How do you tell a 15 year old year girl that it’s OK for her to love herself?

Well...you don't! You have to show her.

I used to be 15! So, here is the story I would tell her...

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Dear 15 year old Sarah,

You think you are fat... Well you are NOT! But I think you are so deep into the fog that you can’t hear me, can you?Jaysus, I’m just exhausted even thinking about you at this age again. You just never gave yourself a break did you? There was always something wrong, always something that needed improving, always something that needed to change to be more like HER ...who is SHE anyway?

SHE is such a pile of steaming dog poo. But SHE has completely got you in her grasp...

Why does it matter so much what SHE thinks anyway?

I don't want to belittle your feelings in any way but you have such a narrow understanding of what life is all about at 15.

Nevertheless, you understand what is in front of you, or at least you are trying to.

You are trying really hard to grow up in an image obsessed world. Everywhere you turn there are skinny models on magazine covers, girls the same age as you in bikinis with flat bellies (I remember this one bothers you the most), girls with boyfriends who seemed so happy and "oh look at me, I have flat tummy AND a boyfriend".

There are girls on the TV (Do you remember Blossom and how gorgeous you thought she was... well she went on to do her PhD ya know!) and girls in school who just seem to have it all. Not to mention your sisters who were more beautiful than supermodels ... and had really flat tummies.

So, yes its hard Sarah but if you just listened to Mammy Dearest when she sat you in front of the mirror that time...

I know I know, SHE wouldn’t let you.

Mammy dearest really just wanted to hear you say that you liked something about yourself, and really mean it. Mammy dearest knew how important that would be later in life...

But let me tell you fat is the easy part. Fat is just how we look on the outside. Fat is just how we perceive our body and it is just a label that we have given ourselves because everyone has labels and we needed to fit in some way.

What are you really chasing Sarah?

I think you really just wanted to feel like you belong, don't you Sarah?

Acceptance.

Adoration.

Love.

Happiness.

Peace.

Skinny is NOT going to give you these feelings. You clung to this goal with innocence and misdirection and you thought by aspiring to an ideal created by society that this ideal was right for you.

And instead of bringing you acceptance it brought you pain because you were never meant to be the sort of person that society said was perfect. You were only ever meant to be the sort of person that you are now.

I know SHE is telling you the exact opposite though. SHE trying to convince you that you will be much happier when you are a few pounds lighter and it doesn't matter what you have to do to get there.

I know SHE has you almost convinced that no one boy will ever like you (but jasysus wait until you see your fella now...).

I know SHE has you convinced that we are all supposed to look the same and when you get there it’s like this magic room will open up and you can finally be one of the happy people.

But if I am really honest. SHE is wrong. SHE is so completely wrong.

You are 15. You are allowed to grow up and feel conflicted and struggle with your identify. You are allowed to have a think about going on a diet but don't do it because SHE says so!

When we are 15 we are supposed to and allowed to develop and mature naturally and no one ever said this would be easy.

But SHE makes it worse. SHE makes it soo much harder than it has to be because SHE is constantly in your ear! You need to lose one more pound, fatty! You want the size 10, not the 12! It doesn't matter how much you want that chocolate, you can’t let people see you eat that. He clearly doesn't like you because you are basically the size of a beached whale.

So, let’s tell her to piss off!

But I can’t because SHE is a part of me, I hear you say.

SHE is always in my head.

The steaming pile of poo represent all that is wrong in this image obsessed world and once she has got you in her grasp it is so hard to let her go.

So instead of letting go... I challenge you my 15 year old self TO TAKE SOMETHING UP.

What do you like about yourself? It can be something on the outside and something on the inside. You can start small if you like because, yeh, it can be hard to actually say something you love about yourself.

So, just start with something and build on this. Say three things that you like about yourself ... every day.

Keep going until you can’t hear her anymore.

 

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