I have a complaint to make. I am sitting here on my bed, typing this post, and I am wearing a bra. I also wore one for the entirety of the day yesterday.
I’m thinking probably most of you don’t see what the complaint is yet. Women wear bras. It goes along with the territory of being female, like periods and pregnancy scares and getting paid less than a man to do the same job.
I’m going to share my story with you, but first I’m going to share the story of why this piece almost didn’t get written.
It’s in the title there. It is the title, in fact. There is this spoken/unspoken/outspoken rule that as women, if we want to be respected and taken seriously and not viewed merely as sexual objects, we can’t write about our boobs. I gave you all a detailed, in-depth (pun intended) rundown on my uterus last year, but unless we’re talking about nursing or something, we aren’t allowed to discuss our mammaries.
Well fuck that. That tied me up briefly, I won’t deny it. But then it made me explode on the same level that wearing a short skirt equals asking to be raped does. So fuck it, for the next several hundred words, you’re going to read about my boobs.
I have always had small breasts. Like, all my life, ever since I first got them. The biggest they ever were, in my early 20s, was a 34B. That was only for a year or two, I was most commonly an A, sometimes barely. And I was quite happy with my boobs. I didn’t want them any bigger. I had a few padded bras, because some items of clothing just look better with a different silhouette, bigger ta-tas, but at the end of the day, stark naked, I liked them just fine as they were. Even when I put on a shit-tonne of weight a few years ago from medication, my boobs did not get any larger.
So, last year around this time, I was sporting a 32A. Had been for some time. Had my lingerie collection, t-shirts, dresses, everything suited me fine. (Side note: I love pretty clothes!) In February of last year, I gained a little weight, ten or fifteen pounds due to medication. Not anything to freak out over on my frame, especially because — get this – I love my body. Have for pretty much all of my adult life. Okay, maybe not during the major weight gain, but I didn’t love anything then, so it’s difficult to include that.
But my bras, predictably, still fit.
Now we head into March last year. The minute the warm weather hits, I shed all my pants like a dead skin and wear nothing but dresses and skirts until it gets too cold again. I love my dresses so much. . . That’s a different post.
So most of my dresses are lined, and being small-breasted, I don’t wear bras with them. I spent all of last summer bra-less in dresses, and I was happy, so happy.
Last summer was a very good summer, with lots of traveling and seeing friends and family and having my photograph taken for various celebratory occasions. And it was upon viewing a few of these photographs, at the end of the summer, that I went ‘Holy shit!’
I was popping rather inappropriately out of some of my dresses. Not to the point of showing nipple, but certainly more than I was comfortable with. I’ve always believed in a rule of thumb I learned long ago from Cosmo (yes, Alice, I know what you’re thinking, but when they stick to their areas of expertise, they can actually give you some helpful advice), which basically states that the less you have, the more you can show. It’s actually a sound principle in my mind, and I have come to believe it even more lately.
The point is a lot of those dresses were pretty low-cut. When you have no boobs, you can wear shit that’s cut practically to your navel and still look classy. Trust me. And yes, women with big boobs can pull off the low-cut and classy thing too, it just takes effort.
The upshot of this realization is that I had to go buy new bras. I was slightly astonished when I was sized at a 34C. I wasn’t really delighted, but I thought I’d adjust, I got pretty bras and matching panties (this always helps me with change, and not just in my boobs), and I started wearing bras. It was getting to cooler t-shirt and pant weather anyway, so the cycle was still in order.
Except, within a month, I was shopping for new shirts, because the XS I had worn for some years just wasn’t cutting it. And I went in to get a basic bra, and a very helpful woman at Victoria’s Secret gave me like ten different bras and the one that finally fit me was a 34D.
What. The. Fuck.
In a month? I’ll shorten the story and tell you that the month after that, I was up again into a 34DD. I’m hesitant to say that’s where I am, because while I haven’t sized up since then, I’m afraid to jinx myself.
Now, clearly something is wrong with this picture. As in medically. And today I have an appointment with an endocrinologist to try to find out what it could be. Perhaps, as importantly, what I want to know is: will I ever get my old boobs back?
I’ve gotten a lot of comments from female friends and acquaintances (and even the nice woman at Vicki’s) about how, hey, great, now I’m stacked, and yay, at least I didn’t have to buy them (someone did actually say that). Because apparently the world is so hard-wired to think that all women must want big breasts that clearly, I’m thrilled.
I’m not. I’m pissed. There’s the superficial shit, like my wardrobe has been cut to nothing. All of my beautiful dresses? Trust me when I say that these boobs will not fit into those dresses. And I don’t have the budget to go shopping right now. Even my necklaces — long strands of beads do not lay well on big boobs (Thoroughly Modern Millie taught us that one), and even shorter pendants I now find buried in my cleavage most of the time.
Oh, yes, cleavage. That’s new for me, and I’m not loving it.
On another level, we address my original complaint, which was the fact that I am wearing a bra, and I now have to do this regularly, even at home. And what bras! There is just. . . so much to them. The difference between the same bra in a 32A and a 34DD. . . I can’t begin to explain. And the worst part is, it’s necessary.
You may or may not have noticed, but I feel like I’m kind of writing about my boobs as if they were entities separate from me, not part of my body at all. There’s a reason for that. They feel like foreign bodies. Like they’re tumors or something. I still have issues with coordinating around them. Do you know how many goddamned Percocet I lost down my shirt in the past month?
And that’s the biggest problem (not the Percocet, I always found those, eventually). I’m not comfortable and happy with my body anymore. Maybe I would have dealt okay if my boobs got big through puberty — or if not at the time (because it’s puberty), I would have been okay eventually and loved my boobs. But this is not the kind of surprise you’re prepared for at 32. By then, you’ve got the breasts you’ve got, unless you get pregnant, and then all bets are off.
I don’t like not liking my body. No one does, but I’m not used to it, and that adds an extra layer of uncomfortable. And I know that, endocrinologic mysteries aside, if these are what I’m stuck with, then I will have to learn to be happy about that.
But I will always mourn for my beautiful red strapless dress, which I hadn’t even occasion to wear yet.
These boobs will not fit into that dress. You’re going to have to trust me on that.
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