Growing up, I was definitely an early bloomer. I went through puberty much earlier than a lot of my friends. When I started my period and was finally labeled a "woman," I was thrust into a world that I knew absolutely nothing about: the world of bras.
My mother accomplished her maternal duty of talking me into wearing my first training bra. After that moment, not wearing a bra was a blasphemous concept. I felt obligated to wear one, because that's what well-endowed girls my age did. As I grew older, I started buying my own bras for both support and appearance (hello, Victoria's Secret!).
But the thing is, I was never really comfortable wearing them. It was a Catch-22: if a bra didn't have enough support, the size of my breasts would surely wreak havoc on my back, sending shooting pains through my muscles all day long. But if a bra had too much support, the underwire would eventually stab into my skin and make me miserable. Like many women, the best part of my day was when I could finally come home and rip off the undergarment and allow myself to actually breathe.
To be honest, I've contemplated going braless for a while, for the sheer comfort of it. But when I found out that bras are actually bad for you, I decided to try out a little experiment.
I didn't wear a bra for an entire week. I went to class without a bra. I went to the store without a bra. Everywhere I went, I went braless. And what has happened during this week has been astounding.
First of all, I've just more comfortable. Let's be real, nobody likes the feeling of underwire digging into your flesh while you're sitting in class. It's annoying to say the least. Going braless really helped me breathe because I wasn't so constricted by the cups and straps.
Surprisingly, this week I've also had less back pain. This may not be the case for every woman, but my posture improved and I had significantly fewer muscle aches when I stopped wearing a bra. I was so conditioned to think that the support of my cup bra was the only thing keeping my back from hurting that I never imagined that going braless could actually help. After a few days of slight discomfort, my body adapted and I kept better posture to help my breasts defy gravity on their own. This is huge for me because for as long as I can remember, I've suffered from back pain due to the weight I carry around on my chest every day.
I was introduced to the beautiful world of bralettes this week too. I've had a few in my closet for a while, never feeling comfortable enough to wear them anywhere but around the house. This week, I've totally embraced them and how cute they can look with outfits that feel like they require a bra. They're also lightly padded without using underwire, so I can wear them for a comfortable little boost when I need it.
Of course, not everything that happened this week has been positive. I have witnessed many eyes wandering and caught many disapproving glares because I wasn't wearing a bra. It's no secret that society sexualizes the female body to often irrational extents, and breasts are no exception to this. Women are expected to cover up to not seem promiscuous, but we are also expected to wear bras to push up our breasts to a height acceptable to society.
Honestly, I'm tired of it. Trying to live up to society's standards of femininity is exhausting, and this week I've learned how to combat it. Now I'm not saying that every woman should go out and burn their bras. Every beautiful body is different, therefore they react to bras differently. The bottom line is that you do have a choice. It's your body, and you can decide for yourself what is the best option. It's nobody's business but your own, and society can't tell you otherwise.