Even outside of blogging, I often wonder whether I have some kind of Truth Tourette’s. I’ve sent many a tweet admitting to post-constipation eagle-landings, confessing that I’ve written a card, wrapped presents and baked muffins for my cat’s birthday, and owning up to eating pick n’ mix for breakfast. And that’s not even nearly the end of it. After getting weirded out by early-menopause vaginal dryness, I chose to have a conversation about lubrication options with not my doctor, but my former MA course tutor. I’ll occasionally buy a frock on the sly that head-of-banking P doesn’t know about, only to ball him out when he doesn’t compliment it on its first outing. And, as a particularly stupid 16-year-old, I told my Mum that I’d lost my virginity the day after it happened. (Yeah, that’s right: Told. My. Mum.)
The thing is, Bullshit stories or otherwise, there’s something exceptionally cathartic – not to mention hugely addictive – about ‘putting it out there’; about being so emotionally transparent that nobody ever has to wonder what you’re doing or how you’re feeling. Heart on my sleeve? Hell, mine’s practically tattooed on my forehead.
But not today. Today, I’m blogging with news that is central to an ongoing story on Alright Tit (and if you haven’t read for a while, it might be best to head here, then here). Namely, the results of the genetic testing my family have been having.
The upshot? My Mum carries the breast cancer gene.
And so, dear reader (ooh, how very Charlotte Brontë of me), I hope that, on this occasion, you will forgive me for saying little more than that. For while I think it’s important for you to know where my BRCA-2 gene was inherited from in the context of my ongoing narrative, the rest of this particular story isn’t mine to tell: it’s Mum’s.
But what I do want to make clear is this: I have inherited many a wonderful gene from my Mum (my impeccable grammar, my mercifully thick hair, my love of Motown, my soft hands, my frightening organisational abilities…) and, yes, there are of course things which I’d rather have inherited from my matriarchal side than this (handiness in the kitchen, an amazing memory, ease in any kind of company, good timekeeping, skinny legs…) but that is just the way it goes. So my Mum – any Mum; any parent – shouldn’t feel any more responsible for the passing on of a completely-out-of-their-control gene than they do about their child’s notoriously sweet tooth, their inability to pack a suitcase without tearing strips off whoever is in the same room, or their propensity to throw up after three glasses of wine. Because, frankly, if having no BRCA-2 gene meant having different parents, then I’d snatch those cancer cells right out of your hand.
So, yes, this is a blow (not to mention a shock, given that this side of the family’s breast-cancer history starts and ends in my left tit) for everyone involved – for Mum, for Dad, for me and P, for my brother Jamie, for my sister-in-law Leanne and for the relatives on Mum’s side of the family who are yet to be tested. But, like we all said after learning of my own gene mutation, it’s better to be aware of this than otherwise. Thus, all you need to know is that my family; my lovely little nuclear family, so perfect in its traditionalism, so celebrated in its togetherness, so firece in its loyalty, so revered in its sense of humour, and so adorable in its inexplicable reliance on greetings cards for even the slightest occasion (‘Congratulations! You’ve taken a dump!’) – my wonderful, virtuous, admired, first-class, incomparable family is just fine, thanks.
And, in the words of Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.