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Jessica is really skinny. She started going through puberty and developing in certain ways but she’s flat chested. There’s just not much happening with that for her. Also, she hasn’t gotten her period yet, and so those two things – her being a late bloomer – have the girls at her school, and in her grade, making fun of her.
It really all started all the way back in 4th grade. This was when all the other girls started developing, and she didn’t. Her friends started getting curves, real curves, while Jessica stayed undeveloped or underdeveloped, and flat. And that’s when people made fun of her and when all of a sudden she looked just a little bit different than the other girls around her. Because she was a late bloomer, they really insulted her.
The insults kelpt coming, so she did what she had always been told to do when kids make fun of you or bully you, she went to a trusted adult to tell them, a Teacher looking for advice. But the Teacher just told her to try to ignore it. And, even though she tried, it turned out to be almost impossible – she saw these kids every day, where they made fun of her flat chest and skinny body – called her “flat,” and “ironing board” and "little boy". And the hard part of it was, some of these kids who teased and made fun of her were her friends, or at least they used to be.
They would always have these private girl talk moments where they would discuss their periods and how much and how quickly they were developing, and whenever Jessica would try to join the conversation they would stop talking, or just tell her “you wouldn’t know what we’re talking about.”
In 6th grade, everything got much harder because for some reason, all at once, all the girls in her grade started getting bigger, and curvier, and just started looking more like young women than little girls. And the boys started noticing – a lot. And when the boys started paying attention to that stuff, they also joined in on the teasing and taunting. More names – “toothpick,” “popsicle stick,” and “board,” and she didn’t know what to do.
At one point she had the bright idea that if she just ate more she would put on some pounds and they would turn into curves, but all that did was make her full and sick, and finally, her grandparents put a stop to it. They told her to eat as she always had, and to try to be okay with her body, and that worked for awhile, in fact, things were okay up until she got to 8th grade.
In 8th grade, absolutely everyone had started really developing, like well on their way, and even though Jessica had started down her own path through puberty she still hadn’t gotten her period and even though her chest wasn’t 100% flat anymore, there still wasn’t enough up there to notice. Her chest just hadn't developed yet.
It wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if people didn’t feel the need to go around flaunting their new bodies and all their curves, but Jessica felt like at her school that’s what everybody did whenever they had the chance. But then Jessica discovered padded bras, that made it look like there was more there than there really was, which was fine by her. But, trying it out, and trying really hard to look curvy, everyone noticed what she was up to and they still teased her. One day at lunch a boy in her class told her she looked like a second grader, and even though she laughed it off, inside she felt like she couldn’t take it anymore. She went home that day and cried for hours, and the next day she pretended to be sick so she wouldn’t have to go to school, all because she was flat chested and a late bloomer.
Home from school she was bored, so she decided to just wander around YouTube and ended up finding tons of inspirational stories about body image and puberty and development and really just about loving and respecting your self and your body no matter what the mirror shows you. "I am who I am" she thought. And I love myself for that.
From that moment on, she stopped caring what other people thought, and ignoring what they said. All she cares about is that she loves herself no matter what!
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