I have always been a really petite, skinny girl.
The first time I can very clearly remember someone commenting on my body was in third grade, when I was sitting on a friend's lap and she told me I had a really bony butt. I didn't really get it. "So?"
The “bony butt” comments arose again in sixth grade, when we started changing clothes before and after PE and my body became a topic of discussion for more voluptuous 12 year olds. The commentary was never overtly negative, but it was a constant stream of, “So tiny,” and, “So many bones,” and, “No guy will ever be into that kind of body.” Again, these were 12 year olds.
For most of middle school, I had my sights set on pop stars, and real-life boys didn't impress me until I was around 16. So in tenth grade, when a particular boy made me his daily target by parading around the room before class, holding the front of his shirt over his chest to make two tiny triangles, I was surprised that all of a sudden, I cared. Apparently, this small boobs thing was going to follow me around for the rest of my life.
At the time, partially because I never said anything to my mom to indicate I might want otherwise, I was still sporting a training bra and Limited Too underwear -– it's what fit my body. I didn't care that my underwear was neon green and covered in purple and pink butterflies because I was too busy smearing body glitter all over my eyelids and pretending I was some kind of fairy, but a girl in my history class seemed to, and she made sure everyone knew about it. I ended up stealing a package of what I deemed “more grownup” underwear from Wal-Mart the next time my family went, and finally broke down/died of embarrassment and asked my mom to help me find a real bra.
Despite all of this drama, I still had a relatively okay high school experience. I clicked with the girl who is still my best friend, and suddenly it was a lot easier to just tune the body drama out. It didn't mean that I stopped comparing myself to other girls in the hallways and in general feeling insecure about my lack of boobs, but it did mean that I had a sister in small boob-hood, and everything felt better once I knew that. We amassed our collection of celebrities with small boobs for inspiration/body confidence (Kate Hudson, Keira Knightley).
Over time, I grew to actually like my small breasts. I discovered I had a ton of clothing options since I didn't have to decide how I felt about cleavage and my boobs weren't able to stretch any tops out too much. In the summer, I could get away with a sheer top and no bra without feeling like I was pushing some kind of boundary, because there's not that much going on there.
I do have a collection of push-up bras I bought at Target. The trouble with these is that I always feel like they're so obviously fake -– like any woman who has ever set foot in the intimates section of Target knows exactly what's really happening underneath my shirt.
I breastfed my son for 15 months and during that time grew ragey at my “new boobs” –- I couldn't get over how strange it felt to feel my boobs moving around so much when I did something as simple was walking across the room. To me, boobs that moved a lot were a totally foreign and uncomfortable phenomena. I distinctly remember discussing weaning our son with my husband, primarily so I could get back to not having to wear bras. When he finally weaned himself, I was aghast that between the stretching they endured and the shifting of tissue, it took around two years for my boobs to return to their pre-breastfeeding state.
I've learned a lot about what does and doesn't flatter my body. I know which styles will work with my small chest, and I try to abide by them. Even though there's not much to work with, I do want to celebrate what's there!
I'm happy to report that many a guy has been into my body since the ripe old age of 16. Now, as a 27-year-old woman, I'm really comfortable and happy with my body. It's not perfect (but we all know no one's is), but it's mine; it's the one I was born with, and it's the one I'll die with. This is me, small boobs and all.