Everyone goes through a young and impressionable phase. This phase comes at a different time for everyone. My phase came during a time when a woman’s body goes through changes, noticeable changes. Unfortunately for me, my body was not changing at the same rate as the other girls' bodies. And it was noticeable. It was more noticeable than the blue wire framed glasses I hid behind, my silver braces, and my sparse bangs.
I was never the most confident girl and being a late bloomer was not helping. I also constantly compared myself to others, which never helps. Ashley had great legs and Meredith had flawless skin. As a result, they both had all the popularity in the world.
To make matters worse, what little confidence I had at that time was crushed in one night. On said night my substantial insecurities catapulted into universally grand insecurities. This is my story.
Our brown brick traditional style single-family house at the end of the cul-de-sac was normally noisy. My youngest brother would chase our three dogs through the house. My dad was usually talking loudly on the phone to one of his co-workers. But now the house was quiet. My parents and littlest brother were all asleep upstairs and the dogs were in their crates.
My brother Austin, who might have been 11 at the time, was having a sleep over with a friend of his named Stephen. Austin was in his “trying to fit in phase.” And Stephen, a pompous kid for his age, was one of the kids from the little clique my brother was trying to infiltrate.
I was innocently sitting downstairs in the basement with them curled up in a papasan chair and they were sitting adjacent to me on the fouton. We were enjoying a casual conversation and watching I Love Lucy reruns. As our conversation drew to a close all that could be heard was Lucy’s crackling laugh. The near silence and sirenity was broken with a rather brash question from Stephen directed towards me, “Why are your boobs so small?”
Just like that. Out of the blue my younger brother’s young friend who just turned double digits looked me directly in the eyes and asked me why I had small boobs. I shrunk 10 inches. But then Austin followed up Stephen’s question with, “Yeah, why are your boobs so small?” I shrunk another 10 inches. Have you ever seen “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?” My brother had inadvertently fueled the fire that set me aflame in shame and discontent. I responded to their questions by walking upstairs to my room, lying across my bed, and crying to God repeatedly, “Why?”
I was probably thirteen around that time and was already aware that my boobs were almost non-existent. I did not need to be reminded by a boy who hadn’t yet hit puberty. First of all, why was he so concerned with the size of my boobs? And who just asks a woman (or girl) flat out why her boobs are small? As if I knew. As if I could refer to some published work that highlights the growth process or lack there of in female breasts. The mental anguish was unbearable. I didn’t even have the confidence to tell my mom so I was forced to deal with my emotions internally. I played back those words over and over again in my head for days, weeks, and years driving myself crazy.
After the Stephen incident, the waiting game commenced. I constantly wondered: Where were my big boobs and when were they going to get here? My mom had some decent sized boobs so I figured it was only a matter of time until mine grew. How long would I be the odd girl out who was flat as a board?
During this period of waiting for my physical enhancements to sprout, I found a temporary solution in push – up bras. I would go to Target with my mother and I would sneak away to the bra section searching for the push – ups. I would squeeze the padding to make sure it was soft enough and then I would drop the chosen one in the cart. I was always nervous someone I went to school with would catch me carrying a push – up bra so I would avoid the main aisles.
For a while the push – up bras sufficed, but it was no secret that I was wearing them. I figured people could tell I was wearing one if I hugged them because they probably felt like they were hugging two dense masses. Not soft squishy normal masses.
When I was 16 I thought I had found a solution to my problem. My mom took me to the gynecologist to get a prescription for birth control. I waited in a patient room with my mom twiddling my fingers. There were pictures of landscapes pinned to the ceiling. Later I realized those were for the ladies that were getting a pap smear, so when they looked up to the ceiling they had something to actually look at. Dr. Helen walked through the door with a smile on her face and her long white lab coat flapping behind her. “So you’re here for birth control,” she said as she stared down at her clipboard, “Are you sexually active?” Awkward. I could see my mom staring at me out of my peripheral. Did she actually think I would admit to that in front of my law abiding, church going mother? I shook my head, “Nope.” Then she gave me the rundown of all my birth control options, the pill, the ring, stuff I don’t remember and wouldn’t use, she handed me three packs of birth control and I was on my way.
I had heard through the grapevine that one possible side effect to birth control was weight gain, especially in your boobs. What if in a couple of months of taking birth control I reaped the benefits of the side effects? I had finally found new optimism.
I started doing some research online to make sure what I heard was true. With my birth control in hand I would read some testimonials on Yahoo! Answers and some blog sites where women had commented on experiencing the side effect of weight gain in their boobs. There were a lot of success stories and to my surprise girls out there who were going through what I was going through. I remember reading one case where after taking the pill one women’s boobs went from an A cup to a C cup. I think that was a rare case but still. This was great news. While some girls worried about gaining weight I welcomed it. I was under weight in every way possible and was sick of it. Plus if I got a little meatier maybe I wouldn’t always be so cold, which was a plus.
