The Breast Is Yet to Come
I recently received the happiest news of my life.
The breast reduction surgery that I have been trying to make happen since I was 16 was approved. In less than 2 weeks, I will be going in for the procedure and coming out someone completely new.
I have so many thoughts going through my head at the moment. And yet, I don't exactly know how to begin to write about it. Of course, I'm thinking things like what if it doesn't go well? What if I spend a year growing into my new body and I don't like it? What if every shirt I own has to be tossed out because it fits me like a parachute, only to be replaced by new things that feel foreign to me and my skin? What if I wake up during surgery? (I've seen that show and it really freaks me out.) What if someone hugs me too soon after and I feel like curling up in the fetal position because a hug is too painful?
What if, what if, what if. I think all of these thoughts are normal, healthy even. A large part of my body will be undergoing a transformation, and I don't exactly know the best way to plan for it other than educating myself on the side effects and learning to practice great self-care.
I'm sorry, but since when did something that has been deemed medically necessary for my health become your consolation prize?
I think there is such a big misconception about women and breasts in society. As much as I want to break that cycle and throw all the preconceived notions out the window, I simply cannot because I don't have the ability. Our society has grown far too comfortable with sexualizing women based on how big their breasts are, how shapely their butts are, the fullness of their lips and how well they can walk in high heels and apply their makeup.
I am so proud to say that I am reducing the size of my chest and have never felt like more of a woman in my entire life. To all the women out there, I hope you know: the only thing that will always be too small is the size of everyone else's perception of what your body should look like. And to those people I say, kindly fuck off. I am just not here for that.
It has been an interesting process, telling others that I'm having this surgery done. I have mostly been met with positivity and uplifting and encouraging words. There have been a few unfortunate "You're getting rid of them? Wow what a problem to have, you should definitely share some with me in that case." I'm sorry, but since when did something that has been deemed medically necessary for my health become your consolation prize? That would be like me finding out I can't have a baby and having the audacity to ask pregnant women I meet if they wouldn't mind maybe giving me their baby after they have it.
Bodies are such a gift, and the choices we make with them aren't always comfortable or easy. But they are deeply personal. And who else knows a body more than the person living in it and carrying it around every single day?
The next year is going to be hard. I am going to have to relearn my body, much like a newborn baby learning motor skills and figuring out how to operate within the world as I change. There are going to be days when I look in the mirror and not feel like the same person I was a few days prior. And there is going to be a time when I read back to this essay and not even remember what it felt like to be the woman I am right now, sitting here writing this.
But mostly there are going to be days when I look at the new scars on my body as battle wounds for a battle I was always fighting. And I am going to feel like the total badass that I know I am for advocating for my body, my health and my life.
Bodies are such a gift, and the choices we make with them aren't always comfortable or easy. But they are deeply personal.
I'm lucky to have such an amazing support system of friends, family and a significant other who are just as excited as I am for this change. I am even luckier to finally have an insurance company that worked with me to distinguish the difference between necessary and cosmetic. This is something I know many other women and people are constantly fighting in order to advocate for their bodies and identities.
Being patient is not always my strongest quality, but ten years later I am on a journey that I knew I would someday be able to begin. I started my dialogue early, telling my parents how uncomfortable it was for me to wear bras. I told my PE teachers that having large boobs and big thighs that rubbed together were a lethal combination when I ran, thus was always going to make me the slowest runner on the track during class. And you better believe I told the first insurance company that turned me down for this surgery many years ago that they were wrong. Now I'm thinking of showing up to their company in a few months and pulling a Pretty Woman, flashing my new breasts to all of them and saying "Big mistake. Big. Huge."
I am looking forward to being able to run outside freely. To be able to sleep comfortably through the night, to wear clothes that are form-fitting and flattering and to feel more confident than ever before in my own skin. And though if I ever have a child I may not be able to breastfeed, it is just a small price to pay in order to move forward in my life.
To me, being a woman and a feminist are two of the greatest joys and honors I possess in life. Body positivity is just as important as brain and soul positivity. Although there is still so much progress to be made, I still believe in counting my own victories as success for all women as a whole. I see the light we are all capable of bringing to ourselves and to the world. I have been baptized in that light. Resurrected and never again the same.