An eye-opening thread has given an insight into what it’s like to be bullied in your younger years for how you look, only to be treated differently when your appearance changes in adulthood.
Users have been posting their personal accounts to the Q&A platform Quora, detailing how people perceived them during both periods of extreme ‘awkwardness’ and beauty in their life.
One woman who has since modeled for Victoria’s Secret summed up her ‘jarring experience’ of witnessing people treat her differently when she was a ‘super awkward nerd’ in middle school versus when she became ‘good looking’ in college.
Now and then: Model Lyndsey Scott, pictued left during middle school and right in 2019, is one of the people who revealed the emotional effects of having a physical transformation
‘Late bloomer’: Lyndsey, pictured left in her youth and right at age 35, said witnessing how people treated her at both ages was a ‘jarring experience’
‘It’s been strange having people regard me at such extremes throughout the course of 15 or so years. I was a late bloomer. I didn’t really start looking like a model until after college,’ Lyndsey Scott, now 35, posted on the site.
‘So it’s been a rather jarring experience having people see and treat me the way they suddenly do now.’
Lyndsey recalled being 5’9 and a mere 89 lbs while in high school.
‘I was bullied and often friendless throughout puberty because people automatically judged me as being someone I was not. Ok, sure, I’ll admit that I’ve always been a nerd, but I like to think I’m a pretty cool nerd,’ she said.
Being a self-confessed ‘late bloomer’ has left the woman with an insight into just how shallow the world is.
‘No one deserves to be treated differently based solely on their appearance,’ she said.
Modeling: The statuesque model and web developer went from being ‘super geeky’ to walking in the Victoria’s Secret show in 2009, pictured
She added that now she definitely reaps the ‘perks of being good looking’.
‘People offer me a lot more freebies, I make money off of my looks through modeling, strangers talk to me more often, more people listen to me and laugh at my jokes, and I even have the occasional suitor: all good things,’ she said.
However, the actress, onetime Calvin Klein and Gucci model and web developer said that there’s a downside to her new-found attractiveness.
‘On the other hand: Would-be cat callers will sometimes skip the compliments and just call me a b**ch as I walk by, some women (although very few) are very catty to me from the get-go, and many people are shocked to find out that I’m anything other than an airhead, that I was a [computer science] major and that I program iOS apps, for example.’
‘Having beauty and intelligence is super useful during occasions that require me to assert a bit more authority. When I need to feel most powerful, I’ll do my hair, throw on a nice outfit, put on a bit of makeup and it helps a disgusting amount. In general, I feel extremely lucky to have been granted this new super-power.
‘I have to wonder, why didn’t they like me then when I’m still the same person now? Why do they like me now? How do I know that they like me now? Does anyone actually really even like me now? Some things don’t leave you,’ she concluded.
‘Never lose your self’: Herman Sartaj Singh Raina, pictured left as a teen and right in 2017, said he is more confident now than in his younger years
A ‘proud’ male Kashmiri user, who also went on to dabble in model, humbly said ‘I don’t know if I even qualify to be called attractive, but in my case the transformation has been immense.’
To illustrate, Herman Sartaj Singh Raina, who is a Sikh, shared a photo of his junior school self in 2008, as well as images of his progression over the years.
‘For me more than the physical aspect, its been more of a spiritual and mental transformation. I was confident about myself back then and I am still confident.’
Beauty and looks come and go but honor and dignity remain forever
Herman Sartaj Singh Raina
‘There are many young Sikhs today who happen to cut their hair and ditch their turbans, just to fit in the crowd. I did not want to, mainly because I am proud of who I am and what I stand for.’
‘Never lose your true self for it is your true identity. Beauty and looks come and go but honor and dignity remain forever.’
He continued to say that now ‘people are more open’ towards him.
‘I do receive compliments at-times for how I look, but this eventually at one point resulted in a fake superiority complex developing inside me, which finally I have overcome now,’ he added.
Struggles: Sumitra Narayanan, pictured age 12, had a complicated relationship with her body which led to her starving herself and over-exercising
American-Indian user Sumitra Narayanan posted that she know thinks she is ‘decent looking – but [she] wasn’t always so’.
She recalls developing anorexia due to how down she felt about her appearance during puberty and dropping half her body weight.
Reasonable: Now 24, Sumitra said she knows now to never go over ‘reasonable limits’ when it comes to striving for body confidence
‘I did something that I deeply regret today. I regularly starved myself, and if I ate, I had very strict rules about what kinds of foods I could eat. I coupled this with obsessive exercise at home.
‘This mercenary-level diet/exercise routine continued for at least six months. My close family and friends did everything they could to make sure I ate and was healthy, but I was convinced that only something this drastic would ever help me lose enough weight and look good. Borderline anorexic, I went from having nearly 135 pounds to a shocking 72 lbs on my 5’5 frame.’
Now 24-years-old, she states ‘looks are fleeting, and it’s your personality that stays with you forever’.
She wisely stated, ‘The crux of why it actually feels good is because I’m in control and am doing my best to take care of the way I look.
