I’ve had a love/adore relationship with bras and my tah-tah’s all my life.
You see, I was the girl in class with no boobs even in Matric. I was the one who stuffed her gym socks into the AAA size bra she had begged her mother to buy at Woolies. I was the girl who, at 17, still hadn’t gone far beyond the budding stage.
“Surfboard! Ironing board!”
Once I left high school and went on to college, I found it didn’t bother me as much. It was great being streamlined and meant I could try out for the volleyball team, the swim team and so on.
That I was rail thin was probably a bonus too. Helped with the wind resistance. Haha!
Boob injuries weren’t so much of an issue. I could only stare when the better endowed girls needed ice packs because they’d taken a spike in the chest!
It was only with my pregnancy that I discovered how much I’d missed!
In 6 months I went from a small B cup to a respectable C. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t stop feeling them. They were round, firm and full! I’d start a conversation with someone, catch a glimpse of them in the window and break off just to stare at the wonder that were my mammaries.
Clothes looked different. They looked …better. Alot of my things had to be tossed or donated because suddenly they didn’t fit!
It was AWESOME! Suddenly I had bras: padded bras, spotted bras, bras with funny strappy things, lace bras, rude bras, colourful bras, and so many more. My underwear drawer bulged!
Unfortunately, this boob induced nirvana didn’t last.
I gave birth and they deflated like birthday balloons in the sun.
G’s feeding turned them into devices of torture as I developed mastitis. She also had the unfortunate habit of gumming them.
ARRGHHHHHH! No worse pain exists.
Slowly my fascination with my “girls” faded.
Those faboo bras irritated my sensitive skin. Pink and purple polka dots didn’t look good peeking out of a professional blouse when the time came for me to return to work. My boobies were saggy, leaked and swayed. I couldn’t get comfortable at night. I couldn’t go for a run on the treadmill without them giving me a concussion.
I had to get sports bras! The worst torture ever is strapping your tah – tah’s to your chest in what feels like a strait jacket! Absolute madness.
The next time I went to La Senza I bought every T-shirt bra in white, black and nude. No lace, no ribbons, no fancy ties. Just plain, comfortable and utilitarian. I bought underwired everything because the girls were looking a bit tired and needed “scaffolding”.
The thing about underwire that no one tells you though, is that they hurt like hell! When that underwire pops through the fabric and pokes into your soft side boob?
One day I had had enough.
I threw every underwired bra I had into the garbage. I headed to the shops once more and bought three bras without any underwire but with lovely baby soft lace finishes.
Thing is, they don’t do much but let your boobs hang out in nice cotton and lace fabric.
No support, no upliftment and no cleavage boosting bragging rights. The bras literally made sure you couldn’t see my nipples. That is all.
Last month I decided to leave the bra off and see how it felt.
It was partly a feminist statement ( I wish I could walk bare chested just like men do at the beach), but it was also a health concern.
About four months ago I developed a bump just under my right armpit, roughly the same area where the underwire from my bra kept poking, no matter how well fitted my Marks and Sparks bras were.
I went to the doctor and she said it wasn’t anything to worry about, just a reaction to the underwire bra. I freaked out, nonetheless. I’d lost an aunt to breast cancer and am therefore fastidious about breast care.
The best line of defense was to gain as much knowledge as I could about the effects of bras on breasts and breast tissue.
I didn’t really care that the science was inconclusive.
Going bra-less for a month was liberating. I get that I am one of the lucky few and that women with bigger cup sizes need the support in terms of back pain and so on. I’m not saying they should do what I did.
But I am saying I may never go back! I’ll keep the bras for days when I want to wear more see through clothes or maybe I’ll just go back to the shops and buy some vests with built in support!
A few things I noticed that have changed in the month since I’ve gone bra free:
- My posture has improved. In an effort to keep my boobs off my lap ( haha!) I’m sitting and standing taller.
- The darkened patches under my arms where the bra caused considerable chafing and irritation, has lightened.
- My boobs feel higher and firmer than before. It may be that the muscles are supporting themselves as nature intended, I don’t know.
- I feel sexier, more risque. I even had a full on photoshoot for this blog sans boulder holder. You’re gonna go back and look aren’t you?
So, whether or not you can go bra-less for a month is besides the point, all I’m advocating for here is a bit of freedom from the restraint we willingly strap on everyday. A day or two per week can’t hurt, can it?
Let me know how it goes in the comments below.
Until next I blog,