Upward and Onward

This post is not about my feet.

Or anyone’s feet for that matter.

With that said, GUYS, this post isn’t necessarily for you. Be forewarned. Proceed with caution fellas. Like, really, you may just want to mosey along. Have a nice day!

Tomorrow I’m having a reduction in the breast area. I’m just a tad bit nervous to say the least. Not all that keen with doctors and needles and knives in general. I suppose no one is. But I’m trying to focus on the positive. My surgeon says instead of them hanging low and pointing down, they’ll be up and pointing forward. Yeah, focus on the positive … “Upward and onward!” has been my new mantra. Or as my friend Kristen said, “Taming the ta-tas.” But after years of discomfort, there are more positives than just things pointing in the right direction.

(Guys, are you still here? Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.)

It’s been weird to think how things will change so quickly tomorrow. Something that’s been such a part of my being, will change, just like that. While they’ll hardly be missed, there is a certain amount of thinking going on, verging on sentimentality.

Bear with me.

Before my gals showed up, I was a tomboy. I grew up around water, loved swimming, water sports, and have always just been naturally strong. In elementary school I wasn’t usually the last picked for teams, not because I was popular, but because I was strong, and fairly competitive. The boys knew that. They would challenge me to arm wrestling quite often to match their strength. I won. Lots.

By the time sixth grade rolled around my ladies showed up. And boy, did they show up. Before the end of the year, I was more developed than most of the my teachers. An odd place for an adolescent tomboy to find herself. I spent much time avoiding wearing anything fitted or see-through, and started hearing mutterings from the boys. And it wasn’t about arm wrestling.

One of my first moments that has stuck with me regarding my development happened on the last day of sixth grade. At the end of the year awards, the teachers decided it would be fun to award each student a “What We Think You Will Be When You Grow Up Award.” By then I was interested in art, and had even had some of my work featured at the state fair that year. I was a fine student of the clarinet, and also won the P.E. award, probably due to beating out seventh grader, Jonathan Wilson, who was, in fact, a boy, for the school sit-up record (602 to be exact).

My sixth grade teachers recognized none of that. While they could have creatively foreseen that I would become an artistic, athletic combination of some sort, they predicted, and announced in front of the whole sixth grade that I would become “A Dallas Cowboy cheerleader that smiled all the time.” Nice. Mortifying? Much. That was just the beginning of many years of comments and jeers directed at my chest.

Seventh grade brought about me following my passion for the water by signing up for swim team. While I was a strong and fast swimmer, the “ladies” proved to be less than sleek and streamlined for the water, creating lots of drag. Frustrated to say the least, I didn’t pursue that for long. And no, cheerleading was not an option.

High school came along with all the frustrations associated of the well-endowed in shopping for stylish, age appropriate clothes to fit, as well as the comments and insinuations that come along with looking a certain way. Speculation based on looks is hardly ever a good idea.

I remember one year for Christmas my mom bought me an angora sweater, cream colored, with a cowl neck. It was lovely, but not quite the right choice for my body type. I can only imagine that I had asked for it because it was the latest style. I don’t recall. I do recall wearing it once.

Once.

I was in Chemistry class and had just returned to my seat and heard two boys whispering. “I wonder if they’re real?,” was a snippet of what I overheard. I quickly scribed them a note telling them that, no, they were not real, and actually, it took a full roll and a half of toilet paper each morning to get the job done. That was just one instance, many others followed, along with the silly, degrading nicknames. I always replied with a polite “hardy, har, har” attitude, but from that point on I was pissed and done with people thinking they knew me based on what they thought they saw. It seemed as if that part of me was blocking people from seeing the rest of me, the real me.

College followed with more of the same, just sometimes more vocal. On more than one occasion I was harassed from a passing car while walking to class or dinner. I spent much of the time self-conscious about the obvious, that’s when I first met with a surgeon about having a reduction. I chickened out back then, and then once again a few years ago.

It wasn’t until I mentioned the procedure to a few friends this last week, who were surprised as they said they never considered me busty, that I realized that I was no longer that insecure adolescent feeling weird in my own body. I have a wonderful husband, family and friends who love me for me, and don’t see that as part of my identity. I was the only one still living in that place, still holding on to the comments, nicknames, and innuendos from long ago.

