My bullies have called me a variety of things over the years, but the one that I can still hear clearly? The one I can still see written on the lined notebook paper, folded so it could be a note passed from girl to girl? Blubber bra. I developed early, and needed to wear a bra by the end of fourth grade. I resisted, as I was dreadfully embarrassed by my changing body. I was taller than almost all of my peers, and throwing boobs into the mix just added insult to injury. When the fifth grade school year started, a few of the girls in my class, girls that had, up until that point, been my friends, didn’t believe that I had developed real breast tissue. They told me the only reason I needed a bra was because I was so fat that my belly had run out of room and had therefore shifted my fat into my breasts. Yes, really. I spent the school year with my arms crossed over my chest, trying to hide my breasts, trying to draw attention away from the very thing that made me a target. Nothing worked, and I spent most of fifth grade being called blubber bra. The name eventually spread from a few girls to most of my class.
The name calling stopped when the girls in my class started developing and wearing bras themselves. They never quite apologized, though at one point they attempted to win back my friendship because they wanted my help with a project, but the damage had been done. It has been 31 years since the fifth grade, and I can still hear their voices.