How Chronic pain and Illness has Affected My Body Positivity

Hello loves!

Here is a write-up I have been meaning to post on the blog since mid-2017, but what with the injury there was a lot on my plate. But like I always say, better late than never.

Although most of 2017 was pretty difficult, there were some important life lessons that I picked up on and my personal body positive journey saw some amazing changes. That I need to be reminded of as I struggle right now with chronic pain and injury recovery.

While being active on the blog and social media was really fun and fulfilling for most parts of the years 2014-2016, there were some unfortunate side effects on my psyche and body positivity. As affirming as it was to be lauded for my advocacy, I realised that I was falling into habits from the past due to some unpleasant interactions online.

When I was bombarded by thousands of emails, messages, comments that harshly critiqued my work and appearance (mostly that), I began to hide. Hide from showing unabashed imagery and writing – let me just say that your specific brand of body positivity need not be loud, need not be about showing your body – but loud is always how my activism is done, and not for performative activism.

I found myself avoiding mirrors, hiding indoors and not wanting to meet people at all. I would break down at every negative comment and I would find myself thinking hateful comments towards my body while I posed for blog shoots. I stayed in bed almost all of the time. It angered me that I was so  weak and vulnerable that I would fall into these old habits but lets be honest: Its only been 6 years since I really worked on body positivity and I was bound to experience some lows.

It wasn’t as if I had completely spiralled to who I was before Curves Become Her but I found myself not believing a lot of what I preached. So I took a blog hiatus from the end of 2016 and the rest, is history. I needed to take care of my health, as I have been living with chronic health conditions from a very young age. What may be a regular day for you will probably take me a few days to recover from. When I did push myself in the past to live like everyone else, I would fall extremely ill after. With my previous injuries, with the PCOS and endometriosis becoming pretty unbearable from my late 20’s and a resurgence of asthma attacks thanks to adult chickenpox, I had also become a lot more introverted and house bound because of the inability to do the things I used to love without fearing a recurrence of illness or injury, or god forbid testing my allergies.

When I fell to the floor after injuring the knee from dancing last year, I knew this was a serious fall. As I waited for the ambulance to arrive, I sobbed so hard worried about what the doctors were going to tell me. Flashbacks to my injuries in 2004 and 2006 scared me even more. I was also in major denial, hoping this was not as bad as I was imagining it to be.

My knee specialist Dr Lee is an odd cookie but he is empathic and honest. He was very honest about what was required for recovery – naturally, I weeped while he told me I had to undergo surgery followed by a year of physiotherapy. In fact right after that appointment he sent me for physiotherapy immediately. He was unhappy I seemed so comfortable in the wheelchair. So my therapist got me using crutches, tears running down my face and all that very day. I was a bawling baby during this injury aiyayai.

This was the first time in a Long time since I had found myself in a gym setting. I have a history of orthorexia and to wean off the obsession that came with exercise, I had stopped exercising for quite a number of years. The damn rehab facility gym had a mirror on one whole wall where I had no choice but to look at myself while I rode the stationary bike, while I pumped some iron, did balance exercises and stretches. I was so shy during the first few sessions, I turned up at physio wearing t shirt dresses. This was Pre-surgery Aarti.

Post-surgery however, I found it ridiculous to even think about pithy things like being bashful in the physio gym. I was IN CONSTANT PAIN and I stared at my knees more than I ever had because I had to ice, stretch and watch my knee while it worked the bicycle, while I walked with crutches. There was no time for self loathing. I HAD to focus my everything on healing, staying as positive as I could despite the pain and discomfort.

It dawned on me a month post-op while I was sweating it out with the damn balance balls (they gave me hell, my balance has always been way off) as I looked up at my red, sweaty, pain-filled but triumphant face in the mirror: I hadn’t obsessed about my body, my eating habits, my reflection in the gym mirror for a month and I was actually in a gym without any obsessive thoughts running through my head.

Two months into living with my new knee at the folks place I decided it was time to return home and it was really scary because some parts of my apartment like my bathroom weren’t as accessible but I knew I had to brave it out. Plus, I missed my bed and my fur babies so much! That first night back home was so peaceful.

