Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How I Learned to Stop Reading Breast Reduction Stories and Love Myself

Note: some may find this post controversial or triggering. I absolutely acknowledge that breast reduction surgery is the right choice for some people. For helpful and frank stories of women who have gone through breast reductions, check out Laura's story and Hourglassy columnist Tammy's posts. 
(Yes, the other week we randomly watched Dr. Strangelove when we couldn't decide on anything else on Netflix...)

It happens every so often. I'll be browsing bra blogs or forums online, and then bam, I click on a link that leads to a breast-reduction forum.

And suddenly I'm back in highschool, during the time before I learned about properly-fitting bras. When I would spend weeks searching online, in tears, about breast reduction options for myself because I couldn't find bras that fit.

The post-op stories are tantalizing; the pre-op stories all-too familiar.

"I hate my body, my large breasts are gross."
"Everyone sexualizes me. I'm sick of it."
"Nothing ever fits."

"I look fat even though I'm not."
"My back hurts all the time."
"I can't play sports."


and after,

"I feel so much thinner! Going from a DDD to a perky B cup is amazing."
"I don't have back pain any more!"
"Everyone says how great I look."

On and on the stories flash before my eyes, all in neat little packages. And I become that depressed 16 year old again, unhappy with my body but not knowing how to make things right. Reading story after story and hoping for an easy fix. My opinion of myself falling lower and lower.

Yes, things are much better for me these days after coming to terms with some of the toxic views on Modesty that I grew up with and after finding out my correct bra size. But even getting into the proper bra (amazing as that experience is) doesn't solve all of one's body-image issues.

Because invariably, your breast size and/or shape will change after finding that "perfect bra" (if you managed to find it in the first place).

Sooner or later, your best bras will wear out or you'll accidentally put them through the dryer or your cat will pee on them, and you'll be left scrambling for extra funds to find something that works at all online because you can't buy anything in stores.

And after the initial high of figuring out what bras work for you wears off, you'll be faced with the prospect of coming to terms with being a "weird" size, the probable scorn of disbelieving friends, and the additional fact that most off-the-rack clothing simply isn't an option for you.

And surgery can seem like a siren call, beckoning from distant shores. If only my breasts were smaller, then.... I would fit in these clothes, I could buy cheaper bras, I would feel better about myself, I would be more "normal"... and on and on the cycle goes.


But I've had to come to terms with some things that are true for me. While breast reduction surgery is a great choice for some, it will not:

-Instantly fix my body image issues
-Fix my current intermittent back and shoulder pain, which is a result of nerve damage and years of poor habits
-Make it any easier for me to buy bras (I'll still have a small back size)
-Guarantee that my breasts will stop growing
-Make me a better person

I used to spend time reading stories of women who had gone through breast reduction surgery, but I've realized that reading these faceless stories isn't healthy for me. Quick forum posts don't show someone's whole experience, or tell their whole story. And I don't want to go through surgery or permanently change my body; I'm just good at letting societal pressures (what I think others think) get to me.

Struggling with body image issues or wearing a difficult-to-find bra or clothing size isn't easy. But everyone has their own struggles, their own story, and their own choices to make. My story right now consists of focusing on loving and accepting myself, and doing what's best for me healthwise right now (which partially consists of eating right, doing yoga, and allowing myself to invest in the right clothing and undergarment pieces).

Allowing yourself to love yourself and make the best choices for you isn't always the easy road (in fact, it often seems to be one of the most difficult things). But it's worth it. Lovely, you're worth it.

(Also, Jaffa Cakes and the BiuBiu Bombay Dress are worth it)

(For further reading, check out this inspirational post on Imperfect Life.)