During my early teenage years, I attended an all-girls private school where most of the people I interacted with everyday were really good looking and had amazing bodies. I used to compare myself so much to them, always wanting to look like them so that boys would also pay attention to me as much, so that everyone would want to be with me and say great things about me.
I had just recently experienced a relationship breakup at the time and felt like I couldn’t really count on the friends I had, which made me question if I was pretty enough. I felt alone. My self-esteem was gone. And certainly social media made it worse.
14 year-old me will then begin to look at the mirror more and more, beginning to skip meals, count calories and feel awful after eating a lot — with “a lot” being reduced everyday. It then became part of my life to hate food and to be disgusted every time I saw the small fat I had in my stomach and thighs. I became so obsessed with how my body image looked, that I couldn’t think of anything else. My happiness depended on how many calories I consumed, how many instagram worthy photos I had of myself, and on how many compliments I got from people.
My physical and mental health then worsened when I decided to model for a photographer who contacted me through instagram. I still remember the photographer telling me how glad he was that I was really skinny because I will always look good in pictures, but little did I know that I was slowly becoming physically unhealthy and underweight. I did not know at the time that I was harming my health to be “pretty”. I soon realized I did not have the talent, passion and dedication for modeling so I eventually stopped doing it. Yet, the thought of ‘the skinnier I am the prettier I am, and the prettier I am the more people will like me’ still lived on my mind.
I may not look super different on the outside now because I’ve always been petite. But on the inside I’m a totally different person. I used to be so self-conscious about how I looked, thinking that the more bones I could see and the more compliments I got, the happier I was. My mental health was not in a good place as my happiness depended on appearances. So I would like to dedicate this post to anyone struggling with self-esteem and body problems especially due to social media. The advice I would like to give you is to never sacrifice your health for the sake of appearances, because you will regret it when you grow up. You are so young and have thousands of upcoming experiences where you will meet people who love you for you, who will accept you regardless of how you look and that is true happiness.