I feel like this post might be a little bit TMI for those who personally know me, but I’m not really too bothered. (This is an amazing thing for me to realize, since I’ve struggled with self-confidence for years.) Today I’m discussing body positivity; I’m making it a very personal post, but of course readers might be struggling with different or even opposite issues to the ones in my life. That’s okay – it’s not the measurements that matter, it’s the attitude we need to adopt about our bodies and realize that we’re all normal that’s important. I’m just going to go through all the issues that are relevant to my self-confidence problems in terms of my body – in this part, I am focusing on the very private issues of breasts and genitalia (in the next installment I’ll discuss the more ‘trivial’ issues), and how I have learned and am learning to overcome these issues.
I’m going to start with the obvious one: my boobs. They are a teeny-tiny A cup. I was constantly aware of feeling inadequate compared to my bustier friends. No one ever said anything directly to me, but of course I picked up on the general attitudes of society that a girl isn’t “womanly enough” if her boobs aren’t big enough. I didn’t feel feminine, and as someone with a very feminine style, it did eat away at me. I was never serious about getting a boob job but I feel like if someone had offered it to me I would have taken the opportunity. I’m also lopsided – my right breast is even tinier! They not only differ in size but where they sit on my chest – the right, smaller boob sits higher up on my body.
Now, I am happy to say that I love my tiny boobs! I don’t have to think about them when I’m buying a new shirt – girls with bigger chests frequently have to buy different sizes in order to accommodate them. I don’t. I do sometimes have a problem with certain styles that you’d need more substantial breasts to actually be able to fill them out, but that’s not a big deal to me. I’m one of those unfortunate people whose periods first show up in ridiculously painful and tender breasts – if I had bigger ones, the pain would presumably be a lot worse! I most frequently lie on my side while sleeping, and sometimes even my A cups get in the way in that position! I’ve learned to love them, and for me, to imagine having larger breasts feels weird to me now!
I have experienced, and still do to some extent, body dysphoria when it comes to my labia. I’m being frank and open in a way that I never have been before, but I will say it without shame: I hated the way I looked down there. I thought I was abnormal for having larger labia. I bought into the myth that pornstars’ vulvas are the ‘norm’ and any deviation from that is not okay, is disgusting or gross and needs to be fixed. I was seriously considering labiaplasty – invasive surgery – because society isn’t open enough to discuss that labias come in different shapes and sizes and colors. This is where sex education at my school went very wrong – there should have been a focus on the diversity of genitals’ appearance. The frequent description of vulvas/vaginas as nothing more than a split or slit between your legs meant that I was left wondering why the hell mine wasn’t neat and tidy and even like that.
How many other girls around me could have been silently struggling, like I was? I didn’t tell anyone for years how I felt, but it affected me intensely. I avoided touching myself directly or looking – I couldn’t bear the sinking feeling in my stomach every time I looked at myself. Like I said, I began to consider labiaplasty. It was seeing a girl go through such surgery on TV that made me feel more ‘ready’ to go down the same route than ever before. I finally confessed to my twin all that I had been feeling over the years. He’s the best no-nonsense advice giver for any topic, and in this instance he reassured me that surgery was a drastic move, and with his help, I realized my problem was psychological – there was no problem with how I looked, but the problem was with my attitude towards it and my unhappiness. This is what I had to combat in order to become happy about my body without resorting to dangerous, risky surgery.
I began to look at pictures of women online, exploring the diversity and variety that labias have. I began to feel more confident in looking at my own body and reconciling myself with how I look regardless of other people. I began to explore myself more directly and become accustomed with myself rather than trying to ignore it. I don’t mean this to say I wasn’t masturbating – I was, from a young age – but I was opting for more indirect stimulation because of my dysphoria. I began to include more direct touching in combination; I found that all of this meant I quickly became accustomed to my body and could focus on what it does rather than what it looks like.
It was seeing a woman whose genitalia could have easily been mine happily posing for nude photos that really drove it home that I’m normal, combined with seeing people whose labias actually divert from that pornstar ‘norm’ a lot more than mine do. I realized the beauty of the diversity. I realized finally that I didn’t have to change, because there was nothing wrong with me. The internet was there for me in a way that sex education should have been. It would have saved me so many years of tears and upset and dysphoria if I’d known from a young age that I was normal.
I gave up the idea of labiaplasty, and while I’m still not 100% happy with how I look, I’m getting there. I’m confident that my journey is not yet over, and I’ll arrive at a place where I can be fully satisfied about myself. I’ve surprised myself at how openly I’ve discussed this, and not very anonymously either – if you’d told me years ago that I’d get to this point, I’d have laughed in disbelief. But I don’t think there should be anything shameful in discussing your body, especially not in discussing coming to terms with things that society makes out are wrong. What is wrong with body positivity? I, for one, am glad that I am willing to discuss my journey, and if it helps even one person realize that we should embrace our diversity and stop feeling insecure about our bodies, then I’m happy. And even if it doesn’t garner that result, I still feel I’ve made significant personal progress from being the girl who was constantly upset about her large labia!
Part 2 should be coming along soon. Thank you for reading. 🙂
Until next time,