Wednesday, 6 August 2008


I make no apologies to those people who have seen one of these photographs before.
There is a reason why I've put it back up alongside the other two.

Last year under my other name I published the photograph of my mastectomy. This year because of what I've been going through it seems important to be a whole person. Now obviously that could have easily been done by one full length picture. But that somehow isn't right as the elements that make up these photos are important to me.

Prior to getting cancer I didn't like my body, nowadays since getting my tit cut off I do. I'm the same size as I was then, in fact I'm the same measurements now as I was when I was 19, except my waist is a couple of inches bigger. But then I think that is reasonable I'm 54, on Tamoxifen and have had two children.

Since my mastectomy I have come to appreciate my body in a way I never thought possible. I take a lot of photographs of it, with little or no clothing on. It feels that I can now celebrate something that before I used to believe was fat.

I can take pics of myself that are slightly sexual in nature, as in the bottom one. I'm happy with myself to be seen like that.

If anything it is my face I struggle with more now as although I know I don't look my age or have many wrinkles and lines, I see my jaw starting to sag, and other signs of aging, which are a bit tedious.

I,of course as a woman of a certain age have become invisible, which is fine, cause I was never one to turn heads anyway. I have looked the way I do since I was a toddler, with more or less the same hairstyle. The pics of me at 18 months old look much the same as me today. So I was either a very aged baby or I'm wearing well!!!

But that doesn't explain what these pics are doing here.

What these photos represent to me is the start of a new journey. The journey where I learn that I am lovable and not just woman to have sex with. But a woman good enough to have a decent and loving relationship with that doesn't start and end with sex.

All my relationships, almost without exception, have had sex introduced into them too early by me. I did this because I have had this ridiculous belief that I,the me, under the guise of the sex machine wouldn't be able to sustain a relationship. After all, who would want a relationship with me. The me that was vulnerable, and lost. The lonely adolescent that learnt to use sex to get boyfriends never learnt a different lesson till now.

I am constantly awed by people wanting to be my friend, but I can accept it (just!) I know that I am good at making and sustaining friendships. If I give you my friendship it is yours to keep until you hurt me.

Something actually that is going on big style at the moment for me. As the three women I used to call my friends in the town I live in are all doing things to me that are hurtful right now. I don't know whether that's because I have changed and moved on, so they make no effort towards me and don't include me anymore. Or if it's the other way round. Part of me is extremely hurt by what has been happening. But another part of me is relieved that I no longer have to pretend that we have anything in common.

So I know that I can walk away from this town without regrets cause by the time I leave these issues will be resolved inside me. Especially if I'm brave enough to actually tell them! The jury is still out on whether I'll be doing that or not!

But I digress.

There is this odd juxtaposition inside me that on the one hand understands that people like me /love me. But at the same time feels totally unworthy of those feelings. And it is the latter that I am working on right now.

I need right now not to be in a relationship..... this statement is being acknowledged for the first time ever in my head. I spend a lot of time yearning for a relationship. But it isn't another human being I want, it's being in love that I want to feel.

I love being in that place of madness, when all I can do is think, breathe, sleep, eat, drink, work, live being obsessed about A. N.Other. Being in love is not about having decent loving relationships. In fact the 9 blokes I've been out with in the last 13 years are testament to that! That's not to say that a couple of them weren't decent men, they were just married. Which is of course such a safe place to get emotionally beaten up. No time together at holidays, no sleeping a whole night together and all the other things that make up an affair.

I can see that now. I can see that I was using their marital status as a way to maintain my unworthiness. The men who weren't married, well they didn't have to have a decent relationship with me did they. They were getting hot sex, why would they want to get involved in my emotional needs. Why did that happen.... cause I set it up. I put myself in that place, then when they weren't there for me emotionally, whadda yer know self fulfilling prophecy came true. I wasn't worthy.

Well Fuck That.

Right now I'd rather not have a relationship till I can sort it out once and for all that the whole me, not just my sexy legs, not my battered chest wall, not just my pixie face but all of me. The physical, the emotional, the spiritual, the needy, the giving, the person that makes up all of me is OK and deserves love just as much as anyone else on this planet. Not less, not more just equal.

