By Abhilasha Singh:
I feel ugly. My hair is curly, my dress size is 12 and I’m short. I have no fashion sense and more often than not, even when I wear the prettiest of clothes, I look ugly. There is always some extra flab making its way to the corners of my brand new Vero Moda top, so I have taken to wearing baggy tees and my hair up in a bun, because who in their right mind is going to compliment me even if I do dress up?
They laughed so much harder when I tried. Like the attempt to wear sleeveless tops with arm flab was blasphemous.
Nobody cares, and I am not beautiful. I am intelligent but not beautiful.
But beautiful is what counts, right?
A man I once loved told me, “beauty is pain and pain, beauty.”
I am in pain now, but my pain is not beautiful. My pain, which has only grown with time, has now been reduced to slashes on my wrist. He told me that no one cared for an intelligent woman. They’d listen to her because she’d make sense, but not if a pretty girl walked into the room at that moment.
Two months later, he picked that pretty girl over me: fair, tall and a size six. I left the city to save my sanity, even though it isn’t something I’m proud of, in retrospect.
It is easy for women who are backed by their ‘conventional good looks’ to step forward and attempt to be a champion of my cause, but the problem lies right there. They don’t know the stigma that people like me grew up with. They were not ‘fat shamed’ from the moment they turned 14, showed down by people whose acceptance meant everything to them, been told by a friend who fit the stereotype of ‘popular girl’ that their hair and clothes were never right, or been rejected by the first man they ever loved. They never understand because they haven’t lived it. And because they haven lived it, they end up belittling it even when they don’t intend to.
Love. Yes – those primary instincts of bonding most people develop with people who connect with them on a deeper level, was probably never denied to them because they weren’t conventionally pretty. They were never out rightly told that they were a second choice to that thin girl with straight, black hair. They were never embarrassed every time their size wasn’t available in a store, or when giggly make-believe teenagers in a commercial mocked their hair type.
But conventionally beautiful women, I don’t hate you. I don’t begrudge you either, because what happened with me and women like me was not your fault. It was the fault of all those people who believed that I was a lesser person because I looked a certain way and liked different things. The fault of people who wouldn’t accept me because I couldn’t accompany them on dress trials to stores where a size eight was the largest size. It is the fault of that commercial that told me that smooth and silky, straight hair, was all I needed to win hearts and that neighbour who told me that I’d look pretty if I lost weight.
No, I am not complaining about life being unfair, handing out bad deals and playing the victim card. You’ve probably had your own fair share of struggles and they might have been challenging. But just as your problems weren’t mine, mine were probably never yours so I wish you’d just leave me be, instead of trying to attempt to restore my ‘fallen grace’.
Activism these days is just a click away. But by constantly trying to remind me of what I have believed were my flaws through my life, even if you’re trying to tell me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of them, you aren’t helping. Just making it worse, to be honest. It feels like you know I’ve been a victim all my life and are rubbing it in my face further which makes it so much harder to come out of. People who’ve been labelled all their lives don’t need further labelling to justify or escape their past labels. It’s tedious and a tad bit annoying (if not entirely depressing), since it almost always comes off as condescending.
I don’t need acceptance, I don’t need sympathy; I’m not an anomaly. I just wish you’d stop staring at me and questioning my choice of clothes because you think people my size make them look obscene.
I just wish you’d stop telling me that it is ‘okay to be fat’, that it is okay to look a certain way, because to society, it has never been and at some point, I have seen you be a part of that society. Don’t propagate a cause you don’t understand because you pity me and it’s suddenly the politically correct thing to do.
My broken heart doesn’t need your sympathy to mend.
Don’t tell me that I’m not ugly if you’re going to say it with condescension.
Don’t make excuses for me, I’ve overcompensated in that department just enough all my life.
Your sharing a post to make me feel better will not undo eight years of scarring.
Don’t reduce me to a Facebook post or a passing fancy.