Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 25: Something Someone Told Me About Myself That I'll Never Forget


Once again, I've been slipping behind with the May blogging challenge. Frustratingly I was all set to catch up last night...  and then the internet connection crashed. Typical. I wrote a few posts down on paper, so I'm going to attempt to make up for lost time now.

So, Saturday's post was supposed to be 'Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget. (Good or bad).'
I've been told a great deal about myself over the years, and learnt information about myself I never knew existed. I've been given my fair share of insults, and compliments in my time, and even told a bunch of stuff applied to me that simply wasn't true.
However, growing up as a painfully shy girl with low self-esteem, zero confidence, and zero body confidence, anything negative ever said to me always stuck. I always believed the insults and negativity were true, and often allowed them to torment me for years afterwards.
When I was about thirteen, I had been suffering with painful aches and pains in the bones in my legs and arms, and was eventually referred to a local hospital for their opinion.
I remember going to the appointment with my Dad, and going in to a consultation room where two female medical professionals were waiting. Looking back, I think they were physiotherapists, not Doctors. Separated from my Dad by a curtain, I was asked to undress down to my underwear in front of the two women. I was mortified and extremely self-conscious, and one of the women took one look at me and bluntly told me 'you're a little fat', before continuing to interrogate me about my diet, and lifestyle. I was utterly humiliated, and devastated- and of course, I believed them. They made no effort to be subtle or kind to an impressionable teenager, and instead of investigating my pains, they body shamed.
I travelled the whole way home in silence, and in tears, and refused all offers of food for lunch from my Dad. He just didn't know what to say.
That one appointment made me hate my body more than I'd previously done, affected my confidence, and made me so ashamed of my appearance. All the thoughts I'd had of myself had been confirmed. I was FAT, I was UGLY, I was WORTHLESS.
 This one encounter was largely responsible for almost a decade and a half of self-consciousness and self doubt. I wasted my teens, and half of my twenties hating myself, my body, my appearance, and believing I was a worthless freak.
Looking back, I am angered by how these women made me feel. What professional, qualified adult would talk so harshly to an impressionable teenage girl, and knock her confidence while she's at an age when girls struggle with body image and identity? They could have discussed their 'concerns' gently, or taken my Dad aside for a word... No wonder teenagers develop eating disorders, and become obsessed with diets and exercise, and hate their bodies when authority figures make them  believe there's something wrong with how they look.
Do you want to know the best part? At the time, I wasn't even fat! I was a five foot five thirteen year old with womanly curves; chubby at best... but oh, did I believe that she was right, and I was FAT.
They never did help me get to the bottom of my aches and pains, and blamed growing pains. They offered me a couple of sessions of physiotherapy, but in reality it was just exercise masquerading as treatment.
I have to go back to that hospital for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy for my back today, and thankfully, I've not yet been body shamed, but I still hate going there. 
I've never forgotten what they said, or how they made me feel... but (almost) fifteen years later I'm finally learning to love and accept who I am.

6 comments:

  1. Oh Louise - you're so brave to share this, I've had similar, horrible things happen to me (like the time I rolled my ankle and my gym class and the teacher told me flatly it was because I was too fat) but nothing as nasty as this. Plus its a very unprofessional way to manage it and seriously - how much can you really alter your diet at 13 if the issue is actually the diet? (which I doubt it was), They should have talked to you and your Dad together - not called out a young girl like that. Hideous!! Sending you positive vibes - you've clearly come a long way xoxox

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    1. Thank you. What a horrible thing to be told by somebody you should've been able to trust. I think in both our cases it was very unprofessional! It wasn't diet at all, I always ate healthily, and I think it was just growing pains or something like that. I really do agree; surely the professional, tactful way to address their 'concerns' would be a gentle chat, not just blurted out to a teenage girl dressed in her underwear. Thanks, Trees. I really have come a very long way since that day xx

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  2. What bitches! There is no need for body shaming ever xx

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    1. They were! Body shaming shouldn't be allowed, especially in health care. It needs to be seen as unacceptable discrimination like racism and sexism. xx

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  3. That's awful. I'm tempted to use a very bad word about them but I won't. I just hope they get big red boils on their bottoms which never go. Cows! x x

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    1. Feel free to use any bad word you like. I'm sure karma will have worked it's magic on them by now. xx

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