Lettuce Discuss

Before I get started….

I’ve had a lot of stuff going on…

I’ve mentioned that my Dad is ill.  He has now been diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease in addition to Alzheimer’s.  I had never heard of Lewy Body Disease but now having been thoroughly educated about it I can say with all certainty that the list of symptoms reads like a demon’s resume.   My parents had a vow renewal.  I went to New Orleans for the first time.  And yes, Mr. Magilla was forced to walk up and down Bourbon Street and almost,  ALMOST got lured into a super classy titty bar owned by Larry Flynt.  I found him wide-eyed and aghast that “they pulled him in there”.  Did they?  That’s cute.  Did you see a  boobie?  No?  BUMMER.  Wee baby child has been distracting with his adorableness and Hellhound is demanding.  My-in laws have had a few health issues and my husband is getting his boat ready for fishing season.  Sweet Jesus.  That drama really should include a cameo by Susan Lucci but apparently he can’t afford her booking fee in addition to the accoutrement of boat stuff.

lucci

Meantime, I informed him yesterday that his complaining about the work involved with boat ownership was akin to me bitching that Nordstrom’s sale was sub par.  And I’ve had to squeeze work in as well.  So let’s catch up.  I’ve missed you guys.  That and I was nicely reminded yesterday that my voice matters.  Just like everyone’s voice matters…. except Bernice, my old receptionist who smoked four packs of Camel cigarettes daily and sounded like she gargled with acid.  I’m assuming she’s passed on now.  She was approximately 178 when I worked with her 16 years ago.  I’ll reserve that story about her for another time, but it does involve my ex-husband and threat of dipping him in honey and eating him like a biscuit.  Not by me…by her.

So here we are; me in my dining room drinking tea, typing and listening to Aida.  Don’t get freaked out.  I’m not that classy – I haven’t showered yet – and you?  You’re…

in bed

on your phone

at the gym

grocery shopping

trying to remember who the hell I am

or my personal favorite – on your toilet paying bills on your iPad?

Isn’t that the most marvelous advancement in modern technology?  That is the very embodiment of multitasking.  Screw this notion that while driving the kids to their zillion after school activities you call your friend to schedule an adult playdate complete with Bloomie’s and wine.  That’s not multitasking.  That’s just seeking an outlet.  But to, let’s face reality here, escape to the bathroom for relative privacy and quiet and scour Etsy for the corner cabinet you’ve got your eye on for the upcoming bathroom remodel or read up on our political climate (yeah I don’t do that either), or to check your bank balance only to find out it’s shit because of those pesky bills.  WhatchumeanIdon’thavemillions?

#NOTMYPAYCHECK.

As Mei Mei put it to me when she got her very first paycheck; who’s this FICA bitch?  Pre-children, I used to be very utilitarian in potty habits.  There was no mincing around with time.  Now?  If allowed, I will spend hours in there.  It’s the only quiet place I have.  Glorious me, empowerment lives with the ability to not only drop that extra pound sought on the scale but to simultaneously pay off the American Express bill.  Hell to the yeah girl.  I’m pretty sure I mentioned “my tribe” in my first or second post.  Still with me?  Thank God there’s other people out there like me.  I really don’t care for stodgy people.

So yesterday I got a call.  A great call.  After a couple of months of literally going off the grid and shunning all social media (not entirely true as I haven’t figured out yet how to delete Twitter primarily because it involves more than 3 steps).   I feel that modern technology has simplified things to the point of idiocy.  I’ve quietly gone back to living every day life.  I set a goal in January that I wanted to read 90 books this year.  I know perfectly well that I won’t hit that number but I thoroughly enjoy the notion of pushing myself.  I believe in intellect and that by feeding your intellect you feed your soul.  I had reached a point that I felt my soul had been battered.  I had been the dumping ground for a lot of people’s emotional shit.  So in those moments, I always opt for retreat.  I know how to heal myself.  And while I have friends and family and loved ones, I tend to be very solitary in these moments.  So I’ve quietly gone about feeding my intellect (to the tune of finishing my 30th book of the year).  Yesterday I was reminded that my presence was usually noted as was my lack of presence.  So balance I guess?  I dunno.  I’m trying.

Of course, as per usual with me, there have been a couple of exceptions to being a smarty pants that usually involve things I don’t want to do.

