I was about eight when I became aware of my body image. My self esteem was already low, but it was at this point when I started to believe that I was ugly and fat. I still feel that way now, but with key differences; and looking back, it makes me so so sad to think that I was so young when these feelings started.
I was eight, I should've been playing and laughing and smiling instead of pinching at my thighs and wanting to change every element of myself.
At twelve, I moved into secondary school. I frowned at myself in mirrors and poked at my spots, I refused to be in pictures. There are holidays and scout camps and outings with my friends that weren't captured by photos because I simply hated being in front of the camera. I took my refuge behind it, taking photos at relatives' weddings as an excuse for not being in them.
It was around this point, maybe the next year, when "selfie culture" began. People at school would take them every single morning for snapchat, for instagram. They could be of ugly poses to send your bestie, or airbrushed and filtered with the perfect pout for your instagram, complete with the hundreds of likes and comments.
I hated it. I didn't have an account on either thing. I thought it was self-indulgent and ridiculous that all people did was take pictures of themselves, or in groups.
A while later, one christmas, I got an instagram account. But all I would post were quotes, pictures of nature and etc. I followed all my friends but I wouldn't comment on selfies like everyone else, heart emojis and "stunning", none of that.
I have a lot of doubt over selfies that I post. I hate the idea of people laughing at me or thinking I look ugly or stupid. But these days? I see why people post them, I feel what they feel when people tell me I'm beautiful.
People from other generations are negative about selfie culture because of similar reasons to what I was stuck in for a long time. But I don't like that. Because while my self esteem is still chronically low, and I'm having therapeutic help with it; posting a picture of myself occasionally, taking pictures in bathroom mirrors with my friends, striking a little pose on my snapchat every once in a while? Yes, perhaps it's self indulgent - but it's helping me with my journey to self-love, just that little bit.