I am 17, and have my board exams coming up in a few months. Other than the unfathomable stress of scoring ‘good’ marks, I have something else to ignite my stress. I have been diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. There are months where I don’t bleed even a drop and then there are months where I bleed like there’s no end. This constant change of hormones and dealing with its repercussions is scary. Well, scary is a light word, it is haunting. The sheer ignorance of this disorder is probably the #1 reason why most of the Indian women remain completely ignorant about this issue. I am not the right person to talk about the symptoms and treatments, talk to a specialist. I am here to tell you, or rather tell myself, why PCOS is bothering me so much!
1 out of every 5 Indian women has PCOS. And out of my huge friend circle, at least 1/3rd of them suffer from the same. It all started with talks on irregular periods, gradually crawling towards weight gain issues, then hair fall, excessive hair growth and it went on endlessly.
Other than the intense amount of stress and anxiety that this bestows upon me, what really bothers me is the ‘idea’ of femininity. We have grown up seeing stunning women who have set unrealistic body ideals for us. Do you have facial hair? That’s bad. Real bad. Beautiful women do not. Aww, you have excessive hair fall? But, beautiful women do not. Oh, so you are telling me that you do not bleed regularly? Are you sure that you are a woman? Oh yes, damn yes. I am a woman and an extremely proud one.
I am trying to get out of these unrealistic standards that I have to meet up day. And, I cannot do anything about it. I have changed my diet, I try to go on regular walks, I am trying. I am trying to do as much as I can. But, PCOS is cruel, this doesn’t let me lose weight. You know, I had a conversation with my friend and she tells me how undesirable she is turning out to be because of her excessive facial hair. Hello society, do you realise where the problem is?
I should be bothered about being unhealthy, I should be working for a balanced diet and lifestyle, but what bothers me the most? Not meeting the standards set by everyone. Apparently, a girl with facial hair is less of a woman? An obese woman is less of a woman? Every woman tries to work hard to stay fit, this isn’t a battle between being lazy and being healthy; this is a battle between looking at yourself in the mirror and the image on the billboard.
I am trying to be cheerful and maintaining the diet, but I cannot because every time I look at myself, all I see is exactly the opposite of what is expected of me. We have been conditioned to see women in a particular light, constantly telling me to wax, thread, shed the extra kilos. Beauty comes with pain; never forget. I know all those who will criticize me for being ‘lazy’ about losing weight, I am trying, it’s tough, very tough when your body doesn’t let you.
I cannot end this on a positive note, because honestly, I am scared. As scared as you are about what is waiting for us. All we can do is, continue having faith and working out and not give a single thought about how we should look like. Our body is our own. To all the gorgeous women out there who empathise with me, remember, nothing can undermine our own worth. We are strong and shall always be!