We’re always talking about the nonchalant days of summer — lazy days at the beach, dozing off on sunbeds and floating in clear blue waters but summer can be a nightmare too. Even if we have all the confidence in the world, we can still feel conscious about certain areas on our body that we’re not completely happy about. So can you imagine posting a photo of yourself in swimwear on social media when you’re not completely happy with what you see?
This is what one brave 13-year-old girl has done. But this girl didn’t post a photo of herself in swimwear to make people envy her. This girl was trying to remind us how easy it is for us to judge a book by its cover.
Paris Harvey has been battling bullies all her life. Ones who pick on her because of her weight. Some girls would choose to hide and never go to the beach, but Paris is a badass. She not only went to the beach, she took a photo of herself in her bathing suit and posted it online for all her bullies to see.
Paris cannot control her weight as easily as others can. She suffers from a metabolic condition which makes her gain weight much quickly than most and it’s even harder for her to lose weight. Moreover, Paris was born with hip dysplasia. Her left leg is 1.5 cm shorter than her right, which causes her to limp.
These two conditions would be hard for anyone but for Paris, things got even worse when she started being bullied. The girl has been fat-shamed. Moreover, she has been made fun of for “walking like a penguin” because of her limp.
6. Starting To Believe What Others Think About Her
“I got bullied in the past and after a while, you start to believe what people say. I became really insecure about how I looked,” Paris explained. “I can be eating the same food as the next person but I gain weight.”
“It’s not like I’m sitting at home all day eating crisps,” Paris adds of her situation. “But I felt like I shouldn’t have to explain myself.” Sadly, she still had to explain herself with the photo she posted online but she really shouldn’t have to, nobody should.
Just because she went viral, it doesn’t mean Paris didn’t receive negative comments. Some even commented that she was “promoting obesity.” But Paris chose to focus on the positive because, as she puts it, “hate is nothing compared to love.”
The inspiring photo and caption of Paris facing her fear reached many, including celebrities who applauded the brave 13-year-old. Actress Patricia Arquette retweeted Paris’s photo with the caption, “Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. You should be proud of overcoming your fears! Have fun!”
There were many others who applauded the girl for standing up to her fears and her bullies. Including YouTube star Tyler Oakley who tweeted to Paris, saying, “LOVE THIS!! you look great have fun & don't get burned <3❤.”
Paris may only be 13 — which is most commonly a vulnerable age where a person’s self-esteem is not as strong — but she has the wisdom of a 70-year-old when it comes to acceptance. “I feel like we should embrace who we are,” Paris explains. “I’m not making myself a model but I wanted to show people that it doesn’t matter what size you are – you are born into that body.”
Paris’s story isn’t a one-off. There are many others who have been bullied for being different and sadly, some of them didn’t use the negative comments as a powerful challenge as Paris has. Not judging a book by its cover sounds like a cliché but it’s still incredibly relevant, so let’s do without dismissing it as a cliché and start abiding by the lesson behind its message.