How Going Braless Taught Me to Love My Flat Chest
By Thao Nguyen
I was a late bloomer. (Compared to most people, I didn’t even really bloom.) I’m still pretty flat chested, and when I was a preteen I was about as curvy as a ruler. Middle school was a tough time, and one memory that sticks out pretty clearly was when one of the popular girls laughed at me for not wearing a bra. That day, I immediately went home and begged my mom to take me to Target to get bras. Truthfully speaking, bras really weren’t necessary for me until I was in eighth grade, but until recently, I’ve worn one every day since that girl made fun of me.
Going braless never really crossed my mind. I was already self conscious about how small my boobs are sans push-up bra, so going out au naturel wasn’t appealing to me. In fact, my bad habit of slouching was a side effect of trying to bring as little attention to my chestal area as possible. The idea of standing tall with my chest out just made me cringe. But a few months ago, my physical therapist told me point blank, “you may be small chested, but you have to get a better bra. Those thin straps are pulling your muscles out of place, and that’s part of the reason your shoulder is so messed up.” I was humiliated, but I went out and got myself a more functional bra than the cute ones I’m used to wearing. The change was immediate. My back hurt less and the pain in my shoulder was greatly reduced. I figured that if wearing the right bra could make such a huge difference, wearing no bra would help me even more. So I took the plunge and stopped wearing a bra for a week.
At first, it was really uncomfortable. Feeling like everyone was staring at me, or like I was constantly at risk for a nip slip, I found myself constantly hugging my chest or pulling my cardigans tighter. But eventually, I got tired of adjusting all the time and just let things fly free. And it was liberating. My back and shoulders felt better than they had in years, and that translated to me feeling great. I was confident about my body and I wasn’t self conscious about my flat chest anymore -- I was too busy feeling pain-free to really be concerned with that anymore. I was comfortable in my own body, literally and figuratively, for the first time since that fateful day in the middles school. That feeling was amazing.
Since then, I’ve traded my bras for bralettes (it’s getting warmer and I want to wear t-shirts without poking someone’s eyes out). I still go braless from time to time, but that isn’t what’s important. My week of going sans bra taught me to love my boobs for what they were. I understood that wearing a push-up bra wasn’t doing anyone any favors, especially me. Boobs came in all shapes and sizes. It’s important we take care of them and make sure that the rest of our body is healthy. Doing things to make any part of our body more aesthetically pleasing is superfluous and harmful if it threatens our confidence and physical well-being. So if it takes being slightly self-conscious for a few days, take a chance to go natural and see if it helps you love yourself a little more.