A Celebration of My Body, Before my Breast Reduction (NSFW)

New York, NY – On the eve of my breast reduction, I shared my personal story about my decision and also a personal photoshoot embracing my pre-op body. Since sharing, I’ve connected with so many women! Thank you for all the love and support and for sharing your experiences with me! Below is a repost from my blog (also reposted on Huffington Post).

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I love my body. I believe my body is a magnificent work of art — a canvas painted brown, stroked with curves, accented with dimples and decorated with stretch marks.  As author Rainbow Rowell penned in her novel Eleanor & Park, “She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” Some days I don’t know how to feel about this work of art. There are times my reflection empowers me and there are times I’m overly critical. Today I want to celebrate this body of work because soon it will be just a memory — actually, it will soon just be photographs. I’m getting a breast reduction in a few days.

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Last year, I made the decision to get a breast reduction due to years of severe back and neck pains. I feel like I’ll be entering a new chapter because my breasts have been a part of who I am for so long. They have affected my work, the way I view myself, my relationship with the world, my love life — everything. If it wasn’t for the unbearable pain, I would live with them ( horrible fitting room moments and all) forever. It took me so long to realize the beauty of my “imperfections” and I wanted to capture this moment of my life and transform it into art. I partnered with NYC artist and photographer, Justin J, to do a personal photoshoot celebrating my giant breasts in all their glory.

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It was not easy getting nude for the camera. My breasts, though I love them, are one of my biggest insecurities (no pun intended). I never had the universally accepted small perky boobs that the world seems to love so much. I have heavy large breasts that don’t sit up sky high. Even with previous lovers, I would shy away from baring my breasts — no matter how enthusiastic they were about my body. Now, I was in front of a camera naked, attempting to model. It took some time but I eventually got comfortable. I realized it was a symbolism of my relationship with my body.

Puberty hit me really early. I was 9-years old when I got my first training bra. By the time I was 11-years-old, I had already started wearing women’s bras. I was a DD cup by 13. Like any girl, my adolescence was nothing short of awkwardness. I related to my peers with all the awful stages of puberty, except for the two huge issues I seemed to deal with alone. Inappropriate attention from grown men,  junior clothing that made me look anything but innocent, nasty comments from classmates, futile attempts at finding swimwear (bonus points if I found a top and bottom that matched), the challenge of finding prom/dance gowns that would work with my heavy duty grandma brassieres, the constant involuntary unbuttoning of my catholic school uniform shirt, the non-stop arguing with my strict mother assuring her that I was not (and will not become) promiscuous, and the gawking from colleagues, were just a few of my many big boob problems. I remember often feeling shameful and embarrassed. I remember hiding. Breasts, the two things I wanted so bad when I was a little girl watching Janet Jackson music videos, became my nightmare.

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Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to having a giant bust that takes up most of my curvy 5’1 frame. For 17 years, my reality has been neck pain, backaches, and sweaty boobs in the summer. Despite the discomfort, I learned to love my boobs just the way they are. In a few days I’ll have to learn to love a new set of boobs. I will have to learn how to love a completely new body and a completely new figure. After 17 years, I’ll have to look myself in the mirror and start this love process all over again.

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Although I’ve come to find the beauty of my body, the past few years have been quite difficult, as my breasts decided to keep growing. These days, I can barely stand for longer than 40 minutes because of the pressure my bust puts on my back. I’ve tried every other way to relieve the pain: exercise (which is nearly difficult when you have God given weights attached to your chest), weight loss ( I got down to a size 8 but my large boobs were invincible), and “better” bras which were basically teflon vests. I am now ready to take the advice my doctors have been giving me for years — a reduction. I’ve only heard about and come across good testimonials about the surgery.  So many women are grateful to have gone through with it. In the name of health, I bravely make this tough decision — a decision that has taken me over a decade to make.

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I celebrate my body the way it is and the way it will be. My nude shoot was one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more beautiful.
Special thanks to photographer Justin J for bringing my vision to life. You can see more of his amazing work by visiting his website.

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  • Phil

    What an incredibly beautiful woman……….you have that rare combination of having everything that a man finds desirable and is in perfect harmony. I feel bad that your self esteem never allowed you to openly display the perfection that is you. I am also sorry you have suffered so long in both body and spirit……that should never have happened…….you are special just as you are……..the surgery will make you just another creation of a society that objectifies women as objects for sexual gratification rather than the gratification of the mind and soul……sigh….I wish I had known you in an earlier time.

    • Phil, you opening your comment with how my body has “everything a man finds desirable” is you objectifying my body for your own sexuality gratification. My body does not exist for your desires, your pleasure, your approval, or anyone else’s. My body is for me and it belongs to me. If I am having health issues, I deal with it accordingly. It took MY gratification of mind and soul for me to make MY decision about MY body and I couldn’t be happier! I have had my surgery already my health has improved significantly. I am more than my curves and certainly worth more than what men think of my body. I hope this brings clarity for you. I hope this sparks a self awareness of how you view women and how you tried to rob agency of my body. This story has been so freeing to me and a great help to women going through this situation. I spoke to women with breast cancer and both men and women dealing with issues of body image and health. Imagine how it must feel to have someone shame you for getting a medical surgery just because society told you that your pain looks sexy. Imagine the women getting mastectomies. Believe me, your body has more to do than sexual pleasure for someone else. Sigh, I wish someone had informed you of this at an earlier time. God bless your heart, Phil.

      • Phil

        People seem so disappointed in what was given to them and is theirs only for such a short time and then social madness forces them to carve, paint,decorate and objectify themselves as something they are not. I understand why you did it, I was merely saying that when a man looks at a woman and only sees breasts then he is doing you an injustice and insulting your personal integrity. When society holds up the wrong image for women to compare themselves to then society is to blame. I was merely complimenting you on something you had, not trying to express anything other than the truth……I can tell someone I like their car but it does not mean I want the car nor covet it…..it was an observatory compliment that made me express the thought……..nothing more….nothing less.

      • John Freeman

        Why are the most beautiful women so nuts. No beautiful lady your body was made to be desirable to a man.

      • Rachel Pearson

        He said you, not your body. It’s a beautiful compliment and is unfortunate that you can’t just say thank you. He didn’t objectify you; he showed appreciation for you, and again, not your body, but YOU. And if you don’t want commentary on your body…in a post that is about your body, maybe don’t post nudes.