A few weeks into my return home however, I was saddled with the flu and my breathing was too ragged – I had to make another trip to the hospital and be on the nebuliser multiple times because I had sustained a pretty gnarly asthma attack. That took about 2 months to get over! I was so angry because I was in a good place mentally and emotionally. I tentatively started physiotherapy again 2 months later and braved my sessions alone, without assistance from my sister or husband. Admittedly, there were a few sessions where I cried very hard because of the pain and I was angry at my co-existing conditions affecting my recovery process.

I was still thriving though, in terms of improvement in mobility and I even signed myself up at a gym nearby so that I could work on my mobility more than my once weekly physiotherapy sessions. And it was going great! I was so surprised at how easygoing I was at the gym and with the only expectations being, improving my mobility and unwinding from the worries that plague me daily. It was Me time and I felt so blessed to be able to walk unaided, with more confidence.

My immunity was still struggling however and once again I found myself in the hospital struggling with an asthma attack. My sciatica was also beginning to wreck havoc every time I went for physiotherapy or the gym. It was difficult to stay positive and hopeful, but I really really tried. I gave it my all for a good 6 months or even longer.

By the end of the year however, my morale was very low and I experienced a depressive episode. It just felt like nothing was going okay and the medical, physical struggles were getting out of hand. I had a particularly harrowing sciatica flare one day and sought help from a clinic nearby. The appointment was going well until he decided to suggest bariatric surgery aka gastric sleeve surgery. I shut down and stopped talking. Tears began to stream down my face as I headed home, feeling more hopeless and helpless than I had ever been.

I ended up being bedridden most of November, December and although the holiday season was wonderful.. I felt my strong body positive experience that year begin to wane. Since the new year has begun, I have decided to seek a specialist for treatment for my back and then find another physiotherapist who will help me with my sciatica and knee rehab – while my therapist was amazing at what she did, I did constantly tell her how much pain I was in with my back and she only focused on the knee. Which I know was her priority, but my back trouble is an important priority too.

I am not going to let myself fall into the same old patterns of self loathing. While I certainly do not subscribe to diet culture, movement and physical activity for me is no longer part of that culture. It is an essential part of my healing, my ongoing rehabilitation and it sure helps me blow off steam. There is no need to cower out of embarrassment as I walk into the gym just because my body does not look like any of the rest. Just because I limp. Just because I am afraid of re-injury – thats the whole point of sitting on that stationary bike riding to nowhere!

To be perfectly honest, I know that with the amount of chronic conditions I live with..my morale is bound to swing up and down. I need to watch for triggers and cues that might turn a low morale moment into a depressive episode.

If you find yourself struggling with your body image and self worth as you navigate a life with chronic health conditions, injuries, disability … Its okay to have times when you don’t love yourself or your body. Where you’re in a state of malaise because of pain or illness. What we can work on is not hating ourselves for who and what we are : as arduous as it can be to exist day-to-day. As upsetting and angering as it can be on some days. That we are still here, fighting and surviving everyday. And that counts for something.

It’s funny how the injury actually revived me in ways I never thought I could feel about myself. Through the pain and the discomfort, I felt more alive than I ever had. I had to pay attention and be kind to myself, and that despite the other obstacles and setbacks that came my way, there were some major breakthroughs:

I started wearing shorts again without flinching or wincing or feeling shy. Jeans or Pants were not an option until much later into recovery.

I was too busy recovering to bother about who was staring at me in the gym. And everyone is so busy doing their thing! My fears were unfounded. Sure I got the odd look or two but I was expecting that. A marginalised body will always be regarded with derision or skepticism.

This was the first Christmas season I allowed myself to enjoy the feasts instead of feel shy to eat among loved ones.

I may be struggling emotionally right now but that is because I don’t want to live in fear anymore and I am trying to fight back. And be as patient as I possibly can with waiting to see my back and knee specialists and therapists in February (damn these waiting lists and damn the strain on finances).

 

This is me today:

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I choose Love over Hate. I choose doing things that make me happy, to help me recover  and keep me going instead of be embarrassed by my reflection in the mirror or be angry with myself.

 

 

 

I refuse to give in to years of hating everything about myself. I deserve better. I am worthy of happiness, love, better health. I choose not to hide in the shadows. I have better things to do than to be fazed by empty words because some people are daunted by someone who no longer fears living her life, existing in her body, with all its abilities and limitations.

