Song quoted – all my friends by Snakeships. Describes my feelings perfectly if you just read between the lines. As always, if you are offended by something, contact me so I can change it. Sorry for the bad English, this text is not as formal as former texts, but I felt it required a more informal tone based on the topic of the post.
First day of sixth grade. New school, new people, new me. Fine, I was twelve years old at the time, so I did not really have an “old” me, however I was excited to start a new school with my closest friends. We were five of us, one group of close friends. Very shortly after our school start, I felt a bit behind in everything. Not academic wise, but more socially, in this close group of five girls. At first, everything was fine, I had gotten a new phone, with touch screen, for my birthday just a few weeks before school start, so I was excited to use and display my new gadget. Makeup and clothes were not that big of an issue in the beginning, I thought.
This all changed during our first sleepover when they would all get out their stuffed makeup bags when we woke up the following morning. We were twelve at the time, with perfect skin and without any need for any improvements. But I caved. I was so nervous when I went to the mall to buy my first concealer, and texted my mom IF I could buy this forbidden product. I tried to make a bunch of excuses, blaming my non existent dark circles and invisible imperfections. The relief when my mom texted “yes” back washed over me like a big wave.
This post will not solely focus on how I gave in to my close friends by buying cheap, low quality makeup that were to ruin my skin for years after. No, this post is written out of sheer anger caused by people I have encountered during these last couple of years that have not fully understood how current me (still) is affected by this quite brief period of my life. Maybe it is stupid, maybe they do understand but not care, or maybe, just maybe, am I exaggerating their tone and attitude because I’m the villain.
During my first year of middle school (högstadiet in Sweden, ages 12-15) everything happened. Middle school is often a difficult time for most people, the body changes, everyone figuring out their identities and where they belong in this confusing world. Im not different, I went through all of that as well, my body changed, I got my first period, my skin was oily, dry, problematic and filled with zits, all at the same time. In addition to that, my body image was not the best. Sure, not everyone is filled with confidence and self love at the age of twelve, but since I was fatter (yes, you’re allowed to say that without offending someone) and not conventionally attractive, my body image was even worse than the average teenager. It did not help one bit when my own friends, the ones that were supposed to love and support me, were subtly bullying me, without me first noticing. I normalised everything; “it probably did not mean anything when they didn’t make room for me on the couch” or “my jokes are probably not that funny anyways, its not their fault.”
It’s not their fault. That specific thought was rooted into my brain without me making it a big deal. I used to wonder why I always felt sick when I walked to the school bus in the morning, and why I could feel the tears burning behind my eyelids when I closed the door to my room, and my mom asking “how was school today?”. The worst part of it all was that the next day, it could be like they’ve never treated me bad in any way. Like it was all in my head. The mood and attitudes could vary from day to day, and I would wonder. “Are they my friends? Do they want to hang with me?”. The fact that I never really knew where I had them or what kind of relationship we had. I deserved clear messages and signs from them. At the time, I wouldn’t have wanted that, but now I know that that was what I needed.
I never really got a grip of how much that year and those experiences affected me. Not until my first year of high school (gymnasiet in Sweden, ages 16-18), when I had a meeting with the school nurse. It was a mandatory check-in, just to get an understanding of our health. In some way we started talking about my previous friendships and I mentioned what I had been through and that it still was hard to talk about. I did not understand it. It happened years ago, why do I still get emotional when I talk about it? I do not know why. I did not know why.
So why is this relevant today? A few years back, I regained the tiny bit of self confidence I had before that time, and continued building and developing it. I vowed to always put myself first, no matter how selfish it may sound. Through my entire life I have been prioritising other people, masking my feelings and limited myself for others well being. This has been destructive, too destructive. It almost killed my confidence and my well being. I hit rock bottom.
“All my friends are wasted
And I hate this club
Man I drink too much
Another Friday night I wasted
My eyes are black and red”
My newfound confidence and self love has caused some dilemmas and problem this last period of time. So much that I have on multiple occasions questioned myself and if it was wrong feeling so good with myself. Maybe I am victimising myself. But right now, I do not care. There is something majorly problematic with a young woman, not conforming to beauty standards, to question her own self love. Because of my life and what I’ve been through, my energy is so limited, that I can not waste it on people not respecting my past, or people that’ll make me question my own self worth. Maybe it seems harsh, but I’m so sick of people, especially those who have been bullied or dealt with mental health issues, not feeling worthy of some self love and respect.
My twelve year old self would not recognise, and probably not like, my seventeen year self. She would call me mean, rude, ignorant and disrespectful. And yes, I have in some ways turned into an stone cold hearted bitch who does not consider other peoples’ feelings and thoughts. But I finally love myself. I’ve never respected my. Own. Goddamn. Self. And at this point, I do not really care what the people that makes me question my worth have to say. Because in a few years, that won’t matter. I’m done having toxic people in my life. I will surround myself with people what will make me grow and improve in healthy, non destructive ways.
I’m not regretting what happened to me. If those years would have been any different, I would probably be feeling bad about myself, getting angry and annoyed every two seconds today. Which I am most of the time, but the difference is that now, it won’t destroy me. I’m finally strong enough to face these situations on a daily basis.
I will probably write more on this topic later on, because I know things will provoke me and the only way for me to handle this right now is to write, and in a sophisticated way, call some people out.