Bras are for people with breasts
Yesterday (and into today), a flurry of colors run through Facebook status posts. No explanation. Just color.
Earlier, I had received two different emails from friends letting me in on the viral secret: post your bra color. Just the color. Nothing else. And drive the men crazy. Noone tell. But, of course, this is to raise awareness for breast cancer.
When I opened the first message, I was paralyzed. (I didn’t even make it to the second message.) My brain did that thing where when it doesn’t know what to do, it just stops. Then it restarted and it sounded like this.
“But I don’t wear a bra. I can’t wear a bra. I have been searching for pretty bras for almost two years now that I can wear and I can’t find any. I have a stack of very beautiful, very expensive bras and matching underwear that I will never wear again because they don’t fit right after my surgeries. They can’t fit right. The rocks on my chest don’t conform to the contours of any bra. I have to say something. This is weird and wrong. This has nothing to do with awareness and I think awareness just totally sucks anyhow because it doesn’t mean anything. But I’m such a buzz-kill. My friends don’t want to hear that crap. How can I play along without sounding like a bitch? Think, Rosie. Think. Nude? No, that’s actually a bra color. Skin? Might be construed as a color. Maybe I just say I can’t wear them and raise a little awareness my way? Oh, poo, back to sounding like bitchy cancer girl. I’ll ignore it. No, wait, these are friends I will see in the next few days sending me this, REAL friends. They might notice. Just lie. Shit. This sucks. What do I do???”
Which is about the time my brain shut off a second time. So, I did nothing.
Later in the day, I actually saw one of the friends who had emailed me. I told her about the “can’t wear a bra” dilemma. She suggested I post nude. We talked about her bras for a while and how everyone expected she would say purple because she wears so much purple. It was a funny insight to have about her – funnier still to think other people had an opinion about her bra color. I started to relax a bit about the whole thing.
Later in the evening, I checked statuses and saw lots of funny ones from friends. One of my more outrageous friends posted that hers was white. I was not buying it and neither did some of her other friends. (She later commented, “I didn’t mention the sequins, googly eyeballs, and fiesta poppers attached to it. It’s a party up in here.” That made me laugh out loud.) Some guys posted colors. One friend posted coconuts. Another leather. I was actually surprised at many of the women who posted – ones I thought were far more private than that. I like to see their wild (ecru and yellow) sides. There is nothing bad about that, in my opinion. As I tried to put the whole “breast cancer awareness” business aside, I saw a lot of humor in the situation. It was humorous along the lines of fart jokes and flash mobs, but humorous all the same.
Even later, much later in the night, a breast cancer friend of mine posted what I wish I could have thought of earlier: upper commando.
So, I stole it. It’s ok. Another friend had stolen it already and I totally told her I was about to steal it.
And I almost immediately regretted posting anything. As soon as I did it, I realized playing along did nothing to help the internal struggle I was having. I wanted to follow-up with some choice words, but the “don’t be a buzz-kill” voice was back.
But I have to blog about this. It’s too big to pass up. And it’s too important to try to explain in a status post.
Allow me to summarize my thoughts:
- This bra thing never ever should have been linked to breast cancer. Never.
- Awareness is fraudulent. If you want to do something useful for breast cancer, research an organization you like and write them checks on a regular basis. (Don’t make them ask you because that costs them money they could be using on research.) To do something useful for yourself, know your body and have a good working relationship with your primary care physician. To do something useful for your friends, be vocal about how often you touch all of your parts and admit to them how you stare obsessively in the mirror at your moles.
- I miss my boobs for a lot of reasons, but I definitely miss wearing pretty undergarments. I especially miss having a top that matches the bottom.
I still am having trouble with this. I am struggling as I write. Please, if you emailed me or posted your beautiful bra color, don’t take offense at this or worry about me. You didn’t hurt my feelings. I do think, though, that this is just one of those ways that I’m always going to have to deal with what cancer took. I will deal with it, but it’s just not that fun.
- In the name of awareness – WhyMommy
- TMI Ladies – From Ottawa to D.C.
- What color is your bra? – Newsweek blog
One of the things I love about knowing many other young survivors is that I don’t feel like a freak having these mixed up feelings. Almost as soon as I started to have my internal freak-out, I started seeing posts from cancer friends that let me know they were having the same problems. I think if I hadn’t known these people, I really would have felt very alone during this little Facebook wildfire. Hugs and kisses to all my YSC ladies, without whom this journey would have sucked ass even more!