My Coin Bra, Reclaiming My Body

My Coin Bra

I knew I had to have one.  I have enough of those little travel sewing kits around, it  was just a matter of finding it.

It was the first thing that came to my mind when I started thinking about things to sew on my coin bra.

There was one in the sewing box (a shoe box covered in contact paper) that my grandmother gave me when I was five years old.  At the time I couldn’t understand why it was easier to fit the thin loop of metal through the eye of a needle and use it to pull the thread thought the eye.  Just threading the needle seemed easier to me.

Now I get it.

I Imagine that the one my grandmother gave me was  made of a something heavier than the thin aluminum one I eventually found in the sewing kit stuck in the back of my  desk drawer.  But it still has the woman’s profile (I wonder who she is) embossed on the part you hold between two fingers.

It was easy to punch a hole in the thin metal of the needle threader with my scissor, then sew it onto my coin bra.

The needle threader I sewed onto my coin bra.

This is how I spent a lot of my time last week.  Obsessing about what I could sew onto my coin bra.

I usually wear two different earrings, so I don’t really need two of each.  Now half my earrings decorate my coin bra.  I finally found a function for the tiny brass lock and key that was in the house when we moved in.  I took apart necklaces, went though my button box and have a few more places in the house, my studio and car to search for just the right medals.

My coin bra is beginning to feel like a fetish.

How can it not, with all the positive, personal energy I’m imbuing it with.

It’s been a long time since I’ve worn a bra.  I gave it up in high school as a symbol of feminist freedom (I was too young to be around for bra burning but was aware of it) and for comfort.  But now it takes on new meaning.

Like reclaiming the  word “Pussy” I’m reclaiming the bra.  Making it mine, in the tradition of American Tribal Style Bellydancing.  I’m wearing my own definition of  precious metals on my breasts like a coat of armor.

Last night during Bellydancing class I wore two long skirts, my pantaloons, my coin bra over a cholie and my water shoes (we won’t be able to dance barefoot on the plywood stage), much of what I’ll be dancing in next Saturday at the Bennington Farmers Market.  After a half hour work out, Callie walked up to me and told me my breast was hanging out of my cholie and coin bra.

“Well I said, tucking her back in, better here than at the Farmers Market.

Then Trish came over and helped me tie my cholie so tight I could barely breathe.  And Emily looked for some extra ribbons to cross tie the straps on the coin bra to keep it from rising up.

Perhaps my breasts were protesting being confined, after being free for so long.  Except that the coin bra doesn’t feel confining. It’s just the opposite really.  It’s like my Yes/No Dress covered in carpet tacks.

When I’m Bellydancing, I’m reclaiming my body, putting it out into the world in the way I choose.  No one can tell me how it should look or what I should or shouldn’t be doing with it.

I’m the only one who gets to do that.

10 thoughts on “My Coin Bra, Reclaiming My Body

  1. Maria, this creation reminds me of mermaids, sunken treasure and the ground of a freshly leaf-littered forest floor at the beginning of Fall. Smiling, congrats! Your coin bra tells such a story. Wishing you and your breasts comfort and happiness!

  2. What a wonderful use of extra earrings! I have five ear piercings, and when I’m feeling a bit extroverted, will wear five different earrings. I’ve had an odd number of ear piercings since 1980, so that I could continue to wear my “orphaned” earrings, whose mate had been lost. Your idea of using them on your bra is inspired.

    1. Ah I can just imagine your decorated ears Sue. Since was 16 I only had one ear pierced. It was only in the past few years that I got two more piercings. That odd number appeals to me too.

  3. Oh, Maria! How I LOVE your COIN BRA!! I’d love to see and hear it jingle, jingle, jingle while you do belly dancing magic with your Tribal Sisters!! Finding the right metal buttons and such for your coin bra is not obsession, IT IS NECESSARY!! HERE’S TO FREEDOM TO EXPRESS JOY ABOUT OURSELVES!!

  4. When I was considering taking up belly dancing (yes, I did give it serious thought) I imagined myself dancing in plaid flannel and denim. With Genesee pull tabs on the bra thingy.

    Because I Dream of Jeannie I am not.

    Ultimately, my back made the decision for me, alas.

  5. Maria, as if I didn’t think the world of you already(:-)
    I still have my grandmother “Gummy’s” needle threader too…and yes! It has the girl cameo!!
    Thank you

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