"Never apologize for being authentically you. I know it’s tough, but you are one of a kind and there’s beauty in every small imperfection."
My mind suddenly flashes back to being 11 and standing in a department store with my mom sorting through training bras....my face was hot and warm as embarrassment washed over me.
Our relationship has been quite a roller coaster over the years. More often then I’d like to admit, I wished I could wave a magic wand and change your appearance. We had those cliche movie moments in teen dramas, ya know....when the group of girl friends would stuff their bras in the mirror and strut around proudly. We also had moments full of angst where I wished you were smaller because of the gross feelings I would get when I realized attention wasn’t on me, but you. I wanted to hide you away because I hated feeling eyes on me as I walked down the street from men that were old enough to be my father.
One of those defining moments of our relationship came when I was in high school. We still had our struggles because majority of my friends were skinny with small breasts and I was always the curvy girl with a little pudge and full breasts. I wanted to feel dainty and instead I felt awkward. The shift came one day when I was walking through the hall and was told by an administrator that my shirt was not “dress code.” I was very confused due to the fact I was only wearing a white v-neck shirt. I squinted my eyes and bit back sharply “how”? I wasn’t given an explanation. The dean of girls agreed and told me I had to change or go home. I was forced to go to the nurses office and change into a XL gym shirt to wear for the rest of the day. My insides bubbled up with anger, realizing that the awkwardness and embarrassment I felt mostly came from others backwards sense of entitlement over MY body. From that point, I decided that I was going to celebrate my natural breasts. I wasn’t going to hide myself away to make others feel more comfortable. I wasn’t going to be scared to wear certain outfits because magazines said it wasn’t flattering for girls with bigger breasts. I certainly wasn’t going to allow the obnoxious stares give me anxiety any longer. I was no longer going to allow anything to come between how I viewed myself. I purposefully wore another v-neck shirt the next day and again, got sent to the dean’s office. I refused to change and ultimately got suspended for a day, but instead of anger or embarrassment....I felt proud. I felt proud for standing up for myself and my body.
I am now 25 and I’m thankful everyday for the beautiful relationship that has blossomed (sorry it took me quite awhile). I love laying around the house without a bra because let’s be real, what girl is actually comfortable wearing one!? I love the moment of coming home from a long day and the freeing feeling of unclasping my bra. I love that one breast sits a little higher than the other- they’re sisters, not clones. I feel powerful when I go bra-less in outfits
and laugh to myself a little at how some people are still shocked when I reply no to “are you wearing a bra?” I felt sexy when I got my nipples pierced for ME.
There’s power in the human body, power in the fact our bodies can endure time and time again with the sole purpose of keeping our spirit safe until the next journey. I find comfort in the way my breasts rise and fall naturally with each breath, it reminds me that I’m still here....I’m still going even in crazy times.
Every day, I feel more at home and comfortable in my own skin. I’ve taken ownership over my own body, the curve of my breasts....it all reminds me how glorious being a woman is and there is no shame in your natural body. I love my breasts and the rest of my body wholeheartedly.
To the lovely young girls and women reading this,
Never apologize for being authentically you. I know it’s tough, but you are one of a kind and there’s beauty in every small imperfection. Your body loves you enough to fight to keep you going every day, be kind to it. You’re a powerhouse and I’m so proud of you. You’re beautiful exactly how you are, please don’t change for anyone.
To see more oof Chanelle follow her on @nellehicks
Some more beautiful pics of Chenelle below