There’s something about buying a bra that makes me burst out into a cold sweat. I’ve been wearing a bra for well over two decades now, but even still, the same anxieties linger every time I cross the threshold and enter into the land of the “unmentionables.”
For me, bra shopping is an unforgivable lesson in humility. A constant reminder of just what God didn’t see fit to give me.
When I was in high school, there was line of bras that specialized in offering half sizes in case you just weren’t quite able to fit in to a general size. From the outside this seemed like a great idea, but for me, it was torture.
Grabbing an array of bras in full and half sizes, I made my way somewhat confidently to the changing room; all the while secretly praying that I somehow would miraculously grow boobs in the two yards I was walking to go try them on. Of course, as fate would have it, I was not the Nearly B or even the Full A, but the lonely and pathetic Nearly A.
Nearly A? Is that even a size? It almost felt like someone was trying to politely say, “You’re really built like a boy and have no chance of ever getting boobs, but here’s a bra anyway girlfriend.”
I didn’t buy the Nearly A that day, but the stigma of being a Nearly A has stayed with me since. For years I would try and buy any bra that gave away the impression that I was anything but a Nearly A. I wore the miracle bras, gel-filled bras, the 97% padding 3% you bras. Push up, push down, push sideways, if it made me look like I had a chest, I was buying it. Yet no matter how hard I tried, I still felt like the Nearly A.
I wonder when we decided as women that the size of our breasts somehow became a barometer for the kind of person we are. As if the bigger my chest got, the nicer I was and the more people would like me. When you really think about it, it’s kind of silly.
But that’s what we do, isn’t it? We take the things like being the girl with small boobs, or the girl with freckles, or the girls with a big bootie and we turn it into this measuring stick of our character and ultimately our worth. This causes us to then live in this horrific shame cycle of statements like “Why can’t I be” or “If only I was.”
When we stop seeing the beauty and worth in who we are, we begin to instead measure ourselves by what we are not.
“I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” Psalm 139:14
Oftentimes it’s hard for us to look past all that we see in the mirror and grasp the true depth of beauty amongst the pimples, dimples, flab, and lack of curves. But ask yourself, if all you’re ever known and liked for is how you look on the outside, is that really an accurate picture of who you are? Of course not!
So what if I’m 32 and can still wear a training bra like it’s no joke? I’m also a loyal friend. So yeah, I got tummy flab that may or may not muffin top over a too tight pair of pants. But you know what? I also have a really great sense of humor. I love my kids, my husband, my God and my friends fiercely. I am honest and passionate. I am bold and at times ridiculous. None of these things can be seen and known by how well I fill out a bra or how good I look in a bikini. Being a Nearly A means nearly nothing when it comes to who I truly am.
There are still many days when I am that Nearly A girl. Days when I look in the mirror and tell myself that I am not, because I have not. Then I remember that His works are wonderful, which means I’m wonderful. My Nearly A body is Christ’s absolute perfect daughter. If He can see beyond what’s right in front of us, maybe we all should try and take a second look ourselves.