When I was in junior high and high school, I was constantly craving something new. Whether it was clothes, shoes, a new phone, you name it – I was always chasing after it. If the most popular girl in school had it, I wanted it. If a certain style or brand was “in” I wanted it. Why? Because I thought it would make me more popular, pretty, or “cool.” I wanted those things simply because it’s what everyone else had.
These days, keeping up with the status quo is exhausting. Especially present in younger generations (high school, junior high, etc.), kids are constantly wanting what’s new and “in” at the moment. With these patterns of constant change and the constant want/need for the next best thing, it occurred to me that this could be the same with eating disorders. Think about it, a group of young girls in junior high want to be just like their older sister in high school or just like the popular girls in their school. So they go and do or say exactly what those girls are. If those girls are constantly talking about how “bad” they look, how they “need to lose weight” or even the things they have done or will do to lose weight and “look perfect,” the impact those words have on a younger, more vulnerable girl are mind-blowing.
Ideas that are put into a young girl’s mind from a young age to look perfect and be the right size or shape change their lives forever. If only I could only go back and tell myself that the things those girls that I so desperately wanted to be wouldn’t mean a thing to me in a few years. Or that the clothes they wore and how they looked did not change how I viewed myself. In junior high I didn’t know that not having a certain brand jeans wouldn’t make me popular or “cool.” It just meant I had that pair of jeans just like everyone else. In high school, I didn’t realize that the game of popularity and social status would not matter once I graduated and went to college. Throughout life, the pressure to “Keep up with the Joneses” will always be there, but ultimately it does not mean anything in this thing called life. There will always be someone with better clothes, a better job, a better house, etc. – so why try and outdo them? Or spend your life chasing after what others have? What matters is that you stay true to yourself and your happiness. Being happy and healthy is much more important than “Keeping up with the Joneses”
Olivia Weir @ Eating Disorder Solutions