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  • Writer's pictureJessica Childs

Caught In a Bind

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Why would a cis-gendered, hetero-married female-person and mother bind her breasts? And an avid breastfeeding advocate to boot! I'll get to the why.....and I will also cover the YESSSSS! But first, the story.....

A while back, I attended a delicious evening of breast massage hosted by my unofficial mentor, Kimberly Johnson S.E.P., and co-led by two absolute shining stars in the field of bodywork, Mo Washburn and Pamela Samuelson. For all people with breasts: I cannot recommend this practice enough! This, in addition to Pelvic Floor Mapping with Carly Rae, gave me the guidance, support and permission to use my hands to explore my own body in a way that never felt safe or desirable beforehand. Can you imagine? I owned this hot, (mostly) female body for over 40 years and I had NEVER REALLY EXPLORED MY OWN BODY TISSUES IN MY "PRIVATE AREAS"!! It wasn't a conscious resistance. I had nothing against self touch or body parts. But when it came up, I was subconsciously repulsed by it and therefor, never did it. Cultural messaging around sex shame, body shame, cleanliness and purity had infiltrated my deep psyche and left me with a vibrator as my only solo-solace in this world. Honestly, until recently, I thought every one was repulsed by self-touch and their own body. I didn't realize it was a me thing. (insert shocked emoji) I was on zoom, squeezing and massaging and lymph-draining my breasts in community with other breast owners. I had no idea what to expect going in. I was just following my unofficial mentor into the great unknown. What I found behind the shame, repulsion and weird aversion to self-touch, were two really cool, soft, sensual, productive and capable breasts that loved to be handled and massaged! I mean, after a lifetime of being in a no-self-touch zone, I was enthralled with how good they felt! Both in my hands and from the inside out! And you know what else I found there? There was an intense buildup of scar tissue under my breasts where the wire of my bras had been infuriating my flesh for decades, totally unbeknownst to me.

As with many things that really hit home, I didn't know the experience had had an impact at first. Connections are often made in the space of the subconscious. So day by day, my subconscious started veering me in a new direction. I found myself choosing bra-less-ness more and more and showing up at the grocery store or the coffee shop freely swinging in the wind of my t-shirt. I loved the feeling of space and freedom! Having a damn good reason NOT to wear a bra, I was less inclined to feel embarrassed or self-conscious showing up in public braless. Self-care was secretly empowering! It turns out that my repulsion to self touch had transmuted into a revulsion to self-harm and this was all taking place in the the subconscious network of deep system learning. Nicely done, self.

But what, you might ask, does this have to do with binding my breasts?

Well, in the midst of all of this breast-discovery, I started noticing my breasts more. I noticed how they felt in different contexts and situations. Importantly, I suddenly became aware of how my sports bras felt every day when I put them on to exercise. Or rather, I started noticing how I FELT while wearing a sports bra. I hadn't been aware of it all of those years before, but damn. I felt like me when my breasts were held in close, tight and tidy in the embrace of a sports bra. I felt stronger, balanced, confident, feminine and far sexier. I felt more alive. I felt more real. I felt like I could run and talk and wash the dishes more like I was born to do. All of my life, I had worn the female-appropriate clothing that was prescribed to me, with all of its breast and butt enhancing technology, only to discover that I had walked my entire life so far in someone else's image. I had never given myself permission to feel my breasts, relate to them, bring them into my loving awareness and start to refine what me and my breasts felt like as a coherent whole!

It turns out I am a cis-gendered female who loves my boobs! And I also love to keep them close and tight to my body. The sports bra thing can only take you so far before constriction around the rib cage and breath becomes irritating. But leave it to the creative folx out there operating, designing and developing human-centered products to create the perfect look and feel for me. I've only tried a few brands and I am open to suggestions! But for now, I am TOTALLY LOVING my Girlfriend Collective binding bras in the Dylan and Lou styles. Pictured above is me in Dylan bra. Breathing freely, feeling like me. <3

I encourage you to explore yourself in whatever way seems to be uncharted. You might find yourself elated and surprised by what you find! And you may find yourself more at home than ever before.

As always, please share. Share your experience and thoughts in the comments. Share my words with any one who might resonate and feel in community by reading them. Give me a heart so I know you are out there.

Photo credit : Eric Childs

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