I entered puberty late, which was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because I’d been really small for my age for as long as I could remember, and this allowed me to add some much wanted and needed centimeters to my height. A blessing because my female development didn’t start until in most of my peers it was already almost completed. And therein exactly lay the curse too.
I was raised to become a woman, and I’d been consciously cultivating female behaviours, as difficult as that was for me. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to meet the expectations. I desperately wanted to be a real woman. And then, to my astonishment, my body just wasn’t cooperating. It fed my doubts about myself, my insecurities.
Why was I not sprouting boobs like all other girls my age? Why was I not getting any periods? What was wrong with me?
When the boobs finally came, I felt more awkward about my body than ever before. I wanted those things, but at the same time I hated them. And when people noticed I was – at long last – becoming a woman, I just wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.
It was the beginning of a lifelong love-hate relationship with The Boobs. They were there, but refused to grow into the real things. I never found a bra small enough to properly fit me – except during my pregnancies and the first months of nursing. They always shrunk back to their previous size. Size zero.
That’s not exactly great, when you’re trying so hard to be a woman. A pair of good boobs would really have helped create the image.
But that was not all. It wasn’t even the most important part of it. The things just felt – dare I say it? – kind of alien to me. Small though they were, the were always in my way. They still are.
The only times I was really happy to have boobs, were the years that I was nursing my babies. This was what those things were for: to feed the children I brought into this world. To allow me to be their everything for just a little while longer. But even then, I felt awkward when others accidentally caught a glimpse of my boobs while my baby was nursing.
I think, by now, I made an uneasy peace with my female assets. Thankfully, they are small and easy to hide. If I don’t want to wear a binder, I don’t have to, and no-one will notice. And that’s a good thing.