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Your Self-Care Matters: I’m Enough & I’m Empowered

by | Betrayal Trauma

Bra fittings by Court

“The wonderful thing about self-care is learning that I am enough, and that whatever size I am is enough, and that I don’t have to be anything else to be lovable, to be cherished.”

Anne Blythe, founder of BTR.ORG

Abusers condition victims to bury their own needs, wants, hopes, dreams, and feelings deep, deep down. This gives the abuser center stage in the victim’s life and allows him to experience the privileges, control, and entitlement that he is seeking.

When Anne Blythe, founder of BTR.ORG, met up with Courtney, a professional bra-fitter, she did not expect the emotional self-care experience that she received.

Anne and Courtney discuss how self-care can help victims remember their own self-worth and aid them on their journey to healing. Listen in on The BTR.ORG Podcast or read the full transcript below to learn more.

Full Transcript:

Polly (00:00):
I had the most amazing experience last week. I went to a bra fitting with Courtney and she changed my life. I’ve actually been wearing a bra, which I haven’t been doing in years ’cause I think I finally got a bra that fits. We’re gonna talk about self-care today and before we talk about it, I want to acknowledge that during my trauma years, wearing a bra was very difficult for a lot of reasons because I was so overwhelmed with everything. For some reason it expressed itself like I didn’t wanna wear a bra, I refuse to wear a bra.

It stressed me out going shopping for a bra. I am now at this stage where I am working on self-care and I know that some of you are not at that stage yet and I have been at that, I don’t know what stage to call it, where you’re in your sweatpants watching Netflix, eating popcorn.

And if you’re in that stage, stay there for as long as you need to. And don’t feel guilty about this episode ’cause I have been there myself. But since I am in this new stage of self-care and moving forward, I wanted to connect with Courtney and get a bra fitting and really start progressing my healing in starting to take care of myself. So welcome Courtney.

Courtney (01:09):
Thanks. Thank you for having me on.

Bra Fittings by Court

Polly (01:11):
Courtney runs bra fittings by court, an amazing service that she does to help women who are stressed out or need help with choosing bras. Tell me how you discovered that you have such an amazing talent for fitting women.

Courtney (01:28):
So when I was in college, I got a job at Nordstrom in the lingerie department. Little did I know that that job would literally change my life. I quickly found that fitting bras is more than selling brass. It’s a lot more complicated than that. There’s a lot emotion involved in it. It’s kind of a intimate process. You’re seeing women in their most vulnerable state their shirt off. I found that I was really good at helping women feel comfortable. I found that most women were never taught how bras should fit and that 99% of women are wearing the wrong size bra.

And so I found that I was educating these women on how to dress their bodies and how to take care of their BOMs. I felt like I was giving back to the world. I felt like I was making a small difference in the world by helping women feel more confident and beautiful. This is my way to make a small difference in the world.

Polly (02:19):
I think you’re making a large difference. Like for me it made a huge difference. I had such a good time. We did have a good time.

A healing experience in many ways 

Polly (02:27):
<laugh>. Getting undressed in front of you and having you put a bra on me was so healing in so many ways. So you now have a bra shop in your home called Bosom Friends. Yes, it’s a beautiful shop. Just being in there made me happy. The colors, there’s this big sign on the wall that says you’re like really pretty <laugh>. I thought, thank you. I really love this. How does helping women with their bra problems relate to self-care?

Courtney (02:55):
Most women are busy. They don’t have a lot of time. And so a lot of women hate going bra shopping, which I completely understand because a lot of places, places like Walmart, target, Kohl’s, those places don’t have a large range of sizes. So that’s why it’s harder for women. It’s really stressful.

And if you’re already burdened emotionally going through trauma, that’s the last thing you wanna worry about is having to do research because you’re not guaranteed to get somebody to help you that knows what they’re doing. I recommend this some other places for people to go get fitted and they went and like that was an awful experience. And the reason why is because I feel like a lot of these places, those high turnover and there’s just not the experience that you need in a fitter that can really help people and understand how different styles of bras are gonna fit different women. Bra shopping is overwhelming because there’s so many different components to it.

Self-care and a bra-fitting 

Polly (03:48):
Well, I felt like I was being like, thank you, pampered by you. Like I’ve never felt like that when I went bra shopping. And the size that you fitted me in is completely different than any other size I’ve ever thought about. Like I never would’ve imagined we that was my size. 

Courtney (04:05):
Do you wanna tell them what size you were in and then what size you are now?

Polly (04:11):
Yeah, I don’t know what size I was in. So you were at 30. What size was I in? Okay, so let, let’s just talk about my bra issues my whole life. So I’ve always considered myself very small chested, which I liked. I’ve never felt like I wanted to be any bigger or anything, but I don’t fill the cup, right?

And my straps always fall off. And just the thought of a bra just stressed me out. I, I have cursed the man who invented corsets, you know, way back in the day like why? Why have you done this to us? Anyway, the bra that Courtney fitted me with, and I don’t even wanna say it ’cause I don’t wanna make anyone feel bad, but I feel like it’s the perfect size. Like if you asked what is the most beautiful, perfect size you would be this.

And that’s the one I’m wearing. It was a 32 double D like that is like amazing. Like who? Who has that perfect size? And now I’m like, oh, I wrote in my gratitude journal today. I am grateful that I have the perfect boob. 

Courtney (05:14):
I mean I was telling you Dan, that I wish I was your size because like the perfect size really, but that’s just me <laugh>.

“We shoudl accept ourselves where we are and know that we’re enough”

Polly (05:22):
So I’m here to tell you that here’s a woman who you’ve been listening to for months, maybe over a year who was abused and whose husband refused to tell her that she was beautiful. Literally I was like, I want you to tell me I’m beautiful.

