The first time I ever bought a bra, it was a training bra in the 4th grade. I was reaching an age where it was no longer appropriate for me to walk around without a bra, and before I knew it, my mother was taking me into Target to try on “molded cup” bras. As I sat in the dressing room at the young age of 10-years-old, I was uncomfortable and embarrassed to have my mother asking the saleswoman if they had a “bigger cup with a smaller band.” And, I was even more embarrassed when we left with nothing that fit me and moved onto Victoria’s Secret.
By the age of 13-years-old, when I was on the cusp of becoming a “woman”–both physically (my monthly gift had arrived) and religiously (I was getting Bat Mitzvahed), I was buying 32DD bras from Victoria’s Secret. By the time I made it to high school, I had out-grown the company and was forced to travel into Manhattan to find a “custom fitting” shop that would size my 28H bras for me. Yeah, by my Sophomore year of high school, I was just that big.
I live in a narrative that many other women with big breasts know all too well–I hate my boobs. While many people joke around how others “pay big dollars” to get what I have, or how thinking of getting a reduction is a “slap in the face to God,” many people don’t understand what it’s like to live with a huge chest. Having big boobs completely f**ked up my childhood and adolescence, in more ways than one.
I was always known as “the girl with the huge tits.”
When you’re already a DD cup-size in the 6th grade, young boys just hitting puberty have nothing better to do than stare, discuss, or call-you-out for having huge boobs. There were several people in my neighborhood/grade with the same name as myself, but I was always known as, “no, not her, the one with the huge tits.” For some (obvious) reason, every nickname I was given growing up–by both girls and guys–had to do with my chest. Tits McGee, Tig ol’ Biddies, Tots–any name you can think of, I’ve been called. For a while, it really f**ked up my sense of self. I began to think that guys only liked me and wanted to talk to me because I had a huge rack. I felt like I was never taken seriously by people because of my chest. And, it made me extremely self-conscious about my body.
I had a bad reputation off of the configuration of my body.
I was never someone who was extremely promiscuous growing up. In fact, I didn’t lose my virginity until I was out of my teens and in a very serious relationship with someone. I had boyfriends growing up, but it was never anything serious and we never made it “all the way.” But, having big boobs, for some reason, correlates to the notion that you’re this huge slut. People always thought that I was extremely sexual and slutty with guys–with parents even telling their daughter’s I was a “bad influence” on them and to “stay away from me.” It’s pretty hard to grow up and fit into clothing meant for you when your body is completely disproportioned. I couldn’t go shopping at Hollister and Abercrombie like all of my friends, because the word “Hollister” would be stretched so far across my chest, you’d need an airplane to fly around and read the whole word. Every tank-top I wore ended up being “lowcut, and it’s pretty difficult to wear a dress without your bra straps showing when your bra straps are 5 inches thick to hold up your boobs. Just because you can see my bra, doesn’t mean I’m intentionally doing it for male attention of any kind.
Guys also thought I was easy.
When I did get into a relationship with someone or casually see someone, guys automatically thought that I wanted to get to second base ASAP because the access was right there in front of their face. With having such a large chest, like I said before, clothing is tight. It’s the same misogynistic notion that the way a woman dress correlates to whether or not she’s “asking for it.” We’re not asking for anything–just because you can see a bit of cleavage in a dress, or shirt, does not mean that it’s an invitation to come on in.
I couldn’t wear the cute outfits all my friends could.
As an adult, I still have this problem. Whenever things are “trending” or “in style,” it’s never made for women with bigger chests. I remember when cami tank tops and tube tops became the trend for the summer, and I bought one. I went home and was so excited about my new tube top, until my mom said she would not let me out of the house wearing that, saying that my boobs looked like they were at my belly button. Going out without a bra is a no-go, ever. Not only do I look sloppy, but my boobs bounce around so much that I may take my own eye out. I was stuck wearing clothes that were pretty much potato-sack looking since I was trying to look appropriate for my age. Today, I still struggle well into adulthood. Crop tops are a “never,” because having big boobs means that the crop top just looks like an actual bra, seeing as it’ll ride up and get stuck right under my chest. Anything that’s backless is also a no-go, seeing as you’ll have to stare at the back of my bra the entire time. And, please don’t get me started on having to buy a nice dress for a wedding or fancy affair. Alternations are an expensive b*tch.
Bathing suit shopping has always been hell on Earth.
