Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Not dead....just floating....

On feral library computer...ISP company sucks...still off line but hopefully tomorrow, all things being equal I will be back up...what an embuggerance.

What Defines a Woman?

Author Chris Power swung by to share some thoughts with us today…

What Defines a Woman?

Is it our bodies? Our hormones? What goes on between our ears or between our legs? Or a nicely balanced mix of all of it, plus that little bit of something indefinable?

I ask, because something Kelly Kirch blogged about today reminded me of some thing that happened to me some years ago.

I had to go for a biopsy on my right breast because a mammogram showed an anomaly. My friends and family rallied round the way they do when something that might be dire hovers on the horizon. But after the initial heart-stopping scare, I wasn't bothered. I knew I didn't have cancer. I quite clearly heard this voice in my head telling me so. Not, "I don't have cancer," but, "You don't have cancer."

"Okay," I thought back. "Thanks for letting me know."

"How do you stay so calm," one of my friends said. "I couldn't take it if I were you, the thought of maybe losing a breast is horrifying, I wouldn't feel like a proper woman any more and my hubbie won't find me attractive."

So I smiled sweetly and told her about my voice. Inside I was angry. But I couldn't show it because a while ago my friend had an accident that left a large hollow scar on the outer side of her thigh that she felt was disfiguring. So much so she could no longer be naked in front of her husband with the lights on. I tried to point out as delicately as I could that I was not defined by my boobs, nor was I any less a woman because I'd had a hysterectomy a few years previously [one of the best decisions of my life, but that's another story], but my friend wouldn't listen. She is also dreading the menopause for the same reason, because she believes a useless womb is the same as having one removed--she won't be a proper woman and she will no longer be attractive. It isn't vanity on her part. She is tall, lovely, with long straight naturally blonde hair, she's intelligent, has a high-powered job and her husband adores her. Yet in spite of that--or maybe because of it--she seems massively insecure.

Nor was she the only one of my female friends who said something similar, both then and earlier when I opted for the hysterectomy. Virtually all of them expressed the same opinion, with varying degrees of pity for the situation I might find myself facing. I was very much in the minority.

"I'm Me," I told them over and over, "and I'm a woman." But I couldn't get through to them that 'Me' is defined by what goes on inside my head, regardless of whether I have a functioning womb or not, both breasts or no breasts.

Much as I love and appreciate men, my life does not revolve around their approval or otherwise of the way I look. After all, no woman is put on this earth just to be a decoration on the arm of a man and to bear his children. Having said that, I'm no Helen of Troy. Maybe if I was as lovely as my friend I might think differently. But I very much doubt it.

As an end-note, the anomaly turned out to be tiny grains of calcium in my breast tissue that may or may not have turned malignant over time. As it was, the Doc at the Cancer Clinic took them out with the biopsy probe and I've had no more anomalies since.

One man’s opinion…game soul that he is…

I read somewhere that 95% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies in some way. This would be all well and good if you kept your neurosis to yourself, but unfortunately, it creeps over into our territory with comments like “I can’t stand for you to see me naked” no matter how much we reassure that the sight of you really is enticing and wonderful. Yes we like the female form – that said, one of the most attractive features on a woman is when she is confident with the body she has - with or without a breast or womb. Confidence covers a tremendous amount of blemishes and flaws (which we probably didn’t notice in the first place until you pointed them out).
Daren Martin, PhD

Amarinda opinion…

I applaud Chris’ words. No woman is a pair of breasts or a set of ovaries. What I think defines a woman is the indomitable spirit to nurture, to survive and to endure the crap she is faced with. It’s her hormones, her wit and her words – and the obvious fact she doesn’t have a penis and she can multi-skill. As for Dr Daren’s words, thank you and well said Doc – but I have to disagree on one point- no woman is ever going to be happy with their body and I don’t believe it’s a bad thing to be brave enough to admit your fears. I also think the odd neurosis keeps us human – and hell, why not share them with those that want to love you?

Got an opinion or a story you want to share on this subject? Feel free to comment. Also if you are due to have a mammogram – make sure you bloody have one. Breast cancer caught early is curable.

Want to know more about Chris Power and her great books? Check out and
Want to know more about Dr Daren and what he does? Check out

Tribute Trail by Terri Beckett and Chris Power - coming 27th March from Cerridwen Press

Trained all his life to serve the will of the Great Goddess, Kherin is her Chosen, her warrior, mage and priest. The prophecy at his birth told of great things. Betrayed by one he trusted, given to be a slave to a barbarian lord, when he learns his goddess’s purpose, he finds it hard to obey.

Rythian, having challenged for the leadership of his tribe and won, is forced to put the future of his people before Syth his beloved wife, and extended family, refuses to let his sacrifice be for nothing. With enemies on the borders of his land threatening invasion and enemies within the tribe working against him, Rythian has no time for the whims of deities. He fights his god’s intent every step of the way.

Two very different men, both warriors, both chosen by the gods and brought together to be forged in the fires of betrayal and conflict.
Aided by family and friends, they must learn trust and friendship so they can combat their enemies and become weapons for their gods to wield.

Dark Waters by Chris Quinton released 28th March from Ellora's Cave

Flein is a wanderer by instinct and need, roaming the known world as the fancy takes him.

In the Highland village of Glenfinnan, women have been raped and brutally murdered. The killer is a waterhorse, a monstrous shapeshifter by all accounts. But when Flein meets Donnchadh, first in its equine form, then its man-shape, he knows the waterhorse is innocent.

As they hunt for the real murderer, Flein reluctantly becomes more and more drawn to the handsome shapeshifter. Donnchadh, though wary, shares the same attraction.

But time is against them. They must find the killer before more women die, but then suspicion is turned on them and the hunters have become the hunted.

I will be back to waffle on about the amazingness of nothingness tomorrow. Until then please refer to and to see what they are plotting.
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


Anonymous said...

An embuggerance hmm? I wonder what the FLE (not being an Aussie) would say about that one?

barbara huffert said...

Argh! Mammogram season. I got the card in the mail...have to wait my customary two months before making my appointment. The cosmos would crumble if I did it any sooner but I'm going.

lyntaylor said...

If it came to the crunch of my life or my breasts, well, they can have the damn breasts. The cosmetic surgery performed these days is really impressive so I don't fear the disfigurement that would come with breast removal. Then again, it does depend on the extent of the cancer I guess. Hard to say until one has to face it themselves.

Molly Daniels said...

I cracked up my doctor when I had a brief scare (it turned out to be a hormonal cyst); I looked at my flat chest, then looked at him and said, "Well, it's not going be any great loss if we have to chop it off!"

I agree. My body does not define who I am; it's my personality! And I also have enough men friends who agree with Daren: Females who moan about or are self-conscious of their looks are a turn-off. Confidence is the key.

Molly Daniels said...

No offense, Chris, but your friend needs massive amounts of therapy, including boosting her self-esteem!

Anny Cook said...

WELCOME BACK! We missed you! Yep, they can have the boobs. They already took the rest of the plumbing. I'm with Chris--it was the best thing I ever did.

Kelly Kirch said...

Embuggerance is a fabulous word "Ed" *snark* I know who you are.... and pukeable is cool too.

The docs can have my breasts as long as they take my tummy too. Why don't they have tummy cancer? Then I could have a tummy-ectomy. Hmm. Perhaps making light is not the right attitude. It goes along with my sentiment that your health is first, the things on your body are just things not your soul, mind, spirit, will to live. You encompass so much more than a nipple.

Sandra Cox said...

See you tomorrow.