by Joanne Reimer
A new book appeared at Callanish, Boobs: Women explore what it means to have breasts, edited by Ruth Daniel. I picked it up and discovered the chapter "Pep Talk" written by Zuri Scrivens, a young adult from the Callanish community and one of the young women from the Callanish film I'm Still Here.
I was immediately drawn to read her story that begins with the sentence, "Do you want to touch them?" The question was directed to a bewildered rookie team-mate from her rugby team.
Zuri's story moves on from her locker room conversation and describes the terrifying time of her diagnosis, briefly describes her five years of treatments and focuses on the creation of her new A-cup breasts—much better for playing rugby! She relates how attached she was to her breasts, how hard it was to look in the mirror at her body, and her heartbreak with never being able to nurse a child again. As poignant as these losses are, she expresses how she tries not to dwell on what she has lost so that others do not feel overwhelmed, afraid, or sad for her. As important as it has been for her to understand and accept her changed body, she wants others to understand as well. So, "I let random people feel my boobs" and she talks, listens and answers people's questions.
Joanne Reimer has been connected to Callanish since its inception in 1995 and has been a program assistant and baker at Callanish for the past several years. She brings many years experience working in the healthcare system as a hospice consultant and researcher.