Now I sit ready for tomorrow to come and go. All of this is said, not for me to moan and groan, throw myself a pity party, or even justify what I know some think is an unnecessary procedure. I have to be thankful for being created with this body, frustrations, pains, and all. While my “girls” have brought many years of discomfort and angst, I’ve learned a few things from carrying them around all this time.

One thing, words really affect people. Teasing, even in a friendly jesting way can stick with people for a long time. They can mold people into what isn’t their true self. Words can have a lasting impression.

Another, I know it’s trite and we hear it all the time, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover. First impressions are seldom right. Even second, and third impressions are often skewed by the first impressions we create. Give people a chance, more than once.

I know I’ll be happy and very relieved to say goodbye once and for all to these ta-tas, but I’m going to try to always remember what they taught me.

Upward and onward I say!
.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh Amy….this made me teary-eyed. Isn’t it funny how we can remember all of those things clear as a bell from jr. high and high school? For me, it was always the “did you stick your finger in a light socket” type comments.

    I’m one of those who never thought of you as busty, either. But, I know you’re going to do great in your surgery and “upward and onward” sounds like a dream to me now that the 40’s are starting to show! (If you know what I mean.)

    Praying for you, sweet girl! Loved this post.

  2. says

    What a beautiful post – it would have been easy to hide behind the screen on this one, no one needed to know. But the pain that all the jokes and unkindness caused? That’s a story that needs telling.

    Good luck with the surgery, my cousin had breast reduction and began to run marathons – at age 50!

  3. says

    I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out, Amy! I too remember those “funny jokes” from school days and how they just hang with you even when you grow older. You are so right, we all deserve second, third, and even millionth chances. Those first impressions can be doozies.

    You know I’m praying for you and for “the girls”!

    Love ya, my sweet friend!

  4. says

    You know, I could have written this very same post. I’ve chickened out on this surgery to the point that I haven’t even worked up the nerve to have a consultation with a doctor yet! But I’m so pleased to read that, rather than letting others’ words shape you, those words have empowered you to take charge of your body, your image, and your life–precisely the opposite of what they were intended to do. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

  5. says

    I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have ta-tas that would need downsizing. My mother and my sister suffer the same as you…they will never wear halters for fear of headaches from the weight pressing on their necks, they never wear empress waisted outfits either. They can’t go for a quick jog or jump on the trampoline.

    I feel for you, but I don’t suffer the same. I have the opposite problem. My little ladies are too small even for the tiniest of A cups…I always wanted to know if the doctor could give me a little of my sister’s excess…;)

    I wish you well and hope everything goes okay. Just think of how much lighter you are going to feel in a few days! You are braver than I!

  6. says

    I love you and I love this post. It breaks my heart and makes me so proud of you all at the same time. Wish I could be there!

  7. says

    School years are so hard. Everyone has their own issue they have to deal with. I’m positive even the ‘popular’ kids do. It stinks but we do learn and grow from those awful times. Good luck with your surgery!! I hope the onward and upward ta-tas put an even bigger smile on that face :)

  8. says

    Beautifully written Amy. And YOU are beautiful, inside & out…with the “girls” or without.

    We all carry the old voices around don’t we? Well I’m here to shout it from the rooftops with ya, “UPWARD & ONWARD”!!!!!! in all aspects of life.

    Love you sweets. xoxo

  9. says

    So proud of you for sharing this, Amy! I hope all goes well tomorrow. I’ll be thinking about you for sure. :)

    I’ve pretty much experienced the opposite end of that teasing during my life so I know that whatever reason and size you’re being teased for it sure isn’t fun. I would love to be a little more proportionate someday without so much help from Victoria’s Secret.

  10. says

    As a fellow large chested girl, I feel your pain. Literally. ;) And THANK YOU for putting this out there. It is real and raw and doesnt get told in such a beautiful and honest way. You are much loved and adored no matter your appearance, but I am so happy for you that you are doing something that will bring you joy! :)

  11. Sarah says

    Oh honey I’m right their with ya! These DD’s on my petite frame is no fun. Always buying one size up in clothes and looking top heavy. Trying to buy undergarments is terribly expensive. I told my Hubby to be prepared, after babies, they are going down! Best of luck tomorrow, praying for ya!

