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.