Brassiere. It sounded like a fish, usually grilled whole, served with pressed olive oil and pink, coarsely ground, sea salt, or at the very least, a place that served stellar French onion soup. But when someone leaned in and explained it was actually a bra, I began to panic. I was eleven. I’d have sooner eaten fish than have anything to do with puberty. To this day, I despise this word. Not brassiere, but puberty: a cross between pubic and liberty. At the time, though, there’s nothing liberating about it. Change rarely feels good, even the good kind.
Aside from my fat jeans becoming too small, it’s the only time in my life where I remember being embarrassed about growing. When I’ve suffered, in emotional pain, too anxious to sleep or talk about anything else, I at least realized I was growing by getting through it. We do our most growing when we’re in pain. So while it felt embarrassing not to be liked, or to be rejected, I still knew I could learn from it. I would grow and become, somehow, more because of it. A bra didn’t feel like more, even if there were more of me.