And if I can get that, and when the next man comes along when I'm ready to be genuine in front of him and not just someone who can give a great blow job then I will be able to have my third chance for the sort of relationship that I envy others for having. That is being friends as well as lovers with a partner.

Wish me luck! It's a tough journey to self belief and worthiness!


Walker said...

Love the red shoes

Mei Del said...

actually some men purposely seek out women of a certain age - i'd like to think these sort of men know where value can be found. of course i could be deluding myself, being a slightly conceited woman of a certain age myself :D

Trixie said...

Hear hear honey! I know what you mean. I've really only just discovered what I am after myself. I'm not planning to fall in bed again straight away with a guy.

Wild Cat said...

Love the hair do :o)

Hears to a more personal fufulling time for all!


Mel said...

It's an awesome thing to discover and actually WEAR that your worth and value just IS.

No one can diminish it, nothing compromises's awesome and I know--I KNOW--you'll awaken to this tidbit of freedom one day.

Yaknow, I'm honoured to be recognized as a friend in your life......and equally honoured to be able to call you one of mine.

I gave up relationships to persue one with my G-d......and He, in His infinite wisdom, dropped himself in my lap when I least expected it.
G-d has a really, really funny sense of humour...LOL


You've already come a long way, baby!

Bollinger Byrd said...

walker what can I say, I wore tem just for you perhaps?

mei, love the idea of you being a conceited woman of acertain age... lets hear it for all of us!

trix, babe it's good to know what you're going after in life.

catz, thanks for the compliment. And I agree lets go for it all round. we've had enough!

mel, you have made me cry, those words about friendship have touched me deeply, thank you.


Walker said...

There was only two pictures when I posted my comment early this morning.

We all paint ourselves in a corner sometimes and have to suffer for it until the paint dries and we could escape.
Sometimes we rush into things thinking it’s what we have to do or to fulfill a desire burning inside knowing it’s to soon but hell sometimes you just can’t wait for the other person to catch up when you started getting ready before you even met that person.

When you’re young think that this is what you have to do to be with someone until you learn better and find a truer path.
I have a friend who now lives with his family on the west coast, mostly for the availability or marijuana.
His wife has been battling cancer for over a decade now with a smile on her face and a joint in her mouth.

She once said that the fight wasn’t about her staying alive for one more day but for her daughters to learn how to live life no matter what gets thrown in their way.

I still like the red shoes ;)

ChrisH said...

Thanks for your good wishes, BB. You are one brave lady with a great pair of pins - I wish you all the best for your journey (sounds like you've already come a long way!)

Pipany said...

Golly your strength just oozes through your writing. Thank you for the read xx

Sally's Chateau said...

A brave lady comes shining through all the hurt you have endured, be easy on yourself and don't let those so called fine weather friends get to you. xx

Bollinger Byrd said...

Ah yes Walker, when you looked this morning I was checking that I was putting the pictures on in the right order. No wonder you got confused!
good words, make a lot of sense to me, so thank you for them.

ChrisH, honey you're welcome, and thanks for your right back at me, she said crossing her ankles neatly!

pipany welcome, and thank you for your kind comment.

Sally, Good advice about the 'friends' thanks for that, and the other generous words.


KittyB said...

A lot resonates here for reasons both similar and different to yours.
It's hard to accept that we have been shallow and needy and then to go forward from there, but do it we must. I hope you find your equal partner. But with legs like that, and OMG that hair (I want it!), no probs, mate. You are beautiful, scars and all.

Bollinger Byrd said...

Whoa!Kitty, my head has doubled in size, what lovely things to say, thank you. good advice too, which I'm doing my best to heed.
Thanks for stopping by.

Faith said...

You look amazing - sexy, friendly and great. I truly understood that sentence about not liking your body before one boob had to go, but liking it now. Your strength shines through your blog. I think you are great. Showed my husband and he thought so too!

Bollinger Byrd said...

what an extremely lovely thing to say, thank you so much faith.... and your husband!

Ronjazz said...

You know what I think of you. I so admire you. And your constant search for you in your posts is such an honor to read. And you have a body that I could do a lot with too, woman... and I don't care who knows it.

