Everyone has a breast story…
Mine was a wringing lament about my inverted “piggybank” nipples. Why couldn’t I feel the breezes and temperature fluctuations like everyone else? It was my tale of woe…They were my secret shame; a horrid result of my 13-year-old C-ups’ determined chest-flattening efforts. A thin veil of sadness came slowly down, rooting as a belief that I was deformed and had only myself to blame.
Like any kid I’d had my share of stinging adolescent humiliations, but after being darkly teased about my hide-a-way nipples, I developed a secret complex. Why was I so fearful of being different, of disappointing others… of not being beautiful?
My life with ‘Cyrano de Bergerac syndrome’ proceeded until 2011, when I made a trip to Egypt. The Arab Spring had emptied the country of tourists, leaving me and my tiny group of seven women alone to meander through massive ruins which were inexplicably splendorous. Everywhere I turned were the towering and topless figures of Isis, Sekhmet, Hathor, and countless other mysterious characters. As I stood before these massive carved reliefs depicting ceremony, power and love, I marveled at the prominence of the breasts, full and reflecting the desert sun. What would it be like to live in a culture where the breasts were exposed?
These timeless figures evoked a serene femininity and an open-hearted accessibility that inspired me to conduct a series of interviews.
A producer and storyteller by training, I’d been at PBS for more than a decade and had gotten used to asking sweeping questions. Now I was determined to find my own lost self through others by conducting a series of interviews exploring a breast based wisdom.
Perhaps I too could find healing and resolution? I began to search for candidates to interview. The Breast Archives had been launched.
Making this film has taught me that I— we all — have so much to release, to talk about, to share, and to celebrate.
Viewers in the UK, Turkey, Australia, and around the globe say the film stimulates a hidden desire to share stories, secrets, and sources of shame that have obstructed authentic self-expression.
By giving voice to our truths we can then begin to reshape a narrative in which our breasts are not a source of isolation, but a bridge that connects us.