Body shaming is not a new concept for all of us. No matter how we identify, our bodies are supposed to look a certain way. I’m tired of these stereotypes and I’m tired of everyone else having control over what I think about myself. I used to be very skinny as a child, underweight in an unhealthy way. Everybody used to call me names, but is that even a surprise?
I was 5 when the doctors told my mother that I had worms in my stomach. It was a painful experience through and through. But it was definitely made harder by all the bullying I faced at school. Even then,being called out at home had to be the worst of it all. My grandmother used to call me “kamzor” or weak everyday. I used to over feed myself, but the worms never let me put on any weight.
My parents sometimes mocked me with how my worms were eating the food for me and that I shouldn’t get what everyone else was eating. I was 5 and I couldn’t take jokes then: it was not funny to me. After about a year I got rid of the worms. I put on a lot of weight by the time I reached 7th grade. Every time I asked if I could put some kajal on, my mom would tell me that it won’t make me pretty, only shedding all the extra weight would.
It was my 12th birthday when I got a beautiful yellow sundress and my sister was upset about how she didn’t get one too.. My parents wiped her tears off while telling her that I needed new clothes because my clothes became “too tight” and “too small” for me to wear them. This made me sad to the deepest corner of my heart. That beautiful sundress didn’t mean so much to me after what they said. My mom and dad were later angry at me for not understanding that they were only trying to pacify my sister. I was 12.
Every time I dress up or put makeup on,my parents still tell me that I just should lose weight. Everytime I have tried on a sari, I’ve heard my dad say that it’ll look better on my sister because she’s thinner and taller. Everytime I feel out of breath from running, my dad tells me it’s because I can’t carry my own weight. It took me 21 years to realise that I should accept myself the way I am, even if no one else does. It took me 21 years to feel beautiful in my own skin.
To every parent and would-be-parent who is reading this, discouraging and body shaming your child will not help them to be healthy or fit. Positivity, a sense of hope and willpower will help them to do so. Please choose your words carefully before you spit them out. It doesn’t take much effort to be considerate but it can mean everything to your children.