Don’t worry — he and I have worked through it (hi dad!) — but his first reaction was to ask me to hide myself (to buy into my shame) to spare himself and others the discomfort of seeing my true self.
Fifteen years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I heard a hint of my father’s voice in the words of the plastic surgeon. He offered to reconstruct my breast by carving out a slab of my back muscle, wrapping it around my front, and tucking it over an implant, like a steak over a tennis ball. (Called a latissimus dorsi flap, the surgery is one of the most common reconstructive options after breast cancer.)
“Isn’t that back muscle doing something?” I asked.
“You’ll look normal in clothes,” he shrugged. “That’s all most women want.”
Really? Is that really ALL most women want?