Today we have a guest post from Abbie (@blogibabe). I asked her to write about her experience with body image. I think you will totally be able to relate to what she has to say. I sure did...
Take it away, Abbie!
Like most girls, my negative body image began once I hit puberty. That’s when our bodies start changing and we tend to put on weight. However, unlike most girls it all started for me when I was in the 5th grade. That’s right, my negative body image began as early as 11 years old.
I can actually remember the first day I noticed my lower belly fat. I remember the last time I was at 120 pounds which was the least I ever weighed since I was 12 years old. I remember the first time ever feeling self-conscious about my stomach rolls. These aren’t memories I should have from such a young age, but I do. I have them, and since then, have only collected more.
Because my body began to change before anyone else in my class, I grew up ashamed and embarrassed of it. I stood out. I was different. Not only did I notice it but others did too and I was bullied for it. Boys picked on me for having acne. I was the tallest girl in my grade. Getting boobs wasn’t cool like you see in those 90’s movies. I can still picture the grey jacket I wore every day that was loose enough to hide my chest. Unless I was on my period, then I wore it around my waist just in case. When we changed in gym class, I would envy the girls with collarbones and flat stomachs. I hid behind my clothes to cover up my stomach.
The negativity started so early for me all because I was the first one to not be like the other girls, and society told me that was a bad thing, or at least the small society that was my 5th grade class.
Throughout the rest of middle and high school, it only got worse. Even after the other girls hit their growth spurts, they didn’t look like me. Most of them kept their flat stomachs and pretty skin, so I figured it must be something wrong with me, and my body. I didn’t think food had anything to do with it because those girls ate whatever they wanted. Heck they probably ate Cheetos, soda, and a pudding cup almost every day at lunch.
I was convinced it was just how it was going to be. Some girls got lucky and others got fat. Can you guess which girl I was?
Over the years, many things contributed to my negative body image. My love for food was one of them. I turned to food for comfort because it tasted good. I’d come home from school and consume 3 ice cream sandwiches or 2 bags of chips in secret because it made me feel good. Then I’d turn around and wonder why I couldn’t look as good as the celebrities I idolized (I had big dreams of becoming an actress back then). My skinny friends contributed, making me feel like “the big one” of the group. Even my sister and my mother were thinner than I was. I simply didn’t understand it.
Dating was when I became my worst. It was bad enough comparing myself to my friends and my family…but eventually I was actually comparing myself to my boyfriend. Ridiculous, right?
It was my senior year of high school and for once I was dating a total hottie, who actually was also a really great guy. I’m talking six pack, muscular arms, tall, dark, and handsome. No, but literally. During our relationship is when I finally hit my breaking point. I constantly wondered why he was dating me, constantly worried that I wasn’t hot enough, and started constantly comparing myself to any female friend he had.
All these years it didn’t matter who told me I was beautiful, I didn’t believe it. Being different had made that perfectly clear for me. My classmates had made that perfectly clear for me. Worst of all, I had made that perfectly clear for me.
For me, the negative body image started when I was 11 years old. Why? Because my body was different from everyone else’s. And what contributed to it was all the little things in life. All it took was that seed to be planted in my head at such a young age that my body wasn’t okay, and that different wasn’t okay to cause a lifetime of negativity and hate towards myself.
Could I have chosen to believe differently? Of course I could have. But when you’re only 11 years old and the world says it’s so, you believe it.
WOW! Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your story, Abbie. It's so sad that at such a young age we feel so negative about ourselves and our bodies. And I believe that age is only getting younger and younger. What can we do about it? Be POSITIVE influences to young girls. The young girls who follow you on Instagram, who see you at work, at the mall, etc. THEY NEED that positivity.