When I was in 8th grade I was wavering. I was in a battle between who people thought I was and who I wanted people to think I was. Mostly, I wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be desired and sought after. Back then I couldn’t care less if people thought I was smart. People knew I was smart and I was tired of playing that role. My entire life I had been told I was beautiful, but not by my peers. It perplexed me.
I remember being in my middle school Algebra I class with some of the more popular people in my grade. My teacher was the father of a girl I went to Kindergarten with. To this day I still have a photo of her at my 6th birthday party. When you live in a small desert community, people and places tend to connect. Alas, she is not the subject of this entry.
I did not develop physically as quickly as my peers, and looking at my mother, I probably wouldn’t ever. I started stuffing my bra in the 6th grade. I wore very padded bras and thin, sheer shirts. My bubble butt was definitely NOT evenly matched with the upstairs.
One day, I was wearing a beige, long sleeved shirt with a scoop neck. I felt comfortable and slightly sexy. The most popular boy at my school, whom I liked but felt more brother/sister with, was in my math class. I was flattered, and then embarrassed when he said, “You should wear a thicker bra, I can see your nipples.”
I laughed it off- if he only knew just how thick my bra actually was! It’s funny, the things we remember. I vividly remember this exchange. I remember the layout of the tables, the white boards to the front and side of the room, the teacher’s desk at the back of the room.
I know he was trying to save me from shame or whatever, but it was the opposite. The roundness he thought was nipple- was actually toilet paper. Looking back now, I wonder if he remembers this interaction. I wonder if he knew I was stuffing my bra and in his kind, brotherly way, he was trying give me a hint. Maybe he was warning me that he had caught on and it was better for him to pretend he hadn’t and break it to me this way.
I finally grew REAL boobs in high school. However, this simple, one minute conversation led to me start wondering why my self-esteem was so heavily based in what I thought other people thought- or what other people thought I should be and how all of that has led me through so many mistakes throughout the years.