words by Arielle Egozi (she/her)
I’ve spent the entirety of my post-pubescent life trying to hide them, ignore them, and pretend they don’t exist. This proves to be rather difficult when you have boobs as big as mine. If the temperature is above a cool 72 degrees, two rivers stream down my stomach so consistently they deserve their own coordinates. Online shopping has always been a fantasy, a cute bikini is a unicorn, a dress for any special occasion is a nightmare, and a bra that actually fits? If it exists, it just means my shoulders burn from the weight.
My boobs mean two to three sports bras for running, no exceptions — the laundry alone is reason enough for me to stop. There are yoga postures I can’t get, and others that would literally suffocate me if I tried. Any dreams of playing tennis into my 70s disappeared when I tried for a two-handed backhand. Growing up I thought it was my fault that the bright, feminine bras at Victoria’s Secret never fit me. The delicate lace would dig into my breast, fleshy fat spilling over the sides, the tops, the bottom. I didn’t feel feminine. I felt like a monster. What was wrong with my body, with me?
I’ve always had a dysphoric relationship to these large mounds of fat strapped to my chest. I would cry and my mom would always remind me how so many women pay a lot of money for breasts like mine. This connection only frustrated me more. Those women chose to have them. Plus, their big boobs didn’t need bras.
With breasts as large as mine, sure, people look at you, want to talk to you, try to touch you. You’ll get attention, but then you’ll get in trouble for the way your body is.
You’ll be shamed for dressing like a matron, then scolded for covering the shape of your curves. Don’t you want a boyfriend, a husband? You’ll be hissed at for dressing like a slut, when you wear a tank top in the summer heat like everyone else. Shouldn’t have gone off just existing in your body like that. It’ll always be your fault when you’re hurt, when someone doesn’t hear your “NO.” You know men, they just can’t help it. Lucky you, all this attention.
I was 10 when I walked up the basement steps and accidentally grazed my chest against the wall. I’d never felt such throbbing pain before; the area around my nipples was on fire. I’d spend the next two years changing in the bathroom stalls before P.E. because I was too embarrassed to ask my mom to buy me a bra.
I was 13 when all the girls made fun of me at sleep-away camp, stealing the very bras I’d mustered so much courage to finally own. By then I was already used to the whispers and the cutting comments from the girls back home. “I bet she goes home every day and just stares at herself in the mirror.” I stopped looking at myself in the mirror for 15 years after that. It’s still been a pattern-breaking practice for me to put on anything as much as lipstick.
I was 18 when the restaurant manager handed me a shirt two sizes too small and told me, “Lean over the table, just like this. That’s how to get your tips.” No comment on how well I’d memorized the menu, how friendly I was, or how fast I worked, implying that my value was my breast tissue. I ripped the shirt in the bathroom with my hands and told him it didn’t fit.
I was 21 when my PMS got so severe it turned into a new acronym — PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder) — and I stopped being able to walk down stairs, or walk anywhere, without holding my chest for one to two weeks a month. My boobs still swell so much sleeping hurts, and wearing a shirt feels like a combination of metal and broken glass grating against my skin.
I was 26 when I started seriously considering a breast reduction. Enough of the pain, the attention, the shame at every family event when I’ve worn something too baggy or too tight. I want to know what it’s like to put on clothes and feel good in them. I want to know what it’s like to wear a bra without burn marks, to go for a run and not have my skin bleed. I want to know what it’s like to connect to my sexuality, instead of cutting it off because the world had imposed it on me without asking ever since I was a kid.
I’m 29, almost 30, now. I never got the reduction. My cleavage has started to wrinkle. My boobs have spent years being so heavy they now sag. I now have a tiny red freckle like the ones my dad used to get on his neck, only mine’s on my left breast. I’ve always wanted to change them, get rid of them, not deal with them. But these fat deposits are my body. I cup them in my hands when I’m stressed and they calm me down. I love looking at them naked in the mirror when I’m alone (now that I’m no longer afraid of mirrors). This is my body, and I never had a problem with her. The world is the one that always had something to say.
Two weeks ago, I started exploring cam work. For the first time in my life, I am discovering what it is to present myself and my breasts sexually — to me, and to an audience. For the first time in my life, I feel incredibly empowered in my relationship with my body to the world.
For the first time in my life, this sexualization is completely on my terms.
Navigating a new industry and a new perspective is extremely overwhelming, especially because an industry that is so stigmatized. There are many new and very valid fears I’ve never had to consider before. It’s scary and it’s really hard, but my self-worth has never been higher. My boundaries have never been clearer, and I’ve never felt like there was such an obvious path for me to help others (more on that another time). I am still continuing my career outside of cam work, even while I clearly understand how this puts it all in jeopardy, but I also know that this journey has confronted me with the power of my body and my capacity to see all of my dimensions. It’s allowed me the space to recognize that my breasts are welcome on my body. They are integrated into my being — they have shaped and molded my experience of being in my skin — and I love who I am. I can only be grateful.
Before you go wishing on a star for big tits, remember — you’ll be the one who has to carry all the weight.