Letter to little ones

I was walking through a shopping center yesterday (mall for my American friends) and I noticed the girls.

The little girls, the tweens. They were only about 12 or 13.

They were already trying to assert some fashion statement, some identity but more so their desperation to belong.

They were pulling on their tight clothing, uncomfortable with the cheap fabric and how it hugged their bodies. They were awkward and insecure. I watched how they looked shyly at older girls, at me, desperate for our nod of approval. They mostly wore leggings with long Tees with things like “Jack Daniels” written across them. Slightly inappropriate for girls their age. They wore cheap converse or nike knock offs and consistently tugged at their clothes. 

I felt so bad for them. I knew what they were in for. They were going to hit their teens head on. I knew the absolute self hatred they were in for, their skewed body image, the jealously of other girls, the competition, the rejection  at school discos. I remember so well my body hatred, the pain I went through, how obsessed I became with my weight, how I dropped down to a seriously unhealthy weight, I remember the tears and the tantrums, how the hormones raged through me and ransacked me.

I wanted to say it’ll be ok, you’ll get through it, it’ll be better. However, the truth  is that the way we perceive ourselves is a constant battle. Well for me it is. My body image battle is constant. It is not something that is at the fore front of my mind but it is still there. It niggles away, seeps in. The real battle is deciding how important it is, The decision is not to let it rule every single decision you make. That’s how I am a much happier person. My body image does not rule my life. I can never get rid of that insecurity, that doubt, that sometimes hatred but I can live with it. It is not the driving force. 

I guess I wanted to say that to those girls. I wish they didn’t have to go through it, that they could remain blissfully ignorant. But reality is loud and colourful, its blasts into your life and people are  cruel. 

But you get stronger.

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