Anneka’s post today was inspired by International Women’s Day 2014 on the blog – that day where so many of you rallied and shared your advice for the next generation of AOW readers. Anneka’s message is easy to say, but much harderto believe: you are good enough.
Anneka shares her story here, a difficult story, where her self worth was learnt at cost. Thank you Anneka, and over to you:
The other day, my husband and I were talking about wisdom we would wish to pass onto our future children. I immediately knew what I would want to tell them, the next AOW generation and my younger self: you are good enough.
When I say that I don’t mean academically, I mean it in terms of self-worth and body image. I went to two boarding schools from the age of 12-18 and at the first I was the only one who had lived outside the UK and was not a pampered Daddy’s Girl. I was also skinny as a rake with what were called “fat girl calves”. Oh and I had the flattest chest in history, or so it seemed at the time. In a time where all boys seemed to drool over Kelly Brook, I was not considered attractive in any way and I was not popular. Which is hard when there are only 10 girls in your entire year.
So at 13, in a bid for attention, I decided to flirt for Britain. I look back now and I am horrified at my actions. How could I have ever thought that flirting and allowing the occasional grope was going to end well?! I turned into someone my parents no longer recognised. I had lost all sense of self worth and identity. In my adolescent mind money equalled self-worth and I had very little so I obviously needed another way to prove myself. WHAT?! My parents had the foresight to remove me from this school after GCSE’s.
Sadly, my issues didn’t stop there. I was so happy at my 2nd school. I had friends who had travelled and didn’t care about money. It was awesome. Boys were still my Achilles heel though. I had two boyfriends in two years. The first left me after his best friend asked him to choose between us as he felt that my boyfriend was spending too much time with me, and the second cheated on me within days of arriving at Uni which sent me into a tailspin that lasted until I met my husband.
I arrived at Uni with a boyfriend. I was told by all my new-found friends that it wouldn’t last. But I was convinced it would. I was determined. I was in love. It was not to be and I was heartbroken. But suddenly being a skinny blonde made me attractive and I had more male attention than I knew what to do with. What happened next is a cliché worthy of a Channel 4 Soap. I went from being a supposed “good girl” to “the girl who sleeps around” within weeks until I ended up in a supposed relationship with the men’s captain of my sports team which hit the self destruct button around Valentine’s Day.
Luckily for me, this story has a happy ending. 6 weeks later, I met Rob. And he tried to make me see that I was good enough for someone to love, truly love. Eight years later, I still have issues with my body image and self worth. I’ve gone from being that skinny girl who couldn’t even fit into a size 6 without it falling down to what I consider overweight for me (a size 8/10 – I know!) and I am now working my way towards being strong and toned over skinny. I fight with myself everyday over it but I am reminded every day that I AM GOOD ENOUGH by the darling man who has spent every day of the last eight years trying to make me believe it.
So my message to my future daughter, the next AOW generation, my 13 year old cousin and my younger self is this: do not measure your worth based on what the media/the popular girls/guys currently think is beautiful because you are. And you are good enough. Just the way you are.