Jugs, cups, and…um…breasts.
When I was 11 years old I was the fastest sprinter in the school.
By the time I was thirteen, I was the fastest at getting out of sport. Any excuse would do: sore ankle, period, tetchy knee…anything but the truth.
And the truth was? My breasts hurt. And they were growing fast. Running was agony.
Boys found it difficult to look at my face. Girls looked at me with a peculiar mix of pity and envy. My small-breasted mother looked at me in amazement. And I could hardly look at myself.
Fast forward through the anorexic years (17 to 23)…the rest of my body retreated to 45 kilograms but my breasts kept growing.
Pregnancy was a nightmare. My already humongous breasts became ginormous. And breastfeeding hurt like hell but I did it for 2 years because I’m a stoic (aka extremely stubborn person).
Then I found yoga.
Sure there were a few yoga poses that were unworkable for large breasts, but I always found variations to try. And every pose made me feel more connected to me. I felt transcendent…light, strong, flexible, comfortable, capable and at ease in my body.
So I did a lot of yoga. And then I taught a lot of yoga.
Yoga, at least the way I learnt it, is about working with what you have.
Do the best you can with the body you’ve got.
That was also a strong message from my upbringing. And it’s still true. Accepting your body, loving your body — whatever shape or size — is a political statement in this age of dysmorphic discontent.
When I finally stopped teaching yoga, and reduced my actual yoga practice to that of a normal person, I found myself plodding through perimenopause. And as I did, I worked my way up through the alphabet of cup sizes.
I pretty much had a standing start (at 13 years old) with a 32D. Quite a load for a dorky young woman to carry, but carry them I did.
(For the uninitiated, the number is your chest size in inches, the letter is your…well, cup size. Some famous bearers-of-large-breasts you might know: Katy Perry 32D; Christina Hendricks and Sophie Vergara 32F; Jennifer Love Hewitt 30GG…)
Over ten years, I made my way from a 32DD to a 32H.
Tension headaches, pain while exercising, an inability to find clothes (let alone bras) that fitted properly…these were just some of the creeping consequences.
Then I did something I never thought I’d do.
For the first time in my life, I considered surgically changing my body.
I ran through some pretty serious guilt trips.
How is it okay to do that when one in ten people on this planet are suffering chronic undernourishment or starvation? The money I was contemplating spending could feed a village for a month.
What the hell kind of message would I be sending to my young step-daughter?
What kind of hypocrite was I to set aside 15 years of teaching yoga, body acceptance, self-love…?
What was I thinking, contemplating the ‘vanity’ of plastic surgery at my age?
But the idea took hold. I sat with it for six months and then I did it.
So here I am, five and a half weeks post surgery.
And what have I discovered that might be of interest to you?
Bodies can be changed.
Stoic acceptance of genetic inheritance can sometimes be self-defeating.
Lightness of body sometimes brings lightness of being.
Contemplating plastic surgery for a bit of your body that’s impacting your daily life? Privileged enough to be able to pay for it? Have enough support to see you through the recovery?
Go for it. I won’t judge you. Not any more.