Vintage Levi's**|  State of Being Gypsy Top | Super Thin Bangle | Tiniest Evil Eye Bracelet (sim) |  Clear Sunglasses (sim) | Tan courtesy of James Read Tan Express Bronzing Mousse | Marble Iphone Case

I will admit to feeling completely comfortable dressing sexy. Showing skin has never been something I shied away from. In addition to practical issues (I've always run hot, no pun intended, and find comfort in being well ventilated) I also enjoy the power that comes from owning my bodies feminine appeal.

In addition to my relative hotness,  I've always been pretty confident in my intelligence. Thanks to a good pattern spotting brain, some generous mimicking abilities thanks to a strong tendency to extroversion, and a close to eidetic memory I breezed through school. I was a vicious killer in class. Nothing brought me more pleasure than showing up to an all male, 600 level history seminar in short shorts and a normal fitting/tight-ish t-shirt. Watching the sexist pigs dismiss me and then quoting a passage from that week's reading verbatim to point out a way that They. Were. Wrong. Morons. When they grade on a curve you play every advantage in your arsenal right? Mine was my good-looking body. I'm an effing Bond villain. Stab them while they look down your shirt.

I also truly believe you can be hot, sexy and brilliant. And female. This is not the triangle of belief, that idea that certain ideas cannot all exist in tandem. This is the world, and if it were a  fair one - well, shoes would be free and I would not have cancer.

Sometimes my "sexiness" was unintentional. I wore the same styles and trends as my lithe, skinny friends but on me the styles became "pornographic". I'm not lamenting my mile long legs or my large chest - I'm just saying, I was born this way. Chesty girls are given two choices - hunch and hide and cover and conceal and basically burka their bodies or become sexy. There's not a ton of middle ground. Men get to run around shirtless whenever they feel like it! Free the nipple!

Even making the decision to post my mastectomy photos was challenging in this way. I wanted to create something beautiful, daresay stylish. Maybe even cool. But one thought lurking in the background was perfectly captured by one of my best friends, wise sage that she is. "How do you think the pictures will make people feel who aren't 5'10, long legged and genetically blessed like you?" (Obviously she meant in the looks department, not the illness department - that goes without saying) And it's true, there's enough hotness to go around. But I would never want to make someone else feel bad about their body - especially not a fellow hurricane cancer survivor.

Such is the double standard. We're all just knocking around here trying to feel good about ourselves but god forbid we do. Then we are narcissistic, selfie-obsessed and vain. How do we win?

I for one will continue to be sexy whenever I feel like it. When I do it, I do it for me. It's authentically me. I am a hot-blooded (that time it was intentional) creature who likes my body and will put whatever (or nothing at all) on my figure whenever I feel like it.

That said - I am a human female in the era of media. I have my own gigantic host of body issues, not the least of which is a constant battle with liking my "size" (large) and my belly (larger than I would like...)

The first time I ever watched pulp fiction, in the scene with Bruce Willis and the gorgeous french chick, when she strokes her stomach and says "I want a potbelly" my first thought was why? Should I be french? Should I move to France? Would they like me better there? Would I like me better there? Of course, she meant she wants to get pregnant (yes, I get that now, like on so many levels) but the idea that there was a place where my little tummy would be preferable to the flat stomachs adored by so many where I come from was revolutionary to my teenage self.

Of course, the irony is that now my stomach is flat. It's still not small (bone structure) but since I discovered that a whole host of foods do not sit well with me, I have for lack of a better word, depuffed. I love exercising now with a fierceness I lacked in my lazy youth. I don't drink as much alcohol. I look at pictures of my younger self and I say to her, "You gorgeous idiot. You didn't appreciate what you had when you had it." So now I try to. Now I dress sexy because I love my body. I do it for me. Not for the reactions it provokes in other people. Not for male attention (unless it's my husband, and he seems to dig me no matter what I wear.)

Enter the crop top. Something I never, never thought I would wear in my misspent youth. I thought no Dena, these are not for you. No matter how much you seem to be irrationally drawn to this particular style of abbreviated clothing this does not flatter you. Turns out I was wrong.

So please enjoy these shots of my "plus-size" belly button.

**Also, highly recommend you get a pair of vintage levi's tailored (yes, tailored!) like I did with these. I bought them to fit my waste and then had the leg's flattering tapered in. If you're in SF the downtown Levi's store has a tailor shop, and even though I wanted to go even more narrow in the legs I'm so glad I listened to her, she's a genius.