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“This is such a painful subject. My first bra. I can’t even talk about my first bra…The breasts, the bra, the divide.”
Love, Loss, and What I Wore- an off-Broadway play by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the bestselling book by Ilene Beckerman.

Bras, brassieres, lingerie, underthings, undergarments, undies, feminine products, shapewear, over-the-shoulder boulder-holders. No matter what you call it, this particular garment pushed me to experience of the most horrific periods in my fifteen years of life so far.

It all started in the sixth grade in the leap year, the Chinese year of the Rat (AKA, my year), the year I turned eleven years old, and the year I started middle school. It was the beginning of times and the end of times. I had started a new school across the street where I had recently attended my elementary school. I had finished my term at P.S.255 and was finished with my existence as a fully innocent kid. This was the year I started to develop. Isn’t it interesting how I used that verb in describing an experience that will live forever in my mind in infamy (yes, I repeated it to describe how much I hated this time.) Using the word “develop” brings up images of flowers growing or the construction of one of the many silver skyscrapers in my urban jungle. Gone were the days when I could walk around in a t-shirt without a bra on when Mother Nature decided to make me a “woman”. My mom and my sister advised me to start wearing a training bra in the beginning. I had refused only being able to see the point in something that didn’t make my breasts become bigger or smaller. Then I started hearing the comments. I had passing remarks from female classmates making a few points about my “points”. Even my vice-principle had taken me aside in the stark white school cafeteria where she whispered in my ear words I cannot remember, but whose meaning I do: start wearing a bra. In this year I began wearing sweaters and jackets, even when it was 80 degrees outside. I hunched over and developed (oh, there’s that word again) a minor pain in my back. Using a somewhat cheesy analogy, in my roller-costar of insecurity, which I’m sure that everyone in the world has no matter who they might be, I had reached one of my peaks. You may assume that I am a sane person* and ask why I did this. The truth is that I was afraid. I didn’t like the fact that I was changing and that what was happening to me was done without my permission. I didn’t like the fact these normal parts of my life: a flat body, my position as a student in elementary school; were disappearing. I was never one of those girls who wanted boobs. To me going through this rite of passage was more of a mandatory evil than a “young woman’s blossoming journey into womanhood”. One of the most embarrassing parts in this time was around my birthday and I was looking through some of my presents*, when I found to my horror a training bra! It was a perfect combination of shock and embarrassment I lifted the light blue lace monstrosity of an undergarment. I thought boobs was either going to lead me into hiding for the rest of my adolescence or make me look like Quasimodo. But as time moved so did I. I started wearing a bra in the seventh grade to avoid hurting my espalda anymore and from there it became easier, more or less. Since then I wore a bra all the time, except the times when one shouldn’t, i.e. when slumbering, showering, etc. I felt uncomfortable walking around without one, even at home, that ironically my sister tried to persuade to stop wearing one so much. Now, still feeling apprehensive about my breasts in varying degrees, I can proudly write that I feel comfortable with my body and can walk with a straight spine. So to those who are reading and thinking,
“When is this girl going to stop?”

I have one thing left to say on this topic. To those out there who are going through what my eleven year old self had gone through or what my fifteenth year old self is going through now, ease up. Mammary glands or not you’re still yourself and you will adjust.

*To those who do know me shut up.
*Don’t worry; I will always thank the patrons who give me these gifts





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