I have dealt with body image issues my entire life. Not once did I ever feel comfortable in my own skin. Not when I was overweight; not when I was underweight. My body has been through a lot, but it never failed to keep me alive. Every second of everyday, my heart keeps on pumping blood through my veins; my legs allow me to walk from one place to another; I can see and do so many amazing things thanks to my body. But I failed to see this the whole time.
I’ve blamed society for creating unrealistic expectations for adolescence today. I’ve blamed the people around me for pointing out my size when I was a kid as if it’s a bad thing. I’ve blamed myself for letting all of this happen. But now I know that if it weren’t for all those things, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be able to rejoice on the fact that I feel the most confident I ever have in my body right now. The best part is that I’m not even what society deems as ‘perfect’. I’ve learnt that I will always be dissatisfied with myself no matter what if I continue to seek approval from external sources. I’ve learnt that what other people think has no value to me. They’re probably too busy thinking about themselves anyway.
I could go on about how brainwashed we all are when it comes to body shaming. How we allow whoever it is to tell us that thin=good and fat=bad. How bigger people are immediately assumed to be lazy, indulgent and greedy people. How we look down on them like they’re somehow less worthy than others just because of their size. I remember when I was 10, I told my friend that I’ve never spoken to this other girl in our class. She asked ‘Why? Is it because she’s fat?’. I remember thinking how I need to lose weight when I was 5, in kindergarten. I remember how every single adult that met me for the first time would say my baby fat would go away once I get older. I remember pinching on my belly fat, wishing I could cut it off with a knife. These things haunt you for life.
My point is, I wish we could stop obsessing over external appearances and start realising that there is so much more to life. The moment I stopped worrying about my weight was the moment I started living again. I wish dieticians would stop saying harsh things to patients when most of them have been thin their whole life and have no idea what it’s like to live as a bigger person in a world that glorifies thinness. I wish doctors would actually treat an obese person’s disease instead of telling them they need to lose weight. Most importantly, I wish people would stop putting labels on people based on their appearance.
Everyone has their own struggles. This is mine.