Well, I waited and waited. After months of taking birth control, the size of my boobs had not changed. After reading all those testimonials I expected my boobs to grow at least a cup size. I dreamt of having a bangin’ body. Walking into school and having all the guys I liked flock to me, like what you see in a movie. Wind blowing my hair back and everything. Bascially I thought birth control would turn me into Beyonce. Stephen would certainly feel like a dumbass when he saw my new and improved figure.
Unfortunately my dreams vanished faster than a group of kids smoking weed when a cop pulls around the corner. I didn’t gain any weight at all. Besides the primary use for birth control I did not see any special perks of taking it. I should have done some more research. I guess I failed to realize that medicine affects everyone differently.
By the time I was a senior I was coming to terms with my body a little better, but the desire for bigger boobs still lingered in the back of my mind. I thought I was just a late bloomer, but then I started to think that maybe I wouldn’t be blooming at all. However, since I was a senior in high school and would be graduating that year I figured maybe my parents would get me a breast augmentation for my graduation present.
One day I struck up the courage to approach my mother in the kitchen while she was cooking dinner. I was a little unprepared. My mom was standing over the stove stirring some pasta. My dad was washing dishes in the sink. I leaned up against the counter next to her and she looked up at me, “Can I help you with something?” she asked, cracking a smile. “So I was wondering, can I have a boob job as my graduation present?” She rolled her eyes and cocked her head in my direction, “No, but I can keep buying you push – up bras.” My dad turned off the water, spun around and asked, “What did you say?” straining his voice. “Your daughter is asking for a boob job,” my mother informed him. My dad turned back around, continued washing the dishes, looked out the window and shook his head. I tried reasoning with them, pleading that I didn’t want huge ones just normal sized. I smiled a lot and even asked if I could help cook dinner. The answer was still a stone cold “no.”
Great, I had come to the end of the road. There was not much I could do at that point. My parents had denied me the option of getting implants, and I was never going to grow big boobs naturally. Why me? Why?
Little did I know when I came to college I would gain a lot more confidence in the way I looked. My roommate Jenn had boobs that I didn’t know such short people were even capable of having. She was 5’1” with DD sized boobs; I swear they had to make up at least a fourth of her weight. Naturally I was jealous at first. After about the first month of living together we were walking around our room half naked. One day we were getting dressed for class and Jenn was standing around her in bra and underwear, “Jesus Christ, I need boobs your size,” I said looking down at my boobs. “Well you can have them, and my back problems,” she said kind of sassy. Until Jenn started complaining about her boobs I didn’t even realize that there were some downsides to having such large boobs. They caused her to slouch constantly, and she walked with a little wobble. My now husband Daniel, who was my boyfriend at the time, used to tell me that she walked like an ewok. I wasn’t sure if her “ewok walk” had anything to do with the size of chest and I never asked.
Whenever we went shopping she would complain about having to buy bras as well. We would buy our bras at Victoria’s secret. My section, the section with girls for non-exisitent to small boobs usually has cute printed and bedazzled bras. Jenn would have to shop in the back section, next to the mom pajamas because that’s where they have her size. “Do you think this is cute,” she asked me as she held up a floppy taupe bra. “Not exactly,” I said, “Sorry.” She continued shuffling through the drawers for her size. “Do you think a guy is going to be able to unhook this,” she asked as she showed me four rows of hook and eye clasps on the back of the bra. “Probably not.” I reminisced about some of my past rendezvous, no man has ever struggled taking my bra off.
During my freshman year of college I studied fashion design. When I chose my major I didn’t realize how vain people could be. There was a girl named Whitney in particular. She would speed through the parking lot in her white BMW. Her hips would rock more than necessary as she stumbled into class wearing Louboutins. She might have reeked of vodka but that girl could sew. She was also known for being rail thin, but by force. One night we were in the sewing room, I was working on my neckline stitch. She sat across the work table from me staring, “How are you so tiny, what do you do?” I grabbed a greasy slice of pizza that I had saved from cafeteria, “I don’t really do anything.” I continued my stitching, stuffing my face with pizza and fries.
My brother Austin, the one who’s friend Stephen single handedly crushed all my confidence in middle school, is a year younger than me. Naturally, we have similar interests like fashion. One night on the phone with him I told him about all the fashion department drama that was ensuing around me, and that we were lucky that we had such fast metabolisms. Somehow I ended up telling him about how embarrassed I was the night him and Stephen asked me why my boobs were so small. He said, “Wow... that must have been scaring, I’m sorry. You just have fashion boobs.” At that moment I realized, yes, I do have fashion boobs to match my 24-inch waist that some girls would love to have. The body issue complex I had developed vanished like an investment banker when they get wind that that IRS is coming for them.
When I finally confessed to my parents the quarrels I was having with my body my dad shared with me what my first pediatrician, Dr. Lavitsky, shared with him. She told him that I was in the 25th percentile of height. My dad, being 6’1,” and coming from a tall family, was probably surprised to hear that news. She reassured my dad by saying, “She’ll be tiny, but that’s why they make a size 0 and 2 because people come in all shapes and sizes.” It took me a while to realize it, but she couldn’t be more correct. I’m just a fun – sized girl with fashion boobs, and I’m okay with that.