‘An open letter to the woman who abused me on the beach: Here’s what you didn’t know.’

 

We met on the beach today, I was with my friend who mentioned to you that you’re not allowed to have dogs there as it was a conservation zone. You were also asked to park somewhere other than the sand dunes where the turtles have been hatching. Your dad’s reaction highlighted that you all didn’t care very much. After he yelled “I don’t give a f*ck about anyone else but myself” I understood.

When we bumped into you on the beach again I was not prepared for your continued aggression and while I did my best to walk away and not engage, you went there. I have heard it many times but it doesn’t lose its sting.

So I thought I would tell you my story, a story shared by many. Maybe, just maybe you’ll choose how to communicate more effectively in the future. I am hoping that the next person you feel you can’t regulate yourself around there will be a moment that you remember those you’re hurting, those you’re influencing and the world you’re creating.

Growing up I was bullied by those closest to me and then bullied by those in the school yard for six years.

I was called ranga, fatty and porkie amongst other things. 12 years ago I was in the prime of my life. I had started two health and wellness clinics and business was pumping. Then one night I was lured into a situation I couldn’t get out of. I was raped. Now I have dealt with that, but my self-worth is easily triggered.

Katie Johnson at the beach. Image supplied.

I found someone that I thought I wanted to spend my life with, but after spending three years with him he asked me way too many times to lose weight. He became frustrated. I did too, I didn't want to be someone else. Even though I held my ground I really lost my confidence in my appearance. I have been single since and scared to date, especially as the last few dates have included passive judgements that I am NOT out of a magazine. Luckily one man was a glimmer of hope, more like a solar flare of hope. Unfortunately life took him in another direction.

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On the beach today when you were left with no valid argument and you started attacking our physical appearance in front of your children, parents and husband (who looked very embarrassed), my heart broke. Of course it triggered my own past hurt but to think you're passing that behaviour onto your children, well that was hideous.

So, I ask you to think about the abuse you throw around and if you can't help yourself then don't do it in front of your children. There are so many hurtful people in the world, I beg you to not create more like your father has created you. Children soak up everything around them, they learn how to navigate the world from you. They learn the worth of others through your eyes. They learn what is important in the world by what you place importance on.

You reduced me to my physical "flaws" without knowing anything about me or my life. All I hope for is that you're listening and next time judgemental words are about to come out of your mouth that you catch them... how would you like someone like you verbally attacking your daughter like that? What if your daughter had the same story as me and someone like you did that to her?

Today was the first day all year where I felt pretty good about being in my bathers. Then you happened.

So please be careful with the world your words create...

Katie

P.S. Stay off the sand dunes and keep your dog at home.

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