 

 

 

A full face of makeup or not, this is me and I don’t hate what I see. This is a reminder because as I feel discouraged by the lows of last year, and the pain that I experience as I type this out, it doesn’t mean that I will not recover and that my chronic pain and injuries will not be worked on.

 

 

 

This is a reminder to stay soft, silly and strong. 

To keep Hope alive. 

To have faith in myself and the process.

 

 

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Love, Aarti 

 

But You Look Just Fine?

Hello loves,

I have been meaning to type this post out much earlier this year, but I suppose it needed more clarity, that I have gained as the months have passed by. I also do not doubt that I was still emotionally fraught over circumstances to be able to write this with finesse.

Some of you are aware of the surgery I underwent in February this year for knee (acl) reconstruction. Recovery and rehabilitation for that has taken up all of my time and energy this year, in order to attain mobility.

About a week ago, I found myself struggling to stand up from my couch due to sharp pains running down the spine, particularly at the lower back. It felt as if someone was pulling away the centre of gravity away from me, rendering me immobile. Even lying down was not bereft of pain.

It was uncannily like the time I was seized by the worst series of back spasms at the end of 2016, resulting in getting sped to the hospital in an ambulance. The pain was beyond anything I had ever experienced. This coming from someone who has lived with chronic pain since her early 20s. It took a full day at the hospital of being poked, prodded, x rayed to verify that this was brought on by Sciatica – pain at the leg that stems from the lower back, glutes and down the sciatic nerve found at the back of the leg. I found myself unable to do anything, except lay down to ease the tension and pain. Seeking physiotherapy made a remarkable difference. The sessions involved deep tissue massages, infrared treatment and electronic pulses. The relief from better pain management however was short-lived. 

Just when it seemed like I was feeling better, I injured the knee. A month after ACL reconstruction surgery, I was dealt with a gnarly asthma attack. It has been one health scare after another since late 2016. And they are all of a life-altering nature, which further complicate my quality of life. 

I am no stranger to leg injuries, having sustained 2 serious ones back in 2004 and 2006. Nor am I a stranger to chronic pain, chronic health conditions. But as I type this out right now, I cannot help but feel slightly defeated and exasperated.

The fluctuation of moods when coping with pain on a daily basis is not to be trifled with. Sometimes you feel as if you are in control of the illnesses and pain. Other times you fall into deep despair, or you rage against the cards you have been dealt with. And then there are the times when you feel numb, because it has just gotten way past your tolerance capacity. 

Since the injury in 2004, it has been difficult to enunciate just how much pain and ailments can impact your life – your job, your moods, your relationships, your future. Because I seemed to bounce back after each injury, it was forgotten that I was still unable to function completely or be as mobile as before. Because I would push myself to meet friends, they assumed I must be doing much better than I said I was doing. They could not detect the discomfort or pain I was experiencing, and so I was Okay. That has been one of the hardest things to convey  – unless it is an injury that actually requires me to use walking aids or be in the hospital, it must surely be manageable enough since I have been able to meet up, interact on social media without seeming bogged by pain. 

Over the months of recovery from the knee mishap, I have gained myself fellow chronic pain and invisible illness friends on social media who actually empathise, and know the struggle firsthand. Nothing really cautions you about the drastic way your life will change when you are beset with pain, limited mobility and a compromised immune system. Unless you’re already living with these conditions, it is a challenge to put yourself in my shoes and truly comprehend the emotional, psychological strain it places on you. 

As someone in her early 20s who took pride in being a woman on the move and a go-getter, it was humbling when I realised I would never be able to sustain a full time job because of the toll it would take on my injured feet. After the re-activation of my asthma due to adult chicken pox, it dawned on me that I was going to have to scale back from part time work due to the unpredictability of my condition.

My active lifestyle seemed to move further and further away from me. It took me a long time to finally concede to the fact that running would no longer be possible. Dancing the night away was to be a thing of the past. Walking for hours on end exploring the sights while on holiday was not possible. Forget about those things, even the littlest of daily to-do’s were a challenge to accomplish. With these changes to the lifestyle came changes to my personality. I began to shy away from attending gatherings or parties. I stopped taking buses and trains to avoid crowds. When struggling with a health flare, I practically hibernate in my bedroom and refuse to see or speak to anyone until the symptoms abate. My once sparkling eyes and jubilant smile were no longer there when I stared at the person in the mirror. It seemed as if the toll this was taking on my body was making me age exponentially. I turned to food and sleep for comfort. By the time my miscarriages happened in 2009, I had become an empty shell of the person I once knew. 

