There is more of my life that I have hated myself than loved. That upsets me. I have done so much in my twenty-one years on this planet to look back and think that majority of it I have hated myself is honestly tragic. I went through stages hating my personality, most of my life hating my body and hating my mental health. Hate is a strong word; I feel like I use(d) it too often and freely growing up and I’m not sure if apart from myself I genuinely hated anything. We spend years being forced into this stimulation world where we compete in looks, personalities and attractiveness for what? For self-gratification? Or does it not even matter?
Growing up, I remember every magazine having this truly gorgeous models; flat stomachs, thigh gaps and ribs showing. I spent my teenage years doing crunches on crunches to the point of pain thinking maybe I’d be more attractive if I was slimmer. I remember running home asking my mum if I could get a fringe to cover my forehead, maybe that would make me more attractive. I remember buying fake tans, countless makeup products and push-up bras hoping to get even the slightest bit of attention. (Obviously the last part was before my naturals grew and ruined my self-esteem even more). Buying on-trend clothes, bags and shoes to try and keep up with this STUPID concept of popularity, I changed who I was. I forgot who I was. I was sixteen when pictures were spread of mine, they were private.
Boys began messaging me, trying to get some and I was so overwhelmed. I was more than two pieces of fat on my chest. I am still more than that. The worst thing was they would message me all night, from leaving school to going to sleep BUT walk past me in school ignoring that they even knew me. Like I was some kind of disgusting secret, that people knowing they would speak to me was vile. You can only imagine what effect that had on my self-confidence. I didn’t report anything, I didn’t do anything. I can’t even begin to comprehend what went through that boys’ brain or his friends who spread it. But you hurt me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that pain.
The following guy spent his time jumping between me and some other girl who was in most of my classes. She spread a lot of rubbish about me, said I was chasing this guy and that he felt bad for me. It wasn’t till a year later that I told her he’d asked me out the day before he asked her, and I’d said no out of respect. But hearing people chat rubbish about me, that helped my confidence too. I stopped caring about what people thought. Honestly, I stopped with boys. People assumed they knew my business and they didn’t. There were rumours about what I was doing in my free time. None of it was true.
I went to university for a fresh start, I barely got with a guy the whole of first year and focused on getting myself in a good space. Boys weren’t a priority when I was trying to come to terms with my PCOS and re-diagnosis of depression. It was quite nice and peaceful, genuinely and like I’m not attempting to be mean to boys/men, but I was finally stress-free. I heard a lot of rumours though and to be honest I don’t know where they began let alone what spurred them along. Girls would say because of the clothes I wore out I was making my way around the whole of Plymouth, but then they’d post that girls shouldn’t be judged by their clothes. I was confident in what I wore, and nothing was going to stop that, just would’ve been nicer if people hadn’t spread rumours.
I don’t believe virginity is real, to me the whole idea of it is a way of shaming women into giving up a part of themselves to a man. Losing your virginity isn’t a big deal. Nor is it a loss. It doesn’t make you any less of a person or any more of a person. To me I’m not ashamed I lost mine at 19, I was ready then. I was ready before, but I didn’t force it, everyone kept telling me to just do it and I knew I didn’t want to give in to pressure. Losing my virginity meant nothing to me, I was the same woman after that I was before.
Not long after I fell in love for the first time. He catfished me. He wasn’t who he said he was. I got played. Before I fell for him, I was heartless, I didn’t get feelings and I was so confident within myself I never let my guard down. But I did and it backfired. The day he told me the truth, that he had a girlfriend and he was using me to forget how insecure his relationship was, I was hungover, and I cried all day. I sat with my friends bawling my eyes out, I was heartbroken. I’m now friends with the ‘real’ guy, and honestly, I know he doesn’t read this, so I feel comfortable saying, he changed me. I let my guard down and yes it backfired, but I also gained a really close friend, a deeper understanding of myself and now I get to be the butt of all ‘how can someone be catfished’ jokes. I don’t regret it at all.
After him there was two main boys, I’ll call them boys because they were definitely not mature enough to be men. I didn’t let my guard fall and I didn’t fall as quickly as I was scared I would. I’d love to sit here and say there was some success but to be honest I don’t feel like I even learnt much from it. The only thing I learnt is people will take take take and never give. I put so much into my friendships, my relationships and the support I give is 24/7 yet these boys struggled to maintain a conversation about my pain for ten minutes without comparing. I don’t want to be too negative to these guys because to be honest I don’t know if they read this and I don’t want people feeling negative about me.
So where am I now? I’m happy. I like being single, I genuinely don’t know how I’d cope with being in anything more. I’m focused on me and my future. I went from doing everything I can for boys to notice me to ignoring the attention I get. I find myself on ‘dating’ apps for the conversation and get bored as quick as it takes to match someone. I’m still young. I’m not rushing anything. I’ve done my fair share of bad stories; I’ve forced myself through some bad experiences and now I am just letting fate take its course. If I end up single with 10 cats I’ll be just as happy as with a man. I love myself enough to not need someone, and that’s character growth.
I want to quickly close this apologising to anyone who may be offended or upset by this post, I doubt anyone I speak about reads this but still knowing something is about you isn’t the best feeling. However, this is my story and you are part of my journey. I wish you nothing but the best in the future, no matter how things ended.