Body image can be very important to a person. Thanks to social media and the internet, there is a stigma that most individuals that struggle with their body image are women, when in fact it's 50/50 between both women and men. However, men don’t talk about the issues, whether it is their bodies or their health, unlike some women.
For individuals, it is most common to begin issue with their body image around the age of 10. Most people have put this down to social media and the photoshopped images that are plastered on magazines. This leads to young women and men believing that their body isn't right or doesn't look like it should.
This can lead to some developing mental health issues, and also issues within their life. When you hear about stories in the papers or on social media, it is usually because individuals really do believe that they should have flat stomachs, plump lips, and beautiful skin. However, this is not true. Flat stomachs are not always healthy for individuals.
For example, I have had many battles with my own self-image. Since the age of six or seven, I was bullied for the way I spoke, the way I acted, and also the way I looked. It's been 15 years since the bullying started. It's calmed down since I left school five years ago, but the effects are still there.
The way I was bullied for the way I looked left me to believe that I was worthless. I was too fat. I wasn’t acceptable because of the size of my "bloated" stomach, but also because of my face and my hair.
I was usually bullied for anything that the individuals could think of, whether it was actually relevant to me or not. As I started getting into puberty, the bullying got worse because I wasn't growing as fast as other girls within my year. My boobs were still quite small and my ass wasn't really growing, so I felt as if it was just fueling the bullies.
At about year nine—I was around the age of 13 or 14—the effects of the bullying became worse. I didn’t want to go to school, I wouldn't want to be seen in public, and I tried to change my appearance just to fit into something that I thought was the normal "thing." I would hide in the class round before class started but also after the class had started so I could avoid most of the kids in my year to just avoid the bullying for that day.
In year nine, my mental health changed. I became more and more depressed where I would walk for hours just debating suicide because I really couldn't keep going with the constant bullying.
I was helped through my last two years of secondary school by a teacher, where she was able to understand how I was feeling and also what I was going through because she had been through the same at school, and her daughter was also experiencing the same so we were all able to relate and support each other.
Once I left school, the bullying seemed to calm down because I was able to walk around my home town without walking into most of the people who bullied me because they lived outside of the town and they wouldn’t really talk to me on social media, so I was able to start my life sort of over again. I was able to experience the life decisions that a teenager would be able to choose, although the effects of the bullying continued. For some reason, my depression seemed to worsen. I don’t know whether that was just because of the experience from school or whether that was the way my life was taking me.
I guess what I'm trying to say through this article would be that you should be happy with your own body no matter what it looks like. Other people have their own bodies to live with. They are probably not happy with certain parts of their body but don’t always realise that they are bullying individuals around them.
You don’t have to stand for the bullying that people may experience. You have the right to be happy no matter what people put in front of you. Please seek help if it's needed or if you are just struggling a little bit. I was never able to seek the help that I probably needed but I'm not dealing with my demons on my own. I have the support from people around me, which is helping. Just be sure to love yourself the way you were made and that way you can prove to people that it's better being you that it is being some skinny celebrity.