I have always been an overweight girl. I have not myself in any other avatar. I went from the girl with the chubby cheeks to the chubby girl and have stayed that way since. Over the years, I have learnt that I can complain about my weight to people I am comfortable with, and also to break the ice with people I am not comfortable with. The complaints always come masked under a layer of joke, because no one like a fat, whiny girl. While they laugh and call me ‘silly’ or ‘funny’ or ‘cute’, I wish that at least one of them told me that I am not fat.
Sometimes these jokes lead up to the question almost every woman dreads—’How much do you weigh?’ What they plan to do with that piece of information is beyond me. I always lie. ‘Oh! I haven’t checked in a while,’ I reply quickly, knowing that they are going to tell me that it is very silly of me. In my head I can almost see the double digits glaring at me, almost accusingly. ‘Fat! Fat! Fat!’ the siren goes off in my head, but I plaster a smile on my face and tell them that I will check as soon as I get the chance. A lie. Somehow, the fact that until I tell them, they can only assume where that arrow stops on that scale, calms me down. I guess, that is naive of me.
If I am fat, I must me ugly. Or, so I believe. On a night out, unlike almost every single one of my friend who can push their bodies into ridiculously tight fighting clothes and look like they stepped out of a modelling magazine, I pull on a pair of ill-fitting shorts and floral, flowy top, hoping for magic. Skinny girls can pull of almost anything by virtue of being able to fit into almost anything. When you have a tummy that can gain you access into the maternity ward, boobs that would have put Pamela Anderson to shame if it came with a body that take could rival that of Shay Mitchells and a face that makes you look like a teenager, it is really hard to shop.
I guess when you are unhappy with a small part of you, hating the whole becomes an easier option. Probably why I can never look at a mirror and end up feeling ridiculous. I go on diets, a lot. Fruit diet, GM diet, Corn flakes diet, and my favourite— starvation. But, every time I see a slab of chocolate or a tub of ice cream, my resolve waivers. ‘Just once,’ I lie to myself. I don’t generally stuff myself to the point of oblivion. In fact, I get full really fast. A fact that no one can believe, because if I am fat, I must be eating like a pig. Sure, I do snack in between meals, I have a sweet tooth and maybe I have a few too many biscuits with my coffee, but I can never eat too much in one sitting. I do exercise. Almost regularly. I guess if I had to choose between exercise or an extra hour at work, I would choose work.
I guess, if you live away from your family, coming home almost always feels like the test. The first challenge is, of course, to see if you have finally been able to enter the ‘omg-have-you-been-starving?’ club. I haven’t managed to. And, then, despite the fact that for days I could barely scrape together two chappatis and I was looking forward to pampering myself with some good home-cooked meal, I start Diet #768788. Then, I meet my relatives who greet me with an extended disco version of the same performance by your mother. At the those moments, I wish I could lose weight just to spite them. But two days later I will find myself munching on the nibbles my grandmother lovingly made for me.
In all my dreams, I am never myself. I am always a new-and-improved version of who I am. I have managed to convince myself that even though I am smart, funny, well-educated, my body is a shortcoming that can’t be forgiven. Funny thing is, a few years ago I was in a far better shape and yet, I assumed otherwise. The fact that people kept telling me that losing a few more kilos would do me good, didn’t help. But, when I could have been happy, I was hard on myself and stayed insecure. Now I wonder if I will feel any other way. The truth is my insecurity is my problem. No one asked me to feel that way. When I see women like Iskra Lawrence, or any woman brave enough to be comfortable with herself, I feel stupid. But, when I scroll down and read the hate comments, I tell myself that maybe brave is not such a good thing.
The idea of sticking a finger down my throat never appealed to me. I do dream about getting a liposuction or working hard enough to transform into someone else. Then I realise I am stupid again. I mean, if I can’t love myself, I can’t expect someone else to love me. While being fat isn’t my identity, it is a part of who I am. While I do know that people come in all shapes and sizes, I can’t seem to accept the fact that maybe I am going to be this size all my life, and maybe that is not such a bad thing. I probably will continue a life of countless diets and experimenting with various exercise regimes, until one day I realise that I am good enough. Until then, and probably after that I will still be wearing tops a few sizes too big and jeans a size bigger cause my ass won’t fit otherwise.
Until then, this is me. Chubby and quirky as ever.