I was barely 11, I realized that ‘Fat’ is a bad word. I have been on the heavier side forever. Still am. Unfortunately, teenage started pretty early for me. Apart from boys, a lot of things became off limits. On one such regular annual school sports day, I had to sit on the bench because I was feeling low. A bunch of misbehaving boys passed by and said something I remember vaguely but I remember it was the most hurtful thing I heard. They thought I was not participating because I was ‘Fat’.
Did I not know I was fat? I was smart enough to compare myself to other kids and realize that I was different. Not that it made any difference because nobody treated me any differently. I was a teacher’s pet. It was true for my class teacher, art teacher and even the physical trainer. So why did it hurt so much?
Body image has ruined little girls’ confidence in themselves, for years. Not only does your doctor but also your parents, relatives, friends, friends of parents’ tell you, “You need to exercise!” Well I understand it is all in good interest but does anyone think how an 11 year old must be taking it? With so much hormonal changes and an age where we are most impressionable it is likely that things which happen at this age will stick with us for life.
Not to forget all the pretty little slender girls who always exceled in sprinting and relay runs and all that. And me? I have been asked to leave a racing track mid-way because all other contestants were already at the end line and others were waiting at start line.
Coming years were more painful because I just gained weight. At home we had the simplest staples for all three meals. Mum’s an excellent cook and she made simple stuff taste great. During our childhood, a pizza was a luxury; more like a thing you get on your birthday only. People who are otherwise so supportive of me gave me advice on what I should eat and what I should avoid. More and more turn in to tell you what is good and what is not, for you. With that you feel more ashamed, more terrified and more wrong about your body. You never grow up to be comfortable with what you are and consider it to be an obstacle for doing so many things. You start giving weight as an excuse to skip a sport. What if nobody planted this seed of doubt in you? Would you at least attempt that high jump? You would.
As much as I want to become thin and slender, a part of me, the 11 year old me, asks me to not lose myself in the process. Health is very important. For that you need to eat right but no one can stop you from running that 4k marathon if you have decided to do so. Don’t stop to dance because it might look odd. A 27 year old me, is far more confident and can give anyone a tough time. But this aggressive confidence didn’t come overnight. My entire teenage was sacrificed in making myself strong.
I urge you guys, whoever is reading. Please never pick on fat people. They have their own struggles and beneath all that fat are wonderful people who will surprise you if you give them a chance. Teach your kids not to tease a fat friend. It all starts at home. Well, in all fairness fat people are not the only ones under the large microscope of the society. We have so many stereotypes. Learn to be a little sensitive. It is a sweet world and it is up to us to maintain the sweetness.