The title comes from a quote that I love from The Family Stone. Some people have trouble being comfortable in their own skin, and we all at least have moments when we feel that way. That day you get on the scale and are a bit horrified at the number by your feet. The morning you have to wake up and go to work with a huge zit on the tip of your nose. When you first have braces put on and people can't understand a word you're saying. The day you get to be the person with runs in your pantyhose and toilet paper stuck to your foot. And then, let's not leave out adolescence, because I know I spent at least three years feeling this way every day of my life. Trying to wear the right clothes, listen to the right music, make the right friends, prove to everyone that I was cool. Those were the worst years of my life. But then around fifteen, I had this epiphany moment, when some cool kid I didn't really like was telling me off for talking gossip about her - and I realized I didn't really like or care about her, and more importantly, I didn't really like this person I was trying to be. So I stopped trying, and almost in the blink of an eye, the awkwardness, the misery of adolescence went away for me. Not that I didn't still have people trying to make me feel like a dork, I just didn't care anymore. I had accepted myself for who I was, embraced my dorkiness and come to a sort of peace with myself. It wasn't always quite that simple, sometimes things still got under my skin, but by and large, it was really just that easy.
I have this little scar under my left breast. It's not something that's very noticeable, even in a two-piece bathing suit, but it's there. Polly noticed it when we were about sixteen or so and asked me what it was. I laughed because explaining this to people is not something I do very often, and it's always interesting to watch a person's reaction to it.
"It's a third, undeveloped nipple," I told her.
She looked at me like I had three heads instead of three nipples. It doesn't look like a nipple at all. It just looks like a little scar. She didn't believe me at first, but she eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn't putting her on.
"I wouldn't tell many people that if I were you," was her response.
I guess that there are people out there that would lie about something like that, but I'm not one of them. I'm not bothered by the fact that I have a little birth defect, so what? I got off rather easy if you ask me. A third nipple and a large mole near my right elbow. It could be a lot worse.
Blackstone didn't have much of a reaction when he found out (I didn't take Polly's advice and lie about it). He just sort of raised his eyebrows in surprise and then seemed amused. A few weeks later his uncle made some comment to him about, "Back in the day when women had three nipples." I thought he was going to bust a gut laughing when he told me about it.
Blackstone has his own unusual scar, much larger and more noticeable than mine, on the side of his stomach. He likes to tease little kids and tell them it's from a big leach. It is sort of shaped like a big leach. In reality, he inflicted the scar all by himself, during Hurricane Gloria. Being the brilliant teenage boy that guys tend to be in their teens, he decided to take his anger out on the storm door which he thought was plastic, but was actually made of glass. He punched a hole in the glass and a large shard came down and stabbed him in his side. The guy is truly lucky he didn't kill himself. By some miracle, he just needed stitches and managed to get away with just a terrible scar. His guardian angel must be completely in tatters after the way he's kept him hopping all these years.
I really think my third nipple pales in comparison to his big "leach scar". So we both have a few imperfections, it's what we find most endearing about each other. They're the stories we tell at barbecues, the things we tease each other about when we're alone. They are the imperfections that are part of who we are, that have helped shape the people we have become. Besides, hasn't anyone ever told you, real women have three nipples . . . and acne and cellulite and dry skin and warts and . . .