This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Meetu Pandey. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“I Choose To Be My Kind Of Beautiful”: How I Deal With ‘Being Skinny’

More from Meetu Pandey

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.

Image credit:  Charlotte Astrid
Image credit: Charlotte Astrid

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?

You must be to comment.
  1. Ajay

    Thank you very much, This article made my day.

  2. sree

    Thank you for this article.

    I have always been surrounded by those criticism about my body. Even had thought about ending life. Now i am trying to stop listening what others say. i just want to live happily.

    Thank you very much

  3. Ankit

    A very well written article.

    Although I have given up considering the critics on how I skinny I look, I want to say that every expression you wrote there was an experience. I am overjoyed to read this article again and again. Makes an introvert feel, not alone!

    Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Adesh Pandey

    Experience nicely put 🙂 Your walls go up, as your confidence go down. Don't let that happen 😀

More from Meetu Pandey

Similar Posts

By Pranidhi M

By Payoja Bhakre

By kriti jain

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below