Now Reading
I Fucking Hate My Titties

I Fucking Hate My Titties

Mimi Nadia Chenyao | Fake and Basic

Content warning: The following discusses body dysmorphia, puberty, religion, secondary sex characteristics, and a few harmful things I did to keep dysphoria at bay. Hitting yourself very hard in the chest doesn’t actually stop breast development. I was a dumb kid; please use better judgment than I did.

Update: I changed my name from “Mimi” to “Marty” and started using he/him pronouns in July 2019. This article keeps the original “Mimi” and “she/her” self-references in order to maintain a sense of timeline.

“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.

We’re all religious when we really need something

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. [1] Still, though, there was always a nagging sensation 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 prayed to God for her boobs to get bigger and her period to arrive. [2] 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, give me another four or five inches so that I would continue to be eye-to-eye with my guy friends, and exchange breast growth for a nice six-pack and a deeper voice? [3]

A boy can dream, okay?

In case the higher powers weren’t listening, I did everything I possibly could to avoid becoming “womanly”. I implemented 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), and 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.

Victoria’s dirty little secret

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 had just bought 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 dysphoria start to bubble up and shook my head vigorously.

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

“No thanks.” My voice cracked with emotion, a clear giveaway that I was about to cry. “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 have only felt this way three other times in my life, and those times were when my crush said yes to going to prom with me, when I got into one of my top-choice colleges, and when I received an offer for a job I really wanted, respectively. That day, I wanted to skip around the entire store and revel in my happiness.

It was one bright, shining moment of pure bliss after months of dysphoric denial.

My mother still insisted on buying me a set of “practical” T-shirt bras in the smallest size that the store carried, claiming that I would “grow into them someday.” I was still so high from the fact that I didn’t actually need a bra that her insistence didn’t even faze me that much.

She handed me the pink-and-fuchsia striped bag as we walked out. It was a gorgeous package, but I held it like it was filled with radioactive material, swearing to myself that I would never wear them as long as I lived.

I couldn’t help myself. “Are there bras that make my boobs smaller?” I asked.

“Ai ya, what’s the problem with you?” she sighed in Chinese by way of response.

True to my word, I never did wear those bras. Eventually, my mom realized that I was serious about the smaller-boob thing, and reluctantly bought me a set of sports bras. I was delighted with these wonderful contraptions that made my chest look flatter than it actually was, and started wearing them to bed in lieu of the tank tops.

Cleavage is the devil; we sew to get rid of him

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 at all (as silly as it sounds, it’s one of the reasons I’m agnostic rather than atheist). However, a second problem quickly popped up after I started claiming dresses as my main fashion staple: the majority of pretty frocks out there showed a good amount of décolletage. Low-cut fronts, keyhole necklines, corset bodices — the fuck was with modern dress designers and their obsession with showing off their wearers’ titties? If the dress wasn’t blatantly showy, the top was extra tight so that the chest was extra pronounced.

I complained about this to my sister, whose personal style is pretty much the opposite of mine, and she mentioned that she enjoyed the low-cut styles that were currently in fashion.

“Ugh, ew,” was my reply. “I’d never. Cleavage is the devil.” [4]

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with low-cut tops, keyhole necklines, corset bodices, or showing off one’s assets in general. I always have and always will appreciate well-dressed femmes. Putting on those types of clothes just personally felt wrong on my own body, because they drew attention to the exact features I wanted to hide. [5]

I eventually found a way to sidestep the excess décolletage issue by teaching myself how to sew and alter dresses. I started off by shortening the straps so that once low-cut dresses would cover my chest completely, then graduated to taking in sides, removing padding, and ripping out boning. Nowadays, I can alter almost any dress to fit me, and most of the dresses I wear have been altered in some form or another.

Who knew that chest dysphoria could lead to me developing such a useful life skill?

Coming out on top

I may be a (very) proud member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, but the truth is that I don’t want — and never have wanted — breasts at all. I can recall exactly zero moments where I was glad to have them and can think of hundreds, if not thousands, of times I’ve just wished that they could be gone.

This is, by the way, the reason why you’ll most likely never see me in any revealing clothes, ever — not because I don’t approve of sexy outfits, but because any article of clothing that emphasizes my boobs makes me dysphoric as all hell. I will wear this to the club, thank you very much.

Now that I’m an adult, I can finally make that wish come true. I have chosen to get FTM top surgery, which is when one’s breasts are removed, giving their chest a masculine appearance. I haven’t set an exact date yet — there’s a lot of logistical things that need to be figured out and still more research to be done — but I am certain that this is happening. I’ll cover both the logistical and your inevitable curiosity questions in future posts, and when I go through surgery, you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll let you know all about it.

Invisible dysphoria is still dysphoria

I think about alternate life paths a lot, and wonder how much more I would have hated my body if it had not remained reminiscent of a prepubescent boy’s. [6] A lot of people have asked me why I don’t have more body dysmorphia than I do, and I’m fairly certain that the answer is more nuanced than it seems. 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 psychologically calm myself down, so I’m pretty sure I would have been significantly impacted.

So there you have it — my long and complicated relationship with my breasts. I’ve honestly wanted them gone before they even came into my life, and I can’t wait until the day that I can look down and see a nice, contoured flat chest. I’m all too aware that I don’t present myself like the average trans guy would, but this does not make my dysphoria any less legitimate.

I still struggle with body dysmorphia almost every day as an adult. It’s an issue I take extremely seriously, especially since a lot of gender-nonconforming trans people are singled out and attacked online for not having “enough” dysphoria.

Just because you don’t see dysphoria, whether that be bodily or social, doesn’t mean that it’s not there. 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. The stories recounted above are only a small sample of the distress I went through from my breasts alone. There are plenty of others who suffer from dysphoria from all other parts of their bodies.

In addition to thinking about alternate realities, 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.

It’s my hope that by speaking out, other trans people will be able to share their less-than-pretty experiences as well, thus contributing to the idea that there is more than one way to be trans and countless different ways that one can experience dysphoria.

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

Notes

[1] This part is actually still true.

[2] Book idea: A parody called Are You There God? It’s Me, Mimi, a book about an assigned-female-at-birth teenager who is terrified to go through puberty. It won’t be autobiographical at all! What the fuck are you trying to insinuate? ????

[3] I’m laughing as I write this, because I was also deeply in denial at the time about my gender and sexuality. I was so adamant that I was straight and cisgender, mostly because I knew the truth deep down and was afraid to shed light on it.

[4] I mean … it’s fucking true. To this day, my sister still laughs every time I’m uncomfortable with a dress because of its neckline-exposing properties and says “cleavage is the devil.”

[5] I was once with a guy who liked to neg me about the size of my chest, saying that they were “much smaller than what [he] was used to.” The joke was on him; the comment actually raised my confidence. I thanked him for it after I dumped him.

[6] Will this speculation be covered in a future post? Only time will tell. ????

View Comments (2)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2019 by Marty Noel Chenyao
Scroll To Top