We have different DNA, but we share the same bra size: the itty bitty A-cups that are rare finds at the Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale. We're the women with the same deep-rooted fears that can't be shared in the same way cellulite and height are discussed at dinner.
This fact alone mutually connects us in complicated ways. Remember the carefree days, when you were more worried about how to tie your shoes than the way a blouse fell around your chest?
Sometimes, we wish we could return to the time when cups meant utensils that held orange juice, and bras were mythical lady straps that only big girls wore. It didn't matter if we went topless at the beach because we all looked the same anyway.
Then, adolescence inevitably happened. The world felt a little colder. Every new school year became about the next chick who got her boobs over summer vacation. I was there when your circle of friends was gossiping about new bra sizes. You were desperate to change the subject because you were still stuck at the beginning of the alphabet.
Does 32 T-as-in-training-bra count? Dress shopping for prom was a battle of the plunging necklines and empty bodices. But by then, we had already learned all the secret booby tricks of the trade: chicken cutlets, push-up bras, padded inserts and double-sided tape.
We could only fake it for so long, until the weather got warmer. Summer was our worst enemy.
Bikini season called for hours at the mall, searching for a miracle bathing suit top that would both enhance and hide our breasts at the same time. We envied our C-cup friends, who could simply waltz into PacSun and pick out a swimsuit on a whim, based on pattern and color over shape.
What we would give to say the words, “This bikini top is too small.” Eventually, winter loomed over us, and we could return our petite breasts to their comfort zone, under layers of chunky sweaters and down feather jackets.
Sex and dating was just the cherry on top of our escalating levels of self-consciousness. Boys turned to men, and baseball became a game of sex terminology. Second base wasn't so fun when we knew our extra padded push-up bras were the only lovely lady lumps on our chest.
I remember when your life felt like hell because you were non-existent to your high school crush. He was obsessed with chasing girls with bigger breasts. You still hear that little voice at the back of your head. It fills you with hard doubt every time you unhook your bra. I hear it, too.
Will I ever feel good enough for anyone?
We have the same Internet history. It looks like someone raided Pandora's box of breast enhancement pills, creams and (dare we say it) silicone. We've had our phases. We were convinced plastic surgery was the road to nirvana, and that it would cure our lack of confidence. With so many enhancements readily available, we wonder if we small-chested women are a dying breed.
We watched with envy the way our friends, sisters, cousins and enemies grew effortlessly into womanhood. Yet, we patiently waited for our turn to feel that same sense of passage into femininity. We've shed tears in quiet places, and even felt ashamed for crying about something so shallow. It didn't seem fair that we were biologically gypped from the one thing that screamed female maturity.
Sure, we have vaginas. But breasts are the sexually idolized fat bags that make the Angelina Jolies and Scarlett Johanssons of the world. We became hurt and resentful that the world decided to measure feminine beauty by such uncontrollable laws of nature.
What's it like, Adriana Lima, to feel like an angel on the runway in that demi-cup bra? We grew up learning what makes a woman beautiful: a nice figure with big tits.
We see it in music videos, television commercials, movies and magazines. However, this is where our opinions on beauty became skewed.
A woman's beauty is not based only on cup size and breast buoyancy. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. It's in your mother's smile at your college graduation, and in the way your face lights up on Christmas morning. It can hide in places we haven't discovered yet, like the maternal glow of a pregnant woman or the wedding of our dreams. It lives and grows in places of love.
This is when you'll realize breasts are trivial in comparison to everything that awaits you in your future. I admit I'm still battling with these demons in my closet. Sometimes, the start to healing a wound is finding comfort in knowing you're not alone.