Sunday 20 July 2008

The body beautiful.

I'm obviously feeling more comfortable with my body than I thought I was. P & I took our chance to escape to a very lovely country hotel this weekend, and I found myself perfectly happy to wander around our huge room naked – something I'm not used to doing (particularly in full view of a herd of deer). Dare I say I'm edging towards being proud of my body? Again, territory I am definitely not used to. 

I've spent as long as I can remember wishing I looked different. As a kid, I loathed my super-curly, strawberry-blonde (okay, ginger) hair. I was hardly blessed with a good set of gnashers either – that's another huge understatement, so I'll instead use the words of my Dad, who chose his father-of-the-bride speech to announce that I had 'teeth like Ronaldinho'. At 12, I convinced myself that I was the hairiest girl in the second year, and threatened to ring ChildLine when Mum refused to let me shave my legs. Instead, I secretly nabbed a free sample of hair-removal cream from one of her magazines, locked myself in the bathroom and made a point of showing off my pins in the following day's PE class. By 13, I had become quite obsessed with the agonisingly slow rate at which my boobs were growing. (Turns out having tits isn't all it's cracked up to be.) By 14, it was all about the acne. At 15, I swore off short skirts on account of my wonky left knee (so much for the hair removal). By 16, I was more concerned with the size of my arse (no change there). And since, it's been everything from my thighs, arms and belly button (it's oddly T-shaped) to my ankles, fingers and big toenails (some funny bastard once told me they looked like satellite dishes).

So how, then, with visible surgery scars across my back and under my armpit, a deflated left tit and a circle of back-skin where my nipple should be, has my self-confidence suddenly increased? Maybe it's because I'm feeling better than I have done since my op. Maybe it's the antioxidant-tastic diet. Or maybe it's my last hurrah before chemo does its worst and I'm George Dawes-bound. (Apologies, by the way, to Matt Lucas for these constant references. Maybe if you hadn't walked past my hospital window two days after the mastectomy, I'd be referencing some other bald celeb instead.) Whatever the reason, I'd love the chance to go back to my 13/14/15-year-old self, give her a good shake and tell her not to be so bloody self-conscious. (And to ditch the side parting. And find a better way to lose her virginity than on a manky bedspread in a boy's smelly bedroom with Stars In Their Eyes on the telly.)

Anyway, I'm going to enjoy this feeling while it lasts – it's a damn nice change, and P is enjoying it as much as I am (wink wink). Not that I'd recommend a mastectomy as a means of gaining self-confidence, mind, but it's done a lot for mine. And actually, it's done even more than that (she says, leaning into the laptop as if to reveal a secret in the ladies loos). It has confirmed a suspicion I've had for a little while. Look out, Oestrogen Villainess – I have gained a superpower (and an unhealthy obsession with comic-book heroes, apparently). I thought I'd been imagining this since my op, but I can now say with some certainty that I have a super-sensitive right nipple. You heard it right, people. A super-sensitive nipple. It's not sensitive in that way – it's not going to get easily offended or cry at rom-coms. I'm talking about the other kind of sensitive. (Too much information? I'll say it again: Wrong. Blog.) Basically, all the feeling I've lost from my left nipple has somehow been transferred to my right. And how cool is that? Screw invisibility or wall-crawling or X-ray vision. Now this is a superpower. My only fear is that it might be vetoed by the Superpower Accreditation Board, by virtue of it not benefiting anyone other than myself. Ah well, no biggie – I could always use my powers for evil instead (little finger raised to mouth). Just get Smiley Surgeon to fit a gun beneath my new nipple and you can call me a Fembot.

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