I published this picture a few weeks ago. I pondered for a long time as to what to say. I was very aware that my feelings about that picture are complex and that anything I wrote would steer people in their responses. I decided to stick with a minimal explanation and see what happened.
What happened was, unsurprisingly, that the people who commented didn’t notice the things that give me pause for thought. I don’t know why I thought they would, except that I know that I am quite open about both my confidence and my insecurities. I think that I thought some readers might know me more than they do.
Of course, that isn’t fair. The picture that I posted is a bold and confident image. I haven’t included any hints of the thoughts in my head. Even people who know those feelings would not be nudged to remember them by that post. By keeping my words neutral, I hadn’t given an invitation to look deeper.
The picture and my reflection on posting it have been a good reminder about differing viewpoints. The physical image is only one part of the information that we share with others. The other facets are complex and vary from person to person. Even when two people view the same physical image of me, whether in person or in a photo, the other layers of information, history and engagement that they have lead to a different interpretation.
The times that this is most clear to me is when meeting new people, or entering busy social situations. People do not believe that I am anxious and shy. People see me as gregarious and outgoing. They haven’t had the layer of information that shows me trembling while getting ready, the internal fight I have had to stop myself from cancelling and hiding or the effort it takes to overcome the queasiness of anxiety. They see a person who looks for someone to talk to quickly. They don’t know that I launch myself in quickly to get past the point where I don’t think I should be there and to stop me running away.
Strangely enough, this post was not originally going to be about social situations. It was going to be my relationship with my breasts. I love them. I love the way they feel, the way I feel when they are touched. I love the way my sexual response is ridiculously intensified when they are touched, squeezed and even tortured. I love the feelings and sensations.
I am far more ambivalent about the look of my breasts. They grew to a D cup and then bigger by the time I was 14 (oh, that seems so neat now that I am a G). The bras available looked like this or worse.
They only fitted at the cup. Nowhere else. The straps were wide. With my short frame, they came too high up under my arms and too high up between my breasts. My clothing had to be bought to hide the bra as anything with a v neck showed the horror. It is no wonder that I didn’t enjoy the look.
Times have changed and now I am a avid buyer of sexy bras. They are still less delightful than the ones designed for smaller breasts but they are elegant, pretty, comfortable and make me feel sexy.
I still have a slight disconnect between how sexy my breasts make me feel and the echoes of the shame of having bigger breasts. I was regularly shamed for them as a teen. Other people seem to have equated big breasts with greed and sexual predatory behaviour. Different men have told me up front that they don’t like big breasts – because clearly otherwise I am going to flash them and hope they fall at my feet ready to do my bidding.
All of this leads me back to why that picture was challenging for me to post. I have never been brazen at using my breasts in such an assertive visual way. There are many pictures of my breasts and nipples but I don’t feel they are as bold and insistent as this one. When I first saw that picture, I heard echoes of all the criticism and saw almost a caricature of the girl with big breasts. I posted it to flush out those echoes and because there are many things about that picture that I love. Also, I posted it because I like pushing through the discomfort to the other side.