I’m giving you fair warning now – this will be a quite ranting post that will revolve a lot around body image and living within one’s body. I will not tolerate and do not need any fat-shaming comments here – anyone with negative comments have no business to pass judgment as they are not my health professional and have no business commenting on what they don’t know. Sorry to start off defensive, but I know how horrible people can be online. Like I’ve said on my About Me page, I want this to be a safe space to share my thoughts. I moderate negative comments anyway and will just delete them, but it’s still hurtful – so just be nice.
I’m not a small woman. I’m quite curvy and I have big boobs. I have sensory issues with clothing and I hate wearing underwired bras. I find them extremely uncomfortable because the wires poke the tender side areas of my boobs under my arms, the cleavage wires overlap and rub between my boobs because they’re too big/free-flowing to allow the gap the wires try to create, and the pressure of the wires under my boobs on my ribcage just feels restrictive and horrible. I have managed to find one brand of non-wired bra (which is not a maternity brand!!) which I like and I own a few of the same style; once you find something you like, stock up in case they discontinue it!! This gives me context for my swimsuit rant.
I have this one-piece swimsuit which I bought from Bravissimo (for bigger boobs) a few years ago. It is a non-wired swimsuit with a high strap along the back, which gives it a restricted ‘opening’ to climb into the suit at the top to pull up to get around my bottom and hips. I have grown weary of this because, after a workout around the gym, my sweaty body does not like being manipulated into this particular swimsuit, and Paul wonders why it takes me so long to come out to the pool when we’ve gone into our respective changing rooms at the same time. I explain that all he has to do is just strip and pull on his swim shorts – job done. I have more to take off and more of me to fit into this swimsuit. So I started searching online for plus size/big boob swimwear… the former does not necessarily cater to bigger boobs (just an amorphous shape with presumably small or amorphous boobs), and the latter does not necessarily cater to plus sizes (just skinnier bodies with ample bosoms). When I can find a site that meets both criteria, I rejoice… until I search for non-wired suits and get landed with one option (usually black) and they’re usually out of stock. Well, great.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally found a site where I could get a two-piece tankini type thing that fulfils my plus size and big boob criteria. I ended up buying tankini bottoms from a different site that I love, as they were on sale for £8, and bought the tankini top from this new site, as it was quite expensive on its own and it would have been nearly £100 for the two pieces from that new website alone.
Fast forward to when I received both parts in the post and tried them on – bottoms were fine, but the boobs had virtually no support. Looked at the tags for the top and it said “best worn with the [branded] swim bra”. Okayyyy… so I ordered that, thinking I’d give it a try, and it arrived yesterday. Well, it’s not one of those “put it on with the clasp at the front then turn it around” types, and it’s not exactly easy trying to connect two pieces of plastic smaller than a 50p coin behind your back!! I got so frustrated after a few minutes of missing that I actually screamed, threw it on the bed and walked out of the room. Paul offered to help me, and I said there was no point because he couldn’t help me in the locker room at the gym (and there’s no way in hell I’m asking a random stranger to assist either)!!
After a few minutes to cool down, I tried again and succeeded in getting it on… and I’m pretty sure it’s too big. I bought my bra size, but there’s excess fabric on the cups. Paul says it looks fine, but I’m not convinced. I put the tankini top over it, and try on the bottoms with it too… needless to say, I feel more girdled and trussed up than I did on our wedding day (and that was a Trinny & Susannah body shaper)!! I said that this was definitely not a swimming swimsuit, which Paul quipped, “well we don’t really swim-swim, do we? We tend to just float around.” I said, “that’s not the point – if I wanted to ‘swim-swim’, I’d like to be able to feel like I can move and breathe and not feel restricted by what I’m wearing.” Obviously one must expect that swimwear won’t be as forgiving as normal clothes, but come on – should I really feel like I can’t breathe?! I’ve decided to try the swimsuit out tonight with one of the Belvia stretchy bras underneath, as that isn’t quite as constrictive as the swim bra, and it should hopefully provide a smidge more support than the tankini top on its own. If successful, the swim bra is going back – £38 is a lot for a piece of swimwear that is potentially the wrong size and just not nice to wear. (Update from when I first started writing this – Belvia bra it is!)
Ultimately, my issue is that just because underwires make our boobs look good to those around us, we should not sacrifice our comfort for the sake of pleasing others. I strongly believe in comfort above style, and I think even if I didn’t have these sensory-type issues, I wouldn’t like wearing that type of bra. I’m a big supporter of Taryn Brumfitt and the Body Image Movement, and am all about EVERYONE loving their bodies regardless of shape or size, so the fact that I got so frustrated with my body and my boobs in particular last night, it was horrible, but it was also kind of okay because it wasn’t me feeling like society says I should look different, but that I’m just frustrated in myself, which I will work on, along with Paul’s support.
I wish to state that he is a supportive partner and wants to be healthier himself and wants to embark on this journey with me (we already go to the gym and Pilates together, we just need to improve things on the eating side); not once have I felt that he wants me to change or is pressuring me to lose weight.
I will admit this was a very ‘stream-of-consciousness’ post and I hope it makes sense… it’s not always easy to decant these frustrations in a coherent manner!