Loving the Teenage Me I See - Stand UP Foundation

Teenage Me I See

Dear Sailor,

I am having a difficult time differentiating what I should and shouldn't look like as a girl my age. I constantly see pictures of girls on instagram and find myself never feeling like I measure up. I am either too thin or too "muscular". Then on top of it I get pressure because people will tell me how "beautiful" I am and I am not sure how to respond. Can you guide me? What should I look like in middle school?!

How to Love the Teenage Me I See

I am a teenage girl. One of my favorite ways to relax is sitting down with on the couch with my dogs and scrolling through my social media feeds. I like one post after another… scrolling, scrolling. Living in Florida, the vast majority of my feeds consists of girls in bikinis at the beach, girls rolling around on the sand, and girls splashing around in the waves all whilst looking perfectly perfect in every way.

I am a teenage girl, and I have a body. I don’t have a body that is like the bodies I see. I have a body with bruises and scratches; stretch marks and lines; and hips and rolls. I don’t look like the girls I see on my social media streams.

In middle school, I took this to mean I was ugly, different, fat, weird, an outsider, and I could go on forever. The pain and isolation these pictures were causing was so disruptive and heartbreaking. You may be thinking: weren’t they just pictures? Well, they were in fact pictures, but they were also so much more than that. They were controlling my idea of what a “perfect” body was. They were controlling how I looked at myself in the mirror.

It took me years to feel even slightly confident in my body. It took me years to accept that I’m just not built like those girls. It took me years to realize that none of that matters. Why do we need a “perfect” body? Is it for acceptance? Is it for more followers or friends? Is it for more likes on out posts? Maybe it is all of those things, but what I’ve found is that no matter how many followers and likes we receive, we will still be self conscience. Numbers won’t break our harmful body image.

I’ve learned to accept the fact that media is controlling our minds in many, many ways. Body image is just one, but we should not let this continue! Why should I care what other people think of my body? Yea, I have hips. So what? Yea, I have big thighs. So what? I am becoming more comfortable with how I look, and I am learning to feel the happiness I deserve.

Every human being deserves acceptance and happiness. Why do we let other people stop us? It is time that we love ourselves and the bodies we live in. We only have one life and one body. Embrace it.

 

Sincerely Yours, 

Sailor

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