My story is important to share because it's not just about me, it could be about any woman. It's about judging myself according to unrealistic Hollywood standards and always falling short.
You see, I have no breasts. Really. I'm 34-years-old and, without the aid of a padded bra, I look like a 12-year-old girl. OK, a 13-year-old girl. When I was a teenager, my mom, who is quite well-off in this area, told me that she got her breasts after having kids, "So don't worry about it."
I continued to be hopeful, thinking that they'd eventually show up and I'd finally feel like a "real woman." After giving birth to a set of twins and a third child, my breasts only got smaller, but they even began to droop. Yes, even "nearly As" can droop! I went as far as asking my gynecologist if there was anything I could do about the drooping (as if she herself invented some miracle drug that no one else knows about, to rejuvenate my breasts into perky size Cs). She gave me the phone number of a plastic surgeon who could help with the droopiness, but followed with "I'm sure they'll try to convince you to put implants in, too, so that you'll have some breast tissue. Sometimes that’s the best thing to do... for your self-esteem."
Just the way she said "some" breast tissue made me want to vomit. I went home and cried. As badly as I want breasts, I'm just not the type to interfere with what God did or did not give me. No, surgery was not an option for me. I had to face it, I was never going to have breasts.
That same afternoon, I watched Oprah's show on "The Secret." (Sounds corny, I know.) Then it hit me like lightning. I've let myself down! I'm sabotaging my own happiness. Because the truth is, when I look at my own reflection in the mirror, I never see a flat-chested woman with stretch marks and a horrendous C-section scar. I always see right past that and down to the core. I see a hardworking, loving mother, a dedicated wife, a passionate nurse, and a fun-loving, loyal friend. So why should I care about what anyone else might see on the outside? I like myself -- "nearly As" and all! And what the heck is a "real woman" anyway? I am a real woman! I wanted to shout it out to the world. "America, like it or not, I am what a woman looks like!"
I've now decided to look myself in the mirror, every morning, and not only say, "Catherine, I love you," but I add, "and damn you're beautiful!" I'm not thinking about it anymore. I'm just going be the happy gal I've always been! That's all I can do.