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 as Cyran”a” de Bergerac 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 7 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 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 I’d 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.