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I remember the first time someone mentioned my boobs to me. My mom looked at me and said, “honey, you can’t get away with not wearing a bra anymore”. I was in the fourth grade and I didn’t understand. None of my friends had even mentioned bras. Sure enough, when I looked around and looked down at my chest I could see that my boobs were already way bigger than everybody else’s. So I went to the store with my mom and skipped right through the training bra phase into the world of real bras with padding and underwire. Wearing a bra in elementary school was uncomfortable and inconvenient. My straps were constantly falling down because I had no idea how to tighten them. As I’d pull them up, boys would point and laugh. At the time, I just wanted to look like all of the other girls in my grade.

By the time I got to eighth grade I was a 36C. People, mostly boys, started to comment on my boobs like I gave them an invitation to do so. I began retreating in my shell, wanting to hide and keep attention away from myself. Having big boobs made everything harder, from shopping to running to in gym class. I started to retreat from the friendly, outgoing person I was and became almost mute during school. I would barely talk in class and would get extreme anxiety whenever I had to say “here” during attendance. I was so uncomfortable with my body just like everybody is when they’re going through puberty. 

My extreme dislike for my boobs continued until my sophomore year of high school, when I got dress-coded for a floral maxi-dress that was slightly low cut, but nothing scandalous or inappropriate for school. At the time I was a 36DDD. I got called into the principal’s office and was humiliated. She suggested that I should have known why I was there and that I didn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea about me. I waited for my mom to drop off a second dress, missing class in the process. While I waited I ranted on Twitter, not really expecting anything to come of it. By the end of the day my tweets had over a hundred likes and retweets. I felt so supported by my classmates as they shared their own experiences with body shaming dress codes at my high school. Once more people started tweeting, the pattern was clear: girls with larger boobs were frequently targeted while girls with smaller boobs could wear the same things without fear of punishment. I made a promise to myself that day that I would try my best to embrace my big boobs and love them because they were a part of me. Having other young women support me and build me up did wonders for my confidence and self-love journey.

Learning to love my boobs has not been an easy process. There was a time when I went too far to the other extreme and placed too much value in them, thinking that the only interesting thing about me was my boobs. I thought no boy would like me if it wasn’t for my chest. I am at a much better place now where I realize that my boobs are special and wonderful but I also am not only boobs. I also had to come to terms with the fact that although I love my boobs, it is in my best interest for me to get a breast reduction because they literally will. Not. Stop. Growing. (I’m well past an F now). This decision does not mean I love my boobs any less, it is simply the best decision for me to avoid back and shoulder pain. It’s important to remember that the road to self-love isn’t linear. There are days where I want to scream and chop my boobs off myself because I can’t find a decent bikini top to hold them, but there are many more days where I look in the mirror and appreciate how damn good they look. Loving your body takes work but once you get there it is well worth the journey.

Skylah is a senior Political Science major at the University of Tampa. She is double minoring in Criminology and Law, Justice, and Advocacy. Skylah is looking into going into law or politics after graduation. She's obsessed with all things makeup and skincare, iced coffee, and music.
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