To the Bra I Loved the Most
Certain items of clothing make us feel adored, within ourselves. Maybe we stand up taller in them, maybe we feel more like who we are. What we wear on the outside of our skin changes how we feel inside of it. This was true with you, my dearest pre-mastectomy bra. You weren’t just a bra, though, were you?
Constructed from layered strips of fabric that formed a jagged lattice across my chest, above black lace with satin adornments, you were truly stunning. You were extraordinary.
Hugging like a tightened fist, you made me feel my breath in my heart as you called my attention there. You reminded me that the alveoli of lungs resemble tree roots, and I allowed that breath to root me into myself. Breasts that fed my babies for so many years felt secure, at rest and with the resonance of home. Breasts that had been tattooed with stories of many versions of love, cradled with comfort.
Thank you for the photographs I took while wearing you, just before surgery. A boudoir session that allowed me to remember how you made me feel, I’ve tried to keep that feeling with me. I had you captured on my body, and in a display all on your own, as if an adornment of honour.
Thank you for your patience with me, when post-mastectomy, my chest flat with fresh scars, I rejected all clothing made shaped for breasts, and put you aside.
Thank you, dear bra, for welcoming me again, with grace, when I busied my hands while I healed, taking you apart and working you into a new version of yourself only hand-sewing could manifest. Each stitch was a moment deeper into healing.
Thank you for taking me dancing after I reconfigured you, reminding me that I am still so alive. My scars against you where the edges of the lace and satin met, I allowed myself to sink into my heart and lungs again. Thank you, beloved bra, for reminding me how much my body remains adored. – Alanna Kibbe