Over the years I have loved getting to know Zietta and I am so delighted to be able to share her story. This is her “Warrior Woman” story.
This is what bravery and determination look like. Zietta Jansen van Rensburg (Olivier).
This is her story: Zietta Jansen van Rensburg (Olivier).
Growing up I was teased about my large breasts. When everyone was still trying out their training bra’s, I had underwire. Then the rage for front clipping bras arrived (what a nightmare). My boobs would just unclip them and unceremoniously spill out at the worst of occasions. I was teased by other girls and it affected my self-image beyond measure. I came to think that big boobs were bad. It is abnormal. You should hide them. I changed in the bathroom toilets and never between the other girls.
I played a lot of sports and loved it. I am adventurous and outgoing…but my bras and particularly my ill-fitting bras caused severe back pain. I was scheduled for a breast reduction at 16 for medical reasons as the orthopaedic surgeon agreed, the weight of my breasts and the hockey stance was aggravating it.
I can remember reluctantly been dragged through all the big malls trying to find bras. I remember having a total meltdown. I thought I was freak. I was in pain both physically and emotionally. I had to wear two bras over each other and bind myself down at times. I hid them. I hid myself.
This was then compounded when I was the victim of sexual assault. Attracted to my breasts, I felt my freakish body had lured predators. I felt it was my fault. I kept quiet.
I went through a stage where I wore my hair short, dyed it black (naturally blonde) and just avoided life. I continued to play sport and isolated myself in the great outdoors. I never dated. I never wanted to take my top off. Some may not understand that large-breasted women have similar issues to those who had to stuff their bras with toilet paper.
In Bloemfontein, Varsity, I had a rebirth. My breasts were an asset and I found a shop that stocked “alternative sizes”. I was still skittish around men but found my freedom. I made the promise to myself to never ever buy a bra that comes with the matching panties ever again! Pretty underwear only, I promised myself I would work hard and save just to invest in myself and my bras. Unfortunately, underlying insecurities always stayed lurking in the background.
I got married and qualified as an attorney. My body went through so many transformations and I was shy about it. Uncertainty lingered. On my birthday, in early November 2019, our marriage unfortunately ended. With 3 kids, the youngest being 3 months old…I decided that I had to make changes. Post-partum body and all. One of the things that I remember doing was going and buying some new underwear. If I could not feel sexy from the inside out, I needed to feel sexy on my skin.
One of my best friend’s house burnt down on the 5th of October 2019 and as we were both in tears about the sorry situation we were in (all her furniture being replaced, but the sentimental objects gone) I asked her what she missed most of her earthly possessions? She said it was her Midmar Medal of 2011. Her husband died of cancer in 2008 and her swimming the Midmar was her turnaround. Well…I used to swim open water. Could I do this again? The answer was yes! We swam Midmar in 2020 and 2021.
When lockdown hit, pools were closed. I started running – sorry…crawling… As I ran more, my son started to cycle with me. As he cycled more…and I had to start cycling. I took up yoga again. I was advised to do yoga as a 16-year-old to strengthen my core to prevent surgery…but alas… this was also forbidden by hubby.
Fast forward to June 2021…
I did not know my bra size.
You (Sarah Elizabeth) helped so much and your patience with getting the right fit over such an extensive distance was amazing! You know your product and you made me feel sexy.
When my package arrived yesterday, I opened it with breathless anticipation. I delayed gratification. Like Nathaniel once said, “even if you drink water, drink it out of the prettiest glass you have”. This morning (although it is a HECTIC workday), I dressed up and took some photos for you.
This is my body.
The body that survived sexual assault. The body that survived abuse.
The body that made 3 children. The body that breastfed each child for a year.
The body that I tortured and didn’t appreciate.
The body that I have pushed from 2019 to now to LIVE again. The body that wakes up every morning and gives my children hugs.
The body that is scarred and stretched, but is mine.
The body that real.
The body that is sexy, because I am sexy.
Zietta Janse van Rensburg (Olivier)
Image credits: Amy Johnson Photography