I Took Off my Bra and Found my Freedom
Big breasts can be the center of the dreams of many girls going through puberty. Wonders of how their feminine prowess will sprout out of their rib-cages signifying the ripeness of their womanhood. I was no different. Staring down at my pointy nipples laying flatly on my flesh and bones at age 14, wondering when they would fill up.
I grew fed up with their delay, and so, deception slithered its way into my courtship. My pea-sized nipples became sheltered in push-up bras two sizes too big, hoping no one noticed the emptiness that lied beneath my clothes. Absent of the muscle, tissue, nerves, and milk that would blend to become a weighted burden; hunching my back and exclaiming signals I was not prepared to follow through.
Time since served its purpose and the empty flesh became filled with womanhood – rounded mounds spilling succulently out of my palms. A smooth, soft, and sensitive feeling of distorted comfort I had to explore. What I had once longed for became mine; until it no longer was.
Piercing stares from strangers sent panic through my spine as I walked – they must be looking at them. It became a love and hate relationship. I loved the “perky tits” compliments from friends regarding my mounds which probably was only that way due to my intense workouts from Track & Field, but I didn’t care. I was finally initiated into the club of girls with something more than personality to look at, and so I reveled in the thought that my delayed fruit had blossomed desirably; and dare I say it, enviably. Push-up bras were still a friend as I used them to take my mounds to new heights – I had to wait for them to sprout, so it had to be seen now that they finally did. But then I got tired.
The bras clamped tightly to my back, leaving traces of its architectural relevance to my body on my skin. I began looking forward to the end of the day when I could relieve my mounds from the prison I had subjected them to since before their full existence. Every night as I took off my bra, my chest widened as my lungs welcomed new passageways of air made possible by my newly freed rib-cages. My back straightened, as my spine was no longer compressed in support of “fooling the ministers”, as my Liberian people say. I now reveled in a new feeling. One of release, of relief, and of reprieve. And so, the bras slowly lost their push, then lost their paddings until they got lost completely.
These days, it’s just me and my mounds roaming freely and unhinged of the burden and regulations dictated to us by the societies we inhabit on how we should be presented. It is my mother’s worst nightmare. “If you don’t wear bras your taytay (breasts) will sag ooh” – she says. “I wish they would sag more so they can look flatter.” I say. Although I only say that in protest, in it still lies some truth.
Both my breasts and I have come a long way from the empty sacks we once were longing to be filled with anything that could get us the attention we craved. Apart of being the tissue and milk-filled load of flesh they are, my breasts have grown to symbolize my sense of autonomy over my own body, and my overall sense of freedom. I only wore bras because of the lift they gave my breasts, and because I was told it was improper to not wear one. Yet, I say the presence or absence of a bra – like any other regulations formed to police womanhood – does not decide my ladyhood.