Like all he said were three little words, but three little words were enough to break me down. No sword, nor fist, it was his words that cut like a knife. Maybe he knew what he was doing, but whether he knew the effect it would have as he said them, I will never know as it has been so long since then. They were etched in my mind for seconds, minutes, years, my lifetime. Three little words, that could have been “I love you” or “you are beautiful,” but instead they were “you are fat” and they echoed in my mind over and over till they didn’t make sense to me but existed in the depths of my subconscious like an illness I was born with. As I went home and pulled at my skin, fighting through his words, I tried to find the bits that I liked about myself and found it that much harder than before.
I am sure this has happened to nearly all of us at some stage in our lives. Whether it was to do with your weight, your looks, how clever you are-it is all the same, it is called bullying and it sucks ass. The first time I can remember being bullied was in primary school by a boy who apparently liked me. He called me fat and it was the first time I became conscious of how I looked. Before I had been a beautifully unaware child with no concerns, wearing hyper coloured t-shirts and bum backs and was without the knowledge that someone might be thinking I looked weird. I had a small little bubble of self esteem that had not been pricked; it had been bound by my parent’s love and positive words.
But in a matter of seconds, it was ripped to shreds, all because of this particular boy and it wasn’t to be the first time in primary school either. Then in early high school, my supposed best friend at the time, called me ugly and stupid. But this is strange because she is supposed to be my friend I thought as she said those hurtful words repeatedly. Now I was reasonably lucky too. Back in the late 80s to mid 90s there wasn’t social media like Twitter or Facebook where it is not just said to your face, but said in front of hundreds or potentially thousands of followers. It is when bullying turns cyber that there is no limit.
It honestly scares the shit out of me when I think about my niece and nephew or my future kids and how they will survive in a world when ideals of body image are ones that are not real. When images are digitally retouched and everything is sexified and objectified, how do you find the balance? How do you tell the kids that are constantly trying to fit in, that the way they perceive themselves is about being confident and that they are beautiful just the way they are? But we also live in a world full on contradictions, on one side our models are skin and bone, but then we also have one of the highest rates of childhood obesity. Doesn’t this just prove there is a social problem that needs to be focused on-where we can say that being healthy and happy is not bound to one size, colour, orientation or style?
Now I could have taken many a path. I could have become the bully, “if they fuck with me, then I’ll do the same.” I could have retreated into a hole of despair of self harm, suicidal thoughts, body dismorphia or an eating disorder like so many people do (the figures are actually staggering). But instead I decided to do something different, something totally wild and crazy. I decided to be nice to myself. I wasn’t going to let them win and be dragged down by hate. I began to realize that it was probably their own insecurities that made them this way. I chose to believe; no I chose to know that being nice to myself mattered. That when I loved myself I was better equipped in loving others and living a positive life, where positive things happened. Like those times when people have asked what superpower I would have, I think in real life, I choose to be a positive affirmations person.
I’ve said it before about how important it is to tell your loved ones that you love them but what about those you don’t know that well. “Hi so and so, how are you today?” “”I love your boots, where did you get them.” “I think this thing I just learnt about you is so cool.” Now don’t say this just because, you want to mean it. Because the thing is, everyone has something unique and special about them if you take the time to notice it, and that can far surpass looks, weight –all the superficial stuff. It is like we are all competing to prove our worth –but often it is our criticisms of ourselves that is the worst. We should be empowered by how different we are, but instead we don’t talk about the insecurities that we all have and they just multiply. I don’t think there is a single person who isn’t susceptible to it whether you are male or female. Everyone has baggage, but some is so real, so full of pain, that it might seem like there is honestly no way to scrap yourself out of it. Then possibly all it can take is a little light to be shone down and things start to look a little bit better.
So why be a hater, when you can be a lover. Why surround yourself with negative attitudes and unhealthy environments, because when you learn to love inward and change the things that you have the power of, things can seem a little brighter. Here are 10 positive affirmations that might come in handy should you be filling not so full of love for yourself. Like with AA it is all about steps, so starting small can sometimes be the path to a more self confident and happy you and that when you hear someone say “you are fat” you think, no I’m beautiful and I embrace my body.
1) I have the power to change my life.
2) I only say no to limits.
3) Fate assists those who persist.
4) Where others have gone, I can go.
What others have done, I can do.
5) I exude confidence.
6) A new life is unfolding before me.
7) I am the potential through which great things arise.
8) I have the daring to dream and the courage to do.
9) One step forward is one step closer.
10) If it is to be, it is up to me!
Also, here is a link to a poet called Natalie Patterson who I think it just rad-please take the time to watch ‘You have a beautiful body ‘and some of her other ones.
And another beautiful TED talk by Shane Koyczan: To this day
And a link to the 2014 National Day of Action against Bullying & Violence which includes links to Kids Helpline & Eheadspace. Please stand up to bullies: