I know it’s not entirely true, but I feel like the hardest part is done: yesterday I went to see a plastic surgeon to talk about breast reduction surgery. I know that the surgery itself will be harder physically, but it took me years to work up the mental and emotional courage to make and keep this appointment.
I’d like to think that I have some nice things to say about my boobs, but it’s sort of hard to come up with anything right now. I am so over them. So, so over. They’ve been like this — unwieldy, heavy, jiggly, huge — for so long and I am just ready to be done with this nonsense.
Yesterday before my appointment I was trying to remember any sort of happy memory — was I anxious as a teenager to get boobs? Was I happy when I did? Not that I can recall. I must have been 13-14 when my mom first suggested that I should wear a bra and she was prepared with one — nothing fancy, white, a bit of lace. I fondly remember a white cotton bra with pink hearts on it that I was able to wear for about a month before it got too small. I kept that bra for a few years, thinking my body might change, or I would lose weight, but who are we kidding? That never happened.
Now that I can afford fancy, lacy, colorful things, I take full advantage, but I remember long, long years of beige-y nothingness when it came to bras, the endless frustration of finding the right fit, the soul-crushing humiliation of asking for my size and to be told “we don’t carry special sizes.” I don’t remember having a lot of self-confidence issues because of my size, or at least not more than the average teenager — but these shopping trips always crushed me. Nothing makes you feel like a freak faster than being told that you are a “special size.”
I know that men were — and are — fascinated by them, but I have to admit is also worked the other way: I had one boyfriend who was afraid to touch them because of their size. Was he afraid that they might explode? And sure, the boobs have brought me pleasure and attention — the welcome kind. I don’t deny that there are times when they make me feel sexy, not to mention that I can rock a low-cut shirt like it’s nobody’s business. But they failed spectacularly at breastfeeding — I know size does not dictate milk supply, but come on! They could have at least been good at that.
Lately all I can think about when I look in the mirror is pain. Some days I don’t even notice how much pain I am in — searing through my shoulders, my neck, my head — until I get into bed and find all of my muscles sore and in knots from carrying this load.
It is time.
Yesterday my surgeon was gentle and kind and reassuring. He talked to me while I was still dressed — I had to remember to unfold my arms and lower my shoulders as we talked so that he didn’t assume that I was ready to hide and/or attack him with my defensive pose. We talked for a long time before I had to change into a hospital gown. I sat high on an exam table and he sat in front of me on a low stool as he took measurements — carefully lifting and moving my breasts, as if they were fragile. I wasn’t sure where to look — the whole situation was so ridiculous. But I know it was necessary.
At the end of the exam he told me that this surgery will change my life. He wasn’t boasting — I know that he is right. I went to bed last night (in a bra), thinking about how nice it will be not to wear one at night, and how nice it will be to go sleeveless, or to shop for a non-special size, or to just not have to think about them.
I can’t wait.