Orianna's Story: Finding Confidence in Self-Love
By: Orianna Lui
During childhood, unexposed to the “ideal” standard and comparisons upheld in the media, we are not inherently uncomfortable in our skin. As we grow, we develop our insecurities from those we see and love in our life—our role models—which then pass on to our peers, our classmates, our friends. We learn to be afraid of judgment and how our differences will allow us to be subject to that judgment, so we learn to fear the idea of being different.
Puberty is especially an awkward phase and time of change, which allows insecurities to easily emerge as we constantly hold ourselves in comparison to our peers. We ask ourselves questions like “why don’t I look like that yet?” or “why is my body changing when my friends’ bodies aren’t?”, regardless of whether or not there is outside influence putting us down on how our body looks.
In regards to my insecurities and how they started off, I was an early developer, and it made me really self-conscious—I felt like the odd one out when I was with my friends. I remember actually spending hours on the internet looking for ways I could prevent my breasts from growing, because I didn’t want to be perceived as different. It made me uncomfortable within my body, especially with the sexualization of women’s bodies in the media and the constant commentary of how puberty meant I was growing up; I was afraid to be anything like that, and I honestly just wanted to stay a kid.
That meant that when I told my mom that I wanted to go bra shopping, I asked her not to take me to lingerie stores. I was genuinely scared to go in, surrounded by lace and ribbons and workers who I felt would judge me if I breathed wrong. Thus, she took me to the training bra section of the department store. They were all uncomfortable strips of cotton that resembled more of a really cropped tank top than a supportive undergarment, but we bought them anyway. When I grew out of those training bras after around three months, my mom took me to get sports bras—again, from the department store. I wore those for the next couple of years, but they honestly were not right for me. They didn’t offer nearly enough support, nor any kind of padding. However, I was still incredibly intimidated by the proper lingerie stores—I was still intimidated by the abundance of lacy, strappy undergarments that felt way too mature for my grade-eight self.
Eventually, my mom told me I had to suck it up and go buy an actual wire bra. All I really remember about the experience was the embarrassment I felt when getting measured—as if the workers cared about what the body of a 13-year-old looked like—and how I thought I would die of mortification. I most definitely rushed the process of finding a bra with the right fit in my haste to get out of there and pretend it never happened, but I honestly was making it a bigger deal than it was.
Looking back on my experiences with bra shopping, it really makes me wish that I had an option like Apricotton when I was in that awkward development phase—having a brand with several flattering, adjustable, and discreet bras to choose from in a comfortable environment would have made all the difference in uplifting my self-confidence earlier.
Puberty is a difficult experience, but you’re not alone! Through talking with my friends, I learned that they all had various insecurities surrounding the topic of puberty and its effects on their bodies. We all felt similarly about being held in comparison to others, and personally, knowing that I wasn’t alone in that made me feel significantly more comfortable with my body and its changes. Having these talks were truly impactful in regards to learning how to accept the body that I’m in. That being said, it does take time to unlearn insecurities, and some may never go away! What I find helps when I’m feeling particularly bad about my body is thinking about how much it does and has done for me; it allows me to make delicious food, it carries me to school and long study sessions, it let me play ringette with some of my closest friends, and it allows me to give affection to those I love. There is so much good about your body, solely because you are the one in it! It might be a little hard to find sometimes, especially throughout the tumultuous waves of puberty, but it’s there. As well, going through experiences like bra shopping is completely normal and has no effect on people’s perception of you. The best advice I can give you in regards to that is to go to where you’re comfortable with first—bra shopping should be a pleasant experience that helps you build your confidence!
You can read more stories like mine here!