TW: Body image.
“Do you even eat?”
“You should be careful when there is wind.”
“Oh wait, are these your clothes? Of course, it looks like a tissue, so it has to be.”
I have heard such comments all my life. I can’t say I have become immune to it. Can anyone ever become immune to being insulted for the way you have looked all your life?
My relationship with my body has taken more twists and turns, than my personal relationships. Sometimes, these twists and turns take me to such dark corners, that I feel like I can never find a way out. Each time I do, it becomes a successful self-love story.
One such dark corner was my home. My very own home. I dread my journey back from the hostel, every single time. Mentally preparing myself, on the flight, to be evaluated by my extended family, I never knew if I even wanted to be back.
It’s never, “Oh it’s so good to see you.” It’s always, “Oh, you looked better in Delhi, those parathas were working on you.” Large family gatherings to welcome my return turn into judgement days when I receive a final decision, regarding whether I have passed the test for ‘looking appropriate’.
Lockdown wasn’t a hindrance for these brutal eyes, who called every week to find out my weight. “Does your mom even feed you?” Praying that poor internet saves me from this conversation, I nod my head. I glance at my mom in the kitchen – tears in her eyes telling me not to listen to them.
I was tired of fighting my battles in front of an audience, who were waiting to kick me off the pedestal. Thank god, I didn’t have to see them personally.
Having extra time on my hands, I manage to hype myself up with a self-timer photo shoot. Posing in the sunlight made me feel like I was on top of this cruel world. Looking at that smile in the photos, I fell in love. With me.
For a few seconds.
My insecurities have planted themselves as seeds in my body. Harsh remarks from close ones have given it enough nourishment to fully grow. And now, they are screaming at the top of their voice.
My hands involuntarily crop my legs out, leaving the picture with just a face and half of my body. The black and white filter seems to hide any blue veins popping out. I post the picture for it to disappear among other beautiful pictures on Instagram.
I spot myself standing in front of the mirror. The very spot I stood at a few years ago, when my shoulders couldn’t carry my weight. The weight that people claimed I didn’t have. The weight that made me cover the mirror with pictures of celebrities.
These four walls replay all those breakdowns that I had, at the end of failing to infer if I love my body, or I love my body not.
It’s getting harder to stay in this enclosed space. How long until I move onto the next dark corner?