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Why on some days I hate my body – or my Genderqueer life

It’s not a secret that my knees are painful, constantly. The pain amount varies from day to day. Sometimes my ankles and wrists and fingers will join in on the fun. But this isn’t about my arthritis. This post is about something that is often taboo and yet at the same time constantly talked about. Breasts. If the idea of this makes you uncomfortable, step away now.

Today is one of those days where I seriously wish I could chop off my breasts. I have them more often than I’d like to admit and I have done ever since they started growing. My breasts just shouldn’t be there. That’s the brunt of this. Others at my all girls secondary were so happy to see their bodies changing. I’d hear conversations in the locker room before and after P.E. about what bra sizes were being worn or how they were so happy that they had gone up a cup size. And there was me, a D cup from the age of 13, who just wanted to chop them off and have done with them. I never asked for these things to grow, and I certainly never wanted to inherit my mum’s breasts. Women on that side of the family just don’t do small when it comes to breast size.

I’d hide them as best I could, and I still do. Big baggy jumpers and t-shirts that are at least a size if not two larger than society says I should be wearing, sports bras that compress them just a little (although never enough). I’ve tried ace bandages but that restricted my asthmatic breathing too much. I’m looking at finding the perfect binder. One that accommodates my now D to E cups (yes the menstrual cycle can mess with sizes that much). In all honesty the moment I started growing breasts, I felt like Nature hadn’t held up her end of the bargain. Why give me these things when I’m not a girl? Nature knows I’m not male or female, so why was I cast this hand?

I prayed that my breasts would be magically gone when I woke up in the morning. I tried bargaining with God. I wanted to take a knife to them as a teenager. I’ve gotten over that last part (mostly), but I still find myself praying they won’t be there on waking. I’ve never fit the gender binary, why can’t I just have the body that represents who I am without paying a fortune in surgery costs? Let’s face it, they’ll never give me a double mastectomy on the NHS.

I went through a period in my early to mid twenties where I tried to get comfortable with them. I wore tops that accentuated them, I showed them off (not completely but you get the picture), and for the most part I fooled myself with the feminine attitude I was trying to convey, but still at night, those thoughts came back, ‘please God just make them disappear overnight, please? I’ll do anything. Just let them go, I can’t take the back ache they cause, I can’t stand looking at myself naked in a mirror, please God, just make them go.’ Of course on waking they were still there, and the disappointment would be here when I had to put a bra on under my work clothes as I go ready for a day’s employment.

I’ve reached a stage where putting a bra on is automatic. With the sports bras I now wear, I don’t have to fuss with which one makes my breasts more comfortable, I don’t have to deal with under wire sticking in, but I do have the comfort that my back is at least partially supported from the weight of the two things I never wanted in the first place and would love to return.

I’ve had other women tell me that I’m lucky to have the cleavage and the breast size they would kill for, honestly I’d prefer to be smaller at the very least. If I could donate my breasts to them I would. When I worked backstage at Cosmo, I envied the drag queens I worked with, my Fairy Godfathers, who could literally take off a bra and gone were the breasts. I loved hearing conversations that involved snippets like ‘Who hid my breasts?’, and I wished it was that simple for me.  And there in lies the problem. The body I had pre-puberty is the one I wanted, expected, to have my entire life. I had convinced myself I wouldn’t grow breasts. That couldn’t happen to me, no. God and Nature wouldn’t do that to me. I was perfect as I was. But sadly there were other plans afoot for my body. Ones I couldn’t control and ones that I had no part in making.

The point of this post? I needed to air my frustrations, but also, maybe, if you’ve read it, you’ll stop before you compare the breast sizes of women and show envy. Small, large, lopsided, whatever, we all have issues with our bodies and our breasts that as we age, we don’t discuss.  My issues have never changed. My sex and my gender haven’t aligned since before puberty. And whilst I can jokingly tell my friends that they can have my breasts if they want, they never see the fact that I’m being as brutally honest as I can be behind the laughter.

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