What’s Occurring Wednesday: Body Image

Sunday night’s #lbloggers chat topic set my spark off, and I couldn’t help but write this post. It was all about body image, about how blogger shouldn’t be “thin and pretty.” And to an extent it was lovely, it wasn’t judgmental. I find the girls who take part of these chats are genuinely lovely girls, I’ve made some great friends who I hope to meet in person, and I love my cosy Sundays/Wednesdays taking part.

 photo 2014-09-13150145_zps6a3c57b6.jpgHowever it is true there are bloggers out there who do judge. But even worse are the people who you know in real life, you know, those “friends” who you just know talk about you behind your back? I’m luckily (I hope!) shot of people like that now, but I will admit much of my teenage years was pretty much ruined by behaviour like that.

 photo 10464251_10201833358628057_7137741447011300528_n_zpsda2dc99f.jpgI went to an all-girls school until I finished my GCSE’s. There was the general nastiness all the way through, but a couple of horrendous incidents still make me want to cry even now. The time when one of my best friends accused me of something I didn’t do when we were thirteen? We haven’t spoken since, though luckily the friends she tried to steal away mostly came back. The time I was rather ill, and off school for week? Yep, you guessed it, the rumours flying around were unreal. Pregnancy, drug use, suicidal, and then the backlash of ‘faking it.’ They were my major incidents, but there were so, so, so many others in my form group. I’m not going to go into details, but there was a lot of bullying. I’d say I suffered every single school year from bullying of some kind, some years worse than others, and I’m sure I probably hurt people too, in an effort to fit it (and I’m sorry if I did). Sure, we all had a laugh some of the time, but in reality I’m in regular contact with one, perhaps two, out of these thirty girls. I saw an old classmate on the train a few weeks ago and felt physically sick. It was then that I knew how much those years had affected me.

 photo 2014-09-13150222_zpscf8356a1.jpgYes, I was bullied some of the time. It wasn’t particularly bad bullying, but it was enough to knock my confidence, enough to make me doubt myself. I straightened my hair until it fell out as I wanted to fit in. I hid my (curvy but slim size 10) body in baggy clothes. I started refusing to go out. More than a few lunches went uneaten. Even now I can feel extremely self-conscious around a group of girls. Living with my amazing housemates last year helped loads, as did my lovely maths friends, but I sometimes wonder if I will ever not feel a little bit of regret over my school years.

 photo 2014-11-09162706-1_zps6fa069e9.jpgI was lucky enough to move schools, get great A-levels, meet my soulmate, and make some amazing guy friends (and they do wonders for your confidence – 8 dates to the prom?! Hell yeah!). I went to university and made friends for life on the first night, then again in the first lecture. I have the confidence to wear the clothes I like, slick on a bold lipstick and head out in public. I even (finally) had the confidence to post a full picture of myself on here last week, and that was terrifying! Yes, some of the time I get anxious, but at the moment I’m strong enough to overcome it. I know some people aren’t as lucky, and still struggle now. But I want to tell you this; it will get better. You are lovely just the way you are, so please don’t let those people get you down!

And that is my little rant over. Now look in the mirror and repeat five times ‘I am beautiful’, then head out with a smile on your face. And let it all out – has anyone ever damaged your confidence?

  • I feel the same way about my school years, all girls school until sixth form for me too! I’m a size 10 like you yet was made to feel that this wasn’t good enough by “friends” who called me fat shit because I ate cake whilst they starved themselves. Not cool. I was resilient until a point and then it just got to me so that I was bordering on disordered eating for a while. Luckily, I got past it but it’s so easy to have those experiences ruin your life.
    There’s nothing we could have done to change those years; we were young and powerless against our growing understandings of what society apparently wants from young women. All there is now is to move forward and try to separate our worth from our looks. It’s prevalent in blogging as in all forms of media which of course has knock-on effects (I’m actually doing my final year research project on the impact of media advertising on women’s body image, self-objectification and food choice). It’s difficult but we can get through it if we challenge the so-called “norms” enough xxx

    • Your research project sounds amazing – I really believe more should be done to promote ‘normal’ women whatever their size! x

  • Lovely post. I went to an all girls school for seven years and safe to say it was in many ways a trying experience. I think when you’re surrounded by girls it is so incredibly easy to compare yourselves to them, whether it’s how clever you are, your weight or the way you look. I’ve always been incredibly insecure about my appearance, dodging cameras because I’m scared about how bad I’ll look. But I think I’ve learnt to just try and accept myself as hard as it is.

    vvnightingale.blogspot.co.uk

    • I’m working so hard to accept myself, blogging has helped and I’m slowly starting to feel more confident with taking photos of myself too 🙂 x

  • Sorry about your experiences with bullying. Luckily I was never really bullied at school or elsewhere but I still have had a major confidence issue for most of my life. Until one day I told myself I cannot realistically hope to grow more beautiful overnight (I was in my late twenties by then, so that was just not going to happen

  • … so I started wearing skirts and dresses instead of the eternal pair of jeans I had been hiding in year in year out. I realize there are women around with prettier legs, better skin, nicer hair, flatter bellies and whatnot, but I kind of owe it to myself to make the most of what I,ve got. I feel fine in a dress and boots by now ans I,m glad I gave it a go.
    By the way, loving your pic. You look stunning. And yes, you look comfortable and confident and at ease and it,s such a shame so many people experience bullying and are hurt and wounded by such behaviour. Thanks for the posting, nicely written!

    • Thank you so much! Glad you’re feeling much more confident – I’ve worked out that if I don’t follow fashion, just wear what I love, then I feel a lot more confident! x

  • Brilliant post. I had a very similar experience during my school years, and continuing afterwards as well, when they would send nasty emails to me, and use my email address to sign me up to dodgy websites and dating websites. If I was to see one of my bullies now I’m sure I would also feel sick and want to avoid them as much as possible, and it is one of the reasons why I would never ever want to move back to my home town again as they all still live there.

    It has taken me until my early 20s to find a few friends I can trust, and those are like gold dust. I’m glad you have found peace as well away from all of the bitchiness. You are really pretty, and don’t let anyone make you think otherwise!

    Rachel x
    The Inelegant Wench

    • That’s so awful. Having great friends has what has really helped me, I owe my university friends so much! x

  • Lovely post! So lovely that you’ve gained back your confidence and feel a bit more comfortable in yourself. I think teenage years and school can be such a difficult time, I’ve experienced some mean comments too. I still don’t feel super confident in myself but Im getting there, having friends and family around you who love you and support you is great.

    Im glad you felt confident enough to post a photo of yourself on here, you look great!

    Emma x
    Writing Essays With Wine

    • Thank you! Having a good support network is key to making me feel able to take on the world! x

  • Great post. I feel exactly the same about school. There is no way I could go through that again and even now groups of girls I dont know immediately make me feel self concious. You look great
    Beth x
    Mermaid in Disguise

    • Thank you! I know my feelings aren’t uncommon, but I feel more people should be honest about how even little comments at school have affected them over the years 🙂 x