Take me as I am

Some of you might have been wondering what that previous post was about. Well I am here to shed some light. 

This year has been a struggle. In a good way and a not too fab way. 

I made efforts to go beyond my usual capacity of social interaction, particularly with family. My folks have moved about 5 minutes away from me so I decided this was a good time to get acquainted with my extended family and become closer to my parents. 

To a certain extent, it has been positive. My father and I have put the past behind us as much as possible (although it is human to get reminders now and then of the bad blood we had). Our relationship is less civil, less strained..which is a marked improvement. 

I put myself out there as a kind of announcement: This is Me, take it or leave it. I am not going to lose weight to make you speak kinder to me nor am I going to allow you to walk all over me with fat shaming. I am Visible. I exist in the world as a fat person and I have no shame in that. 

These encounters bore down on me heavily. There is no doubt that I care for my folks but it is still tough. It is tough when you know that your food portions are still being watched over, or that they mention how a family friend still looks slim as ever despite childbirth. It is there in the questioning looks of family friends who want to ask you – Why are you okay with yourself? It is there when uncles who have seen you grow up look at you and don’t know what to say, so they ignore you. Instead heaping praise on the rest. 

Do I want an award for this? No. Did I expect acceptance? No. My goal did reach its fruition. I existed in all those settings I had kept myself hidden from for almost 10 years because I am no longer ashamed of myself. Self-Conscious, but not ashamed. 

Naturally, the younger ones have questions as well. How can she be satisfied being the size that she is? Isn’t she glorifying unhealthiness? 

I am not here to answer those questions. I am here to say again and again, until my very last breath “My appearance does not make me any more or less of a person. I am what I am. Take it or leave it”. 

Some of these evenings have left me emotionally fatigued for days. I have got to say the fat shamers on social media have been having a field day this year. I’m more or less immune to that now. But still. It can be tiring. 

When you make it a point to dress up and suddenly become the point of derision from a group of other Indian girls..that was harsh. I had two panic attacks in a row. But, I got out of the house and made it to the event. I left early, but the point is I got out of my comfort zone. I struggled. I survived. 

I went for important functions and heard hurtful things being said about me. I survived the functions. I cried in bed for days after. But I was visible. There Is a point to this pain and I am realistic about ‘leaving the table when love is no longer being served’ (that’s a fav from Nina Simone). 

I would like fat shamers to know that what I do by staying visible in the public eye is something they could never do. If they really mean to be ‘concerned’ they’d realise that the effect of telling someone to be healthier based on their appearance garners the very opposite reaction. It makes the bullied want to hide behind their comfort food, hide in their homes, hate themselves. It has Never worked, this sort of negative reinforcement. 

When I spoke of changes and discomfort in the previous post with all those quotes, this is what I have lived and learnt. 

I have learnt that in order to learn a great deal about yourself and to come to a place of inner acceptance for all that you are, you will be uncomfortable at first. You have to ride those choppy waves out and when the waters are calm again, you don’t feel a sense of jubilance or euphoric joy. You do however make sense of the pain you have put yourself through over the years. You realise how much you have ignored Living all this time.

I am now learning to Live a proper existence, after spending years merely surviving. When you see me vanish from blogging once in a while, I am hurting and healing during those times. But I will not shrink back into the person I was before. 

If something isn’t easy we push back, harder and make more room between what we Can do and what we Cannot. 

I have spent the past two years having so much fun with blogging and now the personal work is underway too. I cannot possibly sit here typing away ‘You can do it’ when I am unsure if I can. 

There is a newfound confidence in this uncertainty I have discovered. 

And it feels good. 

Just thought I would update you with what’s been going on with me personally aside from my typical health woes. This doesn’t mean fashion blogging or my other posts are on hiatus…this is a concurrent journey. 

Our bodies are not all we have. There is a place for coming to love all of who we are. 

  

Body shaming : The Epidemic

Hello readers,
I have mentioned before that this blog space isn’t solely for style ideas.