‘Granted, looks aren’t the most important thing, but they are an important part of who you are and how people perceive you.
‘If you have it, there’s nothing wrong with ‘presenting’ it, but it’s important to understand that you should never go over reasonable limits to change/obsess over your looks.’
Weight loss: A man who said he was obese for 21 years of his life, left, experienced an ‘incredible journey’ when he decided to ditch the weight, right
A male user who said he was ‘obese’ for 21 years recently dropped almost 90 lbs in the last seven months in what he calls an ‘incredible journey of inspiration, hard work, pain and finally success’.
In the process, he said he ‘got to know the real me’.
‘I started to understand that if I am doing this to please someone then I am definitely going to fail,’ he said. ‘I started believing that something different can happen.’
‘I am no more afraid of any challenges, result-driven and have positive aspect on each and every field,’ he said of his transformation.
Ridicule: Nikkole Stehl, pictured left in college and right in 2019, said even though she now feels ‘beautiful’, the cruel ‘ridicule’ she received still plays in her mind
Female user Nikkole Stehl recalled the awful moment that she was nicknamed a ‘crack wh**e’ during her college years due to her very thin frame and crooked teeth.
She stated that her high school years were ‘treacherous’ and her university experience was even worse.
‘I was teased and ridiculed because I could never afford braces. I was also still only 100 lbs and the hard water made my hair dry and brittle. People posted on an anonymous app that I ‘looked like a crack wh**e,’ ‘that girl with the f**ked up teeth.”
Nikkole began resistance training and gained 30 lbs of lean muscle mass and also eventually got braces and dyed her fine hair blond.
‘I have a rockin body, washboard abs, blue eyes blondie with 25 credits away from a double bachelors in Chemistry and Biology,’ she said. ‘I have a house. I’m engaged. I bought a brand new car. I have everything going for me right now.’
I both despise and fuel from being called beautiful
‘I don’t think that I am ugly. But the remnants of all the harsh things said still replays in my mind constantly. I am called beautiful regularly, reminded that my appearance somehow makes me a target,’ she continued.
Nikkole said that now when boys from her college message her, she is ‘sickened’.
‘I know that if I didn’t ‘fix’ what was wrong with me, I would never be treated the way I am. Men are sincerely shocked and intimidated to find that I am intelligent, more so than them,’ she said.
‘Yet the comments and ridicule I endured still replays in my mind. I have deep-rooted insecurity issues that I can’t get over. I nitpick at every flaw or misplaced hair. I’m overly sensitive, and compliments make me uncomfortable.
‘I both despise and fuel from being called beautiful. It both makes me feel like I conquered all those that ridiculed me, but also like they’ve won [because I spent] thousands on braces, gym memberships, makeup, nice clothes, new car’.
Outcast: Nicolas Cole lamented how he was never accepted as a teen, left, until he transformed his body, right in 2015
Nicolas Cole, a writer, recalled just seven years ago when kids at school would tease him for looking like a ‘Holocaust suvivor’.
As he had Celiac disease, he struggled with gaining weight.
‘I lacked any and all confidence, and had no peer group to call my own – my group of friends lived on the Internet in the World of Warcraft,’ he said.
‘I never attended a single dance or high school event until my senior year prom, and I took a girl from another school – a girl who I tried very hard to keep from realizing that my social capital was next to nothing,’ he recalled.
Nicolas poignantly said it’s ‘sad’ that people think his physical appearance is now what ‘defines’ him.
I would like to be that voice for all the outcasts and misfits out there… because I was one of them
‘They talk about my biceps as if they’re detached from my body, someone else – an entity we can discuss objectively. They taunt me to take my shirt off and entertain the crowd. They ask me why I’m out right now, shouldn’t I be in the gym, aren’t I obsessed,… They ridicule my work ethic and at the same time ask for my help.’
He continued, ‘I can’t knock the rewards I’ve gained with such a drastic transformation, but I also want it to be known that I think it’s absurd what we truly value in life.
‘But if it takes being 170 lbs and ‘shredded’ for people to hear what you have to say, then I would like to be that voice for all the outcasts and misfits out there, quiet and shy, in love with their own unique crafts, scrawny or fat, made fun of for whatever reason.
‘Instead of putting them down, I would like to give them a high-five. Because I was one of them,’ he finished.
Sophomore: Siri as a self-proclaimed ‘theater geek’ in high school, left, and pictured right in 2014
An adult film producer named Siri said that her transformation was ‘extreme’.
‘I went from literally being invisible to men for the majority of my life, to receiving comments daily from men all over the world telling me I’m beautiful. I am somewhat in the public eye, so I get a lot of attention for and comments about my appearance,’ she said.
‘I’m much more confident now, but that’s not a result of my appearance. My appearance is the result of building my own confidence slowly. I’ve made changes to my appearance in small steps over the course of several years, but I decided to make each change because I felt confident enough to ‘pull it off,’ so to speak.
‘In other words, I didn’t go through some 10-hour miracle makeover and look completely different. In fact, I don’t really look that different from my high school self, I’ve just found a more accurate way to express myself.’