Boobs: Women Explore What It Means To Have Breasts
Creative Writing, Non fiction
Caitlin Press’ anthology is full of heart, and I was so pleased to be a part of it. My essay that appeared in this collection, “Strip, Reveal and Sex Appeal,” won the Professional Writer Association of Canada’s Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay in 2018. Read on to discover how I used burlesque to challenge my preconceptions of femininity and strength and overcome depression after a release from the military.
From the Publisher:
At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Boobs is a diverse collection of stories about the burdens, expectations and pleasures of having breasts. From the agony of puberty and angst of adolescence to the anxiety of aging, these stories and poems go beyond the usual images of breasts found in fashion magazines and movie posters, instead offering dynamic and honest portraits of desire, acceptance and the desire for acceptance.
Surrounded by flat-chested co-workers in a male-dominated construction crew, a woman finds pleasure in admiring her body with the occasional glimpse in a window. A new mother in a new city overcomes a sense of isolation through her experience of breastfeeding her son. Breastfeeding plays a role in another’s story when, after identifying as gender non-binary and relaxing into an ambivalent relationship to her breasts, she becomes a parent. In another story, a young woman makes the decision to undergo breast-reduction surgery and appreciates a new sense of ownership and love of her body. A survivor of sexual assault shares her story of shame and healing and how she simultaneously began to recognize she has more to offer the world than her body and began to really, truly love her big breasts. One writer declares that we should “stand up for breasts … playful and shameless as puppies.”
With startling and moving work from established writers including Lorna Crozier, Nancy Lee and Kate Braid, as well as new voices, these stories are passionate, determined, defiant and funny, and–perhaps most importantly–they look honestly and unflinchingly at both sadness and joy.