I developed early. Like, really early. I was taller than everyone in my grade through middle school. I got my period pretty early on, and started getting little pimples on my forehead before I was in high school. By fifth grade, I was wearing padded cups, and by my freshman year, I was in DD territory.
I often felt self-conscious, so I wore a lot of bigger shirts with baggy sleeves that helped hide my curves. My nightmare was the intimates department at Dillard’s, where an older woman would put her cold hands around my back and inform me that I went up another cup size. Eventually, I grew to accept that I didn’t look like other teenage girls. I sometimes even liked it. As I matured, I grew to like and even love my body. I liked the way I looked all done up in a dress and heels, and I sometimes even liked the way people looked at me — like I was a woman.
But living in this body had its pain points. There were pervy guys who asked me about the melons I was smuggling under my sweater, and others who attempted to hit on me, not realizing I was much too young. At the same time, my friends made comments about how they would kill for my breasts, which made me feel guilty for my pangs of self-loathing.
I tried to tell myself that this is a gift, and that I should love and accept my body exactly as it is, but being so busty began to take a physical toll. Today, I’m a 32F. I have neck pain and back pain and a permanent slouch from carrying the weight. Then there’s the stretch marks and the indents in my shoulders and back from my bras. I struggle to sleep on my back and my stomach. I can’t go for a run without strapping myself into two sports bras. And yes, I don’t like the way I look anymore.
I’m getting the surgery because I do love my body, not because I’m subscribing to some antiquated beauty standard.
So, when I discussed getting breast reduction surgery with my parents, I was determined. I talked about the pain in my neck and shoulders, and the problems I was experiencing while exercising and sleeping. And I talked about no longer feeling good in my body. I had read stories about how the surgery had completely changed a woman’s relationship with her body, and I knew I wanted that.
I’ve learned that some people see my decision as a betrayal of the body I’m supposed to love. But I’m getting the surgery because I do love my body — enough to take care of it — not because I’m subscribing to some antiquated beauty standard.
In the end, my choice to surgically alter my body is exactly that: my choice. That would be true even if I were doing it purely for cosmetic reasons, but I’m not. The fact that breast reduction is even viewed that way is ridiculous. This is something that’s affecting not only my mental and emotional health, but also my physical wellbeing, and that makes it a medical procedure. I can’t help but marvel at the negative reactions I’ve received, but I know I’ve made the right decision for me, and that’s all that matters.