All that sucks!
That said, there has been a new development that has made this reality a little less . . . painless.
Allow me to explain:
When I lost 60 pounds, there was no greater feeling than NOT feeling my midsection. The same midsection that would torture me like an uninvited fruit roll-up under my t-shirt. Additionally, being able to cross my toned legs, not being smacked in the face by my under-arm flappers when holding the overhead bar on a crowded N train, and joyfully skipping towards the Banana Republic dressing room to try on some size 4s, were all just amazing things.
However, I was NOT prepared for the discovery that would become apparent on that fateful June summer morning. I'll never forget it. It was mid 2009, and I was all pumped and happy for completing yet another successful a.m. Muay Thai session with my trainer. I arrived home from the gym and had about an hour to prepare for work, so I quickly jumped in the shower, did some early morning sing-a-long to Britney Spears, "Three", because, you know, that's what you do, and sprinted to my bedroom. I decided on an outfit for the day and proceeded to get dressed as usual.
It was at that moment that I realized something was wrong. I wasn't feeling very . . . um, supported.
"Hmm. Maybe this bra grew in the washer."
Yes, that thought entered my brain. My college-educated brain.
I quickly tried on another bra.
Same thing. In fact, I remember feeling very, somewhat . . . breezy.
It was as if I was bamboozled. Not only because I didn't expect I'd be losing boobage, but less than a month before I had invested in some new support in a pricey bra place on the Upper East side.
Clearly this was a joke.
Of course, by nature, especially when it comes to my self-image, I tend to focus on the negative. All the other parts of the weight loss, all the aforementioned above, were quickly forgotten when I realized that my breasts were changing. It goes deeper than the usual bra cup that I had so easily filled before. In 2008, when I was 200 pounds, my girls were a sizable part of my identity, a symbol of sexiness and femininity, in a world where I seldom felt attractive. Listen, I wasn't hideous, but I clearly was drowning in my weight, and I needed something to hold on to for dear life (really, no pun intended).
Fast-forward a year later and all that was changing. I had lost the weight and I was finally embracing my health and newfound confidence in my body. And the one feature that I had been hiding behind was slowly deflating (honestly, ignore the pun).
It was an intense moment. And something I would struggle with for some time. I was beyond proud of myself for being svelte, healthy, and present. Living in a world where I felt beautiful, a world I could never imagine. But there was a slight sadness, as I could no longer hide behind my loyal buddies.
Fast forward, yet again, to the last 6 months. This weight gain has been a smack to the ego. I haven't gained back all the 60, but enough to begin to panic.
However, I was once again bamboozled when, during a recent morning, as I prepared for work, I felt a little . . . um, stifled.
After taking a peak in the mirror I realized that . . . well, they were rather present, more present than usual, and it was all too familiar. The girls were sort of... back, in full bloom (I had flashbacks of being a 17 year old late bloomer when, in a dressing room in Mandee's, I realized that I was no longer a little girl).
I wasn't immediately thrilled. I mean, it was another reminder that the weight gain was very real. That I couldn't blame the scale or the washer for shrinking my clothes (my college-educated brain finally figured that out). There was no way to blame other factors, like the environment, water, air, the City, the Media, Al-Qaeda, etc. My weight gain was happening, and my choices were making it very concrete.
That said, I started to feel mildly happy. It was a nice moment, like seeing an old friend, one that did you good in the past. Also, my confidence began a happy dance, which is always nice.
I made my way to work that day with an extra skip in my step. It had been a long time since I liked what I saw in the mirror, so I was on cloud nine. But, throughout the day, I also got to thinking how much emphasis I was putting on this one characteristic, and how maybe I was defining myself on something really superficial. And then, I thought of my momma.
Allow me to explain:
It goes without saying that I got my figure from my mother, a beautiful Liz Taylor replica. Always gorgeous, elegant, and, quite frankly, a knockout! She carried her appearance with grace, and, also, always took care of her health.
Sadly though, in 2007, she had come face to face with a life changing reality and, from that, made a powerful decision. My mother gave up her breasts for the opportunity to live. Cancer tried to take her by taking them. Her response to Cancer, " Fuck off. You can have them. Me? Think again." And, with that, Cancer fled, but not without taking her breasts and some of her right lymph nods.
Almost six years later, and she is healthy and still the most beautiful, most feminine woman I know, and will ever know. Those who have met her would agree with me, 100%.
Momma is also incredibly wise. She showed me that, as women, your breasts don't define you. More specifically, they do not define what a real woman is. When cancer confronted her, my mom taught me what it meant to be a real woman. A real woman will put her worth first. A real woman is brave. A real woman is defined by her courage, dignity, and selfless yet steadfast decisions.
Which brings me to a lesson that is presently unraveling: a real woman will realize how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so that the likes of Cancer, Heart Disease, and High Blood pressure never make an appearance. The journey must continue, no matter how long it takes, no matter how life's circumstances may throw a wrench in things.
A real woman will never ever give up.
Since my reacquainting with my breasts that morning some weeks ago, I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am. Sure, it's great to be curvy. No doubt about that. But it's even better that I have my legs to run on the elliptical, my arms to do intense kettle ball exercises, my torso to hold proper form for squats and ab work, and my brain to make smart choices on diet and activity.
And, unfortunately, I am NOT maximizing or taking advantage of any of these wonderful features that make up who I am.
Clearly, I am behaving like a moron. Being proud of your boobs, no matter the size, is a given, a necessity. Behaving like one, though, it's out of the question.
Dedicated to my beautiful mommy. Her lessons are great and everlasting, no matter where my journey takes me. I love you, momma <3