Topping from the Bottom

When your body is a tool to inflict pain upon yourself

Susannah Breslin
Gay Mag


Image Credit: GeorgePeters / Getty Images


IIt’s years ago, but in your mind it may as well be now, and you turn your back to the nurse, and your spread your ass cheeks apart to show her the rash that circles your asshole. In a series of humiliations, this is the one you will remember years later. At the time, it almost seems normal — one more tie in a railroad track of horrors that’s your life. Months earlier, you were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, but now you’re in the thick of it. At first, the chemo wasn’t really that bad — your hair clogging the sink, the sensitivity around the gum line, the slight sense of fatigue. Then, things progressed. One day, you will try and tell people what it was like — that, truly, the drugs were killing so many cells in you that it felt as if you were dying — but you won’t be entirely sure that you’ll believe it yourself. Back then, it was all a weird blur: the sores opening up in your mouth, the people gawking at your baldhead, the bone pain. The afternoons you lay on the sofa watching the clouds track across the blue sky, and it felt like someone was wrapping their hands around your bones and squeezing. The underlying sensation that when it came to your body, you were just along for the ride.