Boobs. Let’s talk about them. Yep, you read that right! I had an experience a couple of years ago while sitting at the diagnostic center and a few thoughts came to me.

First off, ladies, get your mammograms. On the paperwork, there are the following questions: Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with breast cancer? A: Yes. If yes, what is the relation? A: Maternal Grandmother. Age of diagnosis? A: She died at 45. Writing that response jarred me, especially since I was 42 at the time. We have awareness, we have technology and (for now), mammograms are free through health insurance.

Secondly, they are painful!! Get them anyway!! Seriously, pancake boob jokes aside, there is no preparation for A. How flat your boob can actually get and B. How the technician can manipulate and tug and pull on your boob in order to get it in position to get that flat. I have sympathy for cow’s udders. I also felt a little violated. Should I have thrown twenty bucks on the table? LOL….

Third, All jokes aside…after the mammogram, I was placed in a small waiting room with five chairs. This is where you wait until your mammogram is read by a radiologist and if they feel you need more tests, they will come and get you. Every time I am in this room with women of all ages I don’t know, there is an atmosphere of silent fear and dread. That day it was thick in the air as usual. I looked at the women’s faces. Fear. Concern. Worry. I thought about every woman who has been through this. Every woman who has yet to be through this. That one thought: What IF? Or worse: What NOW?

Lastly, oh the years I wasted hating my boobs. Comparing my boobs to others, contemplating implants, wishing my boobs were anything other than what they were. Ladies, LOVE YOUR FUCKING BOOBS!!! Seriously!!! Life is too short for worrying about how your boobs look. They are beautiful and amazing, JUST LIKE YOU!!

Male or female, if you read this, thank you! Ladies, Love your ta tas! Partners, love your woman’s ta tas! And above all else, ladies, save your ta tas and get your exams!

Below is a poem I wrote last year about my boobs. It was a personal, profound moment where I truly let years of bullshit about my boobs go. I set myself free and learned to love my boobs.

As I swam in my shirt and underwear,
I had the urge to take my shirt off.
I looked around with concern about being seen.
I slip my shirt off and I feel free.
I float, with my bare chest
soaking up every ounce of energy
the sun has to offer.
I feel empowered.
I feel so much from my chest-
love, desire, passion, comfort, strength.

My mind wanders to when I was young.
When it was considered cute
when your chest was exposed
and you only wore bottoms.
Then we grow up.
At some point we are told to cover up, to hide ourselves, to be modest.
We are told if we don’t do these things, we will suffer horrible consequences.
We are handed fear on a platter.
Fear of our own body, fear of our sexuality, fear of exploring our sexuality, fear of sex, fear of liking sex.
Thinking back to my child self…
When I floated freely.
Before my body parts were considered an object, a commodity, a target.
I was free.
Before judgment, shame, guilt.

Oh how I wish I loved myself more when I was growing up.
Maybe my “No” could have matched- better yet, overcome- their persistent “Yes”.
Maybe I could have believed them when they told me I was beautiful.
Maybe I could have worn a different outfit if I hadn’t been so afraid of what they would think- or worse.
Maybe I could have lost myself in their caresses had I felt good enough.

I float. I am 43.
I observe my middle-ages breasts that are buoyant in the water.
They are softened. They symbolize life. They are imperfect. They are beautiful.
Just like me.
They have changed since I was younger, and thankfully,
so have I.
I accept them.
I accept my choices.
I release shame and guilt.
I accept love. Self-love.

My child self merges with the woman I am.
Full circle.
I weep-
Each tear represents an experience.
I let go.
Under the bright blue sky, under the giant moss-covered oak tree, with the birds singing as if in support-
The sun kisses my face and in it’s warmth, I am healed.