Updated: Sep 23
I love being forty-something. More than being in my teens, 20’s, or 30’s. I've always thought women in their thirties were at their prime; physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. Sure, in my thirties I became a mom, wife, business leader, home owner, entrepreneur, etc which all count towards growth and development. But real growth for me didn’t happen until recently when I was finally comfortable and able to make a life altering decision that would forever change how I look, feel, and my self-expression. And it wasn’t until then when I finally realized I have complete control over my life.
When I was twenty-two, I tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. Cancer runs rampant in my family and has attacked many of us, including my aunt who died at age 46 and my mother who I almost lost at the age of 55. When I tested positive I said, “figured”, grabbed my test results, and off I went to the next party--not giving two shits about my results or my compromised life.
Careless and defiant, I proceeded to live the next 18 years without being proactive around my mutation while every doctor looked at me as if I already had one foot in the grave. Not even when I became a mom did this change my approach of wanting to prolong my life. WTF, Right?! I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to whack off my tits and gut out my ovaries to bring my chances of getting cancer from 70% to less than 3%. The math was simple. My pride was not.
You see, ever since I became a young adult I have celebrated my womanhood in a very sexual way; as a burlesque dancer, pin-up model, and woman of expression . I was successful at being known as “the sex-bot” and often told I just “ooze sexiness”. I thought this defined me and my character so who would I become without this? Just a boring old mom and wife wearing Old Navy khakis? Fuck NO! I loved curves, cleavage, and the stage way too much to make this sacrifice. I felt without my “womanhood” I wouldn’t be my true self, and would be forced to mutate along with my gene into an entirely new human.
Three years ago, my sister who is 3 ½ years younger than me (also BRCA1 positive) underwent a double bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. To say she came out of it like a champ is an understatement. I watched her be strong, brave, scared, and vulnerable, but she never broke from her commitment to herself or her family of prolonging her life. It was….sexy. Now, when I watch her carry herself she has more confidence than ever. Why, because what defines her is not her physical appearance, but her ability to confront and take on life. A life without cancer. In the words of Glennon Doyle, “We can do hard things.” And it’s the hard things that shape us into the individuals we are. I don’t know if I would have been able to see sexy this way as being brave, selfless, vulnerable, committed, 10, or even 5 years ago, which is why I love growing up. Sexy is a feeling and form of self expression. Not an image. That is why we define our own sexy at Seksé.
Knowing this and watching my sister become her own sexy has inspired me to undergo a double bilateral mastectomy myself in July. Because I am electing to also have reconstructive surgery, I will have a series of four surgeries this year (two down already, whoop!!) I can tell you I already feel sexier than I ever have. Scars, numbness, bruising, bandages, and all. Knowing I can do hard things, make strong decisions, be vulnerable, and still have confidence in myself is shaping my character. It’s shaping MY sexiness.
Your sexy bitch,