I despise the words skinny, size zero, plus size, thin, fat, etc. I really want to know who has set the standards for beauty. I have grown up being bullied and made fun of by my friends and family alike for being first, a healthy baby, then, a plump teenager and now, a voluptuous woman. It may be out of love that my friends call me moti, but terms like moti (hindi for fatty) and chikni (hindi for skinny) sounds rather demeaning and derogatory to me. It’s like I am being constantly forced to accept that I have a faulty body. Just because I do a search on plus size clothes online, google sends me ads and mails of slimming centres and weight management outlets. Every once in a while my family and relatives send me a snippet that they read somewhere or a snapshot of an article that has tips on effective weight loss. Then there are obviously friends who, as a matter of joke, may casually pass off a comment as soon as I am about to devour my favourite cheesecake or my chunky slice of pepperoni pizza!
As a teenager, I would be immensely affected by the taunts I would receive. There were times I would stop eating for days and survive only on water, thinking that it will slim me down. I would sulk and cry alone since I was in a hostel, trying gorging on salads that would taste like dry grass, drink my hot beverages without a granule of sugar, would do everything possible but still failed to lose an inch. Infact, I became more bloated, felt sick, and had terrible headaches, anything but losing appetite. I finally gave up on myself and just sulked, day in and out. I took to going out and playing whatever sport I could to vent out my anger. And then, a beautiful thing happened. I was selected as one of the players to represent the school in hockey national tournament. It came as a surprise because I was always the slowest one when it came to races and needless to say, the fattest one in the group of thin and lean girls. During the induction program I was introduced as the goal keeper as I apparently was the fittest of them all! It was then that I realized that being fit and being thin does not go hand in hand.
From then on I thought I knew what it was like to be happy because suddenly, everyone approved of me. We played, we won, we came back to hugs and cheers and suddenly, all my fears were gone. I represented my school in many other tournaments thereafter. But the ordeal started again when I finished school and joined college. Studying in an all girl’s college can be a life changing experience. Well, mine was. The first day I walked into my college I could not believe my eyes – I had never seen so many girls together in one place. What pinched me most was the fact that the groups made were strictly biased towards one’s looks, one’s clothes, the price tag on them and their arm candies. It was rare to see a ‘salwar kameez’ girl having lunch with a ‘high heels’ girl. I knew instantly what to expect and they quite lived up to it – that is because I let them! My first semester was lonely – I made no new friends. Frankly, I felt embarrassed of myself being so healthy with a jelly-like tummy and hence would go to college wearing loose long tops. I would sheepishly answer questions asked, sit at the corner of the last bench, listen to music and have lunch on my own and with passing time, I stopped attending.
Well, I got a second chance to get back up when I accidentally met my best friend. She came over to me asking for a song and that’s how my journey to loving myself started. She was an equally plump lady, but without the inhibitions I had. While there still were a few other friends of mine who sneered at my weight, she was one who always fed me till I was full, let me sleep till late into the day and laughed with me, all while motivating me to be fit. By that time I had stopped playing and so I would get tired after climbing even one flight of stairs! She made me a stronger person by showing me that it’s important to love and accept yourself before someone else does. After being friends with her, I also realized that all the girls in my class were actually friendly, but it was me who held back.
Now, I am a confident girl with a big waist and the loudest laughter.
My long loose clothes have been replaced by my favourite styles, colors and cuts. My straight cut hair has many more layers and a fringe, and lips have a lot of color flushed into it. I have taken to fashion, a plus size girl’s biggest enemy, as my weapon to survival. I still do get stares but I am not sure if it is because of my confidence or my weight. I’d however like to go with the former though! With time I realized that it was always me who was at fault and not them, whom I thought bullied me. It was my frustration with myself that made me think the world laughed at me. But when I look back, I always had support. Now, nobody stops me from having my pepperoni pizza or caramel cheesecakes or from wearing high slit skirts and crop tops. May be a lot of you are like me – the kind who stop themselves from being happy and blame it on the society. May be its time we let our inhibitions about ourselves be shoved aside.
Love N Luck
*Photography Credits : Prashant Murty