Getting started on anti-depressants made a big difference. I felt more in control over my emotions and thought processing, which in turn helped me cope with health flare of the day, whatever it was. It really began to feel like I was once again gaining mastery over my life – I attained my Masters in Counselling after which I embarked upon Curves Become Her.

Unfortunately I find myself grappling with the invisible illnesses and injuries this year. While surviving the back spasms was no walk in the park, overcoming mental obstacles while seeking mobility for the knee was a mountain of a task. You would think that the years of managing pain and illness would prepare me for this. It does not work that way. I found myself swinging between clinging to hope for dear life to get me through my days and crying myself to sleep feeling desolate and isolated. I tried my best at keeping myself motivated for recovery, and sought online resources like The Mighty to turn to when I needed respite. 

Months later after knee reconstruction surgery, I found myself a nice little routine and pace: Feed the pets, head to the gym to strengthen the knee, come home to a hot shower and read a book or articles. Take a nap and maybe head out in the evening for a cuppa, plan for blog posts in the near future before heading to bed. It felt like I was getting parts of me back I previously thought had been lost. But you really do not realise how tough and yet so fragile your constitution becomes after what seems like a decade of never ending health issues. 

Those sharp stabbing pains down the spine suddenly had me spiralling down to the dark recesses of the mind where nothing good lingers. The loudest voice in there screaming into my head: I AM TIRED.

I intend to make this a regular series since it has taken such a big chunk out of my daily existence. Sharing, venting, finding answers – whatever you may want to call it. Just like plus size fashion and body positivity intersect on this blog, so will other elements that I shall introduce over time.

If you are living with chronic pain/illness, auto-immune illnesses and disability, do check out The Mighty for a place where you can actually feel less alone in your struggles. This is a suggestion from someone who knows the struggle, and this is not a sponsored post. As I find other resources while manoeuvring my way through pain flares  and other ailments, I will be sure to share them with you.

I am ending this post with unanswered questions and open wounds, because that IS the reality of my life right now. I do not have the energy to hide behind false bravado when feeling burdened by the struggle.

Until next time,

Aarti xxxo

 

 

The Shadow Side of Plus Size Blogging & Activism 

(Be Prepared for a lengthy post)

I have tried not to write about this for a long time because it tires me just to talk about it. You’re going to have to strip off the bandaid at some point though, so here goes. 
So the 4th year blogging anniversary is coming up in November. Much like birthdays, anniversaries and New Year’s Eve, we tend to take stock of the year/s gone by. It’s a cause for celebration, reflection. It can be a helpful cautionary tale. It can be a source of motivation. Lots of mixed thoughts and emotions there. 

I made a decision about a month ago: that I was going to take a semi-hiatus from blogging. From November 2016 to January 2017. You have to stop and take a break when you clearly are not being as clear-headed and creative, clouded by happenings that have stopped you in your tracks one too many times. 

Personal life aside, it also is no walk in the park to be a blogger. No job is easy and this one certainly does have its many wonderful opportunities. But I am going to open up about the reality and what you don’t typically hear about. Blogging is an excellent smoke and mirrors game, if you know how to play it and want to play it. Some of us don’t want to though, I certainly did not sign up for that. 

What propelled this confused space into a place to speak about my existence as a plus size person was a wonderful A-ha moment. The clothes I have worn, the posts I have written, the people I have gotten to know – my goodness if I could have saved those moments and feelings in a jar, it would be a colourful, energetic foam of joy bubbling forth.

My honeymoon period of blogging between 2012-2014 was wonderful. But I did not always feel welcome as a newbie. Some people were naturally skeptical of my intentions since I was new. The sad thing however is that some people still are skeptical even though I have been around for 4 years now. There are some who observe your work, but dislike you and do this cat & mouse game of following-unfollowing you on social media. They follow at first because they think “Ah well she’s putting out good work” and then they unfollow because “but I don’t really like or want to know her or want to give the impression that I like her”. I’ve seen this cat and mouse game play out so many times it makes me chuckle. 

