I woke up with C-cups three weeks before my sixteenth birthday. I had previously been so flat-chested that I was wondering if I was ever going to be blessed with even a bulb of a boob. I come from a family of large-chested women: my aunt — whom I also take after in height — was left with double G-cup boobs at puberty’s exit that, after having two children, hung nearly to her waist. She now has the perkiest set of B-cups in the game following her breast reduction two years ago. She, for the first time in over twenty years, has the option to go bra-less.
I do not have that luxury. My boobs now rest comfortably at a double-D. This is wonderful when filling out my prom dress, but terrible in nearly every other situation. Bathing suits are a terror — One wrong move and I’m fully exposed. Bra shopping is all but hopeless. I stride by the cute, lacy options in Victoria’s Secret before settling in front of their bland, supportive cousin. For me, going bra-less is a whole lot of hurt for not a lot of gain. It also looks terrible — I have never not once seen a woman with boobs spilling out of her tank top and thought I want to look just like her.
For the first time in my young life, I have spent serious time thinking about getting a beast reduction. At twenty-one I am finally seeing the negatives of having a chest that demands attention when I’m wearing anything other than my boyfriend’s tee-shirts. And, even then, I get looked at. Case and point: that time during finals week when I walked into the library in a white tee of his and never once saw the eyes of the freshman boy librarian behind the desk. Pair this with the onslaught of cute little tops and slip dresses that demand an A-cup. ARE YOU AM I is like a mean girl whispering about you from her lunch table — lets dangle our cute slip dresses just so that she can’t buy them. I would like to believe that I am “a girl who gets it”. But alas, my boobs are so out of touch they might as well be in Mars.
Spaghetti straps are a nightmare, too. Due to my petite frame, my breasts hang an inch below my shoulder bone. Spaghetti straps leave little to the imagination and are the sole cause of a surplus amount of skin that settles comfortably in my armpit. Halter tops are a no-go thanks to the lack of available bras.
Oh yeah — I’m 5-foot-2. My boobs account for about half of my 108-pound body mass.
How does one find body confidence where options run slim? How does one dress when one’s idle is Ciara Ferragni, someone who could literally wear a nipple pasty and be comfortable? I worry about my wedding dress above all. Gone is the option of a sweetheart neckline. It would look pornographic at the reception when I attempt at a dance move or two. Maybe I’m worrying about things that shouldn’t stress me out yet. Maybe there is someone out there who scans REVOLVE with a sense of dismay over the fact that literally everything is unwearable for fear of an astray nipple.
Big boobs are clumsy things that spill out of the sides of tops and over bra cups.
I have for so long been told that my body is beautiful. I was proud of my body, too. I felt special under the watchful eyes of older boys. Those compliments feel hollow now, and that pride feels like a mistake. My boyfriend tells me my body is beautiful, but I feel more looked at than spoken to, even in this incredibly safe space. This is someone I trust and, even here, I feel that my boobs are a talking point rather than simply a facet of my body. I believe him when he says no that you are more than your cup size, that your body doesn’t define you. But my body has for so long been the thing that defines me.
` Now, how do I understand my body when that attention is no longer wanted or needed? A woman’s body is a minefield of insecurity, and my chest is a unavoidable explosion of self-doubt.
I am left behind in the fading sexualization of high school bodies. How do I find body worth when I am no longer hoping to be looked at?