It's 1980. The year Kim Kardashian was born. The year John Lennon was killed.
Social media doesn't exist. Neither does Mark Zuckerberg.
Fax machines are just about as far as technology goes.
People still actually talk face to face.
Young kids still play outside.
Times were different...
It's 2019. Chance conversation with a middle aged woman who was just a little girl in 1980. Turns out people were still insensitive in 1980. They still said incredibly stupid things... even to little girls like her. 39 years later she's telling me about it. She's never got over it.
Let's call her Phoebe. Friends is on in the background as I'm writing. So we'll go with Phoebe. Rewind to 1980 and Phoebe's auntie is getting married. Phoebe's gonna be in the wedding. She's got to be. Just the right age that she will make the perfect flower girl. Right? Wrong...
You see there's a problem. Not with Phoebe - she's just a little girl. But with her auntie. You see image was still a thing in 1980. There was a narrative of what a 'little flower girl' should look like. Phoebe's aunt decided that she didn't meet that narrative. She couldn't be in the wedding. Let her down gently right? Show basic kindness? Make up a story? Nah! Frig that. Tell the little girl "Sorry but you're too fat to be in my wedding."
Now let's not get too carried away. It was the biggest day of the auntie's life. She had every right. I mean the little girl will get over it. She's gonna have bigger problems to deal with in her life. I mean she's gonna grow up, finish school, get a job, get a mortgage, people she love will die. This won't stick. Maybe it will even make her more resilient.
But you see it did stick. A seed was sown. A negative idea was transmitted into Phoebe's head. Over the years she began to own that belief. Began to see it every time she looked in the mirror. But she got over it eventually. Right? Grew out of it surely. No she didn't fucking grow out of it.
As Phoebe who is now in her forties is telling me this story last Friday night there are tears in her eyes. 39 years later it still hurts. She couldn't weight anymore than about seven stone now. She has had a negative relationship with food her whole adult life. Hundreds of people have told her how slim she is. That she would probably be better gaining some weight. Means nothing. She sees fat. Whether it's there or not, she sees it.
She didn't need social media pressure to develop an eating disorder. She wasn't bombarded with airbrushed, filtered "perfect" images that make real people feel like shit. She just needed a seed. A negative statement burned into her mind as a child. That negative statement became a negative belief which produced negative actions.
The world of 1980 can and did negatively affect the mental health of the world of 2019.
It's scary to think of how the world of 2019 will affect the mental health of the world of 2058.
The next blog will imagine what a world in 2058 might look like.
Something has to change.
We're hurting people