A few months ago I started seeing a nutritionist because I had some friends who had really powerful stories about how she changed their life. That’s not really what this post is about. My nutritionist encouraged me to stop wearing an underwire bra because they have been related to certain health risks. Since I’m married to the man that I am, I can’t just accept a claim without research. So I did some research and couldn’t really find an answer that fully supported either argument. This post isn’t about that either.
Rather this is about the first time I left the house without a bra and how I felt like I was participating in some sort of licentious behavior. I texted one my friends:
Going bra-less today and I feel like such a rebel. And not approved of by “conservative circles.” It’s weird. I’m embarrassed by my overt sexuality–like my unconformed breasts are scandalous and more sexual. What is wrong with society?!?!?
Pride and hatefulness, that’s what. Jesus was friends with lots of women and none of them wore bras!
It’s pretty awesome how quickly that puts everything into perspective.
I haven’t worn a traditional bra for months. At first it was really weird and I noticed it all the time. It felt uncomfortable having skin touch skin in an area where I’d never experienced it before. I felt bouncy in a way that felt naughty. But the more comfortable I’ve gotten with it, the less aware I am of it. And I don’t think anyone but me has really noticed.
And for me, one result of this bralessness is that I have been able to embrace a part of my body that used to bother me. They’re just breasts. They are tissues of fat that are created as a means of feeding another human being before that human can get food for themselves. They are not sexual in and of themselves. They just exist–like my elbow or my shoulder. Sure, I can make them sexual and draw attention to them and put them on display. But in and of themselves they are not more or less than any other part of my body.
I have found a freedom to just exist. I am more gracious to the softer parts of my body because I’m not ashamed by a part that has been with me since I was thirteen years old. I have accepted the whole of me as I am and not as I think I should be. This is me–I am playful, flirtatious, funny, and sexual only when I want to be–not because a part of my body somehow claims that just by existing. I am able to better love my friends and their unique and differently shaped bodies. I see beauty in them because their bodies are wondrous things. Some remind me of mother earth, soft in all the best places. Some remind me of warriors as they champion for others and fight battles that most of us are oblivious to. Some are dryads and earthy and bring peace where they walk. All are beautiful in very non-traditional ways. Their bodies are strong and healthy.
My body just is. It exists the way that God created it. It is strong and soft and a cacophony of hills and valleys. It is not tempting or seducing anyone. And it doesn’t have to answer to anyone. I can love it for what it is and what it has done.