My Jeep had a recall.  Since we’re going on an actual vacation this year, I decided that we should probably make sure the gear shift is working properly since we’re driving a long ways away.  The dealership is local so my husband drove me there to drop my car off and then to work.  I was reminded why I’m eternally grateful that we don’t work together.  He’s like a poodle on amphetamines sometimes – except, you know, HUGE, so his bark merits attention instead of the knee jerk desire to boot him.  He heard a knocking.  I would like to point out that no one else heard it but him but it was like the gates of hell opened.  Clearly Chrysler has been scoping his ass out for a long time just waiting to strike.  Waiting…and waiting…

And waiting.  For years.  Decades.  Since the inception of their corporation…

They gonna git Magilla.

He would side-eye me whenever I would counter his argument.  That’s fair. Clearly I’m just a girl.  I know nothing.  I informed them of that at the dealership when they asked who drove the truck the most.  Magilla thumbed in my direction and I opened my eyes as wide as they could go and announced, “I don’t know, I’m just a girl.  The radio was up too loud for me to hear anything.”  I was disappointed that I couldn’t twirl my hair, but since the sides of my head are now shaved….bummer man.  No such luck to do the whole “dumb girl” persona.  Magilla looked like he wanted to stuff me in a refrigerator.  I’d ruined his whole conspiracy theory, so again – understandable.

curses

My objective was world domination but I’M JUST A GIRL…

Full.  Magilla. Wrath.  And by that I mean he didn’t talk to me for a couple of hours which I happily took up vacuuming the house four times.

So anyway.  Back to what I was saying, albeit in my own head, a great call.  I got to talk to someone I haven’t spoken to in years.  It made my heart soar.  I was informed of a situation, which is not mine to tell.  I’m a stickler for not selling out other people’s stories. I was asked for a blessing which isn’t mine to give but for the record is given beyond measure and then once again and once more for good measure

…so, I’ll leave it at this.

I believe that life hands us exactly what we need when we need it most.  We just don’t always know it at the time.

 

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The Gift I’ll Never See

Me, five seconds after cracking a joke and five minutes before walking into my wedding
I’m sentimental but in really weird ways.  I don’t necessarily attach importance to objects.  Again, I chalk this up to a loss of girl genes somewhere in the easy bake oven during my gestation.  I think sometimes living a life that contained a lot of loss makes one separate memories from “stuff”.  My wedding dress was starting to become “stuff”.  I love my wedding dress.  It was one of the happiest days of my life.  I got to marry my best friend; the man that I know unconditionally has my back.  As much flack as I give him, he is there for me in a way no one has ever been.  At my worst, at my best, at my prettiest and at my ugliest; he is the constant.  However, a year and change later…

What was I going to do with this dress?  I’m not a trash the dress kind of gal.  God speed for those who are!  I don’t judge.  How we celebrate differs for everyone.  So I don’t trash the dress, but neither do I want it kept relevent only by moving it from one closet to another and another.  My mother suggested preparing it for storage with a dry cleaner which to me seemed to be a lot of bother for something no one else would wear again, including me.  I’m just not built that way.  If it’s a character flaw, so be it.

I scour the internet for all sorts of stuff, mostly research, but also occasionally pose the great existential questions to Google in a search for answers.

Me: Google:  Why does junk food taste so good if it’s bad for you?

Google:  Because you are justifying a snack that doesn’t include celery and peanut butter like we discussed earlier.  So please by all means, consider that leftover pasta “a snack”.

Me: Google:  How can I update the GPS in my truck?

Google: Still mad at the dealership?  Go to http://www.updatemyGPSallbymyselfbecauseWelshoverchargedmeforoilchangesandi’mannoyed dot calm

Me: dot calm doesn’t get you to websites, Google

Google:  No shit

Me:  When one no longer needs their wedding gown how can they use it to help someone else?  I don’t want to throw it in a bin.

Google:  Donate for an angel gown.

Me:  Say whaaaat?  Wut dat.

Google:  True story Shannon.  There’s a whole wide world out there that doesn’t revolve around you.

Me:  Now you’re just being bitchy.  That was uncalled for.

