I only stuffed my bra once.

Not bad for someone who for all of Junior High was mercilessly teased as being a carpenter's dream (flat as a board) in home room every day.

But growing up, these things certainly have their impact. Now, I didn't really care. I was one of those girls that was someone embarrassed of "growing up" when I was that age, and as it turns out, I was nothing more than a late bloomer...and I certainly did bloom (and proud of it!).

At 11 years old in 1981, the girls were divided into three parts: the bloomed, the bloomers, and the seedlings.
The bloomed had their own set of problems...for during a brief window, it almost seemed freakish. Kind of like that one boy in third grade with facial hair. I was always amazed at my classmates who had these enormous knockers and hips. The bloomers were the cool ones of the bunch...not too much and not too little. And then...then there were the little baby seedlings. And it was still all about Barbie and records and roller skating and Little House on the Prairie...makeup wasn't explored yet, boys--not even, and dragging a brush through my hair wasn't much of a thought. It wasn't that some of these girls were blossoming physically that made me feel insecure...it was that in a way I wanted to wear deep eyeliner too and tight blue jeans, have long flowing Farrah hair, and the boys flirt with me, just a little. But I didn't have the first idea how. Me with my little girl outfits and mousy, stringy hair and wire rimmed glasses. That was a tough year because I was happy being a seedling, and wasn't in a rush to grow up, but the bloomers increasingly grew mean--in hindsight, along with decreasing levels of their self-esteem. I felt like I couldn't win.

There was this one group of girls, who just a year prior, I had been part of. And within a summer, they all sprouted little egg bumps and blue eyeliner, with attitudes to match. I was like the excommunicated Heather. The day they made fun of me for that Holly Hobby smock scarred me for life. Of course, today, I'd either 1) laugh at them because their fashion sense is likely still stuck in that small town Kmart (not that there's anything wrong with that); 2) strike back with something ten times wittier and leave them sniveling in their little prissy pants; or 3) wear it with confidence, like the true bad-ass I soon came to be, yo.

I didn't much learn my lesson though, because one afternoon, my friend Stephanie recommended a truly wacky and daring idea. Rebellious even. What if we were to...stuff our bras and go hang out at Flanders playground? "Um," I said. "What bra?" (After all, I refused until the 8th grade to even put one near my body, I couldn't even talk about it. Now look at me!) She grabbed the roll of toilet paper and started ripping, "just stuff it in your shirt." Um, ok. So, I stuffed my shirt. I was hesitant about heading over to the haunted playground to swing with my new found toilet titties, but I went with it. What I did find appealing was the rush of rebellion it gave me. It felt so naughty and deliciously deceitful!

So, we get to the empty playground and hit the teeter totters for a big, bad round of "Farmer, Farmer." We push the envelope even further to be cool and start using swear words. You know. Like the A-word and the S-word and the F-word. Suddenly, I felt so grown up and alive and like a juvenile hitting the road to join The Runaways, emphasizing "fuck" with a sweet, naughty, staccato melody.

We were having fun in any case.

Until...until The Bloomers arrived. the same ones who had just that week ruined the chances of my ever putting another Holly Hobby item on my body again (thank God). Bloomer #1 had a cigarette. So, apparently, we were the baby posse once again. A cigarette. Very hot for an 11 year old, hell yeah. Foolish Trailertard. Bloomer #2 just sneered at me for a few moments. She then smirked and took great joy in pointing out that I had toilet paper hanging out of my shirt. Rinse. Repeat. Die of embarrassment. Well, as all denounced Heathers do, I had my day. Both Bloomers now stand approximately 12 inches shorter than I do, in all their trollness wonder. I'd rather be Holly Hobby than an Oompa Loompa. At least Holly can haul ass to the salon and get a makeover, once she grows up a little more. And not long after, I grew up a little more too. The next year brought on the Jordache and the eyeliner, and the roachclip feather in the hair, and lots of makeup, mom's perfume and jewelry. Of course, the Bloomers forever deemed me as weird, and if I walked by them today decked out in my Los Angeles boutique finest, I would probably still feel like they were snickering at me like I'm wearing a Holly Hobby smock.

Never stuffed my bra again after that. But, I was asked to. For a play my freshman year of high school. I was supposed to be a showgirl, and the director--as the Junior High boys loved to do--just felt it a necessity to pull out the carpenter's dream card, justifying it with, "you're supposed to be a showgirl. Get in the god damn bathroom now and stuff it with whatever you have to stuff it."

Stuff it? Stuff it? I was a little older now, and was sporting a bit of diva confidence, so I was having a princess fit--all dramatic and whatnot in the girls bathroom, furious that this asshole highschool teacher would have the nerve to ask me to "stuff it." I was happy and confident with whatever I had to work with, and this being a gay high school play, I was not about to go out on stage with toilet paper hanging out of my costume. If you want a big boobed showgirl, YOU put on the costume and shove stuff it!

There are times in our life when curiosity gets the best of us, or we want what others seem to have, or we simply want to fit in. Even now, well past the days of youth so long ago, I still won't compromise and stuff the proverbial bra...but I've learned in my old age that there is nothing wrong with a little padding here and there. Padding can only help support the lives we live lead, and having support is something one should never find shame in.

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Originally posted at Flibbertigibbet

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Tags: Bras, angst, body, childhood, feminism, image, nostalgia, self-esteem, teen, women

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