It's not officially summer yet — summer solstice begins in late June — but temperatures are warming up and kids are starting to get out of school so the unofficial summer has begun, which for many teenagers means trips to the beach with their friends. But for 13-year-old Paris Harvey and many girls like her, a pending beach trip caused more anxiety and fear than it did excitement.
The reason? Wearing a swimsuit.
In a now-viral post to Twitter on Saturday, Harvey shared how she finally conquered her "biggest fear" and wore a swimsuit to the beach.
“I get bullied a lot because of the way I look,” Harvey told Yahoo. “I hadn’t been to the beach in ages because of the anxiety I feel when I go.”
Harvey told Yahoo that not only is she bullied for her size, she's also bullied for the way that she walks.
“I walk with a limp, it’s hard for me to do things normal people do, but I always find ways to do them,” she told Yahoo.
Harvey was born with a condition called hip dysplasia, which means that her hip bones didn't form properly, and that the joint is unstable.
When she took off the shorts that were covering her swimsuit, though, Harvey noticed that none of the other beachgoers even paid attention to her. She decided to post photos of herself to inspire other women to break through their fear and just enjoy the beach.
“I only see thin people posting beach selfies in a bikini. I think it’s nice to see something different,” she told Yahoo.
And she definitely has inspired people. The post has more than 45,000 retweets and 5,000 replies at the time of writing.
A few have said they're going to break out their shorts and swimsuits for the first time in a while.
And mostly, people are just proud of her for being so brave (including Ally Brooke Hernandez from Fifth Harmony), and suggest that she slather on some sunscreen and enjoy many more days at the beach.