I had the perfect hour glass body as a 16 year old. I used to fit into all the good looking clothes, and stayed self obsessed for about 3 years of my life. To think back and remember with perfect clarity the number and types of portfolio shots I took of myself, amazes me now. I never hid a single defect – for I thought, I had none. I’d have many but in my head, I had none. I had long beautiful hair, a fuller looking smile, perfect skin and I would be beaming with confidence. I walked the halls of my school thinking, I was the prettiest girl in the crowd. I cared less and less about what people thought of me, with each passing day till I hit 2nd year of college.

There was this coming of age moment, I had to face. I was a 20 something with a boyfriend who said I looked ugly because I had put on some serious flab on my stomach. I was also a 20 something who people wouldn’t dare ridicule otherwise because I do have one hell of a mouth on my pretty pretty face. But somewhere, that 1 boys rejection injected a sense of hysteria. A hysteria that slowly and rapidly grew into a bombastic paranoia which I subconsciously suppressed with the outward nonchalance. I’d wear a pair of shorts and a loose t – shirt to class, or a really loose kurta. I’d pretty up my face only with Kajal. I cared less and less for how I looked – to show it didn’t matter what people thought of me. I tried to strangle out of my urge for acceptance by rejecting it, all together. By denying its existence.

I didn’t know how tainted my thoughts had been or how hurt my little ego was, till I was unemployed. I realised all of the trauma, smudged black when I had to face my fears in real time. I think a dam burst within. It broke and the bottled up words, echoes of past rejection came flowing out. I saw myself in the mirror. I am plump, I have chubby cheeks, big eyes, I wear glasses and at 23 I still have tiny pimples coming up once in a while. I have a scarred face and tummy that needs a tuck. I am also very lazy and I don’t want to jog. I do dress well when I want to, and I look at the clothes on that skinny Zara model with utmost lust that sees a body type far beyond my grasp. I still have that tiny crisis once in a while because I was used to being called superlatives of the good kind; I’d never thought in my wildest dreams as a kid I’d be plump/fat. But then there was flab and all the haze around my tiny little superficial head cleared one year at a time. I accept my eyes for the squinty sometimers they are; I see I fit well in Large sized clothes and look good, I accept my hair has been cut short and I must make do, I accept that when I smile my eyes get wrinkly, I accept the complete apple shaped body I have.

I look into my own eyes in a mirror and I can look at myself – I am good the way I am, not just good looking now I think I’m cute, chubby. I feel like I am a soul, and a body. But for a very long time I defined myself in the feminine categories the world has created. At the same time I also realised, these categories are so limited. I am fat, and beautiful, chubby with skinny calves, I have pimples but soft skin, I have short unruly but sometimes silky hair. My eyes are big but they squint too. I have neck wrinkles, my hair doesn’t look nice all the time. I think when I look for one word categories for all of this, I see that the linguistic binaries finally do fail. If I were to define all of this in either “Fat/Skinny” I cannot. You might, for your language may barricade your thoughts too.

No more am I to submit to the need of being called beautiful but I do smile when once in a while someone genuinely not for lust, not for love but warmly suggests I am pretty. Maybe this negotiation will never end really but I can say, I stand confident today without the arrogance of yesterday and somewhat preparing to meet wisdom on the other side of the line.

— Just Panda Thoughts.


One thought on “And then there was FLAB.

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