Then you have the – oh she’s got a decent following now so maybe she’s worth something. Here’s the deal: I may have a decent Instagram following, but I have 600 plus followers on my blog. I don’t see that as success. I want people to read my work, not just like a picture. I want to contribute so much more as a writer and activist, instead of stay in the public eye. I want to improve upon my writing and other skills, not just bank on what I’ve got going for me. People have tired of blogs now but this is the space I really feel comfortable in so I’m going nowhere. 

It is sad that someone has to be someone who rubs shoulders with major players in the field in order to be appreciated. There are so many talented bloggers out there who quit because of this problem. Because they have been subject to the “You can’t sit with us” mentality by their peers. And as a person who advocates compassion and empathy with body positivity, I find that really saddening. 

Blogging has taken such a toll on me. I constantly worry about new outfits for the blog, how to stay relevant, how to advocate to as many ppl out there about how they can be changing their lives by being kinder to themselves and their bodies. The fact is, my location does not help one bit. Singapore is a very fatphobic country, like many countries out there. There are blogging communities out here that will not give a shit about me because I am fat. Newspapers and magazines will not talk about me because I am a fat body positive advocate. Fashion week will not have me because they do not compute how a fat person can be fashionable enough for them. There Are plus size figures and advocates here who just do not want to get to know one another or they work in cliques. I tried reaching out to one or two bloggers about how much I loved their work and to find solidarity when I first started and I did not even get a reply. I tried applying for blogging positions out of Singapore, namely in the most popular blogging association in India, and they did not come back to me with a reply And they still ignore me to this date. Indian media is just the same. The Organisations that have actually interviewed me or spoken to me in Singapore and the region have been very refreshingly body positive or at least they were trying to understand it. But there is a massive snub that exists because I am not slim, politically correct or favoured by big names/companies. 

For these reasons, I turned my attention online and blogged anyway because I wanted to do my bit even if it reached one person. The good news? People started to pay attention. Now let me affirm that this is not a pity party post or a bid to gain attention. This is a spotlight I am shining on what bloggers refrain from talking about. 

All of this trying to network but not getting anywhere because who cares about some fat pipsqueak in Asia, is tiring. I don’t reach out to companies for sponsorships, for paid posts, for collaborations. It has happened organically – they have watched my work and reached out. Am I saying there is something wrong with putting yourself out there and speaking to these companies or people? No. But I will not do it, that’s just how I am. My merit is my work. If you like what you read or see, that’s great. 

I did reach out to a plus size retail company once for a blogging and sponsorship opportunity – crickets, all I heard was crickets because my follower count was not substantial enough for them to care about someone like me. So I left it at that. 

I work very hard at maintaining a good standard with my posts – be it on the blog or Twitter, Instagram, Facebook..wherever else. I have no help, I do this on my own. Day and Night. My photographer is my Husband who, bless his heart, obliges me. I don’t have a PR rep. I learnt how to apply makeup for my fashion posts. I learnt how to stand tall and keep my Chin up while people gawk at my size as I pose for the blog. I learnt how to make the distinction between my different areas of work – plus size fashion blogging, fat body positive activism, as a south Asian voice, as a woman of Colour, as a feminist, as a psychotherapist, as a mental health advocate. I stay up nights to speak with friends and followers who live across the globe because they mean a lot to me. I work through holidays, I get no breaks. 

I have lost friends since I started blogging. That pain you feel when people you have known for so long come to misunderstand you and assume that you think you’re some big shot and you’re living a fake life with fake friends online. This ‘fake’ life has not been a walk in the park. These ‘fake’ friends understand how it feels to exist as a fat person, a blogger, a feminist. When I lost my circle of friends early this year, I did not want to continue blogging because it just made me so sad that this was what they thought about my work. 

This ‘fake’ life has real trolls who will tell you you’re going to die next week and that they hope you will get a heart attack. People will come forward Everyday thanking you for the work that you do because they relate to what you’re saying. People will come forward Everyday to tell you that You should die for being fat and confident. 

There has to be some sort of a balance you can strike, because if you don’t, you’re going to be sad and anxious all the time. This is what I am hoping to achieve in my next year of blogging. I am not going to quit, because this is Important to me. But I have to draw a line between my work and my quality of life. 

