A lot of teens worry about the fact that they don’t have boobs yet.
I spent many a PE class reassuring one of my friends that just because she had a chest like an ironing board, it didn’t mean that it’d stay that way forever – and that even if it did, it didn’t matter, because Sian Hughes from the year above didn’t have big boobs either and she was the living embodiment of the heart-eyes emoji. AA-cup anxiety affected a fair chunk of the girls in my year, and I was always sympathetic. It’s no fun having a body that won’t behave the way you want it to.
But that being said, I found it hard to really empathise with the flat-chested girls… because boobs exploded out of my chest at 11 like a puberty bomb had gone off inside me, and nothing has been the same since.
I’m not exaggerating. It happened overnight. My auntie went away for a week during boobageddon and her first words when she came through the door were “Where did those come from?!”. The training bra I’d been wearing for a month or so was a little loose on the Tuesday but wouldn’t do up on the Wednesday. I had to wear one of my mum’s blouses to school because my school shirt didn’t do up over my newly boobalicious body.
Not having a bra to control my brand new bosoms, I spent the rest of the week walking around with my arms crossed so that they didn’t bounce away from me and take out a passing cyclist. First thing on Saturday, my mum and I went to Debenhams to get me fitted for a proper bra; I’d gone from an AA to a B cup in five days.
Initially, I was delighted. I bought the prettiest bras I could find and spent ages dancing around in front of the mirror in them. I had a sleepover with my friends and let them try them on, stuffing the empty cups with loo roll. I doled out sage advice to schoolmates because, as I now had breasts, I was clearly a more mature and worldly person. It was wonderful.
Until it wasn’t. Not only did my boobs arrive in a spectacular and sudden fashion, they also decided that they quite liked it out in the great wide world – and so they kept growing. And growing. And growing.
By the time I was 15, I was an F Cup. I had been taken aside by a PE teacher and quietly told I might want to buy a sports bra. My friends who had smaller boobs were able to wear strappy or bandeau tops because they didn’t need to worry about a bra, whereas if I went braless I felt like my boobs had a mind of their own, energetically swing-dancing away with each other as I walked down the street.
My boobs also made me a target for bullies. I once overheard a girl in a geography lesson telling a boy I fancied that the only reason I had big boobs was because I was so chubby – that they weren’t real boobs, they were “just extra fat”. I wish I could go back to that lesson and ask her two things – firstly, what did it matter if I was chubby? Secondly, what the hell did she think boobs were? Newsflash: they’re made of fat! Not special glamorous rainbow fat – the same stuff we have on our thighs and our tummies and all over our bodies. Ridiculous.
But there were good points about having big boobs, too. My mum took me to the grown-up shops to find clothes that fit my new body, so I ended up in adult fashion that my friends wouldn’t get their hands on for years. And some of those clothes looked great on me – true, I avoided boob tubes, but no-one in my year could fill out a vintage 50s dress like I did.
These days I’m a size GG, although I’ve been as big as a J cup. My bra size goes up and down depending on my weight, where in my menstrual cycle I am, and sometimes just because they feel like it. I spent years worrying about my boobs when I was a teenager, but as an adult we’ve become friends. I treat them to expensive, well-fitting bras and in return get to look amazing in a V-neck shirt.
Also, there’s no denying that boobs are kind of nice. They’re squishy and soft and warm, and the weight of them on my chest has been oddly comforting when doing scary new things, like starting a new school or going on my first date. They’re an excellent place to store your keys/lipbalm/phone, and occasionally I drop my lunch down there and it becomes a delicious surprise afternoon snack.
My breast size doesn’t make me more or less attractive than anyone else and I’d have a whole host of different challenges and perks (lol) if I was flat chested. Whether your boobs are big or small doesn’t make you better or worse, it just makes you different.
Now, I love my boobs. I love the way they jiggle when I’m dancing with my friends, and I give the cuddliest hugs because I have what is essentially two enormous pillows strapped to my front. They keep me warm in winter and act as handy flotation devices when I’m swimming in summer.
And I still think no-one looks better in a 50s-style dress than me.
Image: Katie Edmunds