You are quite remarkable. You ever need someone to pat you on the back, you come and find me.

Bollinger Byrd said...

Ron, my sweetheart if I ever come looking for you it won't be a pat on the back. We'd have far more interesting things to do together!!!

Exmoorjane said...

Oh hon, sorry to hear about the 'friends' ....and sorry I haven't been around much of late... I think you have hit the nail on the head - until one can be by oneself and all Ok with that, then relationships are always a bit skewed. Funny thing, the moment i decided that I was perfectly ok on my own, thank you very much, who should come along but dear old A. Funny world....
You are very every which way. jxxxxx

l-q-s said...

Yes the red shoes rock but, Byrdy, look at those beutiful sparkly eyes of yours!!

I know I'm younger, and have far less experience of everything as a direct result, but I'm trying to get to grips with much the same thing at the moment. Have spent almost 3 years on my own now, after a whole marriage of being on my own, and all the previous relationships were based on sex, or at any rate, used it as the glue that held us together. (No pun intended, honest! :D) Am now comfy with myself but am still surprised when other people value me in any way as I am very definitely not the shape I was before I had my children. Have to accept that if I, always my harshest critic, can see value in the soul of me, perhaps other people can see past the 'unforgiveable' external mess too. This has taken on extra significance since I recently met a man who I think could be very important to me, but with whom, for various reasons I can only take it very slowly with. Have realised in the past week or so that there is no rush, it's not a race and that, if it's to work out, we have all the time in the world to take it slow, get to know each other and build on the initial, fun, friendship and respect. But it's hard to keep that in mind when your body expects you to jump him first and ask questions later! ;D

It does take time to heal, as I'm sure you've learned physically. But it sounds like you know where you're headed for and I'm sure that's half the battle.

Bright blessings. x

~:*:*:Pixie:*:*:~ said...

You go, little H-O-T-T-I-E!!!!!!

*cheering and applauding*



But Why? said...

You, fighting back? Who'da thunk it?!

Great post. Great sentiments. Enjoy the fight(!)

Irene said...

Well said and well thought out. I hope you stick to your own best advice and work it out for yourself, because you will be doing yourself a lot of good. I am your age and know of what you speak. I am single and happily so. It is okay not to be in a relationship. There is nothing sacred about it. Living with your own company is the best thing first.

Preseli Mags said...

Fabulous legs! It's interesting too, to see the picture after your mastectomy.

I've read a few magazine features showing photographs of women after single and double mastectomies and the thing is they are all still just as beautiful as before.

Everything seems to be so breast-focussed when, in actual fact, the beauty is the woman attached to the breast, not the breast that is attached to the woman.

I wish you luck on your journey too and hope that the hardest parts are already behind you. xx Mags.

Bollinger Byrd said...

jane, I'm glad your back I've missed you, as one gorgeous creature to another!

l-q-s, thank you for the compliment. And for sharing your stuff too. really hope all goes well in this developing relationship for you.

pixie xoxoxoxoxo, what more can I say!

but why the fight is great when I'm on top of my game and suicide ally when I'm not!

irene, you are an example to follow, thanks.

mags, welcome, and thanks for the compliments. And you are so right about where breast/ self belong. Which is why I have no problem looking as I do


Cait O'Connor said...

A lot resonates with me too and with a lot of women I expect. I find it's great to reach a certain age where you can be true friends with a man and it's not about sex, 'twould never have happened when I was young.
You look great and sound strong.

darth sardonic said...

i think you're a ballsy chick, and that makes you hot. i dig it! keep it up. and glad you are happy with who you are mostly.

Bollinger Byrd said...

cait not sure if I'm looking forward to friendship over sex in a relationship, but maybe I need some more growing to do first.

darth, you are just too kind, thanks mate.


DJ Kirkby said...

You have such a beautiful face.

stevesmall said...

Not only brave but beautiful as well.

Bollinger Byrd said...

Thanks for popping by and the compliment Steve, both appreciated

nachtwache said...

