by Robyn Jones – B.Sc. (Psych), Goonellabah, Australia
The first memory I have relating to my breasts is at 11 years old. I was in 6th grade (primary school) and liked the idea of wearing a bra. My breasts had not begun to grow yet but I was interested in wearing a bra anyway. So I wore a bra to school underneath my uniform. I don’t remember the finer details of this but I do remember feeling a little clandestine about it, like I shouldn’t be doing what I was doing.
At this time I remember fantasising about what type of breasts I would like – big ones, small ones, soft ones, hard ones, attention grabbing ones, perky ones, etc. etc.
My breasts began to develop at age 12 and I felt very sensitive about this.
I could feel that with my breast development there were other changes occurring too, such as starting my periods, and I knew this meant I was beginning my physical transformation into a woman.
But what did being a woman really mean? At this time I was unable to answer this question.
I remember when I was in year 7 (high school) I was feeling quite traumatised by having been indecently assaulted some months prior. My breasts had become incredibly painful and then I was hit in the breast by something (I can’t remember what, someone’s elbow, a ball maybe), and the pain was so great I almost passed out.
I went to the doctor and they diagnosed me with mastitis, which is usually an inflammation or infection of SOME of the breast tissue. In my case ALL of my breast tissue was inflamed, in BOTH breasts.
Well, that certainly explained the pain!
This eventually passed, but I have had many recurrences over my life, some just as painful and some not so painful. My breasts were talking to me but at this stage I was not prepared to understand what they were saying. This would come later.
As I continued through high school, growing breasts felt like it was a bit of a status symbol, especially when you were able to wear a bra and actually fill it up – not with TISSUES, but with ACTUAL BREASTS! It was a bit of a competition and I was never really good at this because my breasts were growing but they were small in size at this time. The novelty eventually wore off (but the scars of competition remained) and we moved onto other things, like boys.
Over the years I observed a lot about how females around me related to their breasts. Some females seemed scared of their breasts, others seemed to be preoccupied with them. I observed some females just seemed to ignore their breasts, like they weren’t even there. Some others used them like a piece of jewellery – an accessory as such – to gain attention or to complete an outfit. So I started to wonder how I was going to use my breasts… hmmm…
My breasts ended up being around a medium size and they could be described as ‘perky’ and ‘firm’, so there were many possibilities that were open to me as to how to USE them.
Through my 20s I used my breasts to get male attention, and also to show up the females who had smaller breasts than me. I also used my breasts to confirm my low self-esteem with women who had larger breasts than me.
I bought push-up bras and wore low-cut tops. I suffered through the pain associated with pushing your breasts into the centre of your chest to make them ‘stick’ out more. I endured the unwanted attention from guys I wasn’t interested in so I could gain the attention of the guys I was interested in. I even put up with being groped, wolf-whistled and leered at by men of all ages. Gross! What was I doing to myself and my breasts??
I had also found out that breasts were useful during sex. I could dress them up to look appealing. I could use them to excite my partner. They could also be used to excite me. So many different possibilities… WOW!
My breasts were also pretty handy in telling me when my periods were due as they usually became quite tender just before my period started. Thank you breasts, for the heads up!
Little did I know how amazing my breasts really were!! I would discover this in my 30s.
What have your experiences been like with the development of your breasts? Share in the comments below.
Original article published on the Women in Livingness website on July 12, 2013.