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Photo ofCaydence Walker

Self Confidence. I’ve never had a problem with self-confidence until I turned twelve and went into middle school where everyone is judgmental and honestly don’t have anything better to do with their life other than talk about people behind their back and switch friends every week. However, I would have never thought that I would be talking about this because this is a very sensitive topic for me. But, I want people who are going through the same things as me to realize that they're not the only one.  

My former best friend and I were the best of friends, almost inseparable; we went everywhere together basically we have known each other since we were 3 years old. I never thought that my best friend, the person that I called family would be the one to destroy my self –confidence and the way I think about my body.  

In September of 2017, I found out that my best friend of 8 years would be the one to call me “FAT”. I have never been called out of my name before but for the first time I was; it completely destroyed me. When I found out it made me second guess everything about myself, it made me feel like I wasn’t normal or I wasn’t perfect, not just because she was my friend but because she would gossip about it with other people that I didn’t even really care about, it just made it seem like I didn’t have any friends. I felt hopeless. For the longest I was very self-conscious about my body and the way people viewed me.  

I felt like I was alone in a wishing well, it felt like my brain was in a room alone. I felt like I couldn’t talk to my mom not because I can't talk to her about things but because I felt like she wouldn’t understand how I felt because we never really just sit down and talk about how we feel or what we're thinking about. It's just not something we ever really do, so I thought she would say “don’t worry about it” or “she doesn’t matter” but what she wouldn’t understand is that it did matter. She was my best friend of 8 years, a person I thought I could count on, a person I would have never thought would say anything deceiving about me or my appearance.  

My whole mental state was like putting ice in a pot of hot water, just melting away there was no such thing as mental strength or confidence in my brain. I didn’t understand what mental strength was, because it felt like it didn’t exist in any form of my brain. I kept asking myself questions like “is there such things as self-confidence?" or “do I have mental strength?” Some may say I'm being dramatic, but when it's your best friend it takes a toll on you. The person you thought you trusted calling you something outside of your name makes you feel like you have no body to go to, no one to talk to. I felt alone, I had nobody in my corner.  

Fast forward two years, I am now mentally stronger than I was, I don’t not fully have a stronger mental space or body confident but I have gotten better at acknowledging my beauties of my body and learning to not listen to those negative people around me, and learned to not body shame my own self because I am the one who the most hard on myself so, I have learned to control my thoughts and not react or dog on myself for things other people say.  

What matters is the person you have become after the struggles you’ve been through. This is the story that has impacted my life the most and that has taught me many lessons about myself.

© Caydence Walker. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.