And he said, no <laugh> like just awful things that were done to me and I have the perfect boobs. So don’t think that if you had the perfect size whatever, or if you looked a certain way that the abuse would stop or that your husband would stop looking at porn. That is not true. It’s true. Everyone should love where they’re at. Well, and also to accept ourselves where we are and to know that we’re enough.

But like having this experience and going from being emotionally abused and having trauma for seven years to the point where I wasn’t wearing bras where I wasn’t putting makeup on, hardly ever where I just kind of slumped around with my shoulders really slumped forward because I wasn’t wearing a bra even when I went to the store or even when I went outta the house.

“The messages I always got were, ‘you are too much.'”

(06:28):
So I didn’t really wanna be indecent so I slumped forward so I wasn’t scaring everyone with my braless boobs to being like, oh my word. Like I am wearing a bra and it is this perfect size for me and I am feeling so, I don’t know, empowered almost is so different for me after seven years, well almost nine years, I don’t know.

I always say my new years wrong depending on when I was in the relationship and then after the relationship, but slumping around feeling like I wanted to take up less space. A lot of women who are abused, they get messages like, you are not enough. And the messages I always got were, you are too much. And so I always just wanted to make, try and make myself smaller. 

Courtney (07:12):
Like that’s why you were slumping over to hide what you, you know, to be invisible. You didn’t wanna cause attention or anything.

Prioritizing YOU

Polly (07:20):
Yeah, totally. And so this place where I can hold my shoulders back and hold my head up high and know that I’m not like indecent because I actually have a bra on so I’m not scaring anybody and it fit was just so cool. I’m really excited to be at this point in my healing process.

Now for our listeners, wherever you are in your healing process, please don’t let this podcast turn you off to the podcast because I myself was in this place of, I don’t really wanna talk about the way I look, I don’t wanna talk about the way I eat, I don’t wanna talk about exercise, I don’t wanna talk about anything right now. Like the only thing I can do right now is survive and so many women are in that stage.

Why Are Bras Important? 

So when you want to and when you feel like coming out of that, and it may take years, it took me years, then a bra fitting might be a really cool celebration activity for you to like throw off the old and bring in the new. Courtney, why is the bra the most important thing women wear?

Courtney (08:24):
It does a really hard job. It holds up your bosoms all day long. That’s why they’re so important because you’ll like more put together, your clothes will look better, you can feel more confident and comfortable doing the things you wanna do. I have a lot of women who come into my shop that want to be active. They want to exercise, they wanna work on their fitness and their health, but they don’t feel comfortable doing so because their breast size makes it so that they feel really comfortable exercising.

They feel like their boobs are floppy in the air or you know they’re in the way. And so getting a sports bra that fits in that can make it so that they can feel comfortable exercising is life changing. It really can change women’s lives. And that’s why my slogan on my website is, I am changing lives when I’m bra fitting at a time because it gives people the courage, the freedom, and the confidence to do what they wanna do in their life.

“When you compare yourself to porn, you’re always gonna lose.” Is 

Polly (09:17):
I think our audience probably has, depending on the woman, depending on the situation, has a lot of issues with bras too because their husbands are sex addicts and pornography users, right? So when you compare yourself to porn, you’re always gonna lose. There’s no way to win.

Porn is women who are staged, who are likely on drugs, who are being exploited. Like having these parts of our body be something that our husband wants to use is such a difficult thing. And this profiting for me was a way to take my body back, to give it back to myself and to take care of myself rather than this is part of my body that is for someone else or for some other use. I feel like this is part of me and I can integrate it back into myself and use it as part of my healing rather than disown it almost as a thing that’s for someone else’s use.

Why Is Bra Shopping Triggering? 

(10:09):
Which I think it feels like a lot of times when you’re married to someone who’s an addict, who’s not in recovery, who’s using you as a drug rather than seeing you as a person to be cherished and loved and cared for. I think another reason why bra shopping is so triggering for women in at least my audience here listening is the advertising or seeing other women in their brass or whatever.

And so it’s been interesting to go to your Instagram account, right? And see women in their bras. That is part of what is super triggery for many women in the situation. So I just wanna first of all do a trigger warning with also a notice that I think the more healed we get, the more we can realize that this is for me rather than worry about what our husband’s thinking or doing or how it’s affecting someone else.

“I try to embrace bras as a necessity – they’re not just primarily for other people’s gratification.” 

Courtney (11:00):
On my website, the message that I try to convey from my business and on my Instagram is that our society think of bras as sexual and so on my Instagram, I really try to show that they’re not just sexual. I really try to embrace that bras are more of a necessity and that they’re not just primarily for other people’s gratification. I really try to convey that, showing how bras can really help us to feel more confident.

Polly (11:30):
And that’s what I really appreciated, rather than having it be for someone else’s gratification.

Courtney (11:35):
Thank you.

“I am enough and I don’t have to be anything else to be lovable.” 

Polly (11:36):
If anyone is doing it right, Courtney is. I immediately came home and told my mom, you have got to go do this. Like cool thing about it is knowing that I am enough and that whatever size I am is enough and that I don’t have to be anything else to be lovable, to be cherished, and that I can find a bra that fits me where I’m at. I don’t have to be different in order to fit in the perfect bra rather than the other way around.

Like going bra shopping and thinking, ugh, because I am damaged and I am not perfect. I’m never gonna be able to find the bra that fits because bras only fit perfect women. I’m no longer going to let my stance against pornography get in the way of my own self-care.

Courtney (12:24):
I feel like a lot of women just get to the point, they’re like, enough, I’ve had enough of wearing brass that don’t fit. I’ve had enough and fun this way. I want a change. And that’s when you know you’re ready is when you’ve had enough.

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