I was 16 years old when people were throwing statements and adjudicating me about how malnourished I looked, how jocular my buck teeth were, how icky my hair was, and compelled that acne made me look ‘ugly’, my mom being an insightful person helped me acknowledge that criticism has to be taken up constructively. Feeling insecure about myself and being hideously unattractive have always been the bizarre thoughts I’ve had as a high schooler besides being pseudo named as ‘quirky’. Fortunately, there are quite some optimistic people who would contradict their statements.
Prettiness is just a thesis and everyone’s thesis is dissimilar. Society’s queer body image jabs that I have faced which parallelly affect my routine while looking into a mirror were on a drastic increase until lately by which my already fragile self-regard plummeted. Pondering that life just isn’t fair for many people and people are not going to feel sorry for you just because you feel bad sulked me up in despair.
Eventually, when we’re judged so much, we start preempting the judgment, and we become judgmental too and I could relate myself to it wholly because of the ‘aura’, as I broached about how I was being prejudiced and hence that made me put people into a wide range of categories. At the end of the day the only thoughts in my head were, what if I am desensitized to pain or loss?
What if I become one of those people who are numb to life? Added to that, at times I feel like throwing up at the patriarchy of the society in raising their progeny, mostly sons who just have testosterone, attitude, and flamboyance the ones who pretend it’s ‘cool’ to go around criticizing.
I was struggling to keep my head above waters but through the journey of life, I was able to shed some of the baggage that I’ve been carrying around for so long and always assumed the hypothesis – it would be a delightful ending as we see on-screen cinema being such a vicarious medium, put me into situations where I assumed my life would someday, partially be related to any of the Bollywood movies, the vapid, artificial and fast-paced.
The vibe about happy endings, joyous rollicking times, and what not? Every time I saw DDLJ or Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, (most likely Karan Johar’s movies as their main deficit is about romanticizing) I would picture myself being happy at the tail end and within few minutes, I would miss the gleam in my eyes because it’s pretty prominent that movies are dreamy. But acknowledging and being myself and accepting the way I am taking me a couple of years. The attempt to revamp myself started with a bang and I made it a compulsion to not change myself per se others requirements or needs as that would be an utter fallacy.
People encompassing are known to judge and deduce, which has to entirely be snubbed at. When I lost it all, I finally started to build a relationship with myself. Yes, this is a cliché and I never quite believed the gravity of it until recently. Most of the people around you are petrified what suits them, what comforts them, what they relate to, and what is convenient to them. I do not want to do the same with myself.
We do not expect the ocean to not rise and fall. We embrace her tides. I want to be able to do the same for myself. Learning to surf my high tides and not be afraid of the solitude in my calm. It’s still a process but quarantine has given us more of a reason to do something productive in this gap of the period and so, I resorted to exercising.
It has been that one therapeutic space that has helped me transform my mind and body. I had been looking forward to the marathons this year and started it with great enthusiasm and rigour only to find my body not cooperative as I had a few health issues. Some days, I run solo but the times I run with a crew and end up running alongside someone new, there’s always interesting perspectives to share and learn from those you meet.
They’ve made me look at life in a pragmatic modus operandi, and filtering toxic people would be the basic principle as you wouldn’t give a thought about those rants anyone would pass. I am increasingly learning that it is okay to have a few people I can truly call my humans and limiting who I invest time and energy on. It teaches you that despite differences that exist amongst us there are some things that each one of us tends to seek, such as passion to learn new things, love for adventure, the love/hate relationship with distance running, and human compassion.
Growing up, I have seen so many of my friend’s parents stifle them in the name of love.
But it haunts me to be somebody I am not and suppress emotions that I shouldn’t express. My mother has given me the space to make mistakes, to learn, and to grow from them.
Despite our differences, the unconditional love and support have always been there. Our home has always been safe heaven to retreat in and express emotions freely.
Of course, we have had our fair share of chaos but it was never at the cost of stifling my individuality. From my parents, I have learned that- home is where the acceptance is – where you can be who you are without fearing being judged and shamed. So the point being, we’ve been told that we’re all different and unique and synonyms for the said words. But, I think that’s what makes us all the same. That’s the thread that connects all of our differences- the fact that we’re all unique and yet, still the same.