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“Naked is trending and sexy right now,” was the marketing email subject line. No surprise there — from ads featuring barely covered naked celebs to totally naked “dating” reality shows — getting naked gets attention.
I’m feeling naked. But I feel neither trendy nor sexy, and I’d rather not have this attention. I’m wearing a thin blue gown, ballet flats and sitting in a cold waiting room for a biopsy, because “the mammogram showed an abnormality.” There are five other women, all in similar garb in the waiting room, and right now the labels on our clothes in the dressing room — and their sizes — don’t really matter.
Suddenly, this body of mine — the one that I criticize because my calves aren’t more muscular or my thighs more toned, or… well, that all seems frivolous and even ungracious. Especially when I consider everything this self-criticized body does right, all day long: my heart beats 60 times a minute and naturally speeds up when I stand up after the nurse calls my name. Every minute, my lungs inhale and exhale 14 times (aside from when I’m holding my breath during the procedure). At the same time, my brain secretes hormones that turn my stomach to butterflies as I wait for my results.
Even though I rarely give it much credit, my body just keeps keeping on, doing it’s thing, not requiring a thought from me: enabling a spontaneous smile at a friend, raising my arms to embrace a loved one, crouching to lift up my little girl or climbing the Great Wall of China. These things are just so effortlessly possible that it’s too easy to forget the miracles within.
Until we’re suddenly stopped — stopped by a few concerning (and not even visible), cells. Why does it require a moment of such fear that it takes our breath away to make us grateful for that breath?
It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when most of us as toddlers ran around naked, thrilling in the joy of running from our exasperated parents. Wheeee! Now we mainly see the “wrong” on the outside, completely losing sight of the fantastic on the inside.
Every once in a while, let’s remember to get naked. (Watch it, Hollywood, I’m speaking metaphorically here. I’m still a girl from the South — please put your shirt back on.) I mean, let’s deepen our focus – off of the thighs or schnozzes or frizzy hair — and instead on our breath, our cells. Take a little moment for a “Wheeee!” of thanks. My body may not be Hollywood airbrushed perfect, but it does a great job of getting me where I want to go, and — thanks to biopsy results that came back benign — it’s breast cancer-free. And NOTHING is sexier than that.