Imagine being a Freshman in high school, 100 pounds soaking wet and 5 pounds of that being boobs.
Taking one look at me now, you would never imagine that I once had size 30H breasts. I usually witness a jaw drop to the floor when I tell someone about the weights I literally carried around for most of my life.
Throughout middle school, I struggled with my weight.
I wasn’t the biggest, but I wasn’t the smallest. I had the scrawniest arms and legs, but a little belly, too. I’m that little girl who walked with a purpose - with my chest out, and my ass pointing in the other direction.
It wasn’t until sixth grade when a couple of boys asked me if I was pregnant that I first realized I didn’t look like the other girls - cue the beginning of my weight insecurities. Still, I refused to wear training bras, deciding a tank top under my t-shirt would suffice. I thought that the tank-top would somehow suck me in. It was my own version of middle school Spanx.
Fast forward to camp, the summer going into my eighth-grade year; I didn't have a belly anymore. I was ecstatic. Little did I know what was to come.
By the end of that year, I had gone from a size C to triple D's.
I was kicked out of Victorias Secret and sent directly to the department store. The sales associate told me they couldn’t help me. I was too small around the back, but too big in the front. It was my worst nightmare: I hadn't lost the weight, it just jumped higher up on my body.
I always tried to buy baggy clothes, but my mom wouldn't let me. She told me that I had such a beautiful body, I shouldn't try to hide it. At the age of 13, I continuously fought her on it. Nothing my Mom said would change the fact that I had two attention-grabbing boulders protruding out of my chest.
Walking out of school one day, a boy told me I was a "butter face."
I remember exactly where I was, the memory is still so vivid. I went home and asked my dad what it meant. When he told me, I shrugged it off and tried to take it as a compliment.
Eventually, those boys who made fun of me started shooting erasers in my bra. Others would poke me with pens, asking if they could pop. Boys will be boys, I thought. Ultimately, I embraced my boobs - figuratively speaking. They became my thing, and I started to joke along with the boys. I figured, “If I can’t beat em, join em.”
At least they weren’t calling me fat.
By the end of my first day of high school, my nickname was coined - I was the Snookie of Orange High School.
Now, that may also have had something to do with the pinned-back bangs I sported on a regular basis. Or perhaps it was because I was 4' 11", olive-skinned and had giant boobs. Anyway, it’s safe to say my freshman year wasn’t the healthiest of my life. I expressed my insecurities by milking (sorry) my nickname - a vulnerability I didn’t realize I had until my breast reduction years later. Even one of my best friends called me tits for the longest time.
Other embarrassing stories followed. I will always remember the one group of seniors writing on a piece of paper, mocking me for who I spent my weekend with and taped it to the window, displaying it for all to see. I laughed it off but later cried myself to sleep. I was automatically given a label because of the way I looked. I was told to wear different shirts. I was told I dressed inappropriately.
But, I wasn’t, and I didn't. My boobs were just so massive, everything I wore exposed them. What was I supposed to do? Wear a turtleneck every single day?
July 30th, 2012: Maxi’s Little Italy
My dad promised me that before I graduated, he would move mountains to get me the breast reduction I needed.
I was practically moved to tears. No more *pull up your shirt* hand motions. No more asking to zip up my sweatshirt. No more back pain. No more headaches. No more walking with my chest and my butt pointing in opposite directions (yes, this was still a problem I had). No more forcing myself to have perfect posture. I was going to get a permanent fix.
And I could not stop talking about it.
I counted down the days until my surgery. My calendar was marked up with crossings, days, numbers, all counting down the until THE day that would change my life.
I was thrown a bye-bye boobies party, and everyone was there. Girls I wasn’t even close with showed up. There were boobie cakes, boobie cupcakes, boobie whistles, cards, frisbees, and suspenders. The hype was real.
Because I made it know to the world that my upcoming surgery was truly happening, I received a lot of comments, mostly all supportive. One negative "compliment" I constantly got, however, was “you’re basically slapping God in the face.” Excuse me, was my body put on this earth for your viewing pleasure? You’re right; I should keep my own permanent weighted vest for someone else’s personal arousal. Not.
At such a young age, I took those comments as a compliment. Now I realize that my body did not and does not belong to anyone else but me, and those comments can be harmful. Fortunately, I always had a fuck 'em personality. I refused to let their words rain on my parade.
Surgery Day (May 2013)
There was obviously nothing but excitement on that day. I brought my teddy bear and blanky with me and was ready to take the surgery by storm. Goodbye to the days where I had to sleep in sports bras and hold my boobs as I went down the stairs.
I did spend a few minutes in the shower the night before saying goodbye to them. It felt like the end of a journey we'd taken together; they deserved a proper send-off. I also asked the doctor if I could take them home, but he told me no because they were considered "toxic waste," but whatever.
Four hours later (longer than expected) and the plastic surgeon comes out to tell my mom he had never seen so much breast matter and so little fat in his life. According to Dr. Generalovich, he removed five solid pounds of "stroma." Look it up. I was such a medical marvel I honestly should have sold it on the dark web. Just joking.
My mom told me it looked like my entire body opened up.
She had no idea I had a neck. It was a miracle. My attitude changed overnight: my confidence improved; my posture corrected itself. I could not wait to buy new bras and bathing suits, something I use to leave the mall crying over. Surprisingly, I wasn’t even in a lot of pain. I was able to get up myself without using my arms (which is a sensitive area when you recently get a breast reduction).
I had my surgery on a Wednesday and was out at a party on Saturday. That summer, at party after party, people kept asking me about my surgery, asking to get a flash of my new boobs. I was beaming with joy. To this day, I believe that this is the best decision I ever made in my life.
Confidence and security is something I have struggled with since my tween-age years. I have grown, but there is never going to be a finish line. I fight daily to feel comfortable in my own skin. Now more than ever, I am the happiest with who I am. It takes work, and I push myself every day to be the best, most truthful and honest version of myself that I can be.
Five years later and my scars are practically invisible. Even if they weren't, I would still be completely content with my decision. My life opened up as a result of my surgery. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it, and I am forever grateful.