Google:  I’m bitchy?  First off, you called me, and I quote, “a stupid git” the other day because I couldn’t read your mind when you typed in “meditation for the angsty”.  How was I supposed to know you only wanted to “meditate in theory”?  Does that bullshit actually work?  Oh!  And BTW!  Have you read your blog lately?  Bitch please. You want to smite sports bras.

So I researched angel gowns.  These are burial gowns for infants that are made from recycled wedding gowns.  I checked with several places only to be told they were at capacity with donations as well as demand, but if I could sew…

Well I can’t sew.  The last time I tried I almost stitched my fingers to the button I was trying to reattach.  Now I bring such repairs to my dry cleaner who also apparently is disappointed by my lack of “wimmin skillz”.   I was starting to get discouraged.  I decided that I would reach out to one more place.  I emailed and waited for a response.  And waited.  And waited.  I had almost forgotten about it to be perfectly honest until I came across my gown in it’s latest habitat on another Saturday morning cleaning rampage.  I wanted to be a part of something so much bigger than myself even if it was only in the smallest of ways. I made a mental note that if I didn’t hear from somebody in the next week, I would go to a charity and donate to them directly rather than throw it in some moldy bin in a parking lot.  The next day I got my response, graciously accepting the offer.

So last week, I packed up my gown and shipped it to a stranger.  As I folded it, I remembered the joy of that day.  I remembered getting dressed that morning and staring at the gown hanging high on my closet door.  There’s a picture of me assessing it as it hangs in its perch. That’s a lot of fabric to tote around.  I was sizing it up to see how well I could walk in this thing.  The good news (for me) was that I wore converse sneakers and not heels.  That was also the bad news for my mother who did not take that fashion statement of mine too kindly.  I remember putting on makeup and hoping I was doing it right and wouldn’t look like a clown. I remember the look of happiness and contentment on my husband’s face when he saw me.  I remember the tears in Bobbi’s eyes when she saw the finished product after tying the bow.  I remember repeating the vows of constancy and laughter and truth and love and hearing those words pledged to me.  I cried from start to finish as I packed my donation up and hoped that the peace of that day was somehow imparted on this gown that I was offering up to a family in the worst of circumstances.   “Please God, give them peace”, I thought over and over as I stroked the gauzy material that spilled out of the package.  “Please God, give them peace.  Ease their pain.  Make the burden a little lighter.  Please let this help.  Please God.”

We are not always moved by what we don’t experience first hand.  I thank the cosmos for humbling me and allowing me to grieve for these families; to somehow stand with them, even if it’s on the very fringes.  The tears I gave them are true.  I’ve experienced loss.  I experienced pain.  I’ve experienced sorrow and rage and fear and numbness and all emotions in between.  But I’ve never had to walk through the hell that they will.  I pray I never have to.

If this is my small part; my small contribution to a family that carries the weight of the world, I gladly offer it up.  I know it won’t ease the pain.  I know it won’t help in the immediate sense.  That’s a lonely journey that no bit of fabric can help.  I believe in giving back.  I believe in paying it forward.  I believe that I have had angels in my life.  That fate has intervened and offered me a good turn; and now I should do the same for others.  I believe in the power of love and faith.  I believe in healing.  I believe in the connective forces of the universe that allow us our humanity, our most precious gift.

And for all of the exploration of my emotion in this matter it all pales in comparison to this simple email and all that lies within its words.


  

God Speed. 

 

 

Is This Better?

A couple of years ago I stopped coloring my hair.  My hair grows at lightening speed and in order for it to not look skunkish, I had to color it every three weeks.  That’s a heavy commitment.  That’s a lot of time dedicated to belittling myself monthly, examining my roots, purchasing the color, waiting for the right moment to douse myself in chemicals while hoping it would match my original hair color which evidently was last in existence when I was 28.  So this whole exercise is the cosmetic equivalent of finding a fucking unicorn.  My hair was truly a chestnut color.  It had every shade from espresso to honey blonde naturally woven into the highlights.  They don’t put that in a bottle (she now says knowingly after searching for said effect from every available brand for over a decade).  And worse, my hair didn’t gray, it shot straight to white and silver which doesn’t take color well.  I literally woke up one morning irate at the time and effort it was taking to make myself look younger.  It happened the morning after I had caught a reflection of myself in the window of a storefront on a sunny day.  Yep.  One of those ginormous windows last reflects every last flaw you have including where your burrito from last night’s dinner decided to dimple your ass.  Yeah.   That kind.  The distant cousin of department store mirrors that show you everything you don’t want to seewhile trying on a bathing suit.  So I literally woke up, walked into my bathroom and tore myself apart.

