For as long as I can remember, I have had an issue with my body and wanted to change it – to ‘perfect’ it. If my body was perfect, I would be perfect – everyone would love and adore me. Where did this stem from? I cannot quite put my finger on it. Perhaps from being exposed to sexual activities from age nine onwards, perhaps from the feeling that I was not as good as my brothers, perhaps from my mother’s low self-worth, which was transferred onto me in hindsight.
There a couple of things that stick out from my years spent in America. Like the time I was walking home from Junior High School (aged 12) and a man who could have been the same age as my father said, ‘I’d like to get into your pussy’. Or the time when I was bullied for having a ‘funny way of talking (my British accent) and for being thin.
Being a woman, for me, meant to be curvaceous – big breasts, big bottom, big thighs, who oozed sex appeal and showed what was ‘on her plate’. I wanted to take medication that could make me put on weight, and for a long time, I wanted to have breast enhancement surgery. The weight thing eventually left me but having surgery to have bigger breasts never did. Many years later, after finding someone who loves me no matter what size my breasts are and how out of shape they are after having three children, I was in a situation where surgery wasn’t a cosmetic choice any longer but the only way out.
I was selected to participate in a trial to see whether women between 47 and 49 should be screened for breast surgery. I was shocked when I got a recall letter. To get a better and quicker service, I decided to use my husband’s private insurance. In one day, I had a scan, a 3D mammogram, a biopsy and a consultation with a breast surgeon and I was diagnosed with 2nd stage breast cancer. The initial plan was to have a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and augmentation of the unaffected breast.
So there it was, my dream to have ‘perfectly made’ breasts was coming true. However, after a few weeks of emotional conversations with my husband, children and other women who have had/have breast cancer – I decided that my dream to have ‘perfectly made’ breasts was no longer what I wanted. Within a month, I’d gone from having two breasts that I wanted to ‘fix’ to the mastectomy of one breast.
I now find my remaining breast so absolutely perfect – it’s droopy and a bit stretchy, it’s got moles and light and dark areas, but it’s 100% made up of me. I know now that I am the best version of me. I want my story to inspire other women and show them that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
Kenny x the anti-casting
All the womxn featured on the underargument have been selected based on the personal story they shared with us which was inspired by one of our collections' themes. We only receive stories, no photos and no measurements. This is what we call the anti-casting and it is our way of reclaiming the representation of women's diversity and utilising the power of storytelling to empower ourselves and others. Find out more and maybe submit your story too here.
Kenny is wearing collection no.01 For awesome // Against perfect.