‘We shall be different, we shall love our bodies.’ My 10-year-old self would’ve been delighted to hear this from someone. In my 17 years of existence, I’ve put an upsetting amount of pressure on my body because of being unable to achieve the unrealistic beauty standards set by society.
My struggle with being body-shamed goes back to when I was 10. Being a chubby kid, I was constantly under the radar of relatives, neighbours and friends. It started with bits of advice to my mother on my weight, which later turned into comments by my friends on how ‘fat’ I am. They didn’t affect me as much in the beginning, but that changed rather quickly.
The earliest I remember breaking down, which now I know was an anxiety attack, was when I was 12. I was out playing with my friends when soon the conversation turned into which comment about my body was the funniest. I ignored most of it and when I couldn’t anymore, I broke down and ran back home. I was too ashamed to tell my mom why I was crying so much that I couldn’t breathe. But after she found out, she gave me an hour-long session on how perfect I was to her but I couldn’t stop over analysing those remarks made about my body.
One negative comment on someone’s appearance can damage them in ways you can’t imagine.
I got determined to lose weight and did the stupidest thing I could think of, I stopped eating. That didn’t go well let me tell you! I lost no weight but I developed health issues. My fight with my own self went on for a long time.
Social media came as a boon to me. I saw plus-size models rejecting the norms (Sonia Thomas, Sakshi Sindwani, Rytasha Rathore, to name a few), articles on body positivity and slowly started to realise that I had spent years hating on my own body for NOTHING. I also became aware of the fact that no matter how I look, there will always be someone who would try to bring me down.
Who made the made rules about how a person should look? Not me. So I decided to not follow them. And when I did so, I realised that I’m the happiest when I’m not standing in front of a mirror and judging myself because if I do so, I couldn’t expect others to not do the same.
There are still days when I don’t feel good about myself. But I’ve learnt to appreciate my body, I’ve hated on it unnecessarily for way too long. Give yourself a forever break from these social standards, because after all, we are the society and our biggest critics.