I judged the minimal gap between my front two teeth

That my boobs didn’t sit as high as they once did and the tragic lack of perkiness somehow ruined my day

The tiny lines that in just the right angle of lighting show up from 20+ years of smoking.  And yes, to answer the obvious question, I kept my face at exactly that angle to try to count said lines

That my eyebrows seem lighter or thinner or not as vibrant as they once were

That my upper arms jiggled

That my skin doesn’t glow as much and surely there must be some magic elixir that Olay makes

Diagnosing the possible start of a waddle

That I was a she beast and will probably never have sex again because I had deemed myself unscrewable 

I bought a scale that same week as the icing on the cake to quantify daily just how much self defeat I should carry with me each day.  I did this for two solid weeks.  One could call it a mourning of passing beauty.  One could call it a baby midlife crises.  I didn’t buy a corvette but I realized that I possibly had spent the equivalent sum in hair dye.  I ripped myself apart, which for the record, is completely unlike me.  I’m known to slap my own ass in the mirror and declare, “Go own wit yo fine ass girl.” After two weeks and one day…I reached critical mass.  No one and nothing is worth destroying my own value.  I will say that again…

NO ONE AND NOTHING IS WORTH DESTROYING MY OWN VALUE

So I just stopped dyeing my hair.  My closest friends were ready to kill me as I obsessed daily.  Every flaw I perceived was maximized as I had to let go of the trappings of beauty.   It was much harder than I ever thought it would be.  It was also the most liberating journey and I rediscovered the strength of my smile.  The twinkle in my eye.  The fire in my spirit.  After about six months it had grown enough that I could see how it was going to look without the boxed color.  These beautiful silver streaks now wove through my hair and I played those up every chance I could.  I was starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and embrace this change that was happening.  But it will never cease to amaze me how harshly women are judged.  The worst culprits I’ve seen are other women.  Men?  Not so much.  We love them.  But they don’t get it and newsflash, they don’t want to get.  We don’t want them to get it.  It’s in everyone’s best interests if they don’t get it.   We don’t want to let them behind the curtain.  Where is the fun in that!??!

I’m opinionated and highly comfortable with that trait.  I don’t hide my light under a basket baby.  I may, at times, opt to keep my thoughts to myself and mainly what I’m exploring at the moment…are boundaries.  I’m still am expected to bend to societal whims.  I am safely ensconced in middle age and I am still expected to be…a Barbie?  Hell no.  If you want a doll – I suggest a blow up doll.  Do I challenge these norms?  Or do I create my own boundaries and smile indulgently at those who try to cross them.  My decisions or regrets are mine no?  I don’t expect anyone to follow suit.

Most times I lament my quick hair growth but this time, it was welcome.  The sooner it grew out, the sooner I could start using this as my image.  This woman, not girl with the same face but more…

More…

More what?  Character?  Pizzazz?  Balls?

I dunno.

I was told the following by women

“You’re too young to let yourself go”

Go where?  To Disney?  To hell?  To get ice cream?  Because I’m all for that trip.  Madam, are you going to take me to Dairy Queen to make up for my obvious lack of worth?  Thanks a mill Toots.  Whoever said you were an asshole had it all wrong.

“I wish I was as brave as you to look like that.  How long have you been growing it out?  Wouldn’t it be easier to shave your head?  How do you do it?”

I haven’t shaved my head because my alien leader told me my tin foil hat isn’t ready yet.  No really, I’m joking.  I’m actually trying this out since I’m exploring the cougar option as self-flagellation is getting old.  I hang out in clubs at night searching for young 20 somethings.  Please don’t tell my husband.  I walked away humming a Simon and Garfunkle song.  That earned me a strange look.  Huh?  Too much?  More than you giving me some ass backwards comment about my “bravery”?  Can we scale that?  Is it like the bravery of an 18 year old kid leaving home for the first time and going to fight a war in a foreign country?  Or is it more a fireman running into a burning building?  Or is it maybe that of a young mother of three watching her husband fight cancer?  That kind of brave?

