This is the introductory post to Teen Week: 2011. To check out this year’s efforts, skip on over to the project page here.
When I was a teenager I spent a lot of my time needing someone who would tell me to put down the carrot sticks, women’s magazines, and just love myself, exactly as I was. I was the kind of girl who hungrily consumed anything that would fall in under the category of “thinspiration.” I tried every diet. I followed every work out plan.
In short, I fell prey to listening to anyone who I thought could help me section my body off into parts, slim it down, cover it up, and manipulate my diet to control my cravings. All I wanted was to be thin – at any cost.
And then, when no matter what I tried, I didn’t lose enough weight, I suffered intense lows of impaired body image and damaged self-esteem. I began to see myself as completely and utterly disgusting. When I compared myself to others, which I did often, I always came up short, digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole that I didn’t know how to climb out of.
During adolescence, this type of distorted thinking and loss of self-worth can be particularly dangerous, because perhaps more so than any other period in your life – teen years are so often wrought with fear and misunderstanding.
Teen week has developed out of the basic principle of reaching out to readers who are looking for positive role models, for someone who can say I’ve been there and there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, I’m willing to bet that very few people can say inexplicably I LOVE MY BODY NO MATTER WHAT, 100% OF THE TIME, but I am comfortable saying that I start my day, everyday, with the intention of accepting my body, loving it as it is, and being sweet to myself when I have feelings of inadequacy or anxiety.
Teens today are moving so very, very quickly, and there are so many elements that are new and changing the game for what it means to grow up gracefully. This is the era of the Victoria Secret Pink Collection, cyber bullying, sexting, facebook, and an increase in media’s images of sexualized young women. I cannot pretend that one week dedicated to teen body image can reverse the damage, but it is a start. I want to empower teens to ask for help, seek out positive role models, and learn from our body-loving example.
Want to take part?
I would LOVE you to. I encourage you to write a post this week reflecting on your teen years: your style/eating habits/body image/sexuality/experiences with self-love.