Age 6: A cheerful girl, friendly and in love with her life. Excels in whatever she does and is the apple of the eye of her parents and teachers.
6 years and a new school later, that girl is no longer there. She cannot find happiness with people; she does not like her new school. Waking up and meeting the new classmates is what her nightmares are made of.
Fatso, pig and many other rude expletives are the names by which her ‘friends’ call her in the new school.
Never before in her life had she looked at a mirror and seen a fat girl. All she had seen was a little girl with bright dreams in her eyes and a spirit she thought was uncrushable.
But what met her eyes now, was a dark skinned fat girl with glasses that covered her eyes. She was big, ugly and unlovable. There was no fire in her anymore.
Worthlessness became her shadow and food was her new best friend that helped her fight loneliness.
As her self-esteem fell, so did her grades.
As her friends reduced, so did her aloofness increase.
Then began the hunt in the market – for a man of her dreams, someone who would love her for who she is.
In 2013, she settled for what she thought the best she could have. Someone who saw through her, but never saw her. The guy the parents approved of, but the one who wanted to change her inside out.
Then 2014 happened.
Like they say, when you hit rock bottom, the only way left is upwards.
It is a daily struggle, the need to be seen yet the want to remain unseen.
Smiling when your insides are melting with self-pity and loathing.
Battling worthlessness while you still seek validation.
The love-hate relationship with food while you still cannot love yourself.
This path is not easy, the one earmarked to make you fall in love with yourself. But it is a journey that must be undertaken.
It is a conscious decision, every day. A path that not many would understand, heck I myself have no clue on some days what the point of all this is.
But, sticking on to the motto of dress up and show up – some days, literally, has definitely helped a great deal.
The days I don’t wake up feeling great, I take the effort to dress up – maybe a bit too much for the corporate culture – but the effort is to make me smile and appreciate the person I see in the mirror.
It is not an easy path, self-love. But the struggle is definitely worth it.
Call me narcissistic as I post one selfie after another, but excuse me, you who have said nothing when I hated myself have no voice to say anything when I love myself.
If you are struggling with body image issues or are a victim of body shaming, know that you are not alone, know that their words should not affect you.
You are beautiful, just the way you are.
You are worthy of all the happiness in the world.
You are worthy of being loved.
I know it is hard, but it helps a great deal to tell this to myself like a mantra. Day in, day out – just remind yourself – you are worthy.