Let’s be clear-- I didn’t start wearing a bra because I needed it, but rather, because all the fifth grade girls called me disgusting for not wearing one.
My first bra was a training bra, and I wore it 24/7, for fear that I’d once again be caught in a vulnerable, naked state. But what exactly was I training for?
I realized this training was not to shape my body but my mind. I had been molded to fit into a world where a woman’s chest was the ultimate sign of indecency.
This made me wonder: could the very thing meant to hold me up actually be holding me back? Was this means of support also a means of restraint?
So I took the bra off for awhile in hopes of finding the sense of freedom I longed for, but I didn’t. I was just as self-conscious and awkward without it, because my problem wasn’t a garment -- it was self-image. Not wearing a bra didn’t make me a feminist, and wearing one didn’t make me a conformist.
It turns out, it’ll take a lot more than two layers of padding to become comfortable with who I am -- and I’m still working on it.