Hi, Walker, of course, suggested a visit. I'd say you 'wear well', I'm a bit younger in age, but you look younger than me and are beautiful! I can relate to what you wrote, about not feeling worth much.... maybe many people feel that way.
You've obviously moved into a different direction from your friends', that happens and it's OK, you have better things waiting for you. Best wishes for your journey!
Hint, stick with good friends and get hugs from them for now.

Bollinger Byrd said...

nachtwache,thank you for stopping by, lovely to meet you. I think I've got a hug from WAlker here for telling you about me and that feels very good.

nachtwache said...

Yes, Walker is a good guy :) Thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods, the one that's gibberish is German, some of my family in Switzerland don't understand English and requested some German posts. I checked out some translation services. Too confusing, kids become 'baby goats' in German, a German article, like 'the', is 'die', it translates it into English as die, like death, and so the post ends up not making much sense, as the translation is all literal and doesn't take context into consideration. I'll just have to sweat and recall my German lessons from 35 years ago.
Anyway, nice to meet you too!

aka k said...

just popped over to see who LiR was partying with next week and got more than I bargained for.

I hope you find what you are looking for. I'm not in the frame, being married and not even sure I'm available (long, long story). However, in your quest please don't underestimate the value of being "someone who can give a great blow job" :)

nitebyrd said...

I'll always send you positive energy and good thoughts. The journey is rough and worrisome at times but Oh! so worth it!

You're beautiful.

Bollinger Byrd said...

dj I'm all red faced and embarssed, I didn't say thank you for the lovely compliment, what must you think....Sorry

aka-k thanks for stopping by, I did try and repay the compliment but obviously that couldn't happen.Story sounds interesting though.

nitebyrd, you are a babe, thanks


Blogget Jones said...

You're absolutely wonderful! I've been through some of the thought processes you're talking about, some of the hurt others can inflict. And I've been guilty of the sex-too-soon thing many times (which is a big "duh" if you read my blog!). But here's to you, making self-discoveries and putting yourself out there in the world! I feel like I'm turning a corner myself, with this upcoming birthday. And you soooo don't look your age!

Take care!

Fire Byrd said...

ooh thank you ms jones for those lovely comments. It is good to start to put ourselves and our needs first.

Withy Brook said...

What a road you are traveling! You are brave and beautiful and finding your way to a much better and happier life. I, being much older than you, found that sex was far from everything long ago!

Fire Byrd said...

withy, no doubt in time I'll get to that place, but not yet, don't feel ready to let that part of myself go yet.
Thank you for the lovely compliments

Anonymous said...

Celebrate your womanhood. Women are too often seen as sex objects, something that has often made me resentful.

CJ xx

Fire Byrd said...

cj, it doesn't help if I/we behave like sex objects. That is the lesson I'm learning for myself that I AM worth more than that to me. And that's what's important

aka k said...

belated reply to your reply, if that makes sense. yes, my blog is private. an invite, if you're interested, would require an email address...

hint, mines on my profile page :)

Fire Byrd said...

aka-k being an idiot on a computer I can't access a microsoft account to open to find your email addy.Computer won't let me do it So you'll have to write to me, addy on side bar of my blog instead. Hint!

Mei Del said...

you know i was getting used to abbreviating you to BB and now wonder if i could get away with fb ... le's try this out - i'm partying with fb this weekend ... wotja think?

Mean Mom said...

Oh, no! You're more or less my age, but you look much younger than me and you can give great blow jobs. Help, I'm feeling inadequate!

Thanks for letting me know of your change of name. You are becoming a stronger woman. Good for you!! Fire Byrd is an excellent choice of name for you. I love the photos on your site.

I hope that everyone has a great time at your party, on the 16th. I will be thinking of you and I hope that there will be a 'party report'.

Fire Byrd said...

mei I think just byrd will do FB has connatations of shortened swear words to me... but that's only cause I swear a lot.

mean mum, blow jobs only happen cause I've 9 relationships in the last 13years and therefore I've had lots of practise!!!
And I do somehow feel stronger. Thank you for the compliment about my photos. i never without my camera nowadays.
party report will probably be some drunken post at an unearthly hour of the morning if the last party is anything to go by!!