Becoming a Feminist

I don’t know when I started to consider myself a feminist; it seemed like it just happened out of blue. Maybe it was when the boys in my class started to notice my chest. When none of the other girls seemed to have one quite like mine, and everyone seemed to notice. When I couldn’t get through a single day without my chest being poked and prodded. When they would “accidentally” brush their hands across my chest and go back to laugh with the guys. When my boobs replaced who I was, because no one seemed to bother to get to know the girl they were attached to.

Maybe it was when I felt like I had a chance to get the guy I really liked for the first time. When we stayed up texting into late hours of the night and did a flirty dance around each other when we passed in the halls at school. When after months of feeling smitten, he told me he didn’t want a relationship and I felt my heart break for the first time. When the next thing he said was “We can have sex tho,” and I realized that he never saw me as anything more than a body.

Maybe it was when I asked my lifetime friend to the junior prom. When he got a girlfriend two weeks before, but I didn’t mind because we were friends and nothing more. But I guess everyone else did, because as I sat in the chair, getting my hair pinned up, the hairstylist told me I was “the talk of the day,” because how dare a take a boy with a girlfriend to prom.

Maybe it was during my first month of college, when a guy told me he liked me, and I was foolish enough to believe he wanted to date me. We started “hanging out,” and he kissed me for the first time. But he wanted more, and I wanted to stop, so when he asked, I said no. Then he dropped me like yesterday’s trash, because he just wanted to know how far I’d let him go.

Maybe it was when I went out for a walk in the dark. When there were three of us girls, so it didn’t seem unsafe. But we were no match for the two cars that circled us again and again. When we tried to laugh it off, but none of us could ignore the feeling of dread that wouldn’t go away, as they drove by over and over.  When our fear overcame us, and we ran to hide in a yard covered by shadow, as they slowed down and shown their lights, trying to catch a glimpse of us. When as soon as they were far enough away, we ran home, glancing over our shoulders at every sound.

Maybe it was when I sat at a table in school, trying to read book before a workout. When the four football players at the next table started talking about my body until I became so uncomfortable, I got up to leave. But it didn’t stop there, because they saw it as an invitation to follow me. I walked all the way down the hall with them at my heels, saying things like “Look at that ass playing hard to get,” and trying to decide which one could have me. When I walked out the door, thinking they’d stop, but found myself being followed out to the parking lot. When I found myself cornered at my car, all four of them surrounding me and knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop them if they decided to hurt me. When I clenched my teeth and smiled real pretty, hoping they would just leave me alone if I played nice. When I reported this to the coach, hoping something would be done, but all I got was the rest of the team’s attention. When I spent a whole year having players harassing me whenever they saw me in the halls, to the point of just seeing one sent me into a panic.

When that same night they followed me out, I went to the one person who made me feel safe. He held me in his arms and made me feel better until he started to push and I didn’t want to, but maybe I owed him that much. So, I took off my clothes but then changed my mind and I told him I didn’t want to. When he got angry and shoved me to the floor, and I sat there in silence, as he threw my clothes and turned to the wall. When I ran out of the room out to my car, sat inside and cried until my knees didn’t sting anymore.

When I went back to the very same guy because I felt like I wasn’t worth anything better, and he numbed the pain for just a little while. But it kept getting worse instead of better, until I had to stop before he destroyed me. When nothing seemed to work, and I just wanted it to stop, so I filed a paper that said he couldn’t talk to me. When I finally felt safe, but it cost me some friends. When my motives were questioned so many times, my head started to spin and nothing made sense and I couldn’t remember why I thought it was the right thing.

Maybe it was when I went out to the bar, and I lost my friends because they were guys who just don’t understand. When I pushed through the crowd, just wanting to leave but I guess someone got the wrong idea. When a stranger grabbed me by the waist and pushed his face into my chest. When no one did anything, I had to force his hands away, but he just grabbed my wrist and told me to smile. When I fought back the panic and tears as I ran to my car, desperate to be home where I knew I was safe. When I woke up the next morning, with welts on my ribs from his fingers had dug in.

Maybe it was all those times boys yelled at me from their cars as I walked down the street. All the times men stood far too close when I was just trying to do my job at work. Maybe it was all the times I was told “That’s too heavy for you to lift,” or “You should smile more.” Maybe it was all the times men poked at me and stared me without my consent. Maybe it was when a man older than my dad was recording me on his phone at the bar when I was trying to dance. Maybe it was all the times I heard “She was asking for it,” “She shouldn’t dress like that,” and “What did she expect going out like that?” Or maybe, just maybe it was the second I was born into a world that has never stopped reminding me that I will never be worth as much as a man.

