Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Wisdom of Youth

Disclaimer: The following post will be about breasts and undergarments. If either of these topics offend your delicate sensibilities, please come back in a week and I may have posted something else. Of course, I may not have posted anything else – my posting is a bit sparse these days. You may want to come back in two weeks.

Disclaimer 2: If discussions of breasts or undergarments make you feel all funny (like you’re sliding down a rope in gym class), please also leave now and come back in two weeks.

Not surprisingly, I have been thinking a lot about breasts these days. Mine and others’. Mostly, of course, due to best friend’s breast cancer and impending surgery. But also because as part of last weekend’s “celebration” of best friend’s breasts, we were all invited to wear our most daringly cleavage-baring shirts and show our stuff. And, well, it became clear just how relatively small my breast-related “stuff” really is.

It also became abundantly clear that I cannot handle my alcohol, but that’s another embarrassing story.

But this post is not going to be about best friend’s breasts. That’s her story to tell, and I’m merely a supportive bystander in that particular saga.

No, dear reader, in the tradition of many fine bloggers, I’m going to take a difficult situation that someone else is experiencing and make it all about me. Me, me, me, me, me.

So…my breasts.

I’ve had a long and not always appreciative relationship with my mammary glands since I first got breast buds around age 11. (Do you remember how tender those little bumps were?! Ouch!)

For most of my adolescent years, my girls were quite small. In fact, I used to wear a button on my stone-washed jean jacket that said, They may be little, but they’re all mine.

I’m not sure I even knew what that meant.

Whatever. I was clear that it was a body-celebrating button, and I wore it proudly.

And then something magical happened, I got a breast “growth spurt” around the age of 19. I hadn’t grown in height since the 6th grade. My weight hadn’t changed, and I still wore the same clothing size, but all of a sudden I had boobies. I was a C-cup!

In my mind, C stood for curvy, comely, and captivating, and please believe that I went out and bought multiple bra and underwear sets to celebrate the girls’ new status. (Of course, this was when I only had summer jobs and most of my disposable income went to clothes, makeup, and music since my mom still provided for my basic survival needs.)

Anyway, me and my C’s went along fine for several years, and then I started doing yoga. And lo and behold, yoga will not only make your mind calm and your body strong, but it will also shrink your boobies.

Down to a B cup I went.

And that was fine. I didn’t replace any of my bras because, well, they were only a size too big and by that time I was good and cheap.

And then - even though I was undergarment negligent - SRH and I managed to do the deed occasionally, and I became pregnant. I had a baby and nursed him for 15 months, causing multiple breast size fluctuations.

After I was done nursing, I went back to the same old bras. I had finally figured out that breasts are ever-changing body parts, and I figured it was safer to use the too big bras in case I ever grew back into them. After all, bras that are too big just leave you with a bit of a breezy feeling, but too small is just uncomfortable.

But, of course, as with many women my girls actually got smaller after I was stopped nursing. Yes, smaller than a B cup. But as they were still larger than an A, I didn’t replace my old bras. (I feel like I should mention here that I had probably 25 bras to begin with, so there really were plenty to last me all those years.)

Anyway, fast forward three and a half years and give me a liver tumor.

I’m not eating. I’m losing weight – especially in the chestal region. I finally break down and buy a few bras that are “nearly B’s”. And I’ll admit: it hurt a bit - buying bras that fit. I really had to admit that I was never going to have the nice, full ta-tas that I had in the past.

But as a hedge, I only bought them at outlet malls or T.J. Maxx. I was done buying nice bras at nice stores. My little mosquito bites didn’t need the support of a good bra – and I didn’t feel like spending the money.

But then, you know what? My best friend got breast cancer, and I got some perspective. I started doing breast self-exams and looking at the girls with new eyes.

I will always have small breasts, and that’s totally okay. I’m not a big person. And while it might be nice to have a bit out front to balance my line-backer shoulders, the girls are quite nice and did a really beautiful job feeding my child. Which is, yes, what they are here for.

So tonight, I went to an actual lingerie store, and bought for real, good quality bras and underwear. And it was delightful. It was fun and pampering, and as I told SRH, “You know, I can totally get with this small breast thing. It’s much harder for ittie bitties to sag. I mean, where are they going to go?”

And so to the crux of it, which I somehow knew as a teenager but had to recently rediscover: They may be little, but they’re all mine.


Nadolny said...

How many women refer to their breasts as "the girls"? I dated a girl that did and now you refer to them the same way. Just curious.

Ok, now off to gym class, I have a rope to climb (actually I'm just beign funny, I don't understand that reference, I never had to climb a rope for gym and I don't know why climbing a rope would stimulate anyone).

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. I was a B+ cup in 6th grade and was such a tomboy that I refused to wear a bra until some asshole boy embarrassed me. I spent most of my teenage years really insecure about how large my breast were compared to others (by 9th I was a C+). It wasn't until I graduated college that I embraced my beautiful 38D's and now they are leaving me. I figure it is time to downsize and finally see how shirts are really supposed to fit. Yipee!


rb said...

Facsinating - I never paid so much attention to them. I am satisfied with my breasts, not too small, not too big. My people tend to have small ones. So I possibly have "nice" breasts compared to other women from my group... (remember that comment?) I never wanted larger girls b/c I had a friend in college who had really large breasts and she always had stiff shoulders and had all kinds of boys and men looking at her. I felt bad for her. In this culture, it almost makes me feel like I am supposed to want to have larger breasts. Okay, I need to stop now before I start writing my feminist paper on your blog!

Sue said...

Here-here! :) I have always been a B, then I was a C for quite a while after the girls. Now I'm back to a B'ish. I tried the cheap bra route and I coudln't stand how uncomfortable they were. I broke down a few months ago and went back to Victoria's Secret - it may hurt the wallet, but it feels so good to be in something that fits and doesn't hurt!


lsig said...

I've always been a big fan of my hoots (aka "the girls" or "the troops"- as in "We will be mustering the troops in this v-neck top"). I will say, good bras are the key to comfort for the more endowed.

SRH said...

Zany Mama wanted me to tell everyone how happy she is that such a pleasant discussion about boobies (I find that word so fun to say and even type... Boobies, boobies, boobies... anyway) is taking place on her blog. I am finding it fun as well.

She will respond to comments, but she is away at a training in the Berkshires, and the Internet connections there are made of wood. She will comment as she can, and maybe even do a post. She has me relay all the boobilicious comments to her by phone. It really is sweet.

belsum said...

I'm in the itty bitty titty club, too, and I'm so glad to not have to deal with giant hooters. I have a friend that's getting implants and I just can't imagine wanting to put up with all the hassles. Maybe I've just had too many well-endowed friends over the years that have been rather displeased with their abundance. That said, I so need to get to a proper lingerie store and get fitted for real. I probably only have 6 bras, a far cry from 25(!), and none of them fit that well. There always seems to be something of a higher priority in the way though. Sigh.

Melissa said...

I think it's awesome that you've found peace with the girls. I've had a love / hate relationship with mine too over the years. Too small. Then too big. Not enough milk. We just need to love ourselves. Breasts are awesome!

Trula said...

I cannot stand bras, my word. I probably need to get professionally fitted.

Anonymous said...

How could I possibly be affected by a blog post on breasts when the past three times I've been in a restroom at a bar, I was surrounded by women discussing their breast implants and what sizes they used to be and how much they paid to get them to what they are now? Ah, California.

zulhai said...

I may not have the Subtle Pouting Breasts (SPB's) I had before motherhood, but at least they don't look like a couple of tennis balls sewn into my chest.