Monday, December 6, 2010

A Tale of Two _______

I was going to call this post "Thanks for the Mammaries" or "Breast Food Forward," but I like the tongue-in-cheek Dickens reference. I have a lot to say about body image, but for now, I am going to narrow it down two body parts. I'm going to talk about my breasts. Mom and Dad, read no more.

I have always liked my breasts. Through chubby high school to skinny college to present size ten, they have served me well. My 36Cs aren't too big to make for uncomfortable exercise and remain peppy after almost a year of breastfeeding. To reiterate: No matter what my other body issues were and are, I have always felt happy with my chest.

Unfortunately, one comment derailed my ability when I was eighteen years old. The person who I admired most in the world made a remark that still affects the physical position I carry myself. It wasn't until later that I realized how toxic, sad, and jealous this person actually was.

"The only reason Darin likes you is because of your perky breasts."

This was followed by, "What are you advertising?"

Imagine. Eighteen years old, newly embarking on my first serious relationship with the man who happened to be my future husband. I am now brave enough (and thin enough) to wear clothes that I have always wanted to wear. For the first time in my life, I feel beautiful in my own skin; not necessarily because of Darin, but because of a new-found emotional/physical/spiritual maturity I had recently discovered and nurtured. Her remarks were a tad ironic too, as Darin didn't... ahem... 'experience' my breasts until we were married.

As a result of this not-so-isolated comment, I began to carry myself differently. So that others didn't think I was proud, skanky, or 'advertising,' I tensed my shoulders forward and let my stomach muscles relax so that you couldn't see the size of my chest. I began to be cognizant of the fact that others may *gasp* notice my breasts. Unfortunately, this habit became so, you know, habitual, that I fail to stand up straight ten years later. My shoulders and back often ache because of it. Add a pregnancy and labor and the pain expounds! Worst of all, I am subconsciously ashamed of my body.
Evidence:See how I am slightly leaning forward?
I didn't notice I still did this until I saw this picture.
A little better. I remember how I felt a little insecure while Darin took this picture. I could tell that my breasts and bottom took their places when I tensed my core a little.This is my body when I am standing up straight. You can't really tell because of the scarf and the polka-dots, but my shoulders are upright, I remembered my core, and my body (and upper back!) feels better because of it. This was one of the only photos I found of myself really standing upright! One of the many reasons I am glad to have "Coffee & a Cardigan" is so that I can keep tabs on my posture. It's taken me a long time to heal and fully realize the absolute silliness of being so embarrassed of my chest as to let it affect the way I carry myself now, ten years later. I am Louise. I love my body. I love my breasts. They are the only ones I have and ever will have.

Now, my encouragement to you: I don't care if you are a size negative A or a size K. Your breasts are beautiful. They are a magnificent sign of your femininity and womanhood. Treat them with respect. Don't belittle your size, whatever it may be. Don't disparage their shape. Rub decolletage cream on them once in a while. Don't put them on display like trout on a dinner platter. And always remember, stand up straight.

36 comments:

  1. In the Byzantine rite, the Sunday's Gospel was about the woman who was bent over for 18 years (arthritis?) and was healed by Jesus. She then stood straight 'as a candle.' Let your light shine!

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  2. You're awesome. And ridiculously gorgeous. :) As a negative-A girl I thought I wasn't going to be able to relate to this post much, but the importance of loving your body - now THAT I understand!!

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  3. I love you, Lou. In the words of a wise woman, "I would pee on an electric fence for you."

    Keep discovering your own awesomeness!!!

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  4. oh my goodness....!
    i love this post & the last paragraph cracked me up. lol.
    "like a trout on a dinner plate."
    i <3 u and i am a 34C (was that TMI)
    you only have one pair & one body, you should love the ones you got.
    xoox

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  5. Amen! We've got to work with what we're given, and we can't help our boob sizes. I've gone through phases when I love my chest size and when I hate it. I'm still learning to embrace it, but you're so right-- there's no reason to be ashamed of our bodies.

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  6. Great reminder to love what God gave you and treat it well. And to not let terrible and hurtful comments from supposed "friends" change how we see ourselves. Glad to see you standing up straight and treating the girls right! I'm with ya!

