Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Inspired by the beautiful and brilliant HBM and her post, Ashlee Simpson and Me
Once upon a time I was in high school. It was summertime. Lazy days on the beach. Bonfire parties. Making out on the bluffs. Rocking out to The Cardigans in my Cabriolet convertible with cow-seat covers. I was sixteen. That summer I went from a B cup to an E cup in four months.
The doctor said it was hormonal. I had an imbalance. It happened. I was put on the pill and sent to a shrink and I wrote a lot of bad poetry. That was the down-side. The up-side was that overnight I became some sort of amazonian freak. I had always wanted boobs when I was flat-chested and here they were. It was like in BIG when the kid wakes up Tom Hanks, checking out his new, larger penis, like, whoa! This thing's awesome!
That was how I felt. These things are awesome. I spent the summer buying custom made bikinis and getting felt-up. The boys I had been crushing on for years were crushing on me. They wanted to take me to dinner and stuff. Radical.
That summer all I had to do to get a frozen lemonade was show up at the snack bar in my bikini top. No questions asked. I learned very quickly that having large breasts could get me stuff. At sixteen, this was pretty exciting.
At our high school we had something called "The Whore List" and every year, on the first day of school the senior girls would post it in the bathrooms, in the quad, all over campus. I had been on it every year, not because I was a whore but because me and my friends were popular and that's the way it works. Everyone hates the "popular" girls. (I'm no rocket-scientist but wouldn't that make us unpopular?)
My Junior year I was number one, which meant it was the senior girl's mission to make my year hell. I was egged, toilet-papered, hit in the face with beer bottles, pushed on my way to class and the butt of every nasty locker-room rumor. My garage was permanently stained with chocolate syrup, driveway with chalk. There were condoms in the trees and plenty of explicit writing on the walls.
It wasn't funny. It was embarrassing and upsetting and not how I wanted to spend my year. Instant-reputation known by all. Hi, guys. How you doing. I dated older boys because they didn't know anything about whore lists and wanted nothing to do with high school. I kept my head held high as I walked past the older girls and their dirty looks. I pretended I didn't care. I wore clothes that covered me up. Turtle necks and oversized boyfriend's t-shirts. When you have really big breasts, you can't help looking a little, um, slutty. It's hard to tame the cleavage, even in a large shirt.
I got used to the names and the pencil drops and the laughing off rumors. I had "slept with the whole school" before I even lost my virginity. I could hardly keep up with myself, the fiction of it all.
I tried not to let it bother me. The looks in the locker room, the eye-rolls, evil stares from women, freaky dudes trying to cop a feel. The guys at work. On the street. The beach. I laughed it off, gave the ol "you wish" look and kept on, hunching my back and crossing my arms in front of my chest.
If sex was power then how come I felt stripped of it? I went through the next two years hating my body. Hating my boobs. Hiding them even from boyfriends, hands cupped, bra on, lights off. Always off.
It wasn't until homecoming when the entire visitor side of the football field starting chanting "Nice Tits, Queenie" that I decided to do something about it. It was mortifying enough having to wave in my tiara and cape and ride around in a Ford Mustang. (A new one. The old ones are cool.) I left the game in tears. Angry. Out of control. I had thought about surgery before but this time I was going to do it.
"You probably won't be able to breastfeed."
"I don't care."
"You might lose all sensation."
"Don't care. Just get them off of me."
I waited until I was eighteen. I had the surgery. It was the most painful six weeks of my life.
When I got pregnant I prayed for a son. I wanted a boy so desperately. I was so afraid of giving birth to myself. I was afraid of the looks she would get if she inherited my breasts. I was scared I might wake up one day to chocolate syrup smeared across the driveway. I was afraid she would use her body to get what she wanted and find in actuality that she wasn't in control. I was afraid that at eighteen I would have to hold her hand in the operating room, dress her stitches, understand.
I do not regret having the surgery. I do not regret the fact that I had to go in two years later and have it redone (they grew back!) I do not regret the fact I was only able to breastfeed my son for six weeks and had to supplement with formula.
The grass is always greener, of course. Pretty girls want to be taken seriously and smart girls want to be pretty. Small-chested girls wear push-up bras and the big-breasted wish you would look away.
Once upon a time all of this mattered. Now, I hardly even think about it. Why? Because I had the surgery and because now I don't have to.
I do not judge women for wanting to change their bodies and for going to great lengths to do so. At the end of the day, we all want to be comfortable in our skin. We want to be beautiful. After the surgery I ran faster. Men looked me in the eyes instead of at my chest, women too. I was more self-confident and most importantly, happier. I wore shirts with buttons. I took off my bra and looked at myself naked in the mirror, hands at my sides. I was no longer consumed with what I could not hide, but instead with what I wanted to reveal.
The times cannot be censored. It is what's on the inside that counts but it isn't so simple. Not today and perhaps not ever. Sometimes, blinded by the exterior we cannot look within. And for me I had no choice but to change it.
I have had plastic surgery. I have had a part of my body, my womanhood removed, taken away. I paid a doctor to make me feel more beautiful and in many ways it set me free.