Building bonfires on my vanities and doubts to get warm – just like everybody else

By the time I was 13, I had friends who had started dieting, and what makes that sentence worse is that I thought it was completely normal. By the time I was 13, some of my friend’s biggest fears was putting on weight. By the time I was 13, I had friends who had fully convinced themselves that what they saw in the mirror was the most disgusting thing they had ever seen.

Where have we gone so wrong that young girls and boys – children – are growing up learning that it’s ok to hate themselves? When did it become more acceptable to bring yourself down than to accept and agree with a compliment someone is paying you? Why is having confidence and self worth such a rare thing these days?

Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had the type of body that fits into the clothes American Apparel sells (although I kind of wish I had the kind of money you need to shop there more). Whenever I’m outside that shop, it’s like a dramatic scene from a film where I wistfully think about how I want to be small enough to wear the clothes before I see my reflection in the window and start picking apart my body. I still hate clothes shopping because I hate trying on a pair of jeans that end up being too small because for some reason, every time that happens, a small part of me is embarrassed about having to get a bigger size. It’s infuriating that it’s been ingrained into so many people’s minds that being bigger is the worst thing in the world; surely being disloyal or manipulative or selfish is far worse?

What scares me is that if you were to ask any person you know what their biggest insecurity was, they could probably go for hours listing every little thing they hate about themselves but if you asked what they liked about how they look, how many of us would genuinely be able to give an answer?

Take it from someone who, at the age of 14, brought an extra towel whenever she went for a shower so she could use it to cover the mirror and not have to look at herself because she disliked her body that much – it’s far more fun to not give a shit about how you look. And yeah, that’s far easier said than done but I promise you it’s worth it. Being happy with who you are and being comfortable in your skin is a work in progress and it’s hard. It’s far easier to sit at home and hate yourself, but it’s far more important to be happy with who you are.

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