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Less of a Prison and More of a DIY

Illustration by: Kara Huynh (Graphic Designer, The Continuist)

By: Robin Kadirgamar

Content Creator (Non-Fiction), The Continuist

The buds of my breasts started to form when I was 12. These hard, little knots under the skin that were sore to the touch. My mother bought me these thin camisoles with elastics and lace that I quickly grew out of. Small buds blossomed into big balls of fat that hung from my chest and caught the eyes of prepubescent boys and gym teachers alike.

It was one month after my 13th birthday that a cramp hit me. Then another. And when I went to the washroom and pulled the toilet paper away, my heart sank.

My mother, fortunately, told me about this before it happened. I didn’t think I was dying.

She said it was a normal thing for every woman. That means your body is working normally.

And that you’ll have to deal with it for the rest of your life.

She burst into the bathroom when she heard me scream and her face lit up. She immediately went to call both of my grandmothers.

“You’re a woman now!” She proclaimed.

I was 13.

As things grew, shaped out, became bigger and curvier, it terrified me.

But I figured all little girls must hate their bodies at this point.

That crying as you look at your big breasts and that (now fuzzy) thing between your legs was normal and happens to everyone.

“Tomboy phase” was thrown around a lot. Something that my parents insisted I’d grow out of.

“When you’re a mother, you’ll understand”

My mother had this vision of being ‘mother of the bride’. The possibility of that happening was dashed as I grew up, watching how my parent’s marriage turned out. Far before the sight of my own body made me feel like throwing myself onto the train tracks near my house.

I’ve come to hate the term “trapped in the wrong body”.

As I’ve grown to become the person I am today, I see my body as my body.

This body is not that of a woman. It never has been.

I’m not trapped in here. As much as dysphoria feels like a never-ending cage match, the countdown clock cycling the same numbers for all eternity.

I break free from the chains my body holds on me by staying in it, shaping it as my own. I don’t let the prison win.


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