Monday, November 24, 2008

The Bra Revolution and other body issues

When we were growing up, MommyJ and I didn't get along very well. At all. I hated her because she was thin, and she hated me because I had boobs. Sadly, we missed out on a lot of years when we could have been better friends because we were so wrapped up in ourselves -- and when I look back, I can't see that anything was wrong with the way either one of us looked. (I only wish I could be as fat now as I thought I was back then!)

As I have gotten older and endured the changes that happen to a pregnant, breastfeeding, tired, overworked Mommy body, the aforementioned body parts have only continued to grow, so much so that immediately after I finished nursing MayDay, I seriously considered surgically reducing their size.

One day, on a whim, while my mother-in-law was keeping all three boys so I could run errands, I stopped at the lingerie shop in our little downtown area. I had heard they did bra fittings and I wondered what they could do for me. I walked in and said I had some bra issues. Oh, yes, she said, you do. Let's see what we can find.

She didn't even measure me! Just a look, a couple of pokes and prods, some manhandling I hand't been expecting, and voila! A bra that lifted, separated, and took some serious pressure off of my back and shoulders, plus it looked pretty all by itself and did wonders for how I actually looked with clothes on. I tried on many, and I am here to tell you that these babies are seriously engineered, steel reinforced wonders of the modern world.

I was absolutely sold. And then she told me what my size was . . . I nearly swallowed my tongue. It was so far from what I had been wearing -- it's not a wonder I'd been having issues! Who knew that bras with preteen band sizes came in cup sizes so far up the alphabet?

I spent $300.

And then I called my husband and told him the good news: I just saved him $5000 since I wouldn't need surgery anymore! He grumbled, until he saw the results, and he, too, was very . . . impressed. My mom said I looked like I'd lost 20 pounds. Who wouldn't be all for that?!?

Jump to this past week. We had some shopping to do for the boys, so we drove an hour to our local outlet mall. I needed a new pair of jeans, and I'm partial to The Gap, but it pains me to spend $70 for pants I can find for $40 at the outlet.

(Side Note: My brother once said that he thinks The Gap people snuck into his house in the middle of the night, measured his butt, and then made him a pair of pants. This is exactly how I feel about the Long & Leans. I don't know why I ever try on jeans any place else.)

I mentioned in passing that I needed to go to The Gap to see if they had any Long and Lean jeans on sale. This stopped CPod short.

"You wear Long and Lean jeans?"

Yes, I said, I do, and don't they look fabulous?

And please, could you mask your incredulity just a little?

Admittedly, his disbelief is merited: he is a long and lanky 6'5". This only serves to make me look even shorter and curvier than I really am, which is a voluptuous 5'4". And because he, of course, does not understand what I do: you buy the jeans that you aspire to be. That's why I don't buy Curvy and Straight jeans from The Gap -- it might be considered pornographic were I to put on jeans designed to enhance your curves.

Throw all of this into the wonderful stew that is my body image, and add this on top: I broke my treadmill. The repairman came this morning and replaced the warrantied parts, but still, it's not great for your self-esteem to know that you're responsible for splitting the running deck of your treadmill longways down the middle. I mean, am I really that GINORMOUS? Of course I'm not. I can always blame it on CPod.

I am fighting a battle against the insecure me, but I will persevere. Because I know that if I hadn't been running on that treadmill with regularity, I wouldn't be able to finish a 5K in under 26 minutes. (I know, really, I should weigh nothing!) Nor would I have a seriously healthy heart and really low cholesterol. I know that I will not be winded from playing with my children in the back yard. I know that if I have to run for my life, I have a good chance of outrunning whatever is chasing me. And I know that I am truly doing what is best for my body, even if the good health result doesn't have the bonus side effect of making me trim and slim. Ah, well. It's just not in the genes.

I am proud of this Gap Long and Lean size 10Ankle booty -- it's the only one I've got! And I love my 32G bras -- they work better than any I have ever tried before! And I will beat you, CPod, when we run our 5K in the spring -- mark my words!

Postscript: I know we come in all shapes in sizes, and there are probably those of you reading this who wish I would just shut my skinny self up. There are also those of you who see that I wear a size 10 and hope you are never that huge.

Please remember that how we see ourselves is an entirely different matter than how we see each other. You may think I look great the size I am, but feel terrible about yourself -- and if you asked me, you'd find that I think you look great, too. Or, you could be like me half the time -- I doll myself up for a night out with CPod and think I look really hott until I see myself in a mirror or photograph and get a hefty dose of reality. (MommyJ, I think gadonkadonkiness is hereditary!)