That’s why when I see it all over my newsfeed and on the T.V. When I see it from celebrities and girls I know. When I see it in a magazine or walking past in a march on a street. When I see the two words that cut me deep, I get tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart, I find there’s nothing left to do but whisper to myself, “Me too.”

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All I Could Have Missed

So often it happens that we become so consumed by our minds, we are unable to see past all the things we don’t want to deal with. If we could just give in and surrender, we wouldn’t have to worry about paying next month’s bills, fixing the broken stove, affording groceries for the week, finishing homework, going to work, dealing with loss, trying to find love, and a million other things we just want to escape from. If we could only just give up the fight, there are a million things we would never have to deal with again. These thoughts fill up our minds when we are at our lowest, when we are a breath away from letting go. So many of us have been here, that it’s hard to fathom someone who hasn’t. We have all been enticed by the sweet release of death.

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While it seems second nature to come up with the list of things you would be free from, I can’t help but think about all the things I would have missed if I had given in to my mind, and just let the world fall away. When the want was so desperate, I could hardly breathe. When all I wanted was for the world to stop. If only I had given in then, there would be so much I wouldn’t have to deal with now. But then again, I would have missed some of the best days of my life.

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I would have missed chanting songs with my team and dressing up in a group costume with my friends. I would have missed countless nights on the couch, watching movies and T.V. shows with my roommate. I would have missed teaching my dog to dance for a treat, and all the times she jumps with joy from seeing me walk in the door. I would have missed helping my little brother with his history paper and congratulating him on passing his driving permit test. I would have missed the hours I spent talking to my mom on the phone. I would have missed the family dinners where we laughed until we had tears in our eyes. I would have missed watching my plants grow from freshly planted bulbs to beautiful, blooming flowers. I would have missed a night out with my friends where we drank too much and laughed too hard. I would have missed sitting in front of a mirror with two of my best friends, as we all did our makeup together. I would have missed a friends Thanksgiving, where we all ate until we were ready to burst. I would have missed laying on the floor watching bad American Idol auditions with two people I love. I would have missed cowering in fear from a scary movie with my roommate, as we sandwiched the dog between us. I would have missed countless days at work, while I felt happier and more alive than I had in long time. I would have missed meeting my coworkers, who are some of the best people I know. I would have missed ER coming to Hulu, and finally being able to binge watch one of my favorite shows. I would have missed the second season of Stranger Things, and discovering a coworker who likes Game of Thrones as much as I do. I would have missed the countless Will & Grace references my coworker and I share. I would have missed the Minneapolis Miracle, and the amazing season the Minnesota Vikings had. I would have missed hilarious text messages and Snapchats. I would have missed the Wonder Woman movie and Pitch Perfect 3. I would have missed Taylor Swift’s new album and seeing Queen in concert. I would have missed Christmas with my friends and Christmas with my family. I would have missed the excitement of a new crush and the warmth of a new friend. I would have missed talking about football games, plans to be made, movies we’ve seen, and nothing at all. I would have missed my entire life.

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It’s so easy to get caught up in the things we wish we could make disappear, but we forget about the things that make our lives worth fighting for. As bad as today may seem, the best day of your life can always be just around the corner. It’s exhausting to keep fighting, but our lives are worth it. The hardest battle you will ever fight is the one you have with yourself, but it is also the one we must never surrender to. Just because things are bad now, does not mean they have to stay that way. I know how hard this can be, believe me, I know how exhausting this fight is. I know how it feels to be constantly at war with your own mind; to have your own brain convince you that your life is no longer worth fighting for. But it is these moments in which it is vital that we don’t give in, that we fight back no matter how tired we are. Because someday, you will look back on this battle, and be unbelievably grateful that you didn’t surrender; that you didn’t give up on yourself. Whenever you think about giving up, remind yourself of all the things you would have missed if you had surrendered the last time.

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Breasts in Distress

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As most of you probably know, I have an ever-present fight going on with my extremely large chest. Every day, I struggle to wrangle them in, pull my shirt over them, and keep them out of my way. They are, quite literally, a pain in the neck, and sometimes it seems like they never stop growing. While I’ve come quite accustomed to these daily battles, there are days when my massive boobs fight back in ways I am unprepared for. These are the days in which I feel embarrassed and slightly insulted by my traitorous chest. It seems that lately, there have been a lot of these days.

