Hi, I'm new here, and I hope this won't be too long. Feel free to move this if it doesn't belong. Also, I'm going to link some links to some sites, and while you may have your own opinions, I'd just like for you to look over them and consider them. I'm absolutely not trying to sell anything or push political agenda. But, anyway...
I'm a multi-racial person. I've gone through puberty pretty early. I've had underarm hair since seven, breasts at nine, period at eleven and zits since twelve. I've also been fat since I was three. I'm 4'10 and I've never had a growth spurt. Needless to say, I've been a social pariah most of my life. My family, especially my father and sister were no help. I don't talk to them any more since I still have bad memories, and they still like to push their size-negative agenda on me. I've believed that maybe I should shut up about my appearance and try to lose weight/hack off my rapidly growing breasts/buy gallons of Proactiv/change the texture of my hair/remove all body hair with creams that I'm allergic to for their approval.
...Until I discovered sites like kateharding.net and JunkFood Science.
Now I know that it was wrong for me to eat nothing but salad in high school and then try to eat nothing for the rest of the day, only to binge (drinking a bottle of salad dressing, which was the only 'fatty' thing in the house) the next week or so. I still have memories of doctors lambasting me about rapid weight gain when I was a teen when I read that it was totally normal for me to do so, and that I needed more calories than I've consumed. I've had doctors tell me I was 'too wide' down there when I was ten, making me feel guilty about masturbating when I was very little, only to find out that I couldn't insert a tampon in me until I was sixteen. And to this day, I still have very negative feelings about masturbation and my fantasies.
You'd think that now, at twenty-three, with all the knowledge I've collected, I would feel comfortable in my own skin and I'd be the perfect Love Your Body advocate.
I still want to hack my boobs off. I'm still horribly uncoordinated especially in physical activities (I've learned this playing softball for ten years). I'm still highly aware of what other people think of me and am still depressed and can't form a decent relationship. I want to throw something at the TV or computer screen every time they do a special on early puberty, which makes it look like finger-pointing at fat and poor African-American and Latina women (and why are they not talking about the boys?!). Why am I insulted when people say I look exactly like my birth mother?
And I must say, that my sisters and I have been exposed to the same amounts of plastics growing up. Except they have been going through puberty at the "right" time (around 12-13) and I have not. And I must mention that many of the women in the family are fat.
Which brings me to these questions, finally:
-How can I think of myself as 'beautiful' when people around you stigmatize you all the time? -Early puberty leads to early menopause, so that means...early puberty leads to early death?! -Is anyone else tired of the finger-pointing to growth hormones/plastics/poverty/race/size that has really very little if any basis in truth (Though, some Italians, Mexicans, etc. tend to have a lot of body hair)? -Does masturbation at a young age lead to early puberty? -Have you dealt with stuff like this in the past? -Do you judge people who have gone through puberty earlier or later than you? -And finally...when will this all end? I'm still getting zits and I think my bust size grew to 44DD over the past year, and I thought I was 42DD!
Thanks for your time, and I'm sorry that this was so long. It's just been hidden in my heart forever.
Posts: 1 | From: Earth | Registered: Jul 2008
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You raise a lot of questions, and I'm sure one of the much more knowledgeable volunteers will go more in depth, but I'd just like to say a couple things about things that jumped out at me-
The first thing is that masturbation in no way causes early puberty. No way. It doesn't make your feet grow or cause hair to sprout up in unbeknown places- it is completely harmless.
Second is that no one should be judged for going into puberty early- but early puberty is a growing problem in many areas, not because of race (although I'm not sure if statistically race is a factor- I'm sure it may have some bearing)-because of hormones - which is what you may have been referring to with plastics. Some kids go into puberty early because of natural reasons, but others because of the HIGH amount of estrogen in food and other products- Which is part of the reason there is less of an issue with early puberty in men.
Most of the live stock in the US, and I'm sure other places around the world is loaded with estrogen- something that gets passed then to dairy products and meat-which then gets passed to children who are exposed to high amounts of hormones before they naturally would be- thus setting off early puberty.
This is of course not a reason to judge people, but it is an issue.
Posts: 34 | From: United States | Registered: Sep 2007
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Hi there, Thanks for bringing this up, I think its an important topic.
Firstly, I think that all of us are stigmatized and stereotyped in some way during our lives. No matter what we look like or when we entered puberty. The question is how we let it affect us. Because feeling beautiful and liking ourselves is a decision we make inside. I can also assure you that many thin, hairless, small-breasted women have trouble loving themselves.
Secondly, there are some known factors which are linked to early puberty (not necessarily causes but associations). These factors include being African American, being female, obesity, family history of early puberty. And as reonz says- exposure to external estrogens. But none of this is about blame. Or feeling guilty for factors that you can't control.
Im sorry you feel like a social pariah. Know that alot of other girls are experiencing this as the age of puberty declines globally. The ages you described for developing breasts and starting periods may actually be close to typical for an African american.
My trusty textbook notes that there is NO consistent relationship between age at menarche (start of periods) and age at menopause. So dont start worrying about early death yet. (Smoking, btw, is associated with early menopause.)
Theres really no set age that people stop having acne. Although its more common in teenagers, some adults also have it. As for your bust-size, if you're 23 now, i wouldnt think it would grow much more...
Nevertheless, all this can be hard to deal with. And it doesnt sound like your family has been very supportive. I hope you have some good friends around to talk to. (PS- you ARE someone of importance)
-------------------- "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."
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