Most people assume I must have been pretty popular growing up and I don’t know why. I assume it’s because I remind them of a cheerleader they’ve seen on tv or something.
I was the complete opposite growing up.
Growing up I was a theatre nerd. A theatre freak, nobody at my elementary school understood me or had the same taste in music. I am a child of the 90’s. It was all about Alternative Rock and Grunge. My friends listened mostly to bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Sublime, Green Day and No Doubt. They did not opt for Phantom Of The Opera or Into The Woods like I did.
Eponine from Les Miserables was my heroine and dream role. She was me, set to song. I related to her on so many levels.
The kids that I went to elementary school with, were far beyond their years. They were feeling each other up in the bathroom and obsessing about growing DDD boobs. I had a “boyfriend” in the 4th grade. I use the term “boyfriend” lightly as we never hung out and barely spoke.
Looking back, having a boyfriend or girlfriend at my school was more of a weird social experiment. It literally meant nothing. Kids would bounce from one fake relationship to the next. The boys would hang with their cliques and the girls with theirs, never to really interact with each other.
Anyway, my 4th grade boyfriend eventually broke up with me because I was, in his words, “A carpenters dream.” I had to ask one of the recess monitors what this meant.
I later inquired with the popular girl in school at the time, we’ll call her Tiffany Boner, for advice. I desperately wanted to be popular but had a track record of having only a few close best friends not a fleet of them. She blessed me with the wisdom that in order to be popular I must shop at Tilly’s and not Target.
I liked my Xhilaration tie-dye dress that my mom picked for me. But I knew that in order to be accepted by the cool kids, I would have to trade it for a pair of Dickies, a tank top and a bindi.
We must all look like tiny minions of Gwen Stefanie.
Of course this tank top wouldn’t do me any good because I was pre-pubescent and had no boobies.
Ah, Boobies. They were all the rage. When would they come in? How big will they be? I couldn’t wait. So I decided, the fall of my 6th grade year was when I would debut my new boobies but to do this I would need to stuff my bra.
And so I did.
And to my pleasant surprise, people liked me so much more!
I knew I couldn’t enjoy this too much. I knew the pit falls of this trick, I’d seen it too many times in tv shows and movies.
I would need to make sure the tissue was never more or less because then people would know my bra was filled with Cottonelle and not organic hormone grown breast tissue.
I took a lot of time alone in my room over the summer molding them, making sure they were the perfect size. I knew I had to re-use my wanna be VS chicken cutlets over and over again and they would need to stand the test of time.
Now that I have the perfect stuffers I would need the perfect bra.
I’ll never forget the moment I finally asked my Mom for that training bra. Naturally, it was on our way home from church and my entire family in the car. My Dad, Mom and 4 younger sisters.
“Can we go tomorrow?” I called out to my Mom from the back of our purple Dodge Caravan.
“Go where tomorrow?” my Dad asked my mom.
“She want’s to get a bra.” my Mom replied apologetically.
“For what? Her mosquito bites?!”
I was mortified. I never wanted to talk about bras or body parts ever again. And I certainly didn’t want to get caught red-handed with my DIY cotton inserts.
Hiding this from my parents was the biggest obstacle. I walked to school in the morning so putting the stuffers in wasn’t the problem, it was when my Mom picked me up.
Everyday after school, after I said goodbye to my friends, I would quietly excuse myself to the bathroom and into the bathroom stall. This is where I would read about who has felt up who, as it was inscribed all over the stall doors. I would gently take out my stuffers and place them in the front pocket on my navy blue JanSport backpack.
I would briskly go from the bathroom and straight into the family van waiting for me in front of the school’s assembly building.
All was going well until it happened.
One morning as I arrived at school I realized I had forgotten to put in my stuffers.
I frantically ran to the bathroom panicked but relieved I hadn’t bumped into kids yet from school yet. I desperately reached into the front pocket only to find that they were gone!
“No! This can’t be happening. I can’t be sure of the original size!”
If they’re too small, kids will certainly notice. I decided the only solution to this problem was to stuff my bra more. And so I did.
I walked around school all day, everyday for months with my much larger stuffed bra. And to my relief nobody suspected or said a thing. The popular boy, Derek Gibby even talked to me. It was thrilling.
Like an addict trying to ween myself off my stuffing addiction, I needed an exit plan. I knew that I could only stuff my bra to a point and then over time I would need to gradually phase the stuffing out.
I did this until my own “mosquito bites” caught up. And thank God they did.
I’m struggling with how to close this post. Perhaps I should include a sort of life lesson, like the end of an episode of Full House or Step By Step. But I don’t have one.
All I can do is reflect on the absolute bliss of being an adolecent, relishing and anticipating what the next year might bring. But we’re adults now and we don’t have that joy anymore.
But at least, we have our boobies.