By Meetu Pandey:
I came across a news article about an anorexic, 17, who hid weights in her pockets to fool nurses, and died three days before Christmas weighing around 25 kilograms. RIP Love. As a woman who struggled with being a skinny adolescent and now an even skinnier adult, I understand what she must have gone through.
I might not have been Anorexic, but like millions of ultra-thin girls around the globe, I too have had my share of criticism and humiliation. It is impossible to get through without dents on your self-esteem at some point in your journey. It’s only after we grow up that we realize that physical appearances do not define beauty or success, there is so much more to life than those numbers on your weighing machine. But not everyone survives to understand this, “they” don’t let you.
My anger is mostly towards the individuals who casually slap the hurtful term ‘Anorexia’ on the faces of every thin individual they meet. They need to update their knowledge to understand that Anorexia isn’t a synonym for thin. Being thin is healthy, being Anorexic is fatal. In your utter ignorance you are ruining the confidence of a perfectly healthy person by referring to him/her as a sufferer of a fatal eating disorder. As if there wasn’t enough to deal with in our lives already! Our plates aren’t the only struggles we go through. Come shopping with us for a closer look. The jeans that are impossible to fit, even the smallest sizes come hanging loosely. The pretty top we lose our hearts to, are not always available in an XS. The watch’s strap that always needs an extra piercing. The skirt that we finally decide to wear to that party that got rude comments on our pencil thin legs since you forgot that they were holding up a person with feelings. A complete human being is reduced to a size.
Every time an Aunty exclaims, “Why don’t you eat something?” There is an urge to scream at her, “How else do you think I am alive?” The not so skinny friends who lose breath when climbing those stairs, they never fail to remind us how they are available for fat donation and that we are just made up of bones. Do you even realize you are almost dying on the 30th step? And you are not even fat, you are the “so called” healthy perfection personified panting there and this skinny piece of skeleton is breathing gloriously. And God forbid if we decide to play a sport – “You’ll disappear!” is what we hear from everyone. Now this could make anyone wonder about the lectures she must have missed back in school to have not known about this major breakthrough in medical science.
You rush to help a friend with lifting stuff and they don’t let you, citing the risk that weights must have on your flickering existence. No sweet friend, it is this shaming attitude of yours that is weighing heavily on my existence and not the silly weights.
I can carry them, I am not sick, but your lame remarks are! And no! That hand you put around my wrist making a sad face pointing my weight loss is neither concern nor care. It screams “Look at you“.
You better stop touching us like that, we know the inches our wrist measures, we live in that body, and we see it all the time. If you really care, then appreciate us. The most crucial help I received when going through the struggle was not from doctors or friends who kept saying I am thin. It came from my family, who made me feel I look beautiful and called me healthy even at my ugliest! That’s how I could start believing in myself. That’s how we develop our own mechanism to shield ourselves from the social pressures and critics, it takes time but eventually we realize that what people say doesn’t matter, we can be whoever we want to be and I choose to be my kind of beautiful.
Instead of making the little young soul so conscious about her body frame let her just go to school and study and not hide behind skirts, socks, blazers and quarter length tops. I wish people could be sensitive in their choice of words. How could a young, beautiful teen with dreams, hopes, excitement, a new dress and a lip balm she requested her Mom to buy for your party be a Skeleton?