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I have never liked wearing bras. Even as a young woman, I found them uncomfortable and difficult. All that was available when I was young was traditional bras with back closures. They were almost all padded to some extent … and pointy. Not at all natural looking.
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As the years went by, I could never find one to fit me properly. Not even at outlets that claimed they had a bra to fit every body.
I paid a lot for various bras over the years. But I never went to the extreme of having them custom made for me. I did, however, once get fitted for a bra. I was in my late 20s and an older woman went into the dressing room with me. She took all sorts of measurements and then came back with a bra that was supposed to be perfect for me. It wasn’t too bad for the first hour or so.
There was a time when I was just dying to have a bra. I was 12 years old and in the seventh grade. The junior high school that I attended was an established one with a gym, locker rooms and showers (eighth grade the school was new and had none of that). We were expected to dress for physical education and to take showers afterward.
I was still flat as a pancake, but I wanted a bra. Mom was still providing me with the undershirts I’d been wearing for what seemed like all of my life. They were cute little cotton T-shirt knit things. Some had wide straps. Some had spaghetti straps. They all had dainty little bows or rosebuds or bows and rosebuds on the front.
Every other girl in my gym class wore a bra. Yes, some didn’t really need them any more than I did, but they wore them anyway. They were called “starter bras.” I desperately wanted one.
Eventually, Mom caved and got me one and I wore it proudly. That was pretty much the last time I was pleased with a bra.
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Fast forward quite a few years and we had the advent of the sport bra. They were mostly all compression-style in the beginning and I thought maybe here was the solution to my problem with wearing bras. I dove right into the trend.
I never did develop much in the way of breasts. So it didn’t really matter to me that the sport bras made me look even flatter. The important thing was that they were way more comfortable than traditional bras. I thought they were great. They kept my breasts from jiggling around when I ran or jogged. And they kept them from sagging.
But they don’t generally have closures so they are difficult to get into and out of.
Fast forward some more to a little more than a year and a half ago. I had a doctor-prescribed medication damage my joints. Pretty much all of them. Some worse than others. My neck and shoulders were especially hard hit.
I couldn’t get into my sport bras. Not a one of them. It was too painful and my shoulders and arms wouldn’t move in such a way as to let me even if I could stand the pain.
Which brings me to yesterday. I was getting a fresh pair of panties out of my lingerie drawer and glanced at all the sport bras neatly folded and lying dormant there. I thought I’d give it a try.
I selected the one I remembered as being the most comfortable and with some difficulty and a little pain, I managed to get into it. It was a celebration of sorts. It meant I was coming along in my healing. A couple of months ago it was still a no-go.
I took it off again, another bit of painful contortion, and had my bath. I decided I would wear the thing the next day. That would be today.
I’ve been wearing undershirts for over a year and a half now. They are not like those my mother bought for me, but they serve the same purpose. And, honestly, they are very comfortable and have never given me any trouble of any sort. I bought a bunch that allows me to pull them on over my hips which saved me a lot of pain for some time.
So I put on the sport bra this morning. I had it on for a little over two and a half hours and I got undressed and took it off again.
I realized it was messing with my posture. I had an ache starting in my upper back and neck. That ache quickly became a very nasty headache.
I am feeling much better now.
During the winter, it’s not much of a problem to not wear a bra. I wear multiple layers and they are usually a bit loose and bulky. During the warmer months, I have to contend with my expectations about my appearance.
My breasts are not large and I’ve never nursed a baby, but I’m old and they are not where they used to be. I don’t really like how they look in a T-shirt. So all last late spring, summer and early fall, I wore a vest of some sort when I had to go out in public. There were days when it was really a little too hot to do that comfortably, but I did it anyway.
I can do that this year too. But I have to wonder if it wouldn’t be healthier for me (mentally and physically) to dump the social conventions and not care what people might think of me and my old boobs.
I’ve seen other women who have done that. I don’t judge them. Others might. But I don’t. I understand.
Better yet, though, would be to change social conventions.
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