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  7. This is such a great post, with tons of lovely (and funny at times!) advice. I get self conscious of my chest sometimes, as it's a bit on the large side, but I'm coming to terms with it. Thanks for this post :)

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  8. Oh Louise... thank you. I think this is a common thing for well-endowed ladies. I honestly remember being flat one day and then... not, the next. I was shy and awkward and basically didn't want to be noticed. Unfortunately I got the nickname Boobs, which stuck with me all through high school. I felt entirely invisible except for 1 (ok 2!) things. And because they are apparent sometimes people say things that make you feel that your worth, or why someone might be interested in you, are completely tied up in the chestal region. I hope that women can be proud and grateful for their bodies and what they can do...
    And now I'm sitting up straight and happy as I type this!

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  9. I am with you! I visited a college (somewhat infamous for its strictness) the year before I ended up at AMC with you, and was shocked to be told by a student there - a complete stranger - that my sweater was too clingy. As you know, everything clings to moderate to large size breasts!

    I love the pic with the magenta top, it's one of my favorites that you've posted, and I think it's because you look so healthy and confident when your core is engaged. I'm jealous of your awesome tummy! (Secretly I've wondered whether you wear shape wear under those outfits and, if so, if you'll dish on what kind). Thank you for the reminder to stand up straight. :-)

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  10. Great post! Worth repeating.

    *Applause*

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  11. AMEN, sister! I'm right there with you. And I'm still slouching. You've reminded me not to- to remember how amazing these breasts have been; how they've fed a beautiful and healthy child, and how they are gorgeous and wonderful, fun and full, and will hopefully feed more children and stay amazing!

    THANK YOU!

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  12. thanks for posting this and being willing to share your thoughts.
    you are so beautiful, and you have a lovely shape. roll your shoulders back, lady, and just be you. i mean, that Katherine girl would PEE on an ELECTRIC FENCE for you!
    <3mode
    http://modestylist.blogspot.com

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  13. I've had some remarks about my breasts as well!
    Isn't it terrible that gals tear one another down so often?

    I'm glad you did this post, lovely. You are gorgeous. And just all-around awesome.

    STAND UP STRAIGHT AND SHOW EM OFF!

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  14. Breasts, or the lack thereof and strange shape thereof, have always been a sore spot with me, especially given the oversized-ness of everything else about me. They actually don't make bras my size, so I have to make do with a 38B, but a 40A would be more like it.
    What I lack on the outside I make up for on the inside: I've got lungs!
    Should have become a pearl diver. As long as there are no sharks.
    I love your post, Weezie (hope I'm allowed to call you that on your blog) and think you are beautiful!
    Thanks for reminding me to stand up straight- I believe it does indeed improve one's entire sense of self, inside and out!

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  15. Thanks for the encouraging and inspiring post. Being a large busty girl my whole life, I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with my breast size. I used to get teased awful when I was young...no lie, in elementary school girls would walk by and poke me in the breasts with pencils only to laugh at how much bigger I was than them...disturbing, right? And I too would get the snide remarks from girls in high school as well as the negative attention from guys. Though I was quite please with how I looked in this region, I was still very self conscious b/c of the remarks I got and slouched to avoid looking bigger.

    Now I am currently nursing which has taking me to a size I didn't even know existed and it bothers me that I can't fit into many blouses, but I try very hard to remain positive. I know this is only for a time. So thanks again for your witty and inspiring post. I will be trying to stand up as straight as possible:)

    xx Marisa

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  16. Oh sweetheart! What a nasty comment. I'm glad that you're healing and are proud of who you are, because you should be. You're gorgeous and the way you write always makes me chuckle! xx

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  17. You made my day, really, you are such an amazing girl! Now I'll always remember: stand up straight. THANK YOU lovely.

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  18. great post. ive always been um..."fortunate" in that area as well. i never thought of it - especially when i was younger, until a classmate told me to "stop stuffing your bra, we all know they're fake". i think i was 13 - and mortified. i grew to do the same thing: hunch over and try to keep them as unnoticeable as possible. now its more habit than anything, but i still dont stand up very straight! but for me they are a bit of a problem. E cups are not fun...they're heavy and get in the way!

    you look AHMAZING in the pink dress! your beautiful face and fabulous outfit is what takes the stage - not your bosom!

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  19. Wonderful post! Thank you! I remember feeling so awkward and ashamed in my teenage years because of my chest. It's hard to still be a girl, but be endowed with WOMANLY things! ;) Fortunately, I learned to love myself and forget all the rude and negative comments. All boobs are great, doesn't matter if they're perky or pear shaped (or banana shaped). Haha. :) What matter is getting a great bra, which is So hard to do! I call for an encore post discussing bra brands!

