Those things on my chest

Can we chat about breasts for a moment? They’re great, they look nice, they’re fun to play with blah blah blah, okay we’re done with that part.

I sprouted breasts stupidly early, and because young men and women aren’t taught about puberty and respect for one another’s bodies early enough, my breasts were a fascination to everyone else but me. I wanted to tape them down until I was old enough to wear a bikini and let them fulfill their true purpose (I was ten, that’s the only thing boobs seem to be good for when you’re ten.) I dreaded PE and anything that made it obvious that I had breasts. Boys said stupid things like, “Those aren’t real. You’re stuffing.” What do you even say to that? If I bothered to comment on their authenticity, it was often met with, “Prove it.” My mom taught me to tell boys to fuck off at young age.

I was also unusually tall when I was ten. I was the same height as the two tallest boys in my grade, who were very tall. My stepdad walked me to my first day of grade four, looked in the classroom and declared that we were in the wrong place; the children were way too small to be my classmates. The teacher checked my name against her list and assured him that we were in the right place and that his daughter was an exceptional height.

Let’s all take a moment and laugh at the situation. I grew to be a giant 5’3″ and stopped.

But back then, I stood out.

I was tall for ten years old, and I had breasts that garnered unwanted attention. I dressed like a boy for a year in huge t-shirts and track pants; girl’s clothing wouldn’t have fit anyway. I don’t even want to talk about how my parents bought my clothes so that I would grow into them. I didn’t. I wore big clothes for a long time.

I also learned that if I hunched over, my breasts were less visible. Almost 20 years later and I’m still trying to correct my posture.

Puberty is awkward as fuck.

Being an adult is awkward as fuck. Does every affordable bra have to be covered in hot pink zebra print with level 10 push-up? Do I seriously need to have cleavage up to my neck? Why are visible bra straps so risqué? I get mixed messages about breasts all the time. You’re not attractive unless you have big, full breasts. If you have big full breasts, you’re supposed to want people to notice them. If you have small breasts, you should want them to be bigger so people will notice them. Breasts are for the enjoyment of other people, but you can’t enjoy your own breasts without being a show-off. You should be modest about your breasts. You have to wear a bra, but you’re totally indecent if anyone can tell that you’re wearing one. You should be proud of them, except when there is an infant attached, and then they’re gross, please put them away. Pushup bras are fine, but bra straps are a no-no. Gratuitous cleavage is fine, but visibly cold nipples are not. I’m 29 years old and I’m still brutally uncomfortable with my nipples poking out, and I’m not sure why. That’s what nipples do when it’s cold. It’s fine for everyone else to have nipples, but my own are strange to me. Who decides this bullshit? All the things we’re taught about breasts are wrong.

I just made an investment in being a woman and spent $345 on nine bras. I went to a lingerie shop that wasn’t LaSenza and was properly fitted. I’m not a 34, I’m a 30. I’m not a C, I’m an E. And before you lose your marbles, it has everything to do with where the underwire sits. For years and years I’ve been wearing the wrong size and the underwire has been sitting on top of breast tissue. NO WONDER WOMEN HATE WEARING BRAS, it’s not supposed to be that way. I compensated for the wrong cup size by wearing a band size that was much too big. My natural waist is a 27, and now that I think about it, there is no way that the band size under my breasts is seven inches bigger.

I also ditched the molded cup and went for lace. For the first time in my life, my breasts don’t look like they’re sitting on a shelf. They look much more natural and soft than pretend implants. And… the buttons on my shirts are staying closed because my breasts aren’t sitting artificially high on my chest. I also said no to a soft cup, because nipples are real and we should stop pretending they don’t exist. I think I’m confident enough to tell someone to stop looking at them, or at least I will be with some practice. Do one thing every day that scares you, and for a while that will be wearing an unlined bra.

After twenty years, I think I’ve accepted that I have breasts and that I don’t need to dress them up or down for anyone other than myself. I have breasts, they are on my body. And really, they are none of your business.

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3 thoughts on “Those things on my chest

  1. I can only imagine the awkward struggle that that is, and then the uncomfortableness of it all is a whole other ordeal.

    Good for you getting sorted, and power to you with telling people to look elsewhere in the future!

  2. Rochele,
    I am always facinated by your ease with words and how clearly you make your point. It is a gift not given to everyone and one for which I am truly envious.
    Having said that, where does one go to be properly fitted for bras?
    Love you! When are you and Russ coming back this way??

    • Hello Auntie Olive,

      Thank you for your words. I suppose I want to build a life of integrity and I always want to be able to say what I mean. I am a writer, I have formal education in writing, and even if what I am writing about is controversial or uncomfortable, the ability to write is a gift. I write for myself, I share it for others.

      I went to Change lingerie, and I believe they have a few locations in eastern Canada. I really hope to get to the other side within a year, I miss all of you. When are you coming to the best coast?

      Love you,
      Rochele

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