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I Fucking Hate My Titties

I Fucking Hate My Titties

Man in black dress with a white line drawing of breasts on it poses in front of a pink wall

“I heard that if you hit them, they won’t grow as big.”

My sister said this nonchalantly, as though she hadn’t just walked in on me in my room, rolling around on the floor in an attempt to convince myself that I wasn’t really developing breasts. There was no what-are-you-doing, no you’re-a-freak, no I’m-telling-Mom — only a simple piece of advice, along with the unspoken fact that I was very, very queer and different from “normal girls” in a way that even I could barely begin to comprehend.

“Really?” Without a second thought, I hit myself across the chest as hard as I could. It hurt a bit, but the physical pain was drowned out by the thrilling idea that I may actually have found a way to stop my boobs from growing. “Sweet. I’ll try it from now on.”

I was starting to go through puberty, and while I was grateful for the sudden three-inch growth spurt, I was deeply in denial about the other things, like the fact that my mom had recently suggested to me in a trying-to-sound-casual-but-still-deeply-awkward tone that maybe it was time to go bra shopping.

My answer to that was an adamant “fuck no”. All of the bras I saw in stores seemed like they were designed to make one’s chest look bigger than it actually was. The thought of putting one on and actually wearing it around was about as appealing to me as purposefully sticking my foot into the fire ant nest in my backyard.

Actually, scratch that. I would have gladly stuck both feet, along with the rest of my body, into the nest if it meant that I wouldn’t have to grow boobs at all.

In many ways, I was lucky. I was almost fifteen and still mostly had the body of a prepubescent boy. I didn’t have my period yet — I not-so-secretly hoped I never would — and I easily looked three or four years younger than any of my female classmates. Still, though, there was a constant nagging thought that I was running on borrowed time. Sooner or later, I would “develop”, and then it would all be over. I had no idea what I would do once my body started to resemble a woman’s. Even thinking about it made me feel sick.

This seemed to be the direct opposite of what virtually every girl my age wanted. That summer, I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, a book about a girl who couldn’t wait to go through puberty. The fictional Margaret often prays to God for her boobs to get bigger and her period to arrive. I couldn’t stop laughing while reading it because, despite being raised in an athiest household, I too had started praying to whatever higher power would listen to me. I simply asked for the opposite of what Margaret wanted, begging them/her/him to let me stay a kid forever … but if I had to physically grow up, could they maybe swap curves for angles, exchange breast growth for a nice six-pack and a deeper voice, and give me another four or five inches so that I would continue to be eye-to-eye with my guy friends?

In case the higher powers weren’t listening, I did everything I possibly could to avoid becoming “womanly.” I created a routine: first, I would roll around the floor on my stomach a few times in the morning. If my mom walked in on me, I’d pretend that I was stretching my back. Then, I’d hop in the shower and smack myself as hard as I could in the chest, five times on each side, as I was rinsing off. At night, I would put on a tight tank top before getting into bed.

I did this until I was certain that I had stopped growing.

Unfortunately, this little routine didn’t completely stop my breasts from getting bigger. I loved going to the mall with my mom on the weekends; one day, when we were milling around my favorite stores, she suggested in that awkward-casual tone that we should check out Victoria’s Secret. I’d just gotten a new graphic tee, but all of the joy that had come with convincing my mom to buy me something instantly evaporated with the thought of going bra shopping. I felt the beginnings of a dysphoric phase start to bubble up and shook my head vigorously.

“Why not? I heard that they were very comfortable.”

“No thanks.” My voice cracked. “I don’t want to.”

My mom narrowed her eyes. “You have to.”

“But —”

She shot me a steely look. My mother was typically a very easygoing person, so whenever she got upset, I know that she meant business.

I sighed. “Fine. But I’m not promising that I’ll wear them.”

Into the dreaded store we went. The attendant by the door smiled and measured me with the tape measure hanging around her neck. I held my breath as she looped it around my chest, shooting off one last prayer-slash-desperate-request to whoever was listening that I wouldn’t grow much more than this.

“You’re a 30AA, which we don’t actually carry in-store.” The attendant paused for a second, thinking of a nice way to deliver the second part of her message. “You may want to try getting a training bra instead.”

She needn’t have worried about offending me. A huge smile spread across my face, and relief flooded every inch of my body. I had escaped this time! The boob-minimizing routine had paid off! I was home free! Praise be, maybe God did exist after all. I could barely restrain myself from skipping around the entire store with joy. It was one bright, shining moment of pure bliss after months of dysphoric denial.

To this day, I consider one of my greatest achievements to be the fact that I got through puberty without my boobs growing very much. As silly as it sounds, it’s one of the reasons I’m agnostic rather than atheist.

I may be a (very) proud member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, but the truth is that I don’t and have never wanted breasts at all. There have been exactly zero moments where I was glad to have them; there are hundreds, if not thousands, of times I’ve just wished that they could be gone. I think about alternate life paths a lot, and I wonder how much more I would have hated my body if it had not remained reminiscent of a prepubescent boy’s. How much more dysphoric would I be if I had a larger chest, or more pronounced secondary sex characteristics? Even my 30AAs gave me enough grief that I literally came up with a semi-harmful routine to deal.

As an adult, I still struggle with body dysmorphia almost every day. One of these days, a surgeon will remove my breast tissue and adjust the size of my nipples, thereby giving my chest a masculine appearance. I’m extremely lucky that I got through puberty as well as I did; for plenty of other trans kids, it’s the breaking point.

I constantly wonder about how all of this distress could have been avoided or largely mitigated, had I known the existence of others like me. At fourteen, I felt completely alone regarding my thoughts about puberty, often asking myself the same thing my mother did whenever I displayed distress on the matter — what was wrong with me? All the “other girls” were excited to grow up.

If you also fucking hate your titties because of your gender identity, you’re not alone, and my inbox is always open. ♚

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