Sunday 24 July 2016


Reader Beatrice tells us how one overheard comment when she was eleven pulled her confidence to pieces... and how she finally found the courage to fight back...

Beatrice says:
I was eleven years old the last time I wore a bikini. I was one of the early developers... I was proud of my new curves, even if I did have a little puppy fat. I'd never had anything to put INTO a bikini before, but now I did, and I felt so grown up. We were on holiday in Crete, and it was scorching... the kind of day you just want to dive into the sea and get cool again. I'd seen some older girls in the water, and I remember wading out towards them, hoping they might talk to me, that we might be holiday friends. Instead, I saw their faces as I came closer, heard them laughing. 'She looks gross. Someone should tell her,' one of the girls said, and they pulled disgusted faces as I turned away, pretending I hadn't heard.

It ruined my holiday. I spent the rest of the week with a big t-shirt over my bikini, hiding away from everyone. I felt ashamed. Back home, I tried to shake off the embarrassment but I couldn't. Choosing uniform for secondary I picked the biggest, baggiest items I could find. I hated PE although I'd always loved it in the past, and when we had swimming lessons I invented an allergy and forged notes to say I couldn't go in the water. I hated my body, just because of one thoughtless comment from girls I didn't even know. Ironically, it was my PE teacher who got me into trampoline. We had a taster session one lesson, and I was quite good, and she kept nagging me to join the after school club. I did in the end, and I loved it... and I WAS good at it. It took a couple of years, but knowing I was good at something sporty helped my confidence. I couldn't be totally useless if my PE teacher wanted me to train for competitions, after all.

I am fifteen now and I feel so sad for that hopeful eleven year old in her red bikini, and so angry at the mean girls on the beach. I wish I'd had the confidence to let their spiteful comment wash over me, but I didn't. The damage took a long time to rebuild. I am OK, now, with the way I look. I am curvy... so what? A lot of girls are. I look good in a swimsuit, and even if I didn't I would wear one on the beach. I would never, ever, tell a little girl that she looked gross. Self esteem is fragile at that age, at any age, when you are an adolescent girl. I am not just a body, I am a human being with feelings. Nobody has the right to judge the way I look, to sneer at me. Do I wear bikinis again now? Not yet. But one day, I hope, I will.

Cathy says:
Beatrice's post is brave and honest and important. Teen girls are made to feel bad about themselves every day... and that's so damaging. I'm glad she has managed to shake off the spiteful comment at last. Have YOU ever had your confidence torn down in this way? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more...

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