Sunflowers at Dusk

Story by Maahi Patel

“You look like a matchstick, a hanger, a stick.”

“Don’t wear short and tight clothes, you look so ugly.”

These phrases might be laughable for a few but they were heart-wrenching for me. I was body-shamed and looked down upon by almost everyone around me, including my friends and family.

My classmates used to joke about my body and pass shady comments. Little did I know, all of this affected me so much. I used to shut everyone away.

I was so ashamed of myself that I hardly talked to anyone thinking if I will remain quiet I will be unnoticeable. Along with body-shaming me, my classmates also started slut-shaming me. I was slowly paving my way to a dark place.

This slowly spread into hatred. I was slut-shamed not only behind my back but even on social media. It affected my mental-health to such an extent that I started losing myself.

I deleted all my accounts which contained pictures of me. I went anonymous. My entire confidence was drained. The little cheerful girl in me was somewhere lost. I felt alone in a room filled with people. I sank in dismay.

I somewhere knew that this cannot be it. I knew I had to pick myself up. I knew I had to let go of the pain inside me.

I slowly found writing as my solace. I found closure in penning down my feelings in my diary. I gathered the courage to post my poems on my social media. The response was wholesome.

There were many people out there who were facing the same problem, I was shocked and overwhelmed.

My pen and my diary were my new friends. I finally started feeling light.

Lockdown really pushed me to do something unique. I was a bag full of energy and joy as I was gaining the lost confidence back. One night, while I sank myself to bed, I asked myself, what if I published my poems?

This very question made me think of wonders. For my next stage, I was pretty much sure and I finally made all the efforts and self-published my own poems in form of a book!

This was an achievement for an 18-year-old girl who was too underconfident to even speak to anyone. When my parents read my book, they were left teary-eyed. They came and hugged me.

My world is falling in the right place once again. I can now proudly say that my body is not anyone’s place to crack a joke about. I can say hi to a cheerful Maahi who is now ready for her college life and new adventures to begin!

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