I’ve always been a boob person. Sounds funny, but it’s true. Growing up, I was forever stuffing anything round up my top. I’d knot my shirt in back to hold my make-believe girls in place. Tennis balls were my favorite indoor selection. Apples that had fallen from the tree in our backyard worked for outdoor play. Once, I made the unfortunate mistake of picking up two peaches that had grounded from Grandma Alice’s tree. Peach fuzz on soft skin is the equivalent of improperly handling insulation. Ouch.
With mounds in place, I’d strut around excited about having my own real pair. Someday, I thought. Except someday never came. Unlike the apple and peach trees, my chest never blossomed.
By 16, I decided that I’d get a boob job. Someday.
In my twenties, I kicked someday down the road. My practical side insisted I wait until after I was finished having kids. I didn’t want to have the surgery, breastfeed, and then have a second surgery to fix misshapen droops.
Then I met Mark who, thankfully, isn’t a boob guy. “Why do you want to change?” he’ll ask. I’ll think of the shirts I’ve passed up because they gap at the neckline. Of the dresses I’ve put back because the darts hit my armpits. Of the bikini tops that fit but don’t flatter, making me look like a 12-year-old boy. Why wouldn’t you want to change? counters my Snarky side.
At 31, my post-breastfeeding girls were even more shrunken than before motherhood; a feat that I didn’t believe possible.
After wearing gaping A-cups a while, I decided it time to get professionally measured. The store only had a few bras in my size. Or, at least, they were supposedly “my size”, but even they were too big. “Perhaps you should try the training bras,” suggested the sales associate. “I bet a 30C would work.” It didn’t. My small chest sits atop a normal sized ribcage. I couldn’t get the silly little trainer fastened.
Too small for the smallest A-cup in town and too big for training bras, I walked out of the store empty-handed. My ego was as deflated as my negative As. When I got home, I promptly washed and dried my bras on hot. I hoped I could get them to shrink like my boobs. My bras still gap.
No matter how discouraged I get, Mark insists that I look fine the way I am. Bless him. I know he believes it, but I don’t believe it for myself.
In other areas, not only have I accepted my body as is, I’ve completely embraced it. I don’t color my hair, I don’t get Botox, and I don’t ever plan on doing either. I often ask myself, “If you can be okay with your body in every other way, can you be okay with your boobs too?” I don’t respond to that question.
While preparing for our trip to Mexico, I decided to buy some new bikini tops to replace my ill-fitting ones. The last time I bought tops, they were small enough and flattering enough for the girls, but turned out to be too small through the shoulders. Apparently underboob exists even for the small-chested.
When Mark and I take warm weather vacations, we spend a lot of time poolside. Last year, in Phoenix, while lounging in the sun, I remember thinking, “I’m surrounded by Botox, blowouts, and boob jobs, and then there’s me.” While the women were poised and plastic, the men sat around pompously, as if deciding whether to compare penis size or bank accounts.
It was a particularly snobbish resort that I’ve no interest in revisiting. Stuffy to the max. No one dared to ruin themselves by getting in the water. Please. It’s there for looks only, just like the women. So what did I do? A cannonball. I went in screaming like a banshee and came up laughing like a hyena. Heads turned. Brows furrowed. Mark stood in the pool smiling at me.
There was one woman there, younger than me, and equally flat chested. She was wearing a (gasp!) non-padded bikini top. I stared – when she wasn’t looking, of course – in complete awe. I couldn’t believe how brave she was for showing her true figure, and I thought her all the more beautiful for it. No way will you ever be that brave, chided Snarky. Not even someday.
Fast forward to today. I’m 32 years old. For over half of my life I’ve been unhappy about and self-conscious of my chest size. And once again, I find myself poolside, surrounded by implants rising perfectly in thin-fabric tops.
Then there’s me. Also in a (gasp!) non-padded bikini top. It fits well – no underboob – and I like the print. I brought a plain black one too that is strappy in front and was modeled online with a lovely set of Cs filling it out. Whatever.
I’ve decided something on this trip. I’m done listening to society’s opinions of how a woman should look. I’m done passing over a bikini top because I can’t fill it out like the women in ads.
I think of older women I’ve seen over the years. The ones who don’t color their hair letting whites and silvers add their own form of natural highlights. I think of the ones who have let their skin age naturally. I especially think of those who are small-chested, relaxed, and smiling, even in bikini tops. Those are the women I look to for encouragement. Those are the women I want to emulate.
There will continue to be little girls in this world imagining what they’ll look like someday and teenagers who will come to realize that their bodies are different from what they’d imagined. Twenty-somethings will grapple with their womanhood. And petite, self-conscious women might struggle with being a little too small for societal norms.
While walking to the pool yesterday, I asked myself again, “If you can be okay with your body in every other way, can you be okay with your boobs too?”
For the first time, I responded to the question. “You’re damn right I can.”
For all of those females struggling with not being enough, especially in cup size, I will be there – wearing the confidence I had as a little girl with tennis ball boobs and a bikini top that shows how flat-chested I really am.
My someday boob job will never come – I was wrong in that regard. Snarky was wrong, too, when he said that not even someday will you be that brave.
It turns out I am.
It turns out that someday is today.