I am what is labelled as petite. I have always been that way. However one thing about my petite body that is a bit different from the average are my breasts. It is probably one of the first things that you may notice about me when you meet me.
I was a very active child in primary school taking part in athletics, netball, softball… basically, if my school provided it I took part in it.
Then came high school and and my breasts started to grow. I didn’t go to any trials apart from cricket (which is a male dominated sport). I avoided anything which needed me to run. I had seen girls running the 100m (which I was good at in Primary school) but seeing their breasts move in that manner put me off participating.
Now you are probably thinking, “well, there are sports bra’s” and yes there were but I didn’t really have the knowledge of them back then. At some point I was determined to get a breast reduction when I turned 18 because I saw my breasts as a curse rather then a gift.
I remember one specific occasion when I was in grade 9 and the school went on a top 10 outing to Warmbaths. While in the pool one of the senior boys said to me “you have big jugs”. I had never heard of boobs being referred to as “jugs” but because of my petite-ness that was the only physical attribute about me that was big. I knew exactly what he was referring to. This was the first time that a guy openly commented on my breasts. I was 14.
Come the end of grade 10 and because I come from a traditional Ndebele family I had to go to initiation school as a bridge from childhood to womanhood. The week coming up to me me coming out of initiation school my biggest concern was that I had to parade the streets of my village topless, without a bra, for all to see.
I was so anxious about this that I could barely sleep that night. To my surprise the next day, once I had put on my traditional attire I stopped focusing on the way I appeared and felt a sense of pride towards my accomplishments as a Ndebele woman.
It helps that the village boys back home don’t look at breasts in the same lustful manner which city boys do. They are use to it. It happens every December.
During initiation school the hair on your head gets cut off bald and as such I decided to stay that way the whole year following my initiation. This aided in me becoming the ultimate tomboy. I dressed like one and with no hair I looked the part… except for those breasts which would always give me away.
Grade 12 was a very difficult year for me. I found myself waking up one June night realising that I had gone the whole year not acknowledging the person that I saw in the mirror. Yes. I would get ready every morning and look at myself but I wouldn’t really take the time to REALLY LOOK at the person in the mirror.
That night I switched on the lights, stood in front of the mirror and forced myself to say “I’m beautiful’. This was an incredibly hard task at the time and I cried as I struggled to get the words to come out of my mouth.
I then took a piece of paper and wrote down all the positive things about myself and titled it “I am”.
I took this paper with me to university and put it on my wall so that I wouldn’t forget all of the good things about myself.
So here I was at university. Guys were now unashamedly staring and commenting about my breasts even though I covered them up in baggy clothes. I am short so when most people look at me they look down. The thing is I could ALWAYS tell when a guy was looking down at my breasts and not me. This was the one thing that really pissed me off. Knowing that they saw my boobs before they saw me as a person.
My love of sports had not died and so in second year I joined my residences female football team. This was one of the major aspects of me accepting and loving my breasts (with the help of a good sports bra of course).
The other aspect that helped me was once again initiation school. Once a girl has completed her initiation it is expected that she attend the other girls ceremonies as well. Of course this means that you have to walk around topless. I did this for 4 years. In that time I saw many many breasts in all sizes and shapes.
I think that part of me not loving my breasts was because of the image portrayed by the media. They make it seem like the only beautiful breasts are those which are perfectly round and perky. It took me a long time before I realised that my breasts were perfectly normal and that most breasts portrayed in the media aren’t even real or have been altered to look like perfection.
I love wearing scarves. I wear them all year round. This is however a subconscious way of me still trying to cover up my breasts now that I am a lady and wear tank tops instead of baggy shirts. Me wearing the scarf is just my way of allowing people the chance to get to know the awesome person before they just look at my ‘big jugs’.
I can happily say that I love my breasts and I am glad that I never got that breast reduction.
I am grateful that although my breasts are bigger than the usual petite 1.48m girl, they don’t cause me any physical pains.
Loving my breasts was the beginning of loving myself as a woman. I can now not see a life without the perfect cups that God has blessed me with.