For women that are well-endowed up top, it sometimes seems ludicrous to think of reducing what is perceived as a gift from God: a full bosom. However, I was genetically handpicked to be part of the big titty committee while in puberty, getting fit for my first big girl bra at a C-cup, and reaching an H-cup in adulthood.
Yes, you read that right, and that cup size is beyond a DDD and GG! So I can attest that it didn't make it less heavy just because I carried the load well. After many attempts to naturally reduce my breast size by exercising, eating healthy, and spending a lot of money on high-quality bras that lifted my breasts and minimized their massive appearance, I felt tired.
I was tired of wearing the same shirt as a person with a moderate breast size but being perceived as “sexually suggestive” because of my unintentional overflowing cleavage. I was tired of wearing two bras to enjoy a workout without bouncing all over the place while straining my shoulders. I was exhausted from putting in much work to lose weight and still appeared heavier than I was because of my breast size.
I can go on and on, but I am not a breast preacher, just merely a woman who understood that the growth and appearance of my breasts naturally was not something I could control. However, the appearance, size, and shape of my breasts were something that I could take steps to change with assistance.
My Breast Reduction Journey
Google was my worst enemy at first, with the image search giving my skeptical brain too many images of before and after results without much context and respect for the fact that the world of surgery is constantly moving forward. Someone's results and experiences from 2010 aren’t necessarily reflective of surgeons' access to the techniques and technology of today. After a recommendation from my mom, I made an account on RealSelf, an excellent resource for people interested in getting unbiased information on cosmetic procedures.
This tool was most helpful because I could see unpaid and honest reviews and experiences from real people in real-time who shared the good, the bad, and the ugly of their breast reduction journey. Most importantly, the site gave me the contact information of doctors in my area with great reviews allowing me to book a real-life consultation and have the whole process explained to me by a medical professional.
This step was crucial because, as they say, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So I printed out a "wish pic" of perky boobies and headed to the surgeon's office. The consultation was free and my surgeon was fantastic and informative.
What To Know About Getting a Breast Reduction
Breast reduction surgery can be a medically necessary surgery. Whether it is or not depends on factors like the pain experienced, the length of the breast tissue, and the height of the person interested. In my case, I was diagnosed with breast hypertrophy, which is just the overgrowth of breast tissue caused by many factors like hormones and genetics.
When measuring for a breast reduction, it's hard for a doctor to reduce you to a specific cup size. This is because they are more concerned about the weight and length of your breasts than a clothing measurement. It is essential to advocate for how you want your breasts to look in proportion to the rest of your body. “Wish pictures” help further illustrate your desired aesthetic. In my case, I loved having full breasts but did not like how they kept growing vertically. I desired for them to naturally look the way they would in a bra without me having to wear one.
Telling them this resulted in the surgeon removing around 2-3 pounds of breast tissue, decreasing the weight and volume of my breasts while keeping the roundness and fullness. Before the procedure, when I measured my breasts from my collarbone to my nipple, it was 14 inches. After surgery, there were 10 inches. That was a vast improvement aesthetically and also felt terrific physically.
A breast reduction automatically includes a breast lift. The lifting portion was fun for me because the surgeon and I collaborated on determining factors such as the size of my areolas and the placement of my nipples. My nipples naturally being toward the very bottom of my breasts made it so that they weren't pleasurably sensitive and did not present well without my bra on. It turns out that lifting the nipple more towards the center of my breasts drastically improved their appearance and reinforced my overall satisfaction over the years with my decision to pursue surgery regardless of real-life factors like weight fluctuation.
Because of the lift, when I look in the mirror, my nipples sit high and say 'hello' back, giving them a perky appearance that I didn't have otherwise. My bras fit way better because now my breasts are more centered, and the straps do not have to lift up a lot of weight. Though cosmetic surgery is not a fairytale, there is something about a surgeon being able to mark up your breasts the day before surgery as if they are drawing breasts on you that you only dreamed about and then waking up from anesthesia to see those measurements are a reality. Yes, my boobies and I screamed, "I woke up like this?!"
If deemed medically necessary, the surgery can be covered by your insurance. This part is a money saver. In this rare case, you’ll see the intersection between a cosmetic and medically necessary procedure. Some insurance plans require you to see your primary care physician or OBGYN for a referral to approve the surgery. Others allow the surgeon to examine your breast, diagnose the issue, and send in the information needed to support the procedure.
It’s best that you call your insurance company and ask about breast reduction coverage so that they can inform you of their requirements for approval, along with how much you will have to pay out of pocket if anything
My Breast Reduction Recovery & Final Thoughts
My only regret about this procedure is that I didn't do it sooner. After surgery, real life hit me. I had to make sure I was prepared for permanent (but minimal) scarring, and post-surgery healing complications, and most of all, I had to keep realistic expectations. I quickly grew accustomed to my breasts' perky silicone implant-like appearance in the first months after surgery. Still, the breast tissues settle and position themselves more naturally after months and years.
My breasts naturally and subtly grow when I gain weight; they naturally decrease in size when I lose weight. The benefit is that they are smaller and in a better position than they would have been without surgery. In many ways, this decision allowed me to live my teenaged-dream by enjoying T-shirts without bras and without looking "disheveled" when lounging. I get to appreciate how my ta-tas look in pajamas, lingerie, and other clothes without feeling overly exposed, self-conscious, and having to adjust my shirt a dozen times.
My decision was one of self-love and self-care. If you are considering this life-changing operation, book your consultation to see how the surgery could positively impact your life too!
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Featured image by jacoblund/Getty Images
- Ayesha Curry Regrets Getting Implants In The Past: “They Weren’t Good For Me” ›
- Kandi Burruss Opens Up About Plastic Surgery And Recent Breast Reduction ›
- I've Lost 100 Pounds & Still Have Issues With Body Image ›
New Jersey native creating a life that she loves while living in gratitude. She loves using beauty, and fashion to create a balanced lifestyle while prioritizing wellness. A devoted fur mom, and a full-time lover of laughter. She is out for revenge against the darkness by being light, taking her own advice, traveling the world, and letting you know that you are so lit! Connect with her via IG @iamzaniah
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic’, though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let’s do first things first — let’s define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of “What does platonic mean?”, the first thing that you’re (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of “of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex” (Merriam-Webster), “designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity” (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, “purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes” (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I’ll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word “platonic” actually come from? From what I’ve researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled “Symposium.” In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire; one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: “Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry.” A write-up on Merriam-Webster’s site stated that, “The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships.” Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that’s another article for another time, though (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”).
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word “platonic” is kind of used in “broad strokes” these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be “just friends,” I’m going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I’m pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally, even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I’ll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He’s super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often and some have told us that they assume that we’ve had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: “I told him, ‘He’s my brother. We would never mess around.'”
My Friend: “Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it.”
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: “Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives.” (That reminds me: check out, “Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?” when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: “Girl, yeah. If I didn’t want to keep you in my life long-term, I would’ve tried to holla a long time ago!” And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these “for real?!” exchanges is, even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a “dormant seed” lying around somewhere…whether it’s one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life, we’ve had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren’t exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you’re not sure about “his”…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you’ve got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you’ve never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he’s someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it’s one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who’s been together for more than five years and I’ll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out “Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?”).
Yeah, just because you’ve filed someone in the “I see him as a good guy” category, that doesn’t automatically mean that y’all’s friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don’t get it twisted — I’ve considered him because, on so many levels, we “fit.” So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are “good friends” yet it’s not exactly platonic.
I’m not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would’ve been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn’t make you want to throw up in your mouth, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there’s a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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