A sea of Catholic schoolboys surrounding the sandpit on field day anxiously awaiting your long jump performance; not because you’re the next Jackie Joyner, but because your boobs are enormous, and when you run they put on a performance of their own.
My boobs showed up when I was 11. Right when the uniform changed at St. Peter’s from a plaid skirt with bib and white shirt, to just the plaid skirt and white shirt. Every girl had to get a bra, because if you didn’t, your dark circles would be poking through your translucent white top. Well my bra was the size of a tablecloth. A four-clip grandma bra that nearly took over my entire backside. And, of course, I was seated directly in front of Jeff Woods, who was the cutest boy ever created. I don’t remember much from sixth grade, just sweating and perpetually having a painful inner monologue with myself as I imagined Jeff staring at the girth of my Olga bra.
From a young age, I’ve tried everything to hold these beasts back from stealing the focus of my show. I was a three-sport athlete in high school. I taped them down. I wore two sports bras. I put on giant shirts. I’m just not a person who should have gotten big boobs. I’m more of a tom boy than a sex kitten. I like to fish, not shop. When I was little, I used to see how many bullfrogs I could catch in a day. I would create maps of different locations where bullfrogs could be found and hide the maps under my bed (now that I’m reading that last sentence, I see how weird I am).
So…back to boobs. They’re supposed to be these alluring monuments to femininity. People want to see them all the time. People want to get flashed and crowd a cubicle to sneak peeks, like they’ve never seen a pair before. I think boobs are awesome too, when you really think of their purpose. But they suck when they pop your shirt open in the middle of a speech.
My boobs have always been something I’ve tried to run from (well, walk away from). They just interrupt my sense of humor. And, as is with most comedy, I’ve turned my boobs into the butt of my jokes over the years to make it seem like I don’t care, but I do.
Now that I’m a full-blown woman, I’m better with these things, but when you’re just fumbling along like a fresh gosling, it’s an absolute nightmare. I have pages and pages of diaries filled with boobie disasters from the 80’s and 90’s. And don’t even get me started on the boys, the comments, even the fathers of the boys commenting. I won’t name names, but when I was 15 I had a grown man tell me; “Geeze! Those things keep getting bigger every year.” That’s a moment that helped build my character, I think.
The bad eye contact, the comments, the embarrassing moments, the fitting room breakdowns; it’s all part of the package deal. So, to all the fresh goslings out there taping your boobs down, wearing your dad’s shirt, and skipping the long jump on field day; here’s a few character building moments and bits of wisdom having big boobs has brought me. Embrace the cups...
YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE A PART IN THE PLAY
Most every grade school or high-school play has some kind of wise old lady or mother figure. Go out for the school play, it’s a shoe-in that you’ll get to play the Old Beggar Woman, Grandma, or some sort of middle-aged lady that gets at least one funny line. Just be ready for your breasts to look like two smashed balloons in the 1950’s housedress you get stuffed into. You won’t look great, but you’ll have a line, which is better than being a tree. While we’re talking about trees, you know not to try to hide behind one, right?
ONLY TRUST TENTS
If you don’t have a friend with you DO NOT attempt to squeeze a dress over your gals. You will get stuck. I’m telling you-stop looking at my breasts and look me in the eyes right now-you WILL get stuck and put yourself into a claustrophobic, panic-attack frenzy.
If you get stuck there are options…
OPTION 1: Rage like the Incredible Hulk and rip yourself out of the garment. Put the shredded mess of a former dress on the hanger, and when you return it to the person who counted your items don’t flinch; you will be sweating-but don’t you flinch. Walk away. Walk away…
OPTION 2: Call for help, if you are confident with people seeing you full naked in fluorescent lights. Scream out for the attendant to come help with a co-worker. You will need two people to grab hold of each side of the dress and pull up with the might of the Lord. Your bra be pulled above your head, and your underwear will be crammed up your ass, so be ready to flash whoever comes to your rescue. Just thank the poor souls and release them. Sit for a moment. Just sit and calm down. Maybe wait a few hours until the people that just saw all your private bits are done with their shift. Maybe skip wearing a dress to whatever occasion you’re shopping for and just stick to your usual wardrobe of a tent, this is what you can trust.
Listen, it’s perfectly fine to try to wear a button down shirt. Just make sure you have an XXL sweater, a few safety pins, a needle and thread, and some sort of prop like a clipboard, poster board, or billboard to hide the front of your body when your shirt surrenders midday and all the buttons pop off like fireworks. Maybe just bring a suitcase full of clothes and tape if you plan to wear a button down shirt. Come to think of it, unless you’re a police officer, or a pilot, there’s no reason to try to stuff those bowling balls into a button down. Stick to what works; tents.
EMBRACE THE BRUSH UP
You are going to accidentally brush your boobs up, against, on, at, and toward every living and non-living entity on the planet. Don’t go leaning in to look at someone’s work or take a glance at something without knowing full well that your gals will brush across your co-worker’s head, or gently graze your neighbor's face. The bagger at the grocery store, will get a brush up. Anyone around you in a crowded space will get a brush up and smash. You will accidentally rest your boobs on everything without knowing it; deli counters, the pew in church, small children. You may even knock things over. That’s why boobs are called knockers (I think). Just embrace the brush up. It's part of the charm.
Just get out there. Wear what makes you feel beautiful. Run as fast as you can and go around anyone who tries to get in your way. I wish I could go back to the sandpit and tell the beanpole, big-boobed kid to do the long jump. To run with all her might and let her body just be; but I find that I'm still so critical and harsh on my body. I take it as fallout from never being good at the long jump. I also wish I could go back and smack that dad across the face, but when you’re little it’s hard to be brave. It's hard to accept your body for what it is, and nearly impossible to wash away the comments from those who surround the sandpit.
There is no perfect size. There is no perfect. There is only you and all your perfect imperfections. Some will gawk, some will joke, some will tease, some will comment- but some will love you just the way you are; and the person on the top of that list should be you.
Listen to me-I want you to jump. Look straight ahead, run with all your might- and jump.
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