I also have to be accountable for the mistakes made, the people I may have hurt in the process. I used to be a part of a weekly fashion blogging group but I had to pull out. I did not have the guts to tell them that the reason I did so was because some of the time, I could not afford what the weekly challenge required. Until now, I struggle with my finances because I worry about being relevant as a fashion blogger and so I buy new outfits every month but then I don’t get to do important things like buy stuff for my home or go to a specialist for a health issue or go on a holiday. 

I’ve not gone on a holiday in 2 years. We can’t do so right now because our oldest dog is not in the condition for us to leave him with dog sitters. But aside from a holiday, I have other priorities like my home or my health. The hubster sees me frowning more than smiling and crying more than smiling because I feel angry that I am limited by his work time to get blog shoots done in different locations aside from that damn white wall near the dumpster below my block. 

We work so hard and sacrifice so much because we want to make sure that our work means something. But it is upsetting when you’re underrepresented, given the cold shoulder and when you are given some attention it’s thanks to being angry at Instagram for revoking my basic right as a person posting on social media. Why does negativity sell so much? While there were thousands of you who were proud of my stance, do you see what I mean when I say, why couldn’t this have been about a really happy happening for me, a fat woman of Colour? 

I thank my lucky stars that I have made some firm friendships in these circles because I would not be writing this without knowing they will have my back. I also thank my lucky stars that you will be sweet enough to tell me to get all the rest and solace I need. 

I have made my fair share of mistakes as a person and a blogger but I don’t think that I deserve to lead the life that I am living. I have not been writing articles that I promised, and I have disappointed friends and colleagues as a result..because I am at a loss for words most of the time now. 

People keep telling me “I’m sorry you’re so sad this year” and I feel bad that that is how I am projecting myself. I have lost my faith in the communities I am a part of, even if I do have friends in the communities. I do not trust them and am afraid of getting closer to people, even though some people are really genuine and sweet. 

I do not want to remain in the clutches of this sad space where I don’t know my place as a blogger or a person. I am facing my demons head on now. It’s time to make changes. 

What does this mean for my life as a blogger? It means I’ll be taking a break for 2 months effective from Nov. I may post once or twice but that will be the extent of it. I will return with renewed vigour, more genuine smiles and a different outlook on blogging. 

Onwards 

This is Not a rejection story 

*not a fashion or body positive post*

*Trigger Warning: Emotional, Physical abuse*

Here lies Not a story about rejection. It is a story of false hopes and despondence at times but it also is a story of strength and wisdom. And I will repeat this story until it’s time for me to embrace nothingness. 
Before I could understand that the colour of my skin would have people make judgment and throw me into analysis paralysis, I was a carefree and quiet 6 year old girl walking into school with no idea why of how quickly I would learn the unwritten rules of my existence. When a Chinese girl sniffed at me and changed her seat in the bus, I was curious but not knowledgable. But by the time the children started to throw stones at me at 7, I knew what was wrong. 

I didn’t belong. There was something that wasn’t right about my colour. So when my English teacher took an extreme dislike to me, I wasn’t surprised. It was upsetting however to be hit by her and to stand in class until my knees trembled. When she wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom and so I peed myself, for which I got another beating. 

After a few months of being hurt by her and hiding it from my parents, the scars began to surface and I was unable to allay the concern of my parents with thin excuses. I was marched to school with my Father slapping the intention of a lawsuit on the teacher, who denied the goings-on until she realised dad was dead serious. But she pulled me aside one day and hissed “I will be watching You”, and she did – my body shook as I walked to the classroom blackboard while she stared black-demon eye like from the opposite room. 

When my body betrayed me and turned from waif-like to chubby, I was pushed farther back into the misfits fringe. Except I hadn’t made any friends yet. And my childhood heroes – my mom and dad – changed as the pressures of my growing years mounted. I grew afraid of them, unable to reconcile the parents of my early childhood to this infuriated new pair. 

The world began to seem so cruel. When the beatings at home began, I felt cheated. How could the same pair who stood up for me in school a few years ago have the heart to lay their hands on the same Daughter mercilessly? What had changed? They wanted to beat the living day lights out of the ADHD that made me tardy, forgetful and prone to losing my attention, becoming hyper for no apparent reason. They didn’t know what the problem was and attributed it to my personality, my being. 

