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.
However 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.
I 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.
Yes, 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.
I 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?