Hi there. I’m Laurel, I’m 17 and from England. This is my story.
About two years ago, I was confronted by a boy on Twitter. I had tweeted something, I’m not too sure as to exactly what, but he replied mocking me. I think I ignored him, not letting his comment get to me before I saw he and another boy were having a conversation… about me. At the time I was a major Jessie J fan (still am) and my twitter username was @HeartbeatLaurel . This name was a pass into a world with like-minded people and friends who were more like family towards me. ‘Heartbeat Laurel? More like Heart attack Laurel’ was the tweet this boy had sent his friend. They went back and forth with their comments about my weight and before I knew it I was curled up on my bed, crying. They destroyed my confidence. These boys went to my school, and I won’t stoop to their level by giving you their names but I remember changing my username as quickly as I could that day, changing it to something I knew no one could mock me for.
Shortly after, I was in an on-going argument with another boy in my year. ‘I’ve seen whales smaller than you’ was a tweet of his directed at me. There were other comments too, all of which felt like knives being stabbed into my chest as I read them. I didn’t go swimming after that, shorts in P.E were already not an option after being laughed at the first day back in year 9 by the boys in my class. Even after a year of having to wear my tracksuit bottoms girls would still whisper and giggle as I changed as discretely as I could in the changing rooms at my fat legs. My confidence was so low I’d have anxiety attacks about going into P.E and I’d hate school so, so much.
Soon, I looked at myself as something disgusting. My body was covered as much as possible and in the summer I’d wear jumpers and leggings in an attempt to draw less attention to myself. Science was just as bad and two boys would forever go on and on about my weight thinking it was hilarious. I remember walking out of the class at one point, running to the toilets and crying again.
As soon as I was out of that place I dyed my hair, got piercings and planned tattoos. All these things made me feel better about myself but there was still this deep sense of hate in the pit of my stomach whenever I looked in the mirror. I thought it would be impossible to ever like myself again.
A couple of days back I was introduced to a tumblr blog. This blog featured photos of women my size and bigger flaunting their bodies and being proud of themselves. They were “reclaiming ‘fat’” and loving themselves for who they were and how they looked. So, it inspired me. I challenged myself to add an entry into that blog, proving to myself and those who had destroyed my confidence that I could be strong and I could be proud. And guess what. I’m doing that right now.
My skin is dimpled, scarred and covered in stretch marks but it’s so easy to point out the negatives in a picture of yourself. It’s braver to notice the positives.
So, this is me. I’ve had a bumpy journey to accepting this body but I’m finally here, with a smile on my face and a sense of pride. Who knew?
The scars, both emotional and physical, will hold you down. It’s your choice whether or not you get up and fight for your right to be beautiful.
Thanks for reading.