What brought the impetus to begin this journey was the need to speak my mind about the rampant body hate that honestly seems like an epidemic.

Skinny girls feel bad about themselves because they are called names that point out their waif-like proportions.

Plus sized girls get flack for being lazy, gluttons for food and unfit because they own more body volume.

The girls in the middle don’t feel like they are Enough either. They don’t feel slim or skinny enough, or voluptuous enough.

No matter how you look, you will be judged. That’s plain sad.

I have been there – skinny, slim, big.
When I was skinny, people asked me if I was ill and would force me to eat when I ate a fair bit already! But the perspective of the onlooker has changed. Where they once said I ate much too little, I now apparently eat too generously.

My appetite hasn’t reduced or doubled, it’s been the same. The proportion of food has not increased. The difference is : I no longer hide. I no longer eat like a sparrow in public and then eat proper amounts in private to avoid being judged. I no longer eat proper meals only to purge them like clockwork after mealtimes. I no longer feel starved, edgy or miserable because I am not taking protein shakes as substitutes for lunch and dinner.

Today, I have my 3 meals and allow myself to enjoy each one. Sure, I do indulge as everyone does..but I do not go crazy, that’s never been me. Even if I do have a sizeable amount say during Christmas season, I balance it out and it’s no struggle getting the holiday bulge gone that way.

The next time someone points out a problem they have with your weight, just tell them you are happy with the way you look and if they have a problem with it, it’s their issue not yours. If they come with the ‘compassionate’ phrase of ‘but We worry about your health’, do tell them to take care of themselves for they worry too much 🙂

Im not saying you need to gain the upper hand in such conversations. Im saying that you should not have to feel small because of things people say.

That’s right, they’re just ‘things’. At the end of they day, they go back to their own lives and you go back to yours. Where you know what’s best for you, where you keep yourself chirpy in your bubble, where you find sense in figuring the world out and how you’d like to live in it.

A healthy life begins with a healthy state of mind, a healthy dose of humour and patience. Banish the diet culture, bring in some happy juju. We worry far too much. I know this firsthand 😉

In my case, my need to shave off a few pounds has a lot to do with my family’s history. With a rich mix of diabetes, cancers and heart diseases, one cannot play around with their health. Added to the fact that I am an asthmatic and was born with compromised immunity (whatever that means..).

But this time round, Im not in a mad rush. Because I have the resolve to get to the finish line with jubilance. Everytime I lost weight prior to this attempt, it was for the wrong reasons and done in the wrong ways. So I lost the weight but was SO unhappy. I didn’t enjoy the process. I felt empty, edgy, angry at the world and Very hungry. I wouldn’t maintain the weight for long because the rebel in me would arise and retaliate against the need to subscribe to a specific body size for happiness to enter my life.

I used to be livid at the rebel. After a while, I resigned myself to hiding when the rebel was unleashed. I was confused and disillusioned; it made every failure weaken my morale. I gave up. That was in late 2008.

5 years on, I have learnt invaluable lessons from that rebel. I am letting go of that person inside that was created by societal and parental pressure. The rebel is who I really am. She stands for listening to what the heart says. The heart speaks sensibly, while the mind often gives off fallacies and illusions, and tells you about the should-could-would things. Thank goodness that I have always been someone who wears her heart on her sleeve.

I can assure you of one thing : Although change is a constant, People fight it constantly. So when you put your rebel boots on and refuse to be walked over, people will dislike you and may not speak to you. This is when you weed out the good souls from the lousy vampires. This is when you have to stand your ground and say : This is Me. Take it or Leave it.

So don’t hide.
Don’t apologise or feel bad. Don’t echo what they say in your head. Empty vessels make the most noise, remember that.

I believe that at our very core, we do know how to lead the best possible lives. We ourselves have the answers. It just takes some digging. We’ve got some Soul searching and roadblocks to manoeuvre around first. And it can be frustrating when you see the path clear as day, but it’s riddled with complications.

Keep at it anyway.
Because you matter. and don’t you forget that.

Sending my love, let those curves become you 🙂