Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.
Let’s get straight into the post: your insecurities are not a running joke. You shouldn’t let other people take your insecurities as a joke, and you shouldn’t present them as a joke either.
Oh, you thought this was a basic post about bullying, huh? Lemme explain.
Many of us, especially those who have a hard time fitting in, don’t realize that once we “try to fit in” by joking about something we’re actually insecure about, you are opening that door for those around you to do the same.
When I was in middle school, I was constantly bullied for my weight. I was called a whale, a pig, a fatass, a fat bitch, an elephant, and pretty much every other typical name in the book that describes a fat person. A lot of these people who did that were actually my friends at the time, and many of them didn’t understand why a year later, they all got called down to the guidance counselors office with me and my parents.
“I thought it didn’t bother her? She was never bothered by it before!”
That’s because I allowed my insecurities to be a running joke.
When you’re a pre-teen in a middle school that only wanted to fit in, you tend to do whatever it takes to fit in. I was always considered overweight, and when boys and other girls used to tease me for being that, I engaged in it. I made it seem like it didn’t bother me and at times would join in making fun of myself. But after a while, the lines get blurred. People take things too far and before you know it, you’re replacing most of your meals with water; just water.
I tell this story because there are still people in their 20’s who tend to joke about their insecurities just so that they appear to be unbothered by it. They tend to joke around to show others that they are “strong” and “confident” in themselves, but really you’re just hurting yourself. And getting others to think differently about you, or make them stop treating you a certain way, is even more frustrating.
And this goes far beyond just a couple of “fat” jokes.
This is about people who are insecure about many things in their life. Maybe it is about their weight. Maybe it’s the way they sweat on a really hot summer day. Maybe it’s their body odor they can’t control, no matter how much deodorant and body spray they have on them. Maybe it’s the labels you get for having an uncontrollable mental illness. Maybe it’s the way they are programmed due to their own personal experiences, trauma, mantras, mentality, etc.
Whatever the case may be, you shouldn’t be your own bully.
Instead, take your insecurities seriously. Yeah, insecurities are sometimes just all in your head and it really is you that may be thinking too much, but you should own up to your insecurities and make it known that certain things are off-limits.
Personally, for me, my weight is off limits. My anxiety disorder is off-limits. Anything that personally triggers me is off-limits. No, you’re not being hypersensitive, you’re sticking up for yourself. You’re showing others you respect yourself and you demand to be respected in the same way you will respect them. There shouldn’t be any question about that, especially being at the age we are currently in.
So 12-year-old Liz, I wish you didn’t have to feel like you had to put yourself down in order to fit in. I wish you were able to see that you were much better than that. I wish you were able to stick up for yourself without engaging in stupid activities like chasing those boys around and hitting them whenever they teased you. But you taught me a lot on how I should be handling myself and how I should be treated by others. You taught me that those insecurities would find ways to diminish on their own instead of putting them front and center for the world to see. You taught me that my insecurities don’t define me, but they are a working process into finding out who I am.
Be nice to yourself, guys.