I gave in eventually, so then every time we were alone, it was all about groping me.
He was my first heart break. Shortly before he dumped me, we were behind the band building. He asked, “Can I have a taste?” I was so shocked by the question that I automatically said, “No.” I didn’t even recognize the voice that came out of me. It was deep and harsh. I was so embarrassed. For literal decades, the word “taste” would make me blush.
So then he dumped me. I don’t know if there’s a correlation.
Anyway, the next boyfriend was much more hands-on. The first time we were alone together, he pulled my shirt up and helped himself. Pushing him away, didn’t help, and I don’t know why I didn’t just walk away, except I was desperate for attention. It didn’t help that my mom liked this guy, so I ended up being in a relationship with him for a year and a half because she cried when I broke up with him after the first few months.
Boyfriend #2 didn’t stop with my bra, either. I swear I spent that year and a half wrestling with him to keep my clothes on.
He slapped me in front of my mom, once, so he lost favor with her. I don’t remember what finally drove me to break up with him, but I did.
And then came Dave, the man I would marry. When I told him what #2 had done he said, “are you sure you didn’t want him to? Some girls like it, but then they feel guilty.” I was embarrassed again. There had been times that I had found those experiences pleasurable. Was he right? Had I wanted it? This contributed to my feeling of being dirty.
Another contribution to feeling dirty was Bill. I’ve mentioned this scumbag before. He was a friend of my parents’ and he couldn’t let me walk past him without commenting on my body.
There was no avoiding him, either. I stayed in my bedroom most of the time they were there, but if I had to use the bathroom, I had no choice but to walk past him. He noticed I wore a bra to bed. He commented on weight that I gained. “That’s not an insult. It looks good on you.” He even stood beside me, once, and unfastened my bra in a flash in front of my parents and everyone. Just to see if he “still had the touch.”
Every man I have ever been intimate with has gone straight for the breasts. I’ve also had a revulsion response to it. I just pushed it down and went along with whatever.
Drew is different. He loves my whole body. He loves my mind and my soul. He just loves me. And yet, when I streaked through the house, once, and he caught me, I recoiled when he went for a breast. He noticed, but he didn’t say anything at the time.
It was later, when he brought it up. He asked me if it bothered me, and I had to admit that it did. I couldn’t articulate why. I didn’t want it to, but it did.
So there is a scene in Patch Adams, in which he goes in for a kiss and his love interest turns her head. She cries as she tells him how her childhood had made her hate men. And for some reason, that’s when it all came together. I cried for the rest of the evening.
I was so desperate for attention, I endured things I was not ready for and clearly stated that I did not want. And I came away feeling like I was the dirty one, the bad one, the one who did something wrong. I came away feeling like my body was a problem. My body wasn’t the problem, it was that the ratio of gentlemen to creeps is apparently pretty low.
I realize that this isn’t my best work, but I have been trying to work this out since I watched that movie. I feel a poem coming on. Stay tuned.