I find myself surfing the net, coming across many videos and pictures trying convey the big picture that people should not be self conscious and need to start feeling like they can express themselves. So here I am, sharing my story and advice in hope to reach out to many young individuals, who felt like like my teen self.
Growing up is probably one of the hardest things in life, I am not going to lie to you. As you grow, your body goes through changes, full ranging hormones that make you feel so many emotions at the same time. It’s scary, leaving your young naive body and mind as you make the transition into the man or women you will be for the rest of your life. As you lose your milk teeth and your irreplaceable adult teeth start to develop too.
It is not easy trying to remove negative thoughts about yourself, after all you are the one that put them there in the first place – whether you listened to bullies around you or compared yourself to others and decided you do not have the ‘ideal’ look.
I struggled, a lot. My teeth were pretty ugly as I had an overbite. People used to call be ‘rabbit teeth’ and really tease me. I used to hate smiling, afraid of what others would think.
I was also chubby child with a speech impediment, whilst all the other guys were skinny and muscly – I compared myself to them in a negative way. For that reason I hated P.E, it meant having to expose my body to the rest of the class. I could never accept how I looked, I always thought I had done something wrong in life, and this was the consequences.
Getting upset caused me to turn to food, I started comfort eating. Eating seemed like the only thing that could cover up my emotions.
I found it hard to make friends, stuttering whilst trying to make conversation. I used to get so embarrassed about it and others never used to understand what I was trying to say – therefore people never really wanted to be my friend.
I was so ready to leave school and go on to do my A-levels, it meant a fresh start and a chance to change myself. I thought I would be free from doing sports – I was so wrong! It was compulsory for every member of the school to take part in an afternoon of sports, I refused to do it. I was not going to put myself through it all again. With my confidence at a rock bottom, I refused to start conversations with new people and make friends in fear I will start stuttering.
Lonely and upset, I found myself sorting the horses during my lunchtimes and studying through my free periods and breaks.
Finishing sixth form and moving to London for university is where I really found myself. London being so diverse, I found myself fitting in. As I left my teenage years, I needed to make some changes for myself. I spent too long feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything about it.
I was lucky enough to have braces, which completely fixed up my teeth and gave me a reason to smile again. Now, you cannot get me to stop smiling – I am making up for the lost years.
I started going to the gym regularly and forced myself to eat healthily. Drinking water instead of fizzy drinks, cutting out sweets and chocolate… crisps and biscuits too! Now I find myself, 2 stone lighter, 4 inches skinnier along with developing muscle.
I still have the occasional day where I don’t want to talk to people in shops and order food, but I am lucky to have such amazing friends that support and encourage me to do so.
You are the only person that can change how you feel about yourself, not others around you. I wish I realised that earlier.
I recently read a quote that really inspired me and has stuck with me, it read “What matters is what YOU see, your body is your temple and it is your home and you must decorate it.”
I wanted to share this with many of the kids out there that are growing up, in hope that they can learn to accept themselves and change from an early age rather than spending the start of your life in misery.
You are all beautiful, in your own ways. Embrace it, work with it and you will find yourself a completely different and happy person. Never forget that…