Thoughts | You Deserve.

I’ve been told various times that I should include more personal posts on here which I think is a good idea as it’ll probably help me process my thoughts better, as well as possibly connect with you guys more which I would love. I don’t have a specific subject for this post so please bare with me if it sounds kinda janky; it’s currently 3:15 am as I type this.

As I scroll back through my Facebook photo feed, I realise that I don’t have any photos of me pre-University. This was intentional of course as I would flat out refuse to be photographed because of how I felt I looked in photos, but it would have been nice to see how far I’d come since, how innocent (pah!) I was back then, how much I’d grown.
The photo above is one of the ‘oldest’ photos I have of me; this was taken towards the end of 2010 during my graduation. Looking at this photo fills me with sadness because I remember not wanting to attend the ceremony or have pictures taken of me at all.I just felt so ugly and did not feel like being paraded on the stage for all my peers to see. I’d been in the bathroom crying for about 20 minutes about 15 minutes before this photo was taken.
Your University days are often said to be the happiest times of your life, however for me it was the complete opposite. I was suffering from severe depression which stemmed from a plague of insecurities, low confidence and virtually no self esteem. I hated myself, my personality, my body and thought I wasn’t deserving of any happiness. I would sometimes go days without attending lectures, live on only apples and water for weeks, sit in my room and just stare at the ceiling thinking terrible thoughts, wanting to end it all (and on one occasion I nearly did) and would self harm on occasion. I even went through a weird phase of unknowingly ripping my eyebrow hairs out; which got to a point where I had to start drawing them on as they became virtually non-existent for a time.It got to a point where I would daydream about looking like someone else completely; In this perfect world I was a size 8-10 with much lighter skin and much prettier and I would just zone out for several hours in this fantasy world, wanting to be that smaller, perfect version of me so bad.

So yeah It was a bad place. But I sit here and think how crazy it is that we get so caught up in what other people think of something as trivial and basic as what we look like. Don’t get me wrong, appearance is important to a degree, but to actually risk losing my life because I didn’t like the body I was in? I look back and sometimes feel ashamed. I read a copy of this month’s ELLE magazine with the gorgeous Rebel Wilson on the front cover and I think about how much the plus size blogging community has impacted people’s lives; especially young women. We didn’t have role models like Rebel, Tess Holliday, Ashley Graham and countless others to tell us we were beautiful, that we were unique and have just as much right to be loved as anybody else.
The thing that I can’t understand is that we are constantly being told by society to love our bodies, and be happy with ourselves, and that other people will like you better if you have self confidence. They tell us this while telling us that we are too fat, or too ugly and that we will never be good enough. It’s a vicious cycle that ends in self loathing, and I hate it. During Secondary school I was bullied and physically/mentally abused by said bullies for 5 years and never told anyone, hence me growing up with these horrible affirmations drummed into me by bullies. I was never told I was beautiful or that I deserved to fall in love or that I should be proud of myself and my body and to this day at times, I still cringe, and feel bad when I receive compliments because deep down I suppose there is still a part of me that feels like I don’t deserve to feel good about myself.

Me when receiving a compliment. 😐
I find it’s been the same when it comes to the subject of dating or just liking someone in general if you look a certain way. When you’re fat it tends to be really hard to believe when someone extremely conventionally attractive is interested in you or thinks that you’re attractive. It’s hard to believe it’s real, that it isn’t pity or a joke. You try really hard to fight against these thoughts but you know it’s going to take time to reverse all the horrible things you’ve been told to believe about what you deserve.
Truth is, we do deserve it. We are humans who are capable of loving and being loved in return, we deserve to share the same front pages of fashion magazines as our slender counterparts do. We deserve to feel confident our bodies. The more we see women with fat, cellulite, freckles, moles, wrinkles and body hair, the more we will realize there is true beauty in our natural selves. I know seeing women who are proud of their imperfect bodies has helped me love, appreciate and see beauty in mine. I know that it’ll take a long time for me to see that I am okay as I am, but that’s what life is all about I guess; journeys and stuff.
I never thought there would come a day where I would one day look in the mirror and think “oh..i kinda look alright today”. I would never have thought there would be a day where I would be taking part in a campaign for a major UK fashion brand, and for someone who always knew for certain in her heart that she would always be single and perhaps end up dying alone, I would never have dreamed that I would be in my first relationship with the most amazing man ever who loves and accepts me how I am. That’s the most mindblowing to be honest.The key to being your true self, is to love & appreciate yourself. Here’s a little thing or two I learned about being alive on this planet. We are all different, whether it’s looks or mindsets. But we all differ. Sure , there’s people we are compatible with on different levels like friends and lovers. But here will always be people who dislike you. There are people who will stop at nothing to make you feel down. And in today’s age, it’s even easier with social media. But this shit needs to STOP. What is it that you don’t see?You are BEAUTIFUL. You are UNIQUE. You have something that I guarantee no one else on this earth has. You are a small, but vital part of the earth and how it works. LOVE you body. Your curves. Your privates. Your hair! Your nose. The weird thing your laugh does. Embrace it. Because I promise, letting yourself believe there’s something wrong with you, or that you are lacking beauty is not true. At all. There will be people who tell you that you aren’t “pretty”. Society will give you guidelines. But if you look in the mirror and you find all the reasons to love yourself, you will be happy. And that’s what is important in life. Take a picture of yourself when you’re truly happy so you can see the glow in your eyes. You can look back on that and remember how good it felt.

Just love yourself.

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  • Coco

    This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story, you're brave. I spent almost three years of university severely depressed and it affected me personally as well as my academic performance.

  • Chloe Albuery

    What a beautiful heartfelt post! I could relate to so much in this post and for a massive part of my life. It's the best feeling when you can finally feel happy with yourself and find someone who is also so happy with you! Well done on writing this girl! It was so helpful for me to know there's always someone else who's going trough/or has gone through a similar thing! Xxx

  • Becci Charlton

    Beautiful Steph. A really well written, moving piece. I can relate to this so much xxxxxxx

  • Vicky Frankland

    Beautiful piece Steph. So much of this I can relate to. I think coming out the other side and feeling good about yourself makes you a stronger person. Tough enough to cope with whatever life can throw at us in the future!

  • Stephanie (Nerd About Town)

    Thank you so much for reading Vicky!

  • Stephanie (Nerd About Town)

    Thank you Becci! I was scared it wouldn't make any sense as I went on a bit of a ramble, but I'm glad it's somewhat coherent 🙂

  • Stephanie (Nerd About Town)

    Thank you Chloe! That's so kind of you to say and I'm so glad you found it helpful! It's comforting to know that there are others who have gone through the same thing and have made it out the other side 🙂

  • Stephanie (Nerd About Town)

    Thank you Coco! It affected my final classification grade too which was a shame, and I was too depressed to even apply for mitigating circumstances LOL, but we live and we learn!

  • Fantastic piece! I love how you've really spoken truthfully and straight from the heart here … inspiring!

    Cxx
    http://curvygirlthin.blogspot.co.uk

  • Stephanie (Nerd About Town)

    Thank you Charli! I'm so glad you liked it.

  • kitty kaos

    Beautifully written and well said. Lovely honest and open piece xx