I can see myself walking down the hallway stairs at Boynton Junior High school, when I hear Jim Clark’s voice just below, “Hey Pancake,” as he looks up at me. I can’t help but feel embarrassed. I know he is referring to my chest, my lack of breasts as an eighth grader. Other girls are developing while I am wishing I was. I can’t even wear a padded bra as my mother has forbidden me with her words, “You don’t need one.” When I am fifteen I am courageous enough to buy a bra on the sly, and place kleenex in a 34B cup, when I am an A. And that is no grade to be proud of! I was also awarded the nicknames: string bean (at first I wrote green bean maybe because green is now my favorite color as it is the color of love according to some Buddhist traditions), or skinny. Since then I have been trying hard to create a more curvaceous figure, because I do have a small waist and lovely ass. Also, I am 5 foot 9 inches of long legs of which I learned to be proud after Miss America models were mostly that height and some boys grew taller than me. Once I became a freshman in college, I put on 15 pounds the first semester, mostly in my behind where I needed it least. What to do with my self image? I was already a wall flower, but not wishing my chest to emphasize such a wallpapering. I had to buy a girdle, not only to hold up my stockings, but you know what to hold in. I still have the broken spider veins, only in my left thigh, to mark that girdle-era when I was 19. Becoming a nurse, psychotherapist and married woman helped me to accept my small breasts, but I still felt inadequate in a bathing suit. I was most happy with my body while nursing my two daughters, when milk-filled breasts gave me 34-24-36 shapeliness. I no longer needed padded bras. I was for real. Of course that was a short-lived part of my life and when plastic surgery became more common, I researched the best way to have breast implants telling myself I had accepted my body, and could now enhance it to be more in proportion to the American way of beauty. That was 1990. Most people would never know I’ve had such surgery because I am only a 34B. Being athletic I didn’t want big breasts which can get in the way; I just wanted to look feminine, not like a boy. Later, after years of deep-feeling tear-filled therapy, I want to trust that I would not have this surgery now, yet I truly feel accepting of myself as is, my chest muscles embracing the silicone-saline implants for 22 years without troubles. I like trying hard to BE ME.