"Oh, you look like a rice bag", "Do you have thyroid?", "Hey, I hope you’re not pregnant", "Do you only eat, sleep, repeat?", "You’re about to explode", Will you even find a husband?", "What’s with your figure?", "You look like a mother of three children", "Remember you are a young woman and you need to maintain your shape"… and the list goes on.
To be precise, for the past five years, these are all I have been hearing. I laugh it away at times but there is no fun there. I began to gain weight during my second year of under graduation and since then every day has been a battle.
There came a time when I took a step back from socializing and isolated myself for the fear of being shamed. I became very uncomfortable meeting new people. I was the odd one in my circle of friends. The four walls of my home were my only safe zone.
With time, the constant poking on my weight increased and my mental health degraded. I didn’t feel loved or wanted. I dreaded looking at the mirror. Clicking photographs became a phobia. My brother’s friend mistook me to be a married woman. The taxi drivers and the shopkeepers would address me as aunty.
I considered myself least significant and I dared not to utter a word in a crowd. I still get to hear so much about my weight and how I look but it no longer affects me because I have mastered the art of self-love.
My ears go numb when people pass comments or make fun of me because I have decided to shun all evils. It took me tons of courage to get out of my comfort zone and to actually get back on track.
With my weight surpassing my age, I had to face many untold hardships.
This is not my cry alone. This is the cry of many thousands of men and women who had or have been dealing with fat shame. We need to inculcate the “acceptance culture” in us.
There is no black, white, thin, fat, tall, or short segregation. We are all humans with varied features uniquely created. Being fat does not necessarily mean overeating. There can be other reasons too like genetics, certain medications, hormonal changes, insomnia, tendency to gain weight, or maybe some other health issues.
With fat-shaming comes the adversity of low self-esteem and self-hate.
Our physical appearances are usually compared to air-brushed notions of ‘perfect’.
However, it is the values and character that actually counts. The stigma and discrimination against fat or overweight people often cause major psychological harm and worsen the problem.
A study was conducted wherein it was found that people who experience weight discrimination were 2.7 times more likely to become depressed.
Depression is one major cause of increased suicide risk.
Passing comments, judging, making negative remarks, mocking, or fat-shaming are just as easy as sipping a cup of coffee until you get on the shoes of the person who hears them on a daily basis.
Utter words of blessings and not hate.
Support every human irrespective of how they look and show some love. Encourage an overweight friend of yours and make them feel important. Give them the space to open up to you. Lend an ear and hear them out when needed. Influence them towards body positivity. Help them heal their wounds and scars. Keep reminding them of their worth.
Acknowledge their efforts.
Your little act of kindness will make a huge difference in their life. Negativity is already available in abundance, the world today thirsts for positivity. Come, let’s be the salt.
To all the victims of fat-shaming/discrimination, you are a masterpiece and an epitome of love. You own your body and people’s opinion don’t really count. People envy what they don’t have. Embrace your body and flaunt it your way because it’s you who matters and not the world.
If size determines the potential of a person then Megan Trainor wouldn’t be an internationally acclaimed singer today and neither would Donald Trump be the President of America. When people mock you, just pat yourself and reassure yourself that you are the best.