You know today’s guest writer as Fairy Bra Mother #6, and today’s post is a perfect follow-on to yesterday’s links about cleavage and boob boundaries.  If you can relate to Megan’s story (or even just empathize with it), we want to hear from you in the comments.

As a young girl, I wanted nothing more than to sing and dance, play dress up, do my hair, and revel in the warm glow of the spotlight. I loved being the center of attention – and honestly, I thought it was pretty cool that my breasts started to fill in pretty early. I relished the opportunity to wear a training bra! In fact, once I started, I pretty much wore a bra every day – regardless of whether I had much to hold up.

Fast forward a few years, and I make it to college – and by now, I do have something to hold up. It became a point of contention with my mom, actually, who seemed mildly resentful of my more ample cuppage. I knew that there was no way I could be wearing the right size – 34C-D (these days, a 28F/30E), but I made do. I didn’t really like having my breasts being the center of attention, so I figured, no big deal if the bra fits right or not. Plus, going to a mostly-male engineering school meant that pretty much no matter the bra size, my breasts still set me apart from the crowd.

I took a job at a research facility on campus, and spent the entire 3 weeks before I started stressing out about what to wear. Since it was a research facility, and there was a considerable amount of manual labor involved, I figured that I could wear clothes that were neat – but easily cleaned. Nice polo shirts, button downs, clean pants, whatever. Clearly, though, I underestimated the real issues that I would face, far beyond stain removal or durability: how do you dress to impress, but not flirtatiously suggest?

I wanted to be taken seriously, but still feel like a girl. I constantly had to prove that I wasn’t just an equal opportunity hire – I could really do as well as, if not better than, the boys at my position. The cracks about girls were horrifying – that we didn’t belong, that we were no good at anything mechanical, that we were only good for making the office “look nice”. It all hurt, especially since I applied for the job because I thought that my skills would be a great fit – I could already do much of what the job required, and have a proven record of being a quick learner. Unfortunately, it was made clear relatively quickly that, skills or not, I was just there for show.

I started out dressing way too nice compared to pretty much everyone else – and tight polo shirts (actually, tight anything) just made me uncomfortable. I constantly felt watched. I’m sure that putting on a suit of armor would have made me feel better, but the thought of the chaffing horrifies me. Since I at this point was still not really wearing the right size bra, I ended up covering up as much as I could, and downplaying my “assets” with sports bras. I know that I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of now – but as the new girl, trying to fit in, the stares were overwhelming.

If I could go back and do it again, or tell my younger self something, it’s that I have nothing to hide or apologize for. I like the way I look – and I’m proud of the fact that I can not only look fabulous in a skin-tight, curve-emphasizing dress, but I can also change my own oil, shoot trap, cook a gourmet meal, and most importantly, be a good, kind, intelligent person. I have to wonder if wearing the right size bra would’ve really helped – since I know now that I stand much taller when I wear a great bra. I only stayed at that job for about 8 months – and I was so happy to leave. I traded getting dirty and being put down for a great gig in an office setting where looking good was something to be proud of.

While I doubt that the right size bra would have completely solved my problems with that particular job, I actually do think that it would’ve helped me feel better enough about myself to not be so unhappy. The environment was such a boys club – but I’m not a boy, and I’m proud of who I am. If I need a good bra to help me stand tall and muster up the confidence to be respected at work, then I think it’s worth every penny. If this sounds like your job, all I can say is that you’ve got to love yourself, and wear what makes you feel like a million bucks, because that confidence is everything in helping you deal with a difficult work environment. Get a professional fitting, and don’t ever apologize for what you’ve got, brains, boobs, and all.