Wearing swimsuits can be daunting — especially for teenage girls.
In an attempt to remind everyone that they’re beautiful, one body-positive blogger took to Instagram to share two candid side by side photos — one from age 13 when she had low self-esteem and the other from present age 26, where she duly dubs herself the “Self Love Queen.”
“I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a good caption, but this photo just makes me sad when I look at it,” wrote blogger Rachel Spencer, also known asmylifecoachrachel, on Instagram. “So how about I ask you a question: Who taught the young girl on the left to hide her tummy before taking pictures in a swimsuit? Who taught her that at only 13 years old, her chubby little body was unworthy of a photographic memory??”
“It definitely wasn’t her parents or family, so who was it?”
Spencer goes on to state that at 13-years-old she was bullied for her weight — not by other girls, but by boys.
“The boys were mean,” she continued, reminiscing about her teen years. “From then on out, she (herself as a young girl) never wanted to go to the pool, saw boys as a threat, cried to her teachers, etc. etc.”
Things started to get better for Spencer in middle school, but then came the media.
“Knock Knock, Diet culture, fitness, cellulite cream–CELLULITE?? Why was a 13 year old worried about cellulite??? Because the media told her it was bad. That SHE was bad and needed to change.
If you couldn’t tell by now, the young girl was me.”
She continues that there’s a big difference between the “closed off, hiding, young girl”on the left and the carefree, happy, open girl on the right — and that difference is self-love.
“I taught (self-love) to myself. I had to. I had to find a way to be happy. The process wasn’t quick. I’m still working on it at 26 years old,” Spencer stated. “But I have a message for all the women who are much older and STILL feel ashamed to show their tummy at the pool: Don’t be. Put on that bikini and smile.”
“Don’t feel the need to let other people’s opinions ruin precious memories with your friends and family. Show your daughters what it’s like to flaunt their flaws at the pool. No shame. Your imperfections tell a story. Your body is beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL,” she concluded.
The post garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of comments from other women who currently feel — or have felt — uncomfortable in their own skin.
“We spend so much time as young adults UN-learning all the sh-t we’ve been conditioned to as young girls. It makes me sad,” wrote one blogger. “We need a change so we can get it right from the start. Great post!”