This is my chest, more specifically, my pectoral region.
Taking this picture is probably one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever done, because it reminds me of what it used to look like.
You see, I grew up with gynecomastia up until age 23. Gynecomastia (and I’m using the American spelling), is an enlarged male breast tissue.
My pediatrician thought it was fat and that I would grow out of it. And indeed, I was an overweight child, so there was a valid argument.
Nonetheless, I could tell by feeling my nipple that there was something odd. It didn’t feel like fat, it felt very hard.
Turns out, I had two golf-ball sized tumours in my chest.
They were benign fortunately, and when I was 23, I had them removed. (Not cheap! And there was no national health in the US.)
And yet, whilst the tumours are gone, the emotional impact of having carried them remains.
I am loathe to take my shirt off in public, and even in private, showing my bare self to potential partners sends me into a mild panic.
I look at this photo and see the misshapen nipple.
You might ask what spurred this on? Well, last night, SBS Dateline aired a fascinating story about Korean teenagers taking up plastic surgery to emulate their K-Pop idols. One guy claimed to have spent $30K to give himself “confidence.”
That scares me.
My surgeries (excess skin from weight loss and gynecomastia removal) cost $12K.
And I whilst I feel a bit more confident, I know that all the surgery in the world will never erase the past.
I wonder if they’ve learned that in Korea.