My name is Alexis, I’m 12 years old, and I would love to share my story. I’m not sure how to start, but here goes nothing!
I realize people may think I’m too young to have experienced real hurt, but I have gone through struggles with my weight and how I look. When I tell people, they usually say “that’s not as bad as it gets, just ignore it” but I can’t. When people you look up to or thought were your friends say hurtful things to you, it is hard just to ignore. I never knew how damaging it was when my friends would comment if they thought a shirt made me look big, or if pants were too tight. From my perspective, their comments were telling me I looked fat in everything, that I had gained weight, and ultimately, that I was ugly.
I’m at that age where I started to care about what I look like and what boys find attractive in a girl. At my school, we have a uniform, and that makes it hard to feel confident or unique in your body, especially when it’s blue and white five days a week for 10/12 months of the year. Considering that I’m not confident about how I looked in the first place when some classmates started to call me ugly, fat, and stupid, it made what little confidence I had left disappear. I felt so discouraged that I didn’t want to go to school and I faked being sick to get away from the hateful words. When I stayed home, I sat there thinking they were right. I genuinely started to believe that I was everything they were saying about me. It got so bad that I ate two meals a day with no snacks at all so that I would lose weight. I thought that maybe if I were skinny, they would approve of me. I ate salads and fruits and some meat, but my plate got smaller and smaller as time went on. As I started to lose weight, I was happy that my stomach was flat and my thighs were getting smaller. I thought I was pretty.
Eventually, my parents started to notice, and they asked why I wasn’t eating as much. They questioned why I was alone at school and why I had gotten so thin. My answer was always “I’m fine; I like being alone, and I’m not thin.” Even though I was telling myself I was happy when I was losing weight, deep down, I knew my heart was still hurting, and this was not a genuine solution to anything.
Soon, I realized I was hurting myself and that being skinny is not what defines beauty. I started to eat a little more, began to make friends and the bullying slowly dwindled over time. I was genuinely happy and realized I don’t have to change who I am to fit in. I’m perfect the way I am. Just as I was starting to feel better, my friend told me I was fat, and all of the progress I had made slipped away. I was trying to hold on to the confidence I had grown, but It is hard to look past such strong words.
I was in a hole again until I met my current best friends. They helped me slowly raise my confidence and told me how beautiful they think I am. They were not focused only on outer appearances, but took my heart and character into consideration and loved me for who I am. I can now say I’m as happy as I have ever been and still have the best of friends. Yes, there is still some bullying here and there but I know I can go to my friends to help me. I am finally free from most of the hate. So here is my tip: Find a good group of friends you can trust and who speak in a way that is life-giving and not full of criticism. Keep them close, and they can help you out so much. Also, when you look in the mirror and see anything other than beauty, you need a different mirror. A mirror that allows you to see the whole picture of who you are and not just a critical perspective of your outer appearance. You ARE beautiful, but beauty goes more than skin deep.
If you feel like you are at the bottom of your life, hang on, there is only one way to go: Up.
This is my story, and I’m so glad that Girl Above has made this organization for girls to show them they are beautiful and to look inside themselves. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my story, and I hope it inspires someone to stay encouraged even through bullying, or to find less toxic friends, or to give yourself a shot at a healthy body, not just a skinny body.