    Love you girl, even if only through bloggy friendship!
    Nancy

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  20. looking all cute, pretty girl.


    love.

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  21. Such a great post, your an inspiration to a lot of girls insecure about there breasts.

    You rock!


    Marja<3

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  22. 1. I heart my Ladies :)
    2. I am always sorry for the negative comments we each receive, because we carry those so much longer than we carry the compliments, don't we? My least-favorite wasn't about my body, but about ME: "You're going to marry some rich guy who loves your body and will take care of you cause you weren't really cut out for working." (And I am a HARD worker! I still think of that comment ALL the time! Yuck!)
    3. I love that you said what size you are. I have never been much of a magazine-reader or TV watcher, but when I have, those elements really made me feel like I was some kind of frumpy freak of nature because 'big' girls aren't allowed in the media except as jokes. I LOVE reading fashion blogs now because I see gorgeous girls like you who have bodies that look like mine and it makes me so happy to know I'm 'normal.'
    4. You really are lovely.
    5. I love honesty.
    6. (and I love lists)

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  23. You are awesome. Thanks. Enough said. <3

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  24. Thank you for being so open and honest, Louise! And thank you for writing such an encouraging post.

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  25. this is so lovely, i swear. i love this. i love the responses! gah. i often get very self conscious about my ladies too. but most of the time i love them. what can i say? they're my babies, hahaha. <3

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  26. I have gigantic breasts: 36G. I've had big boobs for my entire adolescent-to-adult life, and as I've gained weight, they've only gotten bigger. I used to be skinny with big boobs, and now I'm just fat with even bigger boobs. My breasts make me feel ashamed, and it doesn't help that my boyfriend is always concerned that I'm covered up when I go out (he doesn't like me to wear anything tight or revealing). My breasts are always the first thing that people notice. No one sees the rest of me. Which is just as well, I guess, since I'm pretty ugly. I try not to look people in the eye too much, and I always try to avoid mirrors as much as possible.

    I'm being this way on purpose. This is how I truly feel about myself. I know that I'm a good person, a nice person, a smart person...but I'm not an attractive person. And my self-consciousness about my breasts is a huge part of my low self-esteem.

    People like you inspire me. Your post made me smile. :)

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  27. This is such an awesome post. I loved it! I say lets love our girls no matter what size they are! For once you hit 40 things go south. This I know from experience. So if they are perky now, be proud of 'em! :o)

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  28. I have, in my lifetime been both very flat chested and large chested. I was a very, very late bloomer who REALLY bloomed when the time came (My husband called them a wedding gift from above since they grew 3 cup sizes shortly after we married!). People have problems with both of those things. But I don't. My breasts are just as He made them. And my husband liked them either way.

    Found you via Sal @ Already Pretty. I'm following now. <3

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  29. I am very self-conscious of my 32DD's and often try to "hide" them so as to not appear...slutty?...Though I doubt I could look that way if I tried being that I'm modest by nature.

    Thanks for the reminder to stand up straight and be proud of what I have.

    New follower!

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  30. My philosophy is: they're there, and they're obviously not going away. Whether I try to hide them or not, they'll be the same size, so people just need to get over it. :)

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  31. Wow, what a good post. I have a very similar story, except that the woman saying "the only reason boys like you is..." was my mother. I don't know if that's when I started not standing up straight, but I do know that years later she said "Your father used to call you 'the hunchback.' " I know she was lying in both cases, but underneath... I'm still struggling with my posture.

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  32. Oh God, I have such a love-hate relationship with my breasts. I'm a natural 32DDD. I cannot stand the rudeness of women who will approach me and ask, flat-out, if I have had implants (even worse, one girl at a party refused to believe me and started gossiping behind my back about it).

    People always zero in on them, too. I would love it if someone would notice something else about my appearance for once. The rest of my body and my personality seem eclipsed by them, so they actually produce some negative thoughts about other parts of me. At the same time, they are very much a part of my being and my sense of femininity, and for that I love them.

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  33. P.S. In a not-so-proud moment, I once slapped a man who said that any woman who dressed up should only be doing it for their man, and any attached woman who was showing cleavage was obviously trying to cheat on her boyfriend.

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Rants and raves welcome! Please alert me to any typos. (Seriously.) Thanks for commenting!

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