My sister no longer greets me with her customary, "You’re wearing my shirt." Now it's, "Jesus! Cover those things!" She can try on a blouse and look lovely and professional. I can try on the same blouse and look like it's going to pop the buttons off. I can no longer walk my dog in just a t-shirt and boxer shorts and expect to be invisible to passing motorists. Nope. I cause accidents. Not because fellas are gawking (maybe that too), but because I'm pretty sure my swaying sandbags cause wind gusts.
To be frank, I've gotten bigger. I moved away from the southwest, where I had mountains to hike and bad boys to impress, and came to St. Louis, where the humidity makes a girl feel like she's walking through a lake. Go running? Ha! Lemme suck on my asthma inhaler and settle back down on the porch. To make things worse, I landed in a neighborhood called The Hill, known for its authentic Italian restaurants on every corner. Oh! And I fell in love with a non-judgmental guy who likes to try new restaurants as much as I do. So, there's that. If happiness = heaviness, I'll take happiness.
Finally, there's my recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Helloooo, Middle Age! I wondered why I was exhausted all the time. Why I suddenly felt sluggish, enormous, and practically ancient. I thought I needed a career change, but what I really needed was a blood test and a daily supplement.
Read more: When You're a Week Late and Middle Aged
All of this I could deal with. I'm around 40 after all, and I'm mostly comfortable with who I am. I can work out and eat out without feeling that burning obsession to be a size four. I prefer shadow-boxing and yoga to running anyhow. But as the extra weight naturally gathered around my waistline, made a comfy little home in my tummy, and expanded out around my backside, it also found two lovely vacation bungalows in my boobs.
My bras don't fit, my beloved Clash t-shirt doesn't fit, my button-up go-to-work blouses don't fit... and every time I see a picture of myself in a high-necked shirt, I cringe. I look like I'm wearing an overstuffed loveseat on a chain around my neck.
So, last week I finally stopped avoiding the issue and went to get fitted for a new bra. I knew I wasn't a 36 anymore, so — maybe a 40? And I assumed I was a D or double-D. I was wrong. I'm a G. A 38-G! G as in gobsmacked. G as in goddamn ginormous. My dreams of ever being waif-like tinkled to the floor like broken bra hooks. I am a big-breasted middle-aged hippie lady.
The kind salesperson went out to gather a few bras in my real size, and I took a few deep breaths. I scolded that annoyingly shallow part of myself who constantly compares her body shape to others. I waved a final goodbye to my tomboyish, stick-shaped childhood self. Then, I called upon the spirit of my aunties, big-hearted, pear-shaped women who teach me every day how to accept myself and love unconditionally. I thought of all the coolest babes I know. Nearly all of them are body-accepting bad bitches who don't give a damn about their bra size, unless the straps start to pinch.
As the salesperson hooked me up and turned me toward the mirror, I closed my eyes briefly, then looked.
Oh!... Huh, OK, well, not so bad actually!
I wasn't as... saggy. My shoulders weren't slumped. I could see that hourglass again instead of just boob-and-belly. When I put my thin V-neck blouse on over the snug, black-lace bra, I looked... va-va-voom!
After spending the necessary bucks to have two or three bras that fit, I tried out this new body shape of mine. I wore a sundress with a low neckline. I snort-laughed at the men who glanced at my tits and, instead of feeling that younger-me need to either flaunt or hide, I simply walked away with a slightly-straighter posture.
What? It's a body. A body that is ready for ginormous living.
Holly Sinclair teaches young people in St. Louis, Missouri. She lives there with her faithful dog Gonzo and a hot lumbersexual named Chad.