Teacher teaching her classroom of students

By Sylvia Mac (LoveDisfigure)

How can a young person dislike or hate their body so much? A child aged 8 with long flowing golden hair, hazel eyes and beautiful olive skin. On many occasions I would sit on the window sill in my bedroom and look up to the moon asking him why I was so ugly. I couldn’t grasp the concept of body acceptance and learning to love my body or even accepting compliments. I remember one day and I can never forget it, but this tall thin lady said to my mother, “thank God it’s not her face” … these words stayed with me for the rest of my life.

I remember going home and telling my friend, the Moon, that I wished it was on my face and then everyone would know how ugly I really was. People always told me I was beautiful, but I totally dismissed any compliments and would answer, ‘no, I’m not’. Who would have thought that I would carry these words with me for the rest of my life (until I reached 45) in fact. It was strange how I learned to believe that everyone around me was beautiful but I wasn’t.

I was the youngest of 5 daughters and my mums favourite. She often smothered me with gifts and love including a puppy Labrador which I adored. My mum could only do what she thought was best and spoil me. Many people called me spoilt but I couldn’t understand why. On the many trips to the hospital in Middlesex, the doctor would ask me to undress in a room. This was something I absolutely hated but knew was essential so the student doctors could learn from my mistakes (well that’s what I thought aged 8) but of course my mother told me otherwise. I was made to strip off and stand on a bed turning round for all to see. This also had a bad effect on my life and I suffered for years from nightmares seeing doctors in white coats floating round my room.

When I reached 11, I began to attend school more often and I remember the boys always chased me around the playground. I believed they did this because they hated me until my friend told me they liked me. One day in class it was Valentines and we all sat around a big table. Suddenly a card came around the table and stopped in front of me. I went to pass it along and everyone shouted at me.  I opened it up and read it quickly then tore it into pieces. How could anyone like me? I was that ugly girl, the ugliest monster in the school. I couldn’t think why the most popular boy in the class would like me. I think it was a spelling mistake or a dare and afterwards heard him say that he didn’t like me anyway. I had my confidence knocked so often that I learned to accept my ugliness. It was much easier that way then I didn’t have to make contact with anyone.

I continued to cover up my ugly body wearing high neck jumpers and baggy clothes in case someone knocked into me and felt my scars.

I was a quiet, nervous and shy young lady, always keeping my head down in class so that I wasn’t noticed. It was easy for me to disappear to the back of the room and slide down in my chair. My attention was bad and I never put my hand up in class because I knew that my answer would always be wrong. I managed to stay off school sick quite a lot especially on school photo day. I sometimes think back that I must have been a brilliant actress at times simply because I knew ‘how to’ and ‘how not to behave’ when needed. I learned to cry a lot and show my pain to mummy to suit me and my life. I just wanted to take this horrible coat off and be just like my friends .. Beautiful.

If I could’ve learned about body acceptance all those years ago, I could’ve been all the wonderful things I strived to be in life. We find it way too easy to accept negative words and yet difficult to accept positivity. It’s really not that difficult, in fact it took me one day in my whole life to change my mindset and way of thinking. Now when someone says, “you’re beautiful”, I always accept their comment with the reply, “Thank You.” I’ve learned to accept me and love me for who I am but not because it’s the right thing but because I Am Beautiful. We are ALL Beautiful.