  1. I wonder what my bra size actually is?? Maybe I should go and get one of those fabulous $300 bras. I just can't believe how much lower "they" get with every baby. Sorry that may have been TMI for the blogging world, but it's true.

    I think you look wonderful! I'd really like to run a 5k with you. I have run quite a few here in Asheville and I was going to do the Turkey Trot this year (since I've done it the past 2 years), but I'm afraid that my time would be over 30 minutes and I would be so discouraged with myself.

  2. I aspire to be one of those people that hopes I never as huge as you.
    That made me laugh. Really hard.
    I'm going to a bra fitting as soon as little man is done nursing. Can't wait. But I can tell you now I'll be in the low low low alphabet. sad.
    And I'm going to try those jeans. Although my number will be much higher than 10. So you can just shut your skinny big boob self up :)
    Yes.. I'm jealous. Of the treadmill too. Way to go with the running!
    Love the post.

  3. sounds like an adventure if finding someone you like that you can live with every stinking minute of the day. i think you are great, and thanks for sharing. more of us need to figure out what we need to do to like being with ourselves ALL DAY LONG. speaking for myself and anyone else who would agree. thanks for the inspiration.

    my hubby has wanted me to get bra sized, i figured he just wanted to watch the process....i think i will go try it. sounds like magic.


  4. I am really impressed with all your running. Way to go. I think a size 10 would be great, i am sitting here looking at my post baby body and wishing i could squeeze it into a size 10.
    well I'll get there soon enough and i never have to be pregnant sgain-yea!!!
    I love you no matter what size you are!!!

    I can also relate to the thinking you were as fat as you were in high school-oh to have that body again!

  5. Isn't it amazing how alike we all are as women. We have the same insecurities, the same fears. Maybe if we were all a bit more open and honest, we'd see the world and each other more clearly and not worry so much about our faults. Thanks for sharing.
    PS. I hate bra shopping. With a passion. I was proud of myself for buying a new three pack of el-cheapo bras at Costco just a few hours ago. Maybe I should try a little harder.

  6. I love the bra store downtown as well! I had the same experience there, no measuring, just looking at my old worn out wrong size bra and a couple of pokes and prods and voila, a new bra that fit perfectly. I now understand what it means when they say "lift and separate". I think if the alphabet went a bit higher in other stores, then we would all be wearing bras that are a better fit. Did we even know about g's and h's?

  7. Well, all I can say is that I perfectly understand. And then again, I don't. Why do we hate our selves so much, it is seriously studip!

    When I was in highschool, 5'10 and a whopping 135 lbs, and a model no less, I thought I was so fat, and I was told often to lose weight??? Now that I've put on a good 30 lbs, and i see those pictures, I think oh, now I'm REALLY fat. but really I'm not.

    the other day I was thinking about this obsession we ave with body image and realized that for those who don't have any religious beliefs, or grounding, it would nake sense to focus all on the physical, this body is the only thing you have, if you don't know any more. SO that is what our society sees, and that is what we are todl daily, and so, really, very few of us will live up to that expectaion, but I would rather know that I have all things in balance than be so lopsided on the temporal side of things.

    (I hope that made sense, cuz, i'm not re-reading it) Love-ya!

  8. What?! I don't have boobs? I'm sure I saw them down there somewhere... or wait... are those just buttons? Huh.

  9. I remember overhearing you talking about your bra-fitting several months ago and wanted to ask you about it. Thanks for saving me a strange conversation starter. I recently posted my own body-image post. I totally agree. However, being significantly overweight all my life, I think I've become almost too comfortable in my skin. I wonder if I really liked myself less, maybe I'd actually be motivated enough to lose it. Idunno. Luvyerblog!

  10. I totally need to have a fitting. I was soooo excited to buy the bra that I'm currently wearing. When the lady at Motherhood told me I needed a D my jaw hit the floor and she was an instant girlfriend. The fact that I was 9 months pregnant and 32lbs. heavier than usual did not damper the moment. Never in my life have I ever been anywhere near D. Fastforward 9 months and I'm still wearing that bra, although the milk's run dry and there is a good 2 inch gap.
    This post cracked me up! I especially love the way you broke the news to cpod!
    Oh, mommyj- just when I thought I couldn't laugh any harder!!
    Seriously though, do they do measurements on "buttons" cause that's about what I've been reduced to!


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