Each time I was snubbed by a schoolmate, a teacher or parents…I blamed myself. I would put on a smile or wipe my tears, walk away quietly. There must be something not quite right about me, I thought. 

When the self-loathing manifested completely, I was in the throes of puberty. Confused by my attraction towards both boys and girls, grades sinking further than they ever had. What I Had control over was my food intake and exercising – which I controlled fiercely. 

Out of secondary school, I was avoided for being odd. Nothing new. For sporting a crew cut (maybe she’s a lesbian they said), For neglecting to watch my weight (Hello Depressive episode number 1, you succeeded in throwin out the bulimia for a while), For being lousy at my grades and absolutely disinterested in living. 

My heart had gotten broken so many times by then. Trampled upon and crushed. And I had no hope. I lumbered around thinking of ways to die. Running into the middle of the road when the traffic light turns red. Smashing myself against walls (which I did) again and again until my lips split open. Cutting myself and trying to cut off that vein so I’d just die already. Bleeding through my pants, period soaked panties because I didn’t care. Tearing at my skin and slapping myself. Breaking household objects. Bringing the cane or belt to my dad when it was ‘time to be punished’ for bad behaviour or bad grades. He hit me and I rolled my eyes. 

I did not learn to value or respect myself until much, much later. I rejected myself more than anyone could. I got there before anyone could. 

Why am I telling you this? 

There is a point. I am Still rejected by different people every day. My heart and mind have taken quite the beating over 3 decades. So being ‘rejected’ by fat shamers? That’s like batting eyelids with slight dust in them, a slight annoyance and hurt but nothing permanent. 

BUT I have met people who see me and see more than anyone has. Who actually like my company, value my opinions, love my smile, want to trade hugs and share life stories or swap jokes. Who *gasp* love me in my weirdness. 

And although social media is something I will always have a love and hate relationship with..

And although I will always be a misfit.. 

And although some may want to associate themselves with me for their personal gains, or Some will just never ever comprehend the workings of this soul, 

This is Not a rejection story. 

Not anymore. Neither is Yours. 

If you feel lost and disillusioned by people, you are not alone. I am reminding myself today with this post not to lose sight of the bigger picture while attending to the little details – and the bigger picture my darling, is that We are so much more than what people have taught us about ourselves. I am learning to undo those cruel lessons and while some days I wish so hard there could be an instant remedy, it takes patience and it takes love. I am living proof of survival and strength and love. 


I took a hiatus from social media because it can seem so vapid. There was nothing, nobody there calling to me to make a connection or learn something of consequence. While it is a place to grow as a blogger and a fat person looking for communities to belong to, my god it can get on my nerves. Aside from liking posts, writing comments, responding to messages…it has felt monotonous of late and there is way too much passive-aggression ( I LOATHE it) for me to handle. Text messages, social media – all full of passive aggression. They’re curses and boons. It’s been very productive to be on social media and wield positivity over it but it feels as if things are getting a lot less friendly and to be honest it is relieving to be away from it. It’s become a Monster of sorts to have to deal with, even though it has also been a blessing. It’s a push and pull affair with it constantly. Maybe that is how it will always be? 

I have never felt that way about blogging. With blogging it just feels simpler (unless you’re really popular). Having that history of rejection and being treated like a misfit still translates in social media. It isn’t a proper in-person interaction but it does require social skills and energy that sometimes I just do not have. Especially this year. Not with losing friends – that pain cut me real deep. It kept my nights away from sleep. It was a big blow to my equilibrium; when you don’t want to cut people off but they’re too toxic for your good. I’ve  been a real fool thanks to my  heart, who still tends to take a chance on people despite it all. 

And here was another lesson in rejection that I am learning now. It has pulled me under a few times this year but let’s be realistic now. It’s not the end of the world. This is not my first heartbreak. 

Sometimes when you keep ploughing through your days and stop the healing process because life gets in the way, the hurt comes hurtling towards you in a gigantic snowball. I can see that is the problem here. 

While I navigate through my new lease of life with Curves Become Her, I aim to resume the healing process now and get on with life. Social media may be a pain but it’s not The problem like I thought. 

A lot of times, my introspective writing is about catharsis and finding meaning as I type. So if I have confused you I am so sorry Lol!!! But this was so necessary for me. Just be kind with your comments, yes? 

