How My Decision to Go Under the Knife Helped Me Love My Body

I closed my eyes and nervously shifted in my paper hospital gown as my doctor began taking “before” pictures of my chest. I was in the office because I had decided to get a breast reduction. I turned away from the screen where my body was projected across the room with each snap and flash. It was undoubtedly an uncomfortable situation, but I didn’t care.

I was 20 years old and a month and change away from embarking on the most exciting trip of my life—six months living in Paris. I had felt uncomfortable in my skin for a long time; it was years of minimizing bras, oversize clothing, and wishing my curves away. My breasts felt like foreign objects—like a weight I had to carry around that wasn’t my own. One day I decided I had had enough: I was unhappy with the way I looked, and I was going to do something about it. I began researching my options, and a breast-reduction surgery sounded like freedom.