I have symbolically marked a handful of dressing rooms with my tears.
One incident in particular that I'll never forget: sobbing with my mother in the Victoria's Secret dressing room after discovering that their largest bra still wasn't large enough to accommodate me.
I'm aware that to many a flat chested lady, this conundrum might seem like a petty one: poor you, your boobs are too big.
And I get that. I really do. But society and fashion alike spend so much time telling women of the limited spaces they're allowed to inhabit. Don't talk too loudly. Don't be too funny. Don't be too smart. Don't be above a certain size.
I was feeling the consequences of this confinement that day in Victoria's Secret. I felt large and unacceptable. I didn't fit.
It's taken me a long time to no longer care about fitting. Back in my caring days, I would avoid certain clothing because I was worried I'd look inappropriate. I would never, ever dare to go braless, despite my deep loathing for those overpriced boob prisons.
I spent so much time and energy each morning selecting clothing that would conceal and restrain me, because I was terrified of what people might think or say. I felt ashamed for being the size that I am. In my mind, there was too much of me, so it was my job to hide that as best I could.
I can't pinpoint exactly when or how it happened, but eventually, I got fed up. If my boobs bounce around while I'm running to catch the train, I'll let them. I take up this amount of space, and I'm not going to apologize for that. It's not going to stop me from buying a low cut shirt I love or going without a bra on a day when I can't be bothered to put one on.
I'm just not going to spend another second being ashamed for having a body. I don't want to cry in any more dressing rooms, unless it's because I'm overwhelmed by how incredible I look.
And if I have a daughter someday, I don't want to spend any time with her in a dressing room watching her cry because she feels that she exists outside of what's considered acceptable.
I love fashion, don't get me wrong. But I don't want to allow it, or the humans who determine what it is, dictate how I feel about myself anymore.
After all, self-assuredness is a fashion choice in itself.