Chat Soon 

oh life 

So this is a personal update kind of post and if it’s not your thing, it’s okay! Been meaning to get this done for a while. 

So guess the last time I wrote anything personal was quite a while ago. It’s been another season of changes. We cannot move forward without changes. At times these changes hurt at the beginning and need some time to get used to. At other times it’s just a matter of embracing a new pace of living. 

My mother was unwell at the end of last year; she had a number of falls that led to a hip fracture which required surgery. She was struggling for quite a while after that. With physiotherapy and just practice and her will to walk better, she has made remarkable strides. It’s a few days to Mother’s Day and as your moms catch up on age, you really treasure every single day, month, year of being able to celebrate them. 

Last December was more than just the usual month of introspection before the arrival of a new year and my birthday. There was an unsettling ominous feeling that would not escape me and it muddled my senses. Sometimes before an upsetting event or series of events, these instincts kick in. 

Basically, the start of 2016 saw the demise of a few relationships I considered to last for life. There was a lot of hurt, there were many questions, it felt like a betrayal. There will not be a group of friends I am exclusive to, ever again, not under my watch. Because when it goes to shit for you, it throws you into a tailspin. You question All of your relationships. You question the authenticity of them, the trust and faith you have placed. While acknowledging that you are not the victim but a part of the problem. There is gratitude for the happy years and there is an acceptance that this is the way it must be now. Not everyone who traipses into your bubble will stay. I read this passage online and it is so apt: 

“Maybe we’ll meet again, when we are older and our minds less hectic and I’ll be right for you and you’ll be right for me. But right now, I am a chaos to your thoughts and you are poison to my heart” 

It takes a lot of coaxing to urge your heart to open up to people after being hurt to the point of disillusionment. But I have allowed myself to let nature take its course and find myself and others while healing. 

And I had quite a few distractions to keep me busy. A few weeks after the incident above and my decision to leave the table, I began struggling with shortness of breath and chest pains brought on by a flu virus. As an asthmatic I know it is common for my lungs to flare up during a bout of flu but this did not feel like a regular flare. I had an attack in the middle of the day and while using the nebuliser to get a grip on my breathing, I had a violent cough and a horrible pain seized my ribcage. The pain and wheezing persisted despite the midday nebuliser and I had to rush to the hospital in the wee hours of the night. What followed was a drowsy series of nebulisers, tests, x Ray’s and a whole lot of medication. In hindsight, I should have taken an ambulance And warded myself in for at least a day or two. But I do detest hospitals :/ 

Basically it was a life threatening series of attacks and my ribcage was inflamed. It took me a full month to breathe easy again. It was scary, that morning at the hospital. I would not stop crying and I usually leave the crying for behind closed doors when I’m alone. 

I write for a number of publications and at this time, I was unable to do so for a while. That made me feel terribly restless but the hubster and family reminded me I had to take care of myself first. 

My struggle with fertility has upset my chances at motherhood for quite a while. I suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), Endometriosis and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). These ailments basically  give me all kinds of grief a week or two before my time of the month. Migraines are a common symptom during this dreaded time and in the month of March, there was a persistent migraine that lasted over a week. I tried to be patient but grew alarmed after noticing a swelling at the back of my head. The hubster was not taking any chances so I was back at the hospital running tests. Not fun. 

Apparently the prolonged migraine caused a swelling in the brain exterior. Which explained my blurry vision and extreme pain at my neck and shoulders, as well as inability to stare at the computer or television screen. It was a kind of infection and I was prescribed horse power antibiotics among other things. 

After three months of barely being productive thanks to poor health, I began to grow anxious about the break. What if people have forgotten about my work? Social media has such a short attention span. 

It took a while to consider tackling fashion posts and articles. What propelled me was looking back at the body of work amassed from the past. Then, the irrational fears subsided. It wasn’t as if I had lost my passion or creativity. 

So the first quarter of 2016 was rather melodramatic! But I’m here now, moving onwards. With fresh perspective. Thank you for staying on, I am very grateful. Thank you so much for your supportive comments. 

It is easy to lose the plot and find yourself tangled in a mess of emotions and problems. The remedy here is to redirect your focus on the beautiful parts of life. The intangibles. The little pleasures and blessings. 

Onwards