My boobs don't define me.
I like to joke about to my boobs.
I think any funny woman with big boobs does.
When they don't fit into certain tops, I like to joke that it is like trying to contain Jabba The Hut.
Other times I will give my big boobs names, "This is Frances Gunderson, and this is Chloe LeMain," I'll say, apparently having had one too many gin and tonics.
If I'm putting on a sports bra I almost always mutter to myself that the time has come to "wrangle the girls."
I realized recently that while I am a huge proponent of loving your body, and that self-acceptance is super important to me, I never think of my big boobs as really being a part of who I am.
I think that's because of something that happened when I was still in elementary school.
I developed really early and really awkwardly. Suffice it to say I did not have very high self-esteem.
My boobs didn't come in all at once, they came in one after the other. "Like popcorn kernels," my mother said when I worried that my left boob would never make its presence known.
I was the first one of my peers to wear a bra, and it wasn't because I wanted one, it was because I needed one.
I bypassed training bras altogether and went straight to the "rack 'em high, strap 'em on" section of the lingerie department.
I wasn't proud of my developing body, I was mortified by it.
Men on the street were suddenly asking me if they could walk with me when I went to the candy store.
My mom sent me inside a 7-11 to pay for gas and was horrified when a man smoking outside told her ten year-old that she was a "red hot mama".
And fair enough.
This didn't bother me because these weren't people who knew me.
I figured that as long as the boys I went to school with hadn't noticed anything, I'd be fine. So I wore big shirts, and I slouched.
Then it happened.
Christiano was the class heartthrob. He also developed early, if the mouse hairs on his upper lip count. He had a pierced ear and easily went through an entire bottle of Dep gel a week, styling his hair into perfect spikes.
He sat behind me in class and we never spoke, not really.
Then, one day not long after I started wearing bras, he tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around.
"Are you a turtle?" Asked Christiano. Baffled, I shook my head.
"THEN WHY DO YOU SNAP!" He yelled, snapping the back of my bra as hard as he could.
The class erupted into laughter and I learned, sadly, that it is impossible to kill someone using only the power of your glower (glower power, if you will.)
He made a roomful of people laugh at me by reminding them that I had boobs. I wanted to die. Die or murder. And neither were reasonable or remotely possible.
So I did one better.
I went out of my way to make sure that everyone knew about my boobs before someone else could make fun of me for having them.
During dodge ball during gym class I'd melodramatically swoon if a ball hit my boobs, "My chesticles!" I'd cry out, as the rest of the kids laughed uproariously.
I wasn't making fun of myself, I was making fun of boobs and they surely had nothing to do with me.
This way of relating to my body hasn't changed. Even now, when I pride myself on being a vocal proponent of body acceptance, I'm the first person to make a joke about my boobs.
It doesn't mean I hate my body, but it's a memory of a time when I was so uncomfortable in my skin that I would have done anything to get out of it.
When I make jokes about my boobs now, I try to think before I do it. Why am I making this joke? Is it because I'm shy? Is it because I feel uncomfortable? Is it because I feel insecure?
I don't always know the answer, but when I do, and it's one of the latter, I try to keep my mouth shut.
It's true that people don't often make fun of me for the size of my boobs anymore. But I doubt that I'll ever fully look at my big boobs as something to be proud of, and not a weakness and embarrassment that I have to acknowledge before somebody else gets the chance.