This post deals with eating disorders and might be triggering for some readers.
I’m going to say the one thing women aren’t ever allowed to say - I am beautiful.
By 2000’s standards anyway. Less Kim K, more Paris Hilton.
I was born longer and thinner than my older brother, and was taller than my mum by age 10. I reached my peak at age 17 - I was 5’10”, weighing in at 48kg. I was beautiful because I was tall and thin, blue-eyed and blonde-haired.
How did I know I was beautiful? Because, people told me. All the time. But, I have to admit, the way people told me was vastly different, depending on their gender.
Watch: The Horoscopes and self-care. Post continues below.
High school is hard for most of us. Most people experience bullying of some kind between childhood and adolescence. And what’s the number one line we were all told by a trusted adult? They’re bullying you because they’re just jealous of you.
My bully was a dancer - she did ballet from when she was three. There is one rule for ballerinas: no boobs allowed. The second her body started to change, so did her interactions with me. I was openly excluded, my words were mocked, and then there were “the looks”. If you’ve ever interacted with a teenage girl, you know the ones.
This girl picked on me from when I was 12 to 18 - it only stopped when we graduated. And from age 12, still a child, I was told by the many trusted women in my life “she’s just jealous because you’re prettier than her.”
That was the line. I was prettier. I’ll admit, that was pretty hard to believe with my braces and lanky limbs, always stooping so I wouldn’t be a head taller than the other kids. I was always different, taller and thinner than the others. I hated it, until I realised I was what the other girls wanted to be.
But by 17, we were all obsessed with our bodies. It wasn’t just the adults in my life telling me I was pretty - my peers started telling me too. I was not in the “cool” group in high school - I wasn’t very interested in being popular. But I was the only girl not in that group to be put on the “hot list” by the boys.
Boys would give me their phone numbers when they came through my register at the supermarket where I worked. I was the first to start dating, first to be kissed. Of all my friends, I was the only one to get my license first try from the scary man at the RMS.