Not only did I have to buy all new swimsuits every single summer growing up, trying to find any that fit me was an absolute nightmare. They don’t make cute swimsuits for girls with huge racks, they just don’t. Forget those cute fringe-y ones that your friends wear to pool parties, or the mix and match the one you see on the beach. You’ll be stuck with ones that look basically like a bra, and good luck if it’s even a pattern. Not only do I have abnormally large boobs, but I also have a small waist, so, I can’t buy bathing suits unless they’re separates. And, sometimes growing up, I’d have to buy two suits if they weren’t sold as separates, because I couldn’t pass up on a top that actually fit me. I’d end up throwing away one XXXL bottom and one XS top, to mix and match the other top/bottom. It was like burning money.
And, they always wore out.
I know so many people that have bras and bathing suits for years and years, and God Bless, that must feel amazing. I wear through bras and bathing suit tops as though they grow on trees. There’s only so much wear and tear these bad boys can take before wires start popping out or seams start to rip. And, not to mention, having to get custom fitted is expensive. Not only am I usually spending over $100+ dollars on bras and swimsuits, I end up throwing them away after a year or two because they end up breaking. It’s truly a shame.
I had stretch marks by the time I was 14-years-old.
When your boobs are constantly swelling up and growing at what feels like the speed of light, stretch marks begin to appear. By 14, I had stretch marks on both of my breasts and I was incredibly self-conscious about them. To the point where, when I did wear a bikini, I would be completely self-aware of whether or not you could see the stretch marks on my boobs. I would sometimes just throw a tank top on top when I jumped in the pool, just to avoid the issue altogether.
I couldn’t participate in every sport.
I grew up as a pretty big tomboy, wanting to be enrolled in the local sports leagues instead of dance classes or gymnastics. I played flag football, basketball, and even softball growing up. But, when it came down to playing in gym class where guys were there, I was often times singled out for “inappropriate attire,” as some teachers called it. I was benched frequently in school because the way in which my chest would “move” when I ran made the teacher, and other boys,” uncomfortable.” There was nothing I could do, as I tried to tape them down, wrap them up, and even wear more than one sports bra at a time. It just didn’t cut it.
I still struggle with physical activities today.
As I got older, I realized how sexist and unfair being benched was in gym class. But, realizing there was nothing I could do about it now, I moved passed it. Physical activity, however, has not gotten any easier as I’ve gotten older and my boobs have inevitably gotten a bit “saggier.” I’ve tried, for years, to focus on back and chest exercises at the gym that would allow me to build up enough upper-body strength to support my chest, but, I would end up home with two ice packs on my body in pain. Using a treadmill at any speed above 5 may actually cause me to tear tissue in my breasts, and, whenever I do anything involving cardio, every eye is on me at the gym.
My periods were traumatic.
It’s no secret that your period and “time of the month” cause your boobs to swell. Now, imagine being a teenager with size H breasts and having them swell even more. There were days where I’d have to miss school because I was in too much physical pain to move or get out of bed. Not only were my cramps awful, but carrying the weight of my chest was worse. And, it’s not only during your period. Many women know that when you ovulate, usually a week or two before your period, your boobs become tender and sore as well. Essentially for about 2/4 weeks a month, my boobs throb, are in pain and are that much heavier to walk around with.
People always called me ungrateful and foolish.
As it goes, the topic of conversation somehow always comes down to my chest. People love to poke fun, joke around, and ask me “what bra size I am,” no matter where I am. And, when I tell them the honest truth–they don’t believe me. I’ve been out in public where people have lifted my shirt up to look at the tag on my bra to “see for themselves,” and then, tell me how lucky I am to have such a “blessing.” I am constantly up front with people, telling them that I hate my boobs and how big they are. And, immediately, I’m told how “ungrateful” I am because people all over the world pay for what I have. My friends are always joking about how they would “love” to take some, and guys are always saying how “lucky” my boyfriend must be. In all reality, even my boyfriend feels bad for me and how much I suffer because of my chest.
I still can’t afford a reduction.
When I was 12-years-old, I began documenting my horribly back pain with my pediatrician. When I transferred over to an adult doctor, I continued to note how bad my back was as I got older. That’s over 10 years of noted back pain on my medical records. And, for years, I have gone to plastic surgeons and OBGYN’s for consultations on getting a breast reduction–as my body was just not meant to hold up this much top-heavy weight. And, every year, I had hope that “this would be the year” where the insurance would consider this a medical problem–which at this point, it is. But, as the health insurance policies have continuously gotten worse as the years progressed, I was constantly turned down by insurance for a covered breast reduction surgery. To this day, I still would have to pay out-of-pocket to get the procedure done.