Updated: Jun 27, 2021
Story by Suvandra C Das
Have you ever had daily nightmares about being body-shamed?
I got them so frequently throughout my adolescence.
I still remember myself crying and walking out of the institute, afraid to question why my own friends, whom I trusted and loved, shamed me. They said, "Heels don’t suit you. It appears the ground is pressurised because of your heavy weight." I blamed myself and stayed silent, as always.
I have always been a bit too chubby, as compared to the people around me, since childhood. The body shaming I get as a consequence has had an unimaginable toll on my mental health.
School was a tough time, when every quarrel I had with other kids, always ended in me being body-shamed. I still tremble when I think how even the teachers in my school have been a great part of this toxic journey I’ve lived this far. I have spent hours hours before the mirror, trying to select an outfit, just to impress the other kids at school, but in vain.
Home should be the place where one finds peace and love. So I never knew a twelve year girl child will be refused to wear shorts just because I had thunder thighs. Shorts were “too inappropriate” for my body shape to wear. I have also been constantly compared to my younger sister, throughout my adolescence.
An elderly member of my family, once spoke proudly in front of my joint family: "You will never get a match to marry in my life. No boy on earth will accept you. You will be a shame for him."
Once, at a family event, the same elderly person commented, “You should marry a dog. The world will not recognise you and you will not further worry about losing your weight”.
However these family incidents are less drastic than what I'll tell you next.
I have been touched on my cheeks, my arms, my thighs, without my acceptance, repeatedly, just to remind me how curvy, large and round my body parts were.
Being called 'Moti' (Translation: Fat girl) and questioning my self worth through all these years, it has made me get dreams in which I am shamed. All those taunts haunted me and rang louder in my ears, every time I thought of them, leaving me sensitive and teary eyed every time.
However, I think surviving through the constant taunts has also made me resilient.
Over the years, I have started to counter the body-shaming I get, with positivity. I have gradually realised that a smile and positive words is the one thing, the people who shame you, never expect. They expect you to grow teeth and bite back, which will make them comment further. But I have realised that using positivity and a smile, devastates their motives.
The problem with today's world is that society has perfectly defined what they mean by 'beautiful' and the naive masses fall into that trap, and accept the definition. They leave no room for imperfections. But we all are imperfect, aren't we? So, is nobody beautiful enough?!
I believe people stress too much on the imperfections, because it may be a defense mechanism or revenge for the hurt they get themselves. Today, I have grown tired of trying to fit in to the masses' naive definitions of beauty, and I have stopped blaming myself for the things I used to.
Because, I know I am beautiful,
And everyone is equal
Today every time I take out the pair of heels, I still hear those words my friends once said, but this time I walk wearing it with confidence & assertiveness.