Raised on the books of the great Judy Blume, 13-year-old me held getting my period and buying my first bra to very high expectations. Now as a 24 year-old-woman, I would tell my younger self that menstruation isn’t all that fun, and that our first bra-buying experience wasn't the end all be all of our self-love.
The memory of buying my first bra is still clear in my mind.
You see, I was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease). This not only means my bones are more susceptible to fractures but that my body developed differently. With uneven shoulders and a barreled chest, most garments weren’t really made for me. Still, the excitement of buying my first bra clouded my naive mind from any harsh realizations. When 13-year-old me went to try on that bra, the uniqueness of my body was glaring. But, instead of getting upset with the style of the bra, I got upset with my body. My body didn't look "normal". My body didn't act "normal." My body seemed wrong.
At that moment, I didn’t have the ideal experience that I built up in my head. And that bra wasn’t going to be the only piece of garment to make me feel flawed. Deep inside, though, I knew I couldn’t let this industry make me feel this way. I couldn’t let these erroneous beliefs destroy how I viewed myself.
Today, I am proud to say that I love my body a lot more than I did back then. I've learned that there’s no “normal.” That everyone's body is different and that the difference doesn’t lessen the beauty of it. Or invalidate the celebration of it. Of course, my self-love didn’t happen overnight. It took work and it still takes work. Setbacks still occur, and in those moments, I remind myself that this is the only body I’ll ever have. It’s beautiful, it’s mine, and together we have experienced some pretty great things. That’s just a small part of a bigger picture, however. Seeing other disabled women and brands like liberare.co celebrate disabled bodies helps with my confidence immensely. To see functional, cute undergarments accessible to disabled women gives me hope about the future of the fashion industry. It gives me hope that young, disabled women won't have to face moments that try to invalidate their beauty.
Indeed, I can’t go back and change what I experienced as a teen. But I can support a movement that squashes those negative experiences and makes room for positive ones.
Written by our contributor: Faythann Fallon, 24, Instagram: @fayfallon
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