As I mentioned earlier, I've lost a substantial amount of weight (enough to make my major issue when running water loss instead of joint/hip pain - AMAZING!). This has left my closet in a sad state of disrepair - I'm losing weight at just the right rate where I only own 2 pairs of pants that fit right (because I'm shrinking out of them at the rate I wear them out), and I continue to try to wear clothes that are 1 to 3 sizes too big for me. Except there's a couple catches: my old dresses no longer fit or even flatter, my work shirts sag in such a way that I show too much cleavage/bra (even with a plunge bra), and all of this needs a lot of denial behind it.
So, I resolved to change this. I recently met a young woman, B, who is also large-cupped. We got to the point where we were talking about our bodies, how hard it is to find clothes, and I asked her what her bra size was. 36G, the perfect size for all of my clothes. We set up a clothing exchange date with a mutual friend of ours, A, at my place.
The night before, I went through my closet, tried things on, set aside everything, including lots and lots of bras. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I love those clothes and bras because they helped me better understand my body, my boobs, and learn to love myself. I hoped they could do the same for someone else.
Come day of, both the fantastic ladies arrive and we had a nice time hanging out, chatting etc. After an hour or so, we headed to my bedroom to start the clothing marathon. I had no idea what I was getting into, or just how transformative it would be for all of us.
I handed B a stack of my old 36G bras, some barely worn, others very worn, told her that whichever ones she liked and fit were hers to keep. It turned out she'd never owned a bra that fit. I'd expected never owning clothing tailored to her body, but never owning a proper bra? I felt like a Fairy Bra Mother, though a poor one with what I had to offer.
B was over the moon about how good she looked in the clothes. A and I were both delighted each time she emerged from my closet in something new - everything looked so amazing on her body. In the end, I gave B about 3 full shopping bags worth of clothing and bras - things that I no longer used, but I knew that she not only would use, but needed.
While B was trying on clothes in my closet, I casually asked A her bra size. 36DD my ass. I asked if she was up for getting measured, she said yes. So I whipped out my trusty tape measure and after getting her measurements, I dug through some of my bras and asked if she'd be willing to try it on. She said why not, and gave it go. The bra was a Panache tango plunge that never quite fit me right after my initial fitting in it. But it fit A perfectly. The bra was a 32G, a far cry from a 36DD. I think we were both in shock for a moment. A wrapping her head around the new bra size, and me because I suddenly had a friend who wears a very similar bra size. I grabbed my Pinup Girl Jessica and Heidi dresses from my closet for A to try on - perfect fits. They currently fit me as well, but I told A to let me know if she wanted to borrow a dress or a top. Turned out she has a formal coming up, and needed a dress for it. It was exciting to see her confronted, for the first time in her life, with a choice between well-fitting dresses. There's a sense of being overwhelmed, of joy, and of wonder. To feel you have a choice is to be empowered.
From my perspective, I just helped two amazing ladies better appreciate and understand their bodies. I gave them the power to dress well, and opened the door to important, life-altering options. But even more than that, I also helped myself. I think we all hold onto things we don't need to hold onto. I was holding onto clothing and bras in this case. Things that didn't fit, or sort of fit, clothing I tried to fake my way in. I was holding onto things because they were such a huge part of my life - my college graduation dress, the shirt I taught my first class in, my first properly fitted bras. But, holding onto items doesn't give them power. It just gives them power over me, and began to impair my own life. They create decisions and impediments, rather than preserving memories. At that point, it was time to let go and move on.
I'm still a little raw from giving away those clothes. I know it needed to happen. On the other hand, I still cannot get over how incredibly happy B was each time she came out in a new piece of clothing. Or the look on A's face when she tried on the dresses. To empower other women was an amazing experience and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.