“Smile.  It could be worse”

Oh gee sorry that I’m making you question your assumption of how I should be feeling.   My great Aunt Tilly just died and she raised me as her very own after my mother left my father when I was three for her gypsy lover Sergei only to die in a drunken circus accident.  Something about falling off a cliff after one too many cartwheels.  At the moment I’m questioning my existence and trying to heal a broken heart.  But I’ll smile just for you.  How’s this?  Is this better?

635909605772227817391598764_13-fake-smile

“You could highlight your hair to blend it while that is happening”

While what is happening?  Something is happening to my hair?  Or did my ass fall off?  Is this a test?  Is this a show?  Do I get a free makeover?  OH EM GEE where’s the camera?  Are you the host?  Don’t you think you’re a little old to be wearing that?  No?  Maybe you’re a little too heavy then?  No?  It’s not okay for me to pick apart your appearance? You’re perfect?  Cool!  Then stop worrying about my hair.  MMMKAY?

And last but not least, my personal favorite…

“What does your husband say about your hair?”

He says (looks around with a conspiratorial air) that it’s my hair.  *grabs boobs with both hands and adjusts them higher like a dude adjusting his junk while making a cheeky noise and departing from presence of do-gooder while her jaw hits her sternum and loudly tossing over shoulder the words “I KNOW RIIIIIIGHT?” in response *

So here’s the thing.  Can I blame society at large for my own insecurities?  The above listed questions were real.  The responses were too.  I am that bitch.  I regret it though.  Should I have been mean?  These people with their misguided notions made statements really have no bearing on me.  These statements more accurately show their perception of who they think I should be and that doesn’t count.  What counts is who I believe I should be.  I don’t need to snap up every piece of bait sent out to me in this universe.  I don’t have to lace into someone because maybe in their minds, I don’t gel with their societal notions and they’re trying to help.  That’s okay.  That’s on them and how I process that is on me.  Lesson learned.  I’ll be nice from now on.

Yesterday I was at the chiropractor.  I love my chiropractor.  He’s a little older than me and a brilliant conversationalist.  We talk about books and movies and politics and religion and it’s like talking to an old friend.  He’s just easy to be around, which helps the fact that I’m putting my spine and well-being into his hands.  There’s an ease and trust there which is enjoyable even if it only occurs every 4-5 weeks.  There was a time when the pain was so bad and my back was so screwed up that I was in his office 3 to 4 days a week.  We discussed my new gym and reviewed the exercises I’m doing and how often I should go and where I’m hoping this leads and whether I can get there.  This somehow morphed into a full-blown conversation about 80’s movies.  My downfall.  I love them all.  I am a total 80’s throwback.  That’s the time that I was young.  And that’s what got this ball rolling no?

I don’t have to explain myself.  The fact that I do doesn’t necessarily stem from the need to be understood.  It stems from the need to share, to get these thoughts out and if it helps someone else out there wondering if they are okay and they realize that they’re not the only one with these weird thoughts and body mutinies, then great.

I walked out of my chiropractor’s office yesterday after being told that there is no ill effect on my back from exercise and he already is starting to see tone setting in you know what I did?  After discussing the embodiment of rebellion in The Breakfast Club and he compared me to John Fucking Bender.  I don’t play by the rules.  I don’t conform to what people expect of me and I’ll take whatever journey of self-worth and self-expression I need to in order to continue my happiness.  I’ll walk through fire and show off the blisters because it means I had the guts to walk that fire to begin with and I’m proud of that.

After this journey of self-doubt and existential questioning and quasi rebellion…

I walked out like this

bender_fist

All Sports Bras Must Die

I joined a gym.  This is a really big thing.  I hate gyms.  I am known to have all of the social graces of Leona Helmsley at a gym.  I don’t like crowded spaces nor do I like know it alls.  It has been my experience to find both at most gyms I’ve frequented.  I’m a loner by nature and extremely independent and self-sufficient; so someone trying to educate me on how to lift a bus in a power squat generally prompts me to do horrible things like ask if they did too many squats and is that why they have anal leakage and therefore make them question their existence for the rest of the day.  I know it’s not nice, no one ever said I was nice.

