I was a ballerina from ages 3-18. Ballerinas are generally known to have a very particular body type. So it was quite a shock to me in middle school when I had to start wearing bras under my leotards, because my peers did not. I remember trying to navigate backless dance costumes as a young teenager and feeling self conscious when performing on stage.
In high school and beyond I had the common experience of people accidentally? touching my boobs and guys looking at "my shirt" instead of my face when talking to me. Because I came from a ballerina background I essentially developed a body dysmorphia that breasts were bad - something to hide. I learned how to hold my shoulders a certain way so that they wouldn't stick out as far.
I almost always had double boob back then - when your bra is too small and your boobs overflow over the top. I hated the way that looked, and often felt fat and unattractive because of it. They literally didn't sell my bra size in stores, so I had to make do with what I could get.
Around 2003 I discovered a British company called Bravissimo. I had to pay to ship from England, but that was the first time I found bras that actually fit me. It turned out there are many letters in the alphabet after D - letters like 'I' and 'J' and 'K' and 'L' and 'M' (all sizes that I have been in my life). This was a huge turning point in how I felt about my body. This allowed me to feel like perhaps my body wasn't a problem, that there were other people just like me.
Shirts and dresses never fit properly. I have to choose between the size that fit my waist (ridiculously tight around my chest) or the size that fit my boobs (potato sack around my waist). I could never wear cute tank tops or strapless tops because I had to wear a bra. For many years Bravissimo actually had a clothing line for women with big boobs - those were some of my favorite clothes ever because they actually fit me the way clothes fit other people.
My shoulders have permanent grooves in them. Have you ever heard the phrase "over the shoulder boulder holder"? I've dealt with major back and shoulder pain issues since I was 17 years old. When you have chronic pain you eventually get used to it. I'm learning that just because you become resigned to something doesn't mean it stops affecting you...my brain has been trying to interpret that stress for over 2 decades.
Tomorrow I'm getting a breast reduction. It sounds brutal. Surgery will be about 4 hours long if everything goes according to plan. I have to avoid using my arms at all for the first week after, and extremely limited movement the second and third week. I'm not supposed to lift my arms over my head for at least 6 weeks. I can't exercise for 6 weeks because an increased heart rate is a risk for bleeds. It takes 6+ months to get "back to normal" physically and even longer to know the final results because of swelling.
This is something I have been wanting for almost 25 years. I didn't do it sooner because even at 17 years old I knew I wanted to breastfeed my children. And I did! I breastfed my 3 kids for over 7 years collectively. That's a lot of sacrifice. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice in waiting this long, but this is how it happened and I have a lot to be proud of.
Before scheduling my surgery I went back and forth a hundred times about whether I wanted to actually go through this. I am scared, but I know that this will be life changing for me. Send me funny memes...I'll be sitting around not using my arms.
Getting rid of at least $4000 worth of bras, sports bras, nursing bras, and bathing suits from the last 10 years. I have been many, many sizes because of pregnancy and breastfeeding. I'm currently the smallest size I have ever been in my adult life (32I).
A few years ago I got rid of an equally large pile that were from before kids that I thought would never fit me again.
Talk about a pink tax.