Bras are awful- both metaphorical and physical ones.
I was raised Catholic, so I’ve felt guilty and afraid of my body since the day I was born.
That embarrassment grew exponentially when I finally got boobs too.
I remember being one of the last girls in my class to start wearing a bra. I used to wear undershirts with little roses on them, until a girl in my class called me a baby. I then asked for a bra from my cousin, whose boobs happened to be much bigger than mine.
When my mother found a strange bra on the bathroom floor that I had accidentally left after I took a shower, the anger was palpable, but seemed to wane when she realized that the large bra was mine, and not an indicator of something salacious.
She then promptly took me to JCPenney to buy my first bra. As my mother held up bras to the outside of my shirt and very loudly proclaimed, “Oh, this is going to be way to big for you!,” I died of embarrassment. I believe my ego is still in a pool on the floor of that old JCPenney.
What little I knew about boobs, was that they needed to be covered up, and you definitely needed to have big ones. Which seems like a cruel oxymoron.
And that’s how I continued to think about bras and boobs for the majority of my life. As a teen, I wore the classic, pushup them up to your throat bra that was majority hard padding and a stiff underwire. It was painful to wear, but all my friends wore the same bras, so I assumed it was a must.
I continued wearing those pushups up until I was pregnant with my son. My boobs grew to a full C while I was pregnant, and I absolutely loved wearing soft, nursing bras. What a treat! After I weaned my son, my boobs looked like small, deflated balloons. So, I did what I knew how to do, I stuffed them back into a padded, underwire bra.
Being in pain from a bra seemed normal. It seemed like that’s what I was supposed to do. To take a bra off at the end of the day felt like the biggest relief, like I could finally breathe.
Cut to December of last year, and I caught what doctors can only assume was the flu, even though I tested negative. I had a 104 fever for days, and it quickly turned into laryngitis and bronchiolitis, and then pneumonia and pleurisy. I had coughed so hard that I broke two of my ribs. It took two rounds of antibiotics, two visits to the emergency room, steroids, and two and half months to recover. My chest was sore. So, in the midsts of the worst virus of my life, I was obviously not wearing bras. Once I recovered, I tried to put a soft bralette on, but even that hurt on my healing broken ribs. So, I simply stopped wearing bras.
You know what happened?
I realize how absolutely, fucking uncomfortable and unnecessary bras are.
You know what else happened?
I realized that without a bra I had less back pain and my posture was more relaxed.
I then began to do research about whether or not wearing a bra was going to be detrimental in any way, because I had been warned by numerous women that no bras equate to saggy breasts later in life.
What I found was quite the opposite.
Wearing a bra actually weakens our chests, so we end up with saggy breasts later in life, because we’ve underdeveloped key muscles to hold our breasts in place. Bras contribute to back pain and cause chest compression that can lead to difficulty breathing.
Basically, we’ve all been choked with our bras.
I had basically spent my life stuffing my chest into a contraption that made men feel more comfortable while I was out in public, and that takes some mental adjusting. It’s a different experience to appreciate my actual silhouette, rather than the artificial, rounded one that I’d grown accustomed to.
Now, with that being said, change doesn’t happen over night, so I did buy a pair of silicone nipple covers to wear under white, or sheer shirts while out in public, but for the most part, my small breasts are out on the loose, and me and my body have never been happier.
So, take off your bra, relax, and consider keeping it off, or at least take a long thought about why you’re wearing it, is it for you, or is it for something else?