Don’t @ Me: Loving My Flat Chest

The Joys and Struggles of Binding

Graphic Paulina Dominguez

It was sometime around noon in mid-April.

The doorbell rang. I hurtled down the stairs. Barefoot, I sprinted across the rocky court and opened the gate. I took the package and ran back up. After 15 minutes of intense battling, it was on. I looked in the mirror before collapsing to my knees, crying tears of joy at the sight of my flat chest.

That was the day I received my first chest binder. It has been so far my most enlightening experience regarding gender and appearance. It kind of felt like an oracle preaching, “Your gender is wrong and you know it.” Fast forward 10 months and it takes me less than a minute to gracefully slide in my binder.

Those 10 months have been an exploration of the joy and struggles chest binding comes with. Let it be known, weather matters! On one hand, winters are blissful. When the polar vortex hits your city, and everyone is becoming ice cubes, a binder offers that extra warmth as you walk down the street looking so hot the ice melts. Plus, the air’s dryness, cracking each of your pores, allows for an easy fit of the binder.

On the other hand, the summer is your nemesis, making you long for the -20 C days. The humidity in the air transform that one minute graceful fit into a five minute struggle, especially if, like me, you possess no flexibility whatsoever. Going out on a summer day is also an experience as drops of sweat dripping down your back and under your breasts.

While those are minor complications, binders can have a significant impact on your emotions. The first three months made me overthink every single gaze coming my way. My thoughts were filled with the idea that people would realize I am binding my chest and judge me. It is only recently that I have realized I don’t give a damn what they think.

Binding has allowed me to explore my body and image further than my mind could. It feels fulfilling when your image fits your mind. I am no longer scared to take photos and wear tight clothes. Cashier and waiters have begun referring to me as sir and I fucking love it!

After 10 months, I still find this bliss and pride overshadowed by paranoia from what I like to call the “uniboob.” While a bra keeps your breasts separated, a binder may sometimes reunite them to the center of your chest as you move. This creates a uniboob, reminding me of a camel hump. I eventually learned to laugh at it.

Binders have their problems, but today I love myself thanks to it.