Today on the blog, I have a heartfelt post from Raimy Greenland about learning to love yourself.
Raimy has a fabulous blog over at Readaraptor, so please go and check it out.Let me please start off with thanking Viv for letting me have a spot in her fantastic “Look at Me!” week. I think this is an important topic and is something that everyone has problems with, especially teenagers!
When I said I’d do this post I wasn’t sure what to talk about. I have had many a problem over the years with my self-image and my confidence has been dented so many times I have lost count, but I’m still here, and life isn’t all that bad so I wanted to share how I’ve gotten over those confidence dents.
When I was at school I made friends with the “popular” crowd early on, but I was bullied within the group and never felt quite right there. There were people who obviously didn’t want me around. I was miserable and I hated going to school. There were notes left in my locker calling me horrible things and I couldn’t handle it, I’d often cry as soon as I got in from school. Never in front of anyone at school though.
Then in the summer between year 8 and 9 I decided I’d had enough. I wasn’t being the person I wanted to be, I’d started liking bands that none of my “friends” had heard of or wanted to listen to. I read books which was sooooo uncool (we all know how silly that notion is!) and I’d started to grow, as in my body started to change. I went from being a size 8/10 to a 14 in a matter of months, which I bet was fun for my mother! I started wearing band hoodies, wearing black make up and permanently having earphones in. I got stared at but it felt better for being stared at for being me, you know. I still got called some names but all in all, I didn’t care because I was me. It also helped that I didn’t let them think I was bothered by the shouts of “goth” and “mosher” they soon got bored and left me alone. From that point on I was happier, there were still parts of school which were awful but that’s school!
I was good until I went to uni. You’d think that at 19, the age I was when I started uni, you’d get your act together and stop even bothering to worry about what others thought. I moved into my flat in the halls of residence and made some friends with my flatmates. They weren’t the kind of people I’d usually hang out with but we were all living together in a flat for a year and none of us knew anyone.
I got close to the other two girls in my flat and then a fourth girl came into our group. It took me a few months to realise that something wasn’t right. I had things I didn’t say cos I worried what they’d think. I’d have things I wouldn’t wear because I knew what their reaction would be. However I was at uni and had too much to worry about than that. Then near the end of my first year I moved in with the three girls and I started getting paranoid thinking they were saying stuff behind my back. It was year 8 all over again but without the name calling.
I tried to ignore it, I tried to just get on with things but I couldn’t it ate away at me. I hated myself, I hated the way I looked, I hated these ‘friends’, and my work. My only hours of reprieve were at my second job where I worked in a shop alone for four hours. It was a horrible time and I tried to help myself but I couldn’t. I couldn’t pin point what it was exactly but basically I thought of myself as a black hole. I was nothing.
The one day I spoke to my friend from home, she was due to start uni at UCLAN in Preston, I told her I was miserable and might look into swapping unis and go with her. I called UCLAN and arranged a transfer. Then I told my parents who’d told me they realised (all the way from Bulgaria) that I hadn’t been myself for months, as had my sister. I arranged a transfer and moved within a matter of days. My flatmates appeared shocked, they said they couldn’t understand why I was moving. A few weeks later I found out one of the other girls, the one I got on with the most moved out, and then later
another of them did too. I confronted them and they all came clean, I was right, they were talking about me behind my back, they didn’t even like me all that much. I was glad I had confronted them; it made me feel a lot better.
I don’t want to make it sound like I ran away but I knew I couldn’t stay in that situation any longer. I could have probably moved out and stayed in York and everything would have been fine but no matter what I needed to get my confidence back and feel like myself again. I needed to feel like I had worth and whilst driving out of York I felt that worth coming back to me. I have vowed never to find myself around people I don’t feel comfortable with ever again and if I do, tell them straight that I don’t care what they think, and when I say that; I honestly mean it.
You need to go through life being true to yourself, if you aren’t then you will assume the worst of everyone around you. It always comes back to that one cliché; you need to love yourself for others to love you back.
Thank you Raimy!