Yours truly has never been a skinny child. I always had this innate tendency to hog like a pig and then inflate into a balloon just a few hours later. Wherever we went for a dinner and the hosts tried serving me some food my folks always jokingly mentioned how unnecessary it was considering my love for food. I always felt low about it and ate even more. I remember sneaking to tighten my frocks around the waist when I was eight in front of the mirror; just to check my tummy bulge. Let me repeat I always felt low about it and always ate more. I learnt to make fries just around that time so that I could feed myself when my mom refused to serve me food post lunch. It was an endless affair.
Just a few years down the lane I was a teenager; more conscious and aware of myself. No matter how much I loved looking beautiful and spending hours for vanity, I could still not give up food. I learnt to cook more; graduating from French fries to chicken spaghetti. Despite sensing my mother’s raised brows I could still not give up on my emotional eating. Despite not being a fat girl by conventional standards, I still had weight fluctuations. It exists till date.
Days passed, years rushed. I got married to a guy who was obsessed with food and did not care a bit for my weight. We were cooking and eating day in and out. Moving out of the country meant emancipation from all the social pressures that haunted my brain back in homeland. I could cook all I want. I could eat all I want. No one cared. Nor did I. Layers of fat started piling up; cheeks shadowing my eyes.
I changed from a social to anti social person. I even started avoiding Skype calls. Hiding seemed the only option. Until one day when I decided to get up and take the charge of my life; confronting my own emotionally vulnerable self. It was July 11th last year; maybe 15th. My bad I should have kept a log. From cutting all the junk food I lived for to sweating myself hours a day I tried not to leave any stone upturned. Soon I was a different person from inside; not just physically fit. My empathy for people who are body shamed day in and night increased multi-fold.
Sadly we come from a society where people not only live for others but also live others’ lives. Being superficially blessed we are armed with all the weapons to shatter the confidence of any person who is not a size zero model who is just getting her hair done backstage to sizzle the ramp in no time. It will be unjust to say that this is gender specific. I know many little boys who have self esteem issues just because of this evil. However it does get a little harder for girls especially if they have not been placed on the pedestal of marriage since they are meant to be placed on a weighing scale after being examined for all other features. 5 feet 6 inches and weighing above 60 kilograms… get out of the rishta league baby.
We are callous enough to forget that every person who is the butt of your cheap body shaming joke is going through a battle day and night. The girl you mocked for not fitting into a skin tight shimmery kurta lost her mother a few days ago. The guy you ridiculed for a bear belly has a rare muscle stiffening disorder. The girl you criticized for having a belly larger than usual is going through cycles of grief after losing a full term baby. The child you call ‘Fatkins’ has a kidney disease which made his body retain all this water. But no… we have to! Just for the sake of our sickening humour and non existent empathy!
This reminds me of my battling days against my body when a relative told me how fat I looked in that particular print. For someone burning midnight oil to shed some extra pounds this was a major setback. I hid my face in the pillow for hours trying to bring myself in terms with the insensitivity of our society.
Today I stand in probably the best shape of my life; by the best shape I mean mentally. My empathy for everyone fighting this battle is sky high. And yes I would judge you for bodyshaming those who do not fit society’s beauty standards.
My heroes, you are a lot more than the inches of your waist or the area that hides your abs. You are beautiful in your being.
Let not this ugly society fade away your blinding spark.
You are over and above it.