After years of hating my breasts, an Instagram movement helped me embrace them.

Advertisement
Boobs
Credit: Getty Images

I've had a love/hate relationship with my boobs since I was 14. It was at that age when they first began to form, and I noticed that they weren't perky and firm like those of my peers or the people I saw on TV and in magazines, or flat yet feminine like a ballerina's. Instead, my breasts drooped and hung, not meeting entirely in the middle like cleavage was "supposed to," throwing me into an instant panic.

I remember looking up exercises that claimed to specifically target saggy boobs, and I'd try to firm mine up with creams and coffee scrubs. I was so worried what people might think. What if they judged me for the way my body looked? Would boys find me attractive because my boobs didn't look like they should? My anxiety wasn't unfounded; I recall one boy telling me, "you've not got any cleavage" compared to another girl in our year. Meanwhile, one of my friends suggested we all buy push-up bras or stuff rolled up socks down our bras in a bid to be more desirable and fit in more.

My breasts' sagginess haunted me, so much so that I even went through a period where I wore a bra to bed every night in the hopes that my boobs would firm up and not point to the ground. But then I read an article that said boobs were better off not being supported 24/7, since apparently wearing a bra doesn't prevent them from sagging and not wearing one doesn't cause them to sag, either. I was so confused by the new info that I gave up my quest, turning my back on bras and living in soft bralettes from Victoria's Secret because they were comfortable and made me forget that I even had boobs. 

Still, my insecurities didn't go away completely, especially since the beauty ideal for breasts was—and still is—constantly pushed upon me through magazines, TV shows, films, fashion, and porn.

When you grow up hearing that all boobs are supposed to look the same, it's inevitable that you'll feel inadequate as a result.

At 16, though, I discovered the body positive community, including the #saggyboobsmatter movement created by Chidera Eggerue that promotes the idea that boobs don't have to be "picture perfect" to be beautiful. When I looked up the hashtag on social media, I was stunned when I saw other women with boobs that looked exactly like mine: droopy, hanging slightly, with an inch gap between each one. Looking at their photos, I almost burst into tears. These were sexy, stunning women whose gappy, saggy boobs didn't diminish their beauty, and their self-assurance encouraged me to start loving and accepting my own chest. I realized that my boobs didn't diminish my beauty either, regardless of what they looked like.

Finally, I began to free from the negative thoughts I'd always had towards my breasts. I started with baby steps: looking in the mirror every night while naked, appreciating every inch and every curve of my body. The more I looked, the more beautiful my body became. I also finally bought a well-fitting bra, one that cupped and supported my boobs properly and gave me a silhouette I adored. When I found the bra, I shed a happy tear; it was such a wonderful moment. Later, I gained even more confidence when an Instagram follower messaged me to say we had identical boobs and note how "overjoyed" she was to have found my page.

This was such a surreal experience; just as I was making her feel more "normal" and "seen," her words were making me feel so much more accepted, too. 

By my mid-20s, my relationship with my breasts had greatly improved. And these days, I often get complimented on my confidence and cleavage while out and about, reminding me that my saggy boobs don't mean I'm any less worthy. Still, I do have days where I wish my breasts looked different or "better." About a year ago, I looked down at my chest and noticed for the first time that stretch marks covered my boobs. The stretch marks weren't purple or pink, just indented into my skin—translucent lightening bolts staring back at me. Seeing them, my stomach dropped, and I instantly felt terrible. After all, weren't boobs supposed to be blemish-free and firm? I tried Bio Oil and Cocoa Butter to get rid of the stretch marks, but nothing worked. I had to just learn to accept them and, maybe, even love them. 

Of course, that's not an easy process. Trying to feel good about my boobs when they don't fit the beauty standard is hard, and even when I do feel as though I've fully accepted them, negative thoughts still creep up. I worry they droop too much without the correct bra, I refuse to go braless, and I even often consider breast reduction or other aesthetic treatments to make them smaller and less saggy.

But these thoughts only make my mental health worse. Being at war with your body takes up a lot of time and energy; if I were to focus on hating my boobs all of the time, I would be wasting so much energy on being negative. So instead of focusing on my dislikes, I focus on the things about my body and boobs that I do feel good about.

I like how my boobs look in a bra, for instance, so why do I want them changed so badly?

Whenever I'm having a "bad boob day," I simply take to Instagram, look at the gorgeous women I follow, and remind myself that I am just as beautiful as they are—saggy boobs and all. It helps a lot, but I know that feeling confident about something you're insecure about isn't necessarily "fixed" by going on Instagram, and sometimes you can come off of social media feeling worse than before. Confidence is a swinging pendulum; some days you'll look in the mirror and love everything about your appearance, and others you'll just want to curl up on the couch with a tub of Ben and Jerry's and cry.

Next time I feel down about my body, though, I've resolved to put on a banging outfit and remind myself of how amazing I am. And if that fails? I'll devour that whole tub of ice cream, because tomorrow is another day.