By Kirat Sodhi:
I am not thin, never was and perhaps never will be. Do I care? Yes. Do I want to care? No. It’s unfair that I have to hear people pass comments, sometimes sneakily, sometimes openly, in jest, in all seriousness and even in pity about my weight and body structure. I don’t think I am unhealthy or overweight and neither do I present myself in unflattering ways. I am fine as I am.
And yet, every time someone passes a remark, I go red in the face, I smile and press my lips together, so I don’t give an excuse, argue or snap. Imagine meeting someone after a considerable interval and the first thing they say is “Oh! You’ve put on weight na”? Really? Not “How are you? Oh, I missed you”. We come straight to the point about my diet, my exercise routines, my office routine and everything else that doesn’t concern them.
We are a society that is obsessed with everything – race, caste, colour, weight, financial status, social media presence, non-presence on social media, intelligence, sarcasm ratings and everything else which can minutely describe a person. This is not to say that everyone is obsessed with all of the above but it is true that everyone is particular about one or more of the above. We do find pleasure in the weight gain of an ex-partner, a not-so-good friend and even an actress we don’t like much. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with the attribute that comes with my description but the emotion behind the attribute.
Fat is bad, dark is ugly, thin is sickly. I wish people would stop telling me what they think will work best for me. Please stop making fun of the amount of space I take up when I sit and please, oh please stop counting my calories for me. I am in perfect physical health, and if I have a bad back, it is not because my bums are too big, or my thighs can’t take the weight of my body (I even confirmed this with the doctor). So no don’t tell me to cut down on rice and potatoes and bread and everything else that I enjoy eating.
Don’t call me ‘moti’, ‘golu’, ‘chubs’ and don’t innocently ask me if I miss my old self. My old self was similar, a little thinner perhaps. But still not thin enough to be counted amidst the ‘normal’. Also, I love my new self. Please don’t pass comments about my weight and don’t slyly smile looking at me if there is an ongoing discussion on clothes, shopping and sizes.
I am tired of people being surprised every time they offer me dessert and I refuse (“What? You look like someone who would enjoy indulging”).
I don’t want to wake up in the morning and declare to my innocent husband that “I want to be thin”. I don’t want him to comfort me or pacify me just because someone in office smirked at my ‘weight problems’. I don’t want to spend hours trying dresses, feeling horrible if I don’t fit into a 4 year-old t-shirt. It’s okay, I know it’s okay to not be someone society wants me to be.
I am tired of this everyday barrage of advice that I receive about my weight, exercise and calorie counting techniques. I believe that I am healthy, and I have a normal appetite. I want to love myself, but society makes it difficult for me to do so. I really wish someone would understand my plight.
We don’t think before commenting on someone many a times, and more often than not, out of politeness no one responds to our caustic remarks. But after you leave, the person in question may spend hours contemplating about her weight and skin tone, her hair and everything else that you thought was wrong.
The number of times that we truly compliment someone is embarrassingly lower than the times we notice faults. I am really tired of hearing statements like, “Oh he/she is such a good person, just his/her weight is a problem”. Really?
Fat is fat, but I believe that fat is not ugly, funny or unacceptable. For everyone out there, I have an advice. Please don’t let someone feel unsure or awkward because he/she has a few extra kilos. Don’t torment a guy who is plump, don’t make fun of your mother because she takes time to get up owing to her weight, don’t be uncomfortable going out shopping with your fat friend and don’t share knowing looks with the help staff when she’s trying clothes. Body image issues won’t be a term if people stopped making one feel responsible for looking bad, something that has happened with me.
So yes, I am fat, healthy, plump and everything else you want to call me. I will use the word fat without feeling sorry for myself and without cringing. Just as I have short hair, beautiful eyes, pointy nose, and big bums. And I love them and I love myself.