I also tend to dress like a toddler who tried to be a big stuff by dressing themselves in a pitch black room with no concept of color matching.  I’m a big girl now.  In every way.  Whereas once I commanded a waifish figure, that of a dancer, I now have curves and by curves I mean I can count belly rolls.  I’m trying to figure out how I can keep the boobs and butt and lose the belly and thighs.  Then….I would be perfect.   Well physically.  Emotionally?  One could probably quantify my personality as “strong”.  

Last Saturday I finally bolstered myself up enough to meet with a trainer.  In my head I was ready.  I was ready to put injuries behind me and start getting better with a vengeance.   I was like Good Will Hunting in therapy.  Let the healing begin!!


And that was all great and nobel and so very fitting for my eternally sassy attitude until I learned something the hard way.  Putting on a sports bra when one has pronounced tatas is challenging.  Ones head must be inserted through the technicolored flappy straps and then one must wrestle the uber strength strap of said bra which does not latch like a normal bra over the girls so they are safely ensconced in the durable fabric of the bra. This is so we don’t knock ourselves unconscious while on the treadmill or get one of our breasts trapped in a weight machine.  When one reaches a certain age, our boobs tend to wander off like unherdable cats.   That’s the easy part.  Taking off the bra is where the real exercise starts.  One has to wriggle and jiggle to try to lever this inquisition device (surpasses my hatred of pantyhose) which invariably leaves one boob  in and one out until such time that you can maneuver yourself fully out of the bra which even though you know you ordered your size is the equivalent of trying to squeeze your funbags into a onesie…you know…for an infant.

At this point my breasts have completely mutinied.  The left breast is complaining like Scotty from Star Trek insisting “Captain, I’m givin ‘er all that she’s got” while the right breast is like Taylor Swift in the middle of another Kanye feud.  It would very much like to be removed from this narrative.  I was sweaty and semi fulfilled and nothing could bust up all my good chi and all I wanted was a shower.  All.  I. Wanted.  What I got was busted chi and an bad temper and an inability to remove myself from a stupid piece of apparel. 

Five minutes later I felt like a dog chasing my tail and very much contemplated leaving this piece of crap on permanently.  I actually rationalized that if I soaped it up in the shower that would consistute proper laundering.  Shower pouf..meet bra…bra…cleanse thyself.   I’m a genius.  I have solved every woman’s problem; now I’ll work on eliminating calories from ice cream and Oreo’s.

But then…..

It became a mission from God.  Simply because my Irish was up.  There really is no other reason, nor does there need to be. While I realize this particular logic accounts for somewhere in the realm of 80 to 90 percent of my “issues”, if it didn’t happen there woldn’t be a blog.  No normal person writes about this crap.

I’m part of a beginners fitness group which results in things like lifting 2.5 pounds and considering myself impressive because it’s more about the form than the weight.  The form is the be all end all fitness goal and my trainer said my form is role mdoel status.  I warned her to never make me anyone’s role model.  Only the strong can survive that shit. I started last week going both Saturday and Wednesday.  Yesterday morning I rose happily, feeling a sense of wellness and anticipation.  I’m getting stronger.  I went to the gym.  I overcame my own gym issues and fears and made it a point to git it girlllll.  I did it.  Until I got there.  The parking lot was packed and by packed I mean I had to walk three miles to get to the entrance which made me hungry.  Due to the over capacity parking lot I can only assume they are giving something away.  I’m hoping it’s brownies, but I will also settle for whisky.  It could make  the treadmill, an otherwise boring thing, very exciting indeed.  I love new adventures.  I walked in very excited.  In my mind, I had myself convinced I was getting something chocolatey and the size of my head.  It turns out it was just a bunch of people trying to work out.  

Deanna Carter had a great album title way back when about shaving her legs for no reason.  I shared a similar sentiment.  I wrestled a sports bra for this?

But alas I did.  And I will again.  My beginners fitness gym is a contained in a gigantic facility but they give you an almost womb like level of separation and security.  It’s a tiny room filled with the basics.  There are two leg machines, two ab machines, one back machine and one arm/shoulder machine in addition to treadmills and bikes.  There are people there; big and small, young and old with the one common goal of feeling better.  We are in this safety zone where we can learn to do this, in my case all over again or in other cases for the very first time.  There is no judgment there. We are learning to put ourselves at a top  position in our own lives and how to schedule that little bit of self love in otherwise busy lives. Some of us don’t ever make time for ourselves.  It’s a process of discovery which can be daunting…especially when your boobs are trapped.