It’s been almost eight years since my A cups jumped to D’s, and now F’s due to some pandemic weight gain. Eight years since I’ve been able to do a push-up to the ground or buy tops without having to try them on first. Eight years since I bought a gift and a curse, a.k.a. my overly natural-looking saline breast implants.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t regret deciding to get a boob job in my early twenties at all. I remember calling my mom from college one day and telling her I wanted to get my boobs done after going on a trip with my best friend's family and being told by her nine-year-old sister that my chest was smaller than hers. Yes, I realized she was just a kid, but her words triggered all the insecurities I had about my body at 19. At that time, I was on the hunt for perfection. As someone who grew up with their weight fluctuating regularly, I became fixated on examining my body shape and proportions. I was enthralled with the way it ebbed and flowed. Looking through photos from the trip, I found a picture of me standing in front of a waterfall with noticeable abs and a less pronounced “rack” and I was desperate to fix this disparity.
With the voice of a nine-year-old ringing in my head and the desire to get bigger boobs only growing, I spent a lot of time Google searching ‘best plastic surgeons in Michigan’ that summer before deciding on who the lucky doctor would be. It was my first experience searching for a doctor on my own in general. I went to consultations with multiple surgeons, and it came down to the office’s vibe and how comfortable I felt with each one of them. I remember the doctor I ultimately landed upon advising me not to go too big or else it would look unnatural, which I appreciated. His honesty, sense of humor, and calming spa-like office aesthetic had me sold; and it also helped to know that a family member had some work done by him before, so it felt like he was vetted .
The feeling leading up to the surgery felt unreal, though. I remember thinking to myself, I can't believe I am about to alter my body so casually. What will the final result look like? Will I bag a baller with these new cuties? The visual of my new body would play in my head like I was creating a Sims avatar. It was almost like I was building up this idea of the “perfect body” in my head every day those couple of months before the surgery. I fixated on this image of my body connected to these perfectly round and lifted boobs that look fabulous in everything. When I think back on what I thought the perfect boobs looked like, I’m not sure if I had a specific person’s breast in mind. I figured bigger was just better.
Now, as I look in the mirror staring at myself naked after seven and a half years, I find myself reflecting on how powerful it felt to alter my body at such a young age, how I felt unstoppable, in control, and poised. I was a woman, not a girl, for the first time in my life. My breasts were my golden ticket to womanhood, to freedom and empowerment at the time. I felt fully in control of this decision to change my body. I saw how all my friends that got nose jobs felt about themselves after their procedures, so I knew this change would be positive and accepted by friends and family. I remember my dad saying, “Don’t tell me the details. As long as your mom knows, I’m good.” Everyone’s support of my decision made me feel secure.
My first official outing with them (the boobs) was at 10 A.M. pregame on my college campus. After being stuck in my parents’ house for a month recovering, I was ready to party and introduce the world to the updated version of me with a celebratory shot and flash of my nipples. It was like Girls Gone Wild with consent, and I was the director of my flashing/wet t-shirt contest story. I felt like I was hot shit, and no one was going to tell me I wasn’t. Flashing now that I had 200cc’s inside me would become a thing whenever mezcal or tequila shots are present.
While I have continued to free the nipple by going braless over these last couple of years, I've become somewhat modest in how I’m dressing. I traded in the low-cut tops for t-shirts and hoodies. I’ve hidden my goodies for all to see. For a while, I questioned what this meant. Was I unhappy with the shape and size of my breast? Was this my way of saying I wish I waited a few years to get them done? Do I like looking at my naked body in the mirror? I had to remind myself not all areolas are small and perfectly circular or that it was normal for my breasts to change shape and size around the implant.
I’ve found comfort in covering up what I once loved to show-off. I think this transition from flaunting to protecting parallels my growth as an individual over the years, learning how to share less with the world and focus on protecting my spirit, mind, and body—understanding that it’s okay to keep things or ideas that meant a lot to me for myself.
While my body has changed in size and shape, I’ve had to learn how to love those changes and be protective of my mind and spirit through the process. So even though I might wear an XL T-shirt with baggy jeans regularly for the world to see, underneath the white lace bodysuit hugging my breast and curves is for me. Maybe this is too nihilistic, but the world we live in doesn’t deserve to see me bare or uncovered. It’s the spaces that nurture me to my soul that are deserving and allow me to shed a layer or more.
So when I dress my breast in my mesh Espresso Balconette bra with a matching bottom and sit on the edge of my bed to start my day, I look in the mirror at my present body and admire my evolution as a Black woman. And I admire the state of peace I feel in my mind, body, and soul.