  12. says

    I have the opposite, um, problem. I have always been small breasted and got teased for it as well. I did my best to let it roll off my back but you are right, words do sting. But, as an adult and having nursed two children, and having an athletic frame, I’m glad to be small. I don’t have the sagging and discomfort that some of my more well-endowed friends have. I think you will be really pleased with your results. Good luck to you Amy!

  13. says

    you know we wish we could all be there holding your hand tomorrow Amy!!…….just know we are sending all the prayers and good thoughts your way.

    Your post made me cry because you know my oldest has been thru it all too.

    Add me to the list who has never once thought of you as too busty…..but I’m glad you are doing something for YOU to make YOU feel better, not what others think!!

  14. Leah Atha says

    Those teachers = one more reason to homeschool my son in the future!

    It will be over before you know it! :)

  15. Nanny J says

    We love you Amy Maria and never forget that we do! We have always admired you, your talents and all other God given gifts. You always seem to make good, sound decisions and we support this decision. With or without “the girls” we have always been proud of you. You and Eydie are the only ones who can straighten out Pa. Thanks for that, too. I do need a lot of help in that department.

  16. says

    Having met you three times, I must admit I never even noticed your boobs; I just know you have a large and terrific personality. But. If this surgery is going to make you more comfy in your body then good for you for going for it. Hope it goes very smoothly and that the recovery is minimal and quick ;)

  17. Laura says

    Oh, my. You could substitute me in that story. I am empathetic and envious. Good luck, and thanks for sharing your story.

  18. says

    I wish you well with your surgery. I don’t think it is unnecessary, by the way. My sister, who unfortunately developed in 5th grade, has struggled with the consequences of being “blessed” ever since. The discomfort, the degenerative back disease, the sheer damned weight of the things get you down enough. But it is the comments and cracks from other people that do the most damage, isn’t it? Your 6th grade teachers should be shot for what they said to you. Kids are so terribly vulnerable at that age and that stuff stays with you, doesn’t it? . I’m so glad you have come to realize that you don’t have to live with that old baggage (of either kind) anymore. Good for you.

  19. says

    VERY well written about the very same issue I’ve had my whole life. That little surgery has been on my list of things I want to have done someday for years. Can’t wait to hear that it all went well and great for you and thank you for sharing what so many have always wanted to put in to words. Thoughts and prayers to you!

  20. Shannon says

    Thank you for writing this for all us big-busted girls! It is darn near difficult to get other people to understand the plight of the big-busted … I remember some of those same insults being thrown at you, as we were in high school together. It’s shameful what teenagers were capable of then and I’m sure it’s just as bad now. Good for you for having the courage to seek reduction. I will be praying for your good recovery.

  21. Angie says

    I wish I could hold your hand! It’s so great your finally getting it done. One good thing about big ta-tas is that your babies definitely won’t starve or be skinny, haha. Hey, they served their purpose, time to go. Fortunately I didn’t really develop until after highschool because I was so underweight, then when I was in college, it was terrible. I was in a dental hygiene program, and one of the other students was convinced I was a stripper and sleeping with her husband. 2 years of false rumors behind my back ruined my grades and self-esteem. I had no friends, bad grades cause all the teachers were horrible to me cause I was the DD stripper girl homewrecker, supposedly. Thankfully I passed. The bar (not stripper BTW) that I quit when I graduated one guy said he was going to miss my boobs the most and then got a feel in front of everyone, horrifying! Now I’m up to a G because of a little weight gain (H when preggers) and after my babies will be reducing them too.

  22. says

    I can’t even believe that teachers would choose to give you THAT award! :( That breaks my heart and is surely something I would probably remember every day. But props to you for having the courage to go through with something that can be scary and that will definitely be a change in order to REALLY be happy. Very proud of you! Will definitely be thinking of you tonight and tomorrow.

  23. says

    I’m glad you’re doing something for you; something that is not just a self esteem issue but a health issue. My daughter has the same thing going on; where many are envious and would pay for them…she wants them gone…well, at least downsized! I’ll have to send her a link to this post.
    I, on the other hand can not do one thing about my issue. I am 6′ tall. Yes…really. But the funny thing is, in high school I was teased mercilessly, with Jolly Green Giant being a name I heard ever day. How dare they? I was NOT green!

