Feedback on Essay in The Rumpus

Painting by Rivka Simmons
Painting by Rivka Simmons

Thank you to everyone who responded to my essay “Baking Projects: Needing, Rising, and Letting Go.” I have been moved by the stories others have shared with me from coping with the shame associated with a birth defect, to life-long struggles moving from judgment and self-criticism to becoming “enough.”

I’ve included a small sampling below and though some comments were made publicly, I have decided not to list names as I understand the desire to maintain privacy.

“I appreciate your meaningful story and the courage to share it. I lost a nipple during a breast reduction, so the breast is in some ways “deformed” looking, yet I love my breasts more than I did before, when their weight and appearance wore me down. I go around topless a lot now (at home, haha), which is something I really wouldn’t have felt doing before. I am enough.”

“Amazing essay! Such range, courage, and depth. I’ll be carrying this one around in my head for some time. Thanks for sharing it.”

“Thank you so much for sharing your stories woven together so beautifully! I will share it with my daughter, who also experienced a congenital abnormality to her left breast, and dealt with it in some similar ways as a young woman with insensitive classmates; and overcame her body consciousness, did not have surgery, and just celebrated 10 years of marriage!”

“What a startlingly honest and beautifully written piece. I was profoundly moved reading it, it resonated with me in a personal way and stayed with me well after I finished.”

“Thank you for sharing this intimate story. Shame, feeling bad for who we are, guilt, feeling bad for what we do. Thank goodness every moment is a chance to start over. Make cinnamon buns. I look forward to reading more of your work. Love and peace.”

“A brave and powerful piece. The metaphor of the dissatisfaction with the baking process and not quite perfect (outcome) added another layer to the piece, especially with regard to your awareness and love being passed down to your daughter. And I loved the mantra of being ‘enough.’ Yes. So important.”

“As a woman, a baker, a writer and one who has long had issues with not being “enough”, I have to say that this is the most magnificent piece of writing I have ever had the joy of reading on the subject. Thank you for sharing this lovely, intimate piece.”


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