How appropriate is the title of this series for this particular post?! I have small breasts. You guys know. I’ve written about them before. Hi Mom! I’m writing about my boobs on the internet again! (Sigh. I’ll never amount to anything…)
Refresher: my Little Victories series is a weekly effort to write about something I feel good about, or something I don’t feel bad about. It’s like an extended unroast. It’s a reminder that life is cool and so is my body.
Back to boobs: When I first started developing them, I thought I had cancer. Really. Some annoying kid who was showing off on the skating rink slammed into me and my chest HURT. It hurt in this way that I thought nothing should be allowed to hurt. I assumed I had a tumor. Or two. I was, like, twelve. Already neurotic.
“Mom,” I said, “Something’s wrong with my chest.”
“Probably not,” she said, calmly.
She was right. Later, when I was fourteen or so, I had real breasts. As in, not just lumps buried way under the skin. They stuck out a little. They had legit nipples. And I thought they were fantastic. I met a boy at camp who suggested that my breasts were on the small side, and I proudly corrected him. “No, they’re actually very big.” (Later, he died, and I still think about him sometimes, but that’s another story).
It turned out he was right.
My friends’ breasts surpassed mine. But for some reason, even in a culture obsessed with big boobs, I didn’t mind. I have just always really liked my breasts. When I was a teenager, I used to sketch myself naked, and I paid special attention to the nipples. Nipples are so pretty. And so difficult to capture on paper. Or canvas. The women I paint always have my breasts, and everyone knows it.
“So, is that, like, you?” the boys who saw my paintings would say, grinning and avoiding my eye.
“Nope! But I posed for it, naked.”
Buying a bra for my wedding was taxing for my relationship with my breasts. Here’s some of that story. The saleswomen I worked with always seemed to think I was lacking. They’d look at my chest, shake their heads sadly, and run to fetch some padding.
I catch people, including my brothers, making jokes about preferring women with big breasts. Sometimes I think it might be true. Sometimes I think it doesn’t even matter.
My breasts don’t get a lot bigger ever. Other girls/women say theirs do. At first, I thought that was a made-up thing. Apparently some boobs are constantly transforming. They’re full of surprises. Not mine. Not when I’m on birth control. Not when I’m getting my period. Not when I gain a lot of weight. Not when my arms get a lot bigger. Not when I try to squish them in funny ways with a fancy bra. None of that works on them. They know who they are. They are simple, straightforward breasts, and they just want to mind their own business.
I’d be lying if I never thought, “I mean, seriously, if they could just be a LITTLE bigger…” Or if I told you that my breasts weren’t included in the list of things I’d adjust when I’m imagining what I’d change about the way I look if I discovered ancient cosmetic magic.
Or if I told you that I’ve never thought, “Bear would like them better if they were bigger,” even though he’s never given any indication of that. And then, “All men do,” as though I am Professor X with the mind-reading hat thing on my head and I can tell what everyone’s thinking and also whether or not they’re a mutant.
I have been jealous of women with bigger breasts, and assumed that their lives are better and more fun and that clothing looks better on them. I have felt less feminine next to them, without having to even understand or analyze what that means. I’ve secretly grumbled to myself when a woman with full breasts complains about them that it’s like a really rich person complaining about having too many options in life or a stunningly gorgeous woman complaining about how hard it is to be beautiful or a brilliant person complaining about how hard it is to understand the world so well or even a dude holding some cookies complaining about his day. Dude, you have cookies.
But despite all that, I’m fine with my breasts. I’m fine with them consistently and without having to think about it. So even my occasional jealousy is like when someone is wearing a necklace that is obviously more lavish and well-crafted than yours, but yours came from your grandma and it has all this cool history and you’ve worn it since you were thirteen. So it balances out. I feel that way about my breasts.
And also, over the course of time I’ve spent with my breasts, I’ve come to realize that it really is difficult for some women to be stunningly beautiful, and for brilliant people to understand so much, and basically that there are always challenges, no matter what your situation– even if you have the breasts that I would give myself if I had ancient cosmetically oriented magic powers. Or maybe you’re just rockin’ them, and you look down constantly and think, “HELL YES.” And if that’s the case, that’s even better. Because at this point in my life, I’d really rather women were happy about the way they look.
I’ll be over here with my nice little breasts, eating this slice of cake, which won’t contribute to their size, but will contribute to my happiness. Hell yes.
* * *
How are you all feeling about your breasts today? Small breast pride? Big breast pride? Pride involving breasts somewhere in the middle? Guys– if any of you want to comment here, we can talk pecs. I know how sensitive guys are about the way their chests look.
Unroast: Today I love the way the middle of my chest looks in a very low-cut shirt– it’s just blank. Sort of elegant.
New cake pics! Send me yours! They go in the cake gallery, of course.
(it’s carrot cake batter!)
(who doesn’t want cake on their nose? no one!)
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