    Apparently weather at that height was different too because I got asked about that a lot.

    Over the years I’ve grown into that height; I can reach things others can’t, I can always find my car in a parking lot and yes, I can gain a few pounds and they are barely noticeable. And others? Where once mean in high school, they are now intimidated. I don’t have to open my mouth and I apparently create massive fear in short men. And some short women. Please don’t hate me that the meanest girl to me in high school was afraid to approach me once at a high school reunion. Why? I wouldn’t have said or done anything appropriate. Well, I might have patted her on top of her head and asked, in a total role reversal, ‘How’s the weather down there.’

    If I could change anything…I would like my size 11 feet to be size 9. Be glad you CAN do something Amy…cause no one is willing to chop off my toes! :)

    • says

      Barbara, your comment brought back floods of memories. When I was in 6th grade, I had a crush on a boy who was short. Really short. And I was tall. Really tall. They called us The Jolly Green Giant and the Little Green Sprout. Remember them? (The guy wore the ever popular green army jacket, too.) Yeah. My mom told the story of a guy she went to school with who was extremely tall. They had pestered him mercilessly about the weather up there. Finally one day he broke. When asked “How’s the weather up there.” He said, “It’s fine up here, but I see it’s raining down there” and spit on the kid’s head! They never bothered him again.

      And I’m with you, my size 12 feet would be one of the first things to go.

  24. says

    What a beautifully written post, Amy. I could feel the emotions pouring off the page and I wanted to go hunt down your sixth grade teachers and give them a piece of my mind! Best wishes for everything to go smoothly. I’ll be thinking of you.

  25. says

    BEST of luck to you tomorrow my friend. I wish you great success, a speedy recovery and pursuit of dreams without the plus sized ta-tas.
    xxoo

  26. says

    Amy, you are sweet and brave and I like you even though I don’t know you in real life. I think we’ve all been scarred in some way by the thoughtless words of others. And you’re right – those comments from our peers when we are young seem to always stick with us. I was on the opposite end from you. More of the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” comments plus my curly/frizzy hair always drew hurtful remarks. I’m just glad you’re moving “onward and upward” with this. Praying for you!

  27. says

    Good for you Amy. Your comfort (physically and mentally) is the most important thing here. Have a little chat with your body tonight about how well it will all go, and how it is going to speed the healing up all on its own. I am a big believer in things going as you will them to. Sending you positive thoughts for strong self healing!

  28. says

    Wow, I was thinking as I read you post that I know exactly how you felt when you were younger, not because I was big but because I was rediculously small. You never forget some things but you move on.

    Congratulations for taking this step. I hope that everything goes well for you.

  29. says

    good for you! I hope your surgery goes well and everything ends up pointing towards the horizon. Stories like yours make me glad I’m a butt girl. The boys made comments but they were always to my back and never to my face. I’ll be looking for your updates and hoping for a rapid, eventfree recovery.

  30. says

    I was just the opposite as a girl impressed by the other “girls.” God speed to you and may your recovery truly be speedy and without complication. Thanks for sharing your story so eloquently.
    AmyRuth

  31. says

    Hi Amy. Just popping by to say I’m sending you positive, happy, speedy-recovery vibes! I love your blog since it really feels like a reflection of you. I’m sure this change in your life will only bring more confidence for you, which means your other creative endeavours will soar, too :)

    Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned with us. I learned many of these same ones as an adolescent. As hard as it was, it propelled me to move above it and live a fruitful life that didn’t include hurting others. Best wishes and hope you’re back on your feet soon!

  32. says

    Hey Amy, I guess we all have scares from things said early in life. Thanks goodness age is healing! You are very brave and I know your spine will thank you when this is all said and done. I’ll be praying for you tomorrow!

  33. says

    Thanks for sharing! You are beautiful inside and out and such a great example to us all. I admire your strength. Thinking of you and sending prayers! xoxo

  34. says

    I definitely know how you feel, especially with the suddenly-busty-tomboy aspect.
    Thoughout all of highschool, I pretty much dressed like a boy and covered myself up as much as possible, even around my girlfriends at time. I hit a full C cup at around 11 years old, and then put on more weight (and thus more chest) throughout highschool. Shoulder pain, back pain and general shame about my body was all I felt, really.