I’ve had the same winter coat since I was 16 years old. It’s black with a fur lined hood, insulated with feather for extra warmth, and it happens to be Calvin Klein. It’s the only designer label thing I’ve ever owned, and I love it. Best of all, I didn’t pay a designer price for it. It’s warm and fashionable, which is perfect for Minnesota winters. Now, I had significantly smaller boobs when I got this coat; still larger than average, but not quite as humongous as they are now. The last few years, Calvin (the name of my coat for obvious reasons), has become harder and harder to zip over my breasts. I usually have to pinch it shut with one hand, suck in my chest as best as I can, and pull the zipper up with the other hand. It takes a lot more time and effort than most people take to zip their coats, but I refuse to give Calvin up that easily.

The other day, I was doing just that as I prepared to head out into the frozen tundra I call home. The coat zipped, and my breasts were compressed beneath the thick layers, when suddenly I inhaled a little too sharply. The zipper blew open as my boobs sprang out from their confinement.  There I was standing right inside the door, my coat half unzipped with the zipper up by my collar and my chest spurting out of it. It occurred to me that getting this coat off was going to be much harder than it was to get it on. After a lot of tugging, pulling, and adjusting, I managed to get the zipper down while pushing my chest down as far as I could get it. Calvin survived, and seems to have no lasting damage, however I am now afraid to breathe whenever I have my coat zipped.

Foolishly thinking that nothing more embarrassing could happen, I went on with my life. A few days later, I was at work doing what I do, when my bra suddenly became too spacious. This bra, which I’ve been wearing almost every day for the past year and half, had been down to one of two hooks for quite some time (I blew through the first one months ago), and I have been lying in wait for the second one to blow. Evidently, this moment had come. In the middle of my eight hour work shift. To make things more humiliating than they already were, none of my female coworker friends were working that day, so I was forced between two options: try and get it myself or ask one of my many male coworker friends to help me. It quickly became obvious that there was no way I was going to be able to fix this problem myself, so I was forced to track down the one person I knew could help me without making things even more awkward than they already were.

I walked to the other side of the store with my hands behind my back, holding my bra closed, frantically searching for where he might be. Just when my arms were beginning to ache from their task of holding my breasts in their place, I found him. Amazingly, he agreed to help, and we found a spot hidden from cameras and other humans. Now, I have had a lot of awkward moments in my life, but this one definitely makes the top five. I had to stand with my back to him (which thankfully hid my face) with my shirt lifted up in order for him to be able to bend the broken hook and such a way that would contain my mountains for the remainder of my shift. I don’t think I will ever stop being thankful for having a coworker who was willing to help me in one of my most humiliating moments. I went home that night and spent $150 ordering four new bras online.

Now how could any boob-related problem possibly top this? I was asking myself the same question, and a few days later, I received an answer. Now what you need to know for this to make sense, is that I put off putting my bra on as long as possible. This was especially true at this time, because my good one was broken beyond repair and the one I was wearing had a stubborn underwire that continuously wiggled its way out of my bra to stab me in the chest. I also get very warm whilst getting ready in the mornings, so I’m usually also shirtless. Now this was all fine and dandy, until I needed to go out and start my car. If I got dressed first, my car would not be thawed by the time I needed to leave for work, so I threw on some pajama pants, ran downstairs, threw on Calvin, and headed outside to start my car. I was halfway across the parking lot when it happened again. I inhaled too deeply, and the zipper burst open. My boobs erupted out of their cage, and barged out into the cold, winter air. This is the moment I realized how lucky I am to have a job that requires me to be there at 6:30 in the morning. The parking lot was dark and empty, so no one witnessed the mother of all prison breaks.

Today, I’m happy to say I have made it without any boob-related incidents… so far. I have a new bra that fits well and doesn’t stab, my coat still manages to zip correctly, and it seems that my breasts have simmered down for the time being. We all have parts and pieces of ourselves we wish we could change. We all have bodies that sometimes betray and embarrass us. The important thing is that we never stop trying to love ourselves, because we are all perfectly imperfect in our own, beautiful way. Keep working on accepting yourself, and I’ll do the same. Maybe one day, we’ll look in the mirror, and not hate our reflections so much.

If you liked this post, check out my other post on the struggles of bearing a huge chest The Busty Battle (link below).

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2016/05/15/the-busty-battle/