Two of my favorite things that I’ve ever done are: A) Doing a semester abroad in London and B) Getting a breast reduction. Both involved quite a bit of thought and work on my part. All of which paid off. Big time. And little time. Ba-dum-dum. I’ll be here all column. Try the veal.
For the semester abroad, I told my parents that if they would pay for the program and getting me there, I’d earn all of my spending money. In thinking about what gig would bring in the most and fastest cash, I came up with the idea of staying in Boston (where I went to school) for the summer, getting my Real Estate License and renting apartments. This test involves quite a bit of math. Some people are good at math. I am not one of them. And yet, I killed it, which made me super proud. Somebody really wanted to go to London. And I did and it was off the charts epic. I try very hard to avoid using the word ‘epic’ but it really best describes those four months in London and all of the traveling I did while there. You drink with your professors in the Student Union during the day, guys. So immature. Of all the things I did while there, that’s the one that I choose to reference? But like I said, you do drink with your professors in the Student Union during the day, guys. But this column, this time, is really less about A and more about B.
I know. If you have an A and a B, you’re really supposed to have a C. But F U C. And now I’m doing alphabet jokes. Back to B. Which is hardly what I was. I was closer to a Double D. I’m not a tall girl and I didn’t like them (them being my breasts, I didn’t care one way or another about tall girls) which resulted in big t-shirts and lots of them. You can really tell a lot about a girl at the beach. When a girl is laying out and gets up to get something to drink, she’s either the girl who pulls on shorts for the walk or the girl who pulls on a t-shirt for the walk. I couldn’t get the t-shirt on fast enough. Shut up, adorable sun dress type cover up wear-ers. Let me have my very black or white comparison to make my point. I do know that you guys are out there and that you’re very very pretty in your adorable sun dress type cover ups.
As you can imagine, I was always super self-conscious of my chest. In fact, since we’re talking about the beach, I vividly remember standing by the ocean during Senior Week of high school. I was wearing a t-shirt that I’d cut up so the arms were cut off and I’d cut a v-neck out of the collar. Out of nowhere, a really hot older guy who I just kind of knew came up to me and before I knew what was happening – he totally motorboated me. I was horrified. Naturally, I played it cool. I think I laughed along with him. Although, I’m not positive as I only remember the horrified part.
It was a few years after that when I decided that I wanted to get a breast reduction. I went and talked to a surgeon about it and he told me that he tells all of his patients to try to lose some weight first, to see if I might lose the weight there and the size would go down without surgery. I was slightly overweight, therefore this was a healthy and an intelligent plan. So, I did and it didn’t. When I went back for another appointment, as per his instructions, I’d brought pictures (that I’d torn out of magazines) of breasts that I thought I wanted. Easy Tigers. It was way more of an Off The Rack catalogue shopping trip than a collection of racks to pin up to a mechanic’s bathroom. Side note, none of my mechanics have ever had topless lady pics in their bathrooms, but movie mechanics do. And I think in movies. So, my surgeon looked through the pictures with me and drew on me what he was thinking. He was thinking a little bigger than I was thinking. I believe I said something like, “I want to be completely flat.” Wisely, he assured me that the grass is always greener and that while I thought I wanted to go to the other extreme, that patients who do are often upset afterwards and some even come back to go up a size. I couldn’t imagine that this would be the case with me but eventually he convinced me to go the 34B route. And I’m so glad that he did. So are my many, many suitors that followed. I jest. Or maybe I don’t. The point is, any chance to type “suitors”, I’m going to do it.
If you’ve read me here before, it will be no suprirse for you to hear that I’m easily prone to being anxious and am even maybe a Semi-Pro Hypochondriac. But with this … 100% excitement. No fear. I had skater mentality. I remember making jokes while being wheeled in, telling my sister if anything went wrong she could have my stereo. By the way, what’s a stereo? But really, I was pumped and cracking jokes like someone was filming the thing. I was totally like one of the Jackass guys going into it. In fact, now I’m mad we didn’t shoot it. “My name is Jill Kushner and this is The Breast Reduction!” In all seriousness, this surgery is no joke. You’re on the table 4-5 hours. That’s like 4-5 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. I like that show. It’s just a lot of hours. What? You don’t tell time based on how many episodes of a TV show something will take? I got into TV Show O’Clock after using it to explain time frames to my 5 year-old nephew. “The drive will take two iCarlys.”
The surgery went really well. And they kicked me out the next day. I think it was one day after that that I made my mom take me shopping for lycra tank tops. They were ridiculously, um, inappropriate. I recall one being chartreuse. That is not okay. I also remember being so ecstatic seeing myself in them that I cried. Oh, and I also remember straining something because I shouldn’t have been lifting my arms up over my head over and over again to try on tight tops less than two days after surgery. But I didn’t care. The funny thing was, when I went back to school in Boston (I had done this over a winter break at home in Baltimore), no one could quite figure out what was different about me and yet everybody noticed something was. “Did you lose a ton of weight?” “Did you change your hair?” “You look awesome. What’s different?” I was wearing small tops for the first time and likely smiling a lot more. And, well, I had great breasts. The T-word seemed to be called for there but I’ll spare you. Also, I was not so shy anymore. I told people what I had done and had zero problem with it. I remember a friend of mine used to go tanning and made me swear that if anyone asked, I had to deny that she went. For me, that was just crazy town. It is what it is and I embraced it. In fact, I recall flashing many, many people. Too many. There are likely some of you out there who were on the receiving end and I’m sorry/you’re welcome. I clearly remember my Poppy’s reaction to me flashing him. “Oh for god’s sake, Jill.” Which was his same response when I’d call him up each month to tell him when I got my period. Don’t misunderstand. It wasn’t an I’m not pregnant call. It was just to make him laugh and say, “Oh for god’s sake, Jill.” I miss that guy. He was cute as hell. I don’t, however, miss the Double Ds. Not even a little. Likely the first time someone compared the best grandfather ever whose since passed away to her pre-surgery large breasts. Or maybe it’s the millionth time. There’s really no way to tell. Or is there? Please call 1-800-555-IDID if you’ve made the comparison and 1-800-555-JILLISCRAZY if you have not made the comparison.
My point of sharing this with you is that I realize that many people have pre-conceived notions and strong opinions about elective surgery. I’ve always felt that if something is being done safely, under the supervision of a solid medical team who has advised you every step of the way and taking all pre-surgery steps/options into consideration (for me, this was first trying to lose weight to see if that would help instead of surgery, but it did not), then you have my blessing and you most certainly do not have my judgement. Because if something is so important to you and has become such a big part of your life (for me, there wasn’t a day that went by that I wasn’t physically uncomfortable and mentally uncomfortable because of my size) – well then you’re not getting to live your life as freely and happily as you should be able to. And by no means am I drawing comparison to the people who have a serious illnesses or disability that isn’t allowing them to live their lives as freely and happily as they should be able to. So, please don’t think for a minute that I am. This is different. This is not that and I don’t for a second pretend that the two even belong in the same column.
But like I said up top, two of my favorite things I’ve ever done are: A) Doing a semester abroad in London and B) Getting a breast reduction. Both involved quite a bit of thought and work on my part. All of which paid off. Big time. And little time.