Growing up, I was the proverbial late bloomer.
All my peers hit puberty and suddenly woke up with luscious and perky bosoms. It was really annoying to have my buck-toothed and bespectacled classmates gloat about wearing their first training bras when the insides of my shirt would look like they were waiting for an angel's blessing.
So when the blessing finally arrived in middle school, I had way too much to catch up on. Especially when their handsome chests were slipping into the regular, cupped and silken bras, much to their delight and my chagrin.
You'll get there too, in your own time was my mother's response as I innocently asked her if something was wrong with me.
Looking at my reflection, there was so much that I didn't like. My stomach was tubby, my skin was a museum of acne and my hair was frizzier than a freshly washed poodle's mane. And while in my pool of insecurities, there were many wretched imperfections swimming shamelessly, the only fear that would keep me up at night was one where my breasts would never bloom further.
Such was my frustration that I would be tugging at them in the shower every day till they were raw, in hopes that by some miracle they would grow bigger, even if by an inch. Needless to say, that I had to stop hugging people after that.
By the time I was in college, I thought that I was at a better place with a decently sized chest. But being around other women and shapely bodies brought in the same feelings of inadequacy.
There were bigger bosoms, heaving cleavages, itty-bitty swaying hips and a perky booty that would spring with an enviable body confidence that I just couldn't find within me.
Shortly after, a friend helped me buy my first padded bra. With the moulded cups and the vice-grip on my chest from the underwire, notwithstanding, I finally had what I'd always wanted - a cleavage in all its jiggling awesomeness. I felt like I finally fit in.
One night, over ketchup sandwiches and Coke, my 38-DD friend confessed to wanting breasts like mine, because her back was perpetually tired of holding her enormous sweater puppies up. My 32-A and enviably sultry friend chimed in saying that she wanted to be as curvy as me because that way she wouldn't have to shop at the kid's section for clothes. And pretty soon with a bellyful of food and the company of equally vulnerable women, our deepest insecurities were unravelling, somewhat like this...
At that moment, I realised that we were all self-conscious of our bodies and we were constantly coveting what we couldn't have. That in spite of all our differences, our personal qualms with our "flawed" bodies, we were all in this together. And that was so comforting to know that I wasn't the only one with a body that didn't feel perfect.
See, that's the thing. We're so used to our ideas of physical perfection that we tend to reduce the person to a number, be it her weight or her bust size.
The penultimate truth that I'm trying to get at here is that insecurities run deep. Deeper and thicker than blood. They creep up when you least expect it and before you know it, it has made a permanent home in your mind.
You might not have the body you want. Your breasts might be lopsided, your hips too wide, your shoulders too narrow and your belly too flabby.
But it's everything that makes you... YOU! And, you're B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!
It's been 6 years since that night and after years of self-love and appreciation, I've finally learnt to love the skin I'm in. Yes, I still struggle with my weight. I still wish I had prettier hair, but that doesn't keep up at night anymore. What's more is that I've stopped viewing my breasts as something that should never see the light of day. I've learnt to take pride in my uniqueness, as should everyone else.
These days, my lingerie peeks through my shirt and I happily browse through Enamor to find lingerie pieces that celebrate my unique beauty. And speaking as someone who has only recently fallen in love with her body, it's heartening to have brands like Enamor understand what it feels to be unique in a sea of body types. Because at the end of the day, #WeAreAllFabulous