“I was fat and I did not like it. By the age of 8, I had been called almost all the names that overweight people have to bear - Moti, Bhains, Hathini and so on. I hated those names. While I did have a great support system in my very loving parents who did not care about my body type, my perception of my size and looks created a downward spiral which sucked me in. I don’t know why but my confidence did take a hit because of being fat.
Being known and perceived as beautiful mattered. I would have given anything to even a stranger if they called me ‘beautiful’; that would have been the greatest expression of love. I truly believed that no one loved me. I wasn’t beautiful. I wasn’t intelligent. I was just a misfit in the world. I couldn’t stand those who even as much as noticed or hinted about my weight.
Then, while still a child, I decided to change - quietly, ensuring no one knew. I controlled my diet, played basketball and cycled. Finally, I got what I had so desperately wanted. I entered adolescence without the baggage of my tormenting extra kilos.
Now at 27, when I think back to my childhood, I realise that I stayed busy fighting external factors while the real fight was against myself. I was the one person who could have allowed myself to simply be a child instead of battling complex emotions. If I wanted others to feel good about me, I should have felt better about myself.
Today, I am independent, love my work, and have very good friends. I recall a conversation with a fellow-overweight friend. She said, “I knew that changing how I looked on the outside wouldn’t really change anything on the inside. I decided to work on who I was - my intelligence and good sense. I used these traits to gain confidence. I knew they would last longer than something as ephemeral as looks.”
I have made a promise to myself. I will always prefer quality of life over appearances. As life slips from our hands with every tick of the clock, I want to be able to stand in front of the mirror and say confidently – You are BEAUTIFUL.”