    It wasn’t until I turned 17, and got into a healthy relationship with my current girlfriend, that I began to accept who I was, and began to love myself, and take better care of the girls (bad bras turned out to be what was causing most of the pain, for me).

    It was nice reading your post opening up about your situation, and I’m glad you were brave enough to share, and that you’re looking upward and onward! Best wishes~

  35. says

    So.

    My problem in school was the exact OPPOSITE. In fact, my chest didn’t decide to develop until I was well into my twenties!! (thanks to the after effects of pregnancy) I got a lot of skinny jokes and tons of flat chested jokes. I remember having to change in gym and just being totally humiliated that I still didn’t need a bra.

    Unfortunately, all of that does stick with us. I spent years trying to cover my stick legs, and avoid tight or revealing tops. But as I’ve gotten older I have come to appreciate my body a whole lot more, and actually be proud of it. And today I am proud of YOU, friend. Best wishes and I can’t wait to hear from you when it’s all over!!

  36. NanaBread says

    Amy,
    Couldn’t help thinking of you today. Hope everything went well. Let us know how you’re doing! Sending hugs and good thoughts your way. -jeanne

  37. says

    Amy! I’m so proud of you for talking honestly about this and proud of you for doing something to make you feel better overall. Bravo! Thinking of you today. xox.

  38. says

    I’m coming in late, but I am so glad to hear everything went well and you’re at home recovering nicely. Love you, Miss Amy! xoxo

  39. says

    Amy, I have been too busy to keep up this week and finally sat down today to look at twitter and knew something was up with you. I searched until I found it. ((((((hugs))))))) and congratulations. I spent many years with big ones and completely understand your feelings. I had a reduction (lift? after 3 kids) and a hernia repair and a mini tummy tuck 5 years ago. The reduction was the only part of it that I felt right away. I’d go out in public and people would say over and over again, you look like you’ve lost weight, or just look at me differently. It’s amazing how much different a person looks (and let me tell you, FEELS) once the burden of the chest has been removed. I won’t lie, mine are still not tiny, I didn’t have them reduced enough ! LOL I wish I would have gone smaller. But they are much better than they used to be. The recovery wasnt’ too bad, I has massive bruising which was one of the worst parts. I also got a weird reaction to the stitches, but that was the rarest thing they’ve ever seen. You are going to feel so good, so different.

  40. Fiona Richards says

    Way to go!
    I know a number of people who have had this procedure done and it has changed their lives.
    You will feel fabulous. How exciting.
    F.

  41. says

    Congrats on making a huge decision. I, too, am not keen of doctors, needles and probing; but, what I have learned from a year of constant stabbing, you will survive and you will be so happy!!! I have a friend who was just like you, as we were growing up. Kids can be mean. She finally had it done after college and said she had no more back pain as well as an added confidence! You will be so happy!! Here’s to the Ta-Tas!

  42. Genny says

    Hope you are doing well Amy! We all have our issues — so glad you were able to come to terms with yours! Hoping and praying for a speedy recovery!

  43. Dana says

    I had this very procedure performed over 18 years ago. It was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I would do it again tomorrow. I’ve never regretted my reduction; in fact, I still marvel at their “upward and onward-ness” to this day. :-) Good luck with your recovery and your newly improved selection of lingerie!

  44. Jennifer says

    Amy–As I read this post, my heart ached for the childhood friend I had, until my parents uprooted me to Florida. I can imagine your pain as I think about childhood memories. Now, wow….what an amazing woman you are and what a fluke that I found you again! And to see that one of my idols posted about you, Ree Drummond, you’ve really got it going on girl, but I always knew that, even as a 5th grade friend! Praying for quick recovery for you, my friend! I am hopeful we can sip tea together someday and chat for hours!

  45. JamieK says

    You are so spot on about how words in your formative years can hurt and stick with you! Mean whispers about my boob size hurt me in Jr. High. Now that I’m in my 50’s I’ve gotten beyond all that and mine are still “hanging” around, literally. Hope everything went well!

  46. Mimi says

    Amy, I hope you are mending well and enjoying the sight of your feet! My sister also had reduction surgery and, as a result, she stands taller, her back doesn’t hurt anymore and she feels so much better about life in general. Good for you and enjoy wearing that angora sweater! :)

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