By Nina Endrst
I love being a woman but wasn’t crazy about growing up a girl. I felt powerless and confused for a myriad of reasons during that time – so many unanswered questions about what fit.
I enjoyed socializing and the little tastes of freedom that came along with childhood, but still, it didn’t quite suit me. It seemed like most girls I knew spoke a similar language and I could only recognize certain words.
I spent a lot of time looking on with raised eyebrows. I wasn’t good at ballet, not into playing house, couldn’t stand the sight of floral patterns… I was a tomboy – so did that mean I wasn’t feminine? Being “girly” seemed exhausting, doable on the surface but I knew I couldn’t fake it.
My parents taught me it was cool to be unique, so I felt mostly confident rolling into elementary school in my black leather jacket and cursing when I felt the situation called for it.
But most of the girls resembled porcelain dolls and exclusively wore pink with bows neatly tied in their hair. They were well behaved and appeared to be very clean, all of it made me feel like a messy misfit.
I surrendered to the fact that I’d just have to keep trying things on for size. I was sure at some point I’d feel supported, just some growing pains – nothing I couldn’t handle.
And then I got boobs.
It was a nightmare. By age 10 I had my period, which no one had to know, but now I had breasts I couldn’t hide. I contemplated taping them down but never went through with it. I remember sitting in the back of the bus wanting to crawl out of my skin, while an older boy taunted me – saying I had “DSL’s” and insisting that I stuffed my bra. I wore a brave face but felt myself burning up and simultaneously shrinking.
It became increasingly clear that I needed some protective layers to hide these things. I felt way too exposed, like a walking boob! I created a shell out of pieces of humor, intellect, charm and a little bit of rage. I wanted so badly to be vulnerable, but it was too risky. If I felt uncomfortable, I wouldn’t show it. I figured this, at least would get me by relatively unscathed. I would rather them focus on my “bitchiness” than my bra size.
Teachers labeled me a trouble-maker and the kids whispered about my breasts and sometimes called me intimidating or scary behind my back. None of it felt great.
My favorite yellow shirt was from Contempo – I loved it, until a boy pointed out how “huge” my boobs looked in it and begged me to wear it every single day. I threw out the yellow shirt, one more thing that didn’t fit.
The other girls seemed so innocent - only entertaining the thought of a training bra, and here I was with a solid B cup with a bad attitude. I considered myself a leader but wasn’t interested in being the front runner, here. I certainly wasn’t ready for the kind of attention my new body brought me. I don’t know that I’ll ever be comfortable with what comes along with large breasts.
Shopping for my first bra has been completely erased from my memory. I agonize about wearing certain things and am in pain a lot from the weight I am carrying and the lack of a supportive bra. I am 33 and my breasts have been weighing me down most my life. So often, I avoid or detach from that part of my body. I can’t remember the last time I went bra shopping and have only been measured once in my life. It is all very triggering.
What if I’m a triple D by now?! Nothing is going to fit. Everything will be ugly and matronly or weird. This was doesn’t fit. That one doesn’t fit. I. don’t. fit. I’m not interested in squeezing myself into something that is bland and boring, I don’t want to look like promiscuous either, thank you very much. The bells, the whistles, the push - ups, the cup sizes. It’s exhausting.
Now, here…I am able to exhale. I know that the women who created CUUP have the best intentions. I trust they are knowledgeable, thoughtful, understanding – supportive. I feel like something fits this part of me for the first time and not just my body. Let me tell you, it makes a world of difference.