As a 22-year-old ‘girl’ I do have my voice.
Yes, I wrote that in quotes because in a population of some billion, many still won’t accept me as a part of society. I know we have come a long way and we are advanced in certain aspects but I feel this acceptance of a woman being progressive is very convenient and biased.
The next few minutes of your life are going to be about me as you read my experience with body shaming and maybe understand or relate to it.
Before I jump into something personal, I guess introducing myself and giving a little background seems fair.
I am Moksha Sharma, currently pursuing an MBA from Delhi. I put my heart into writing since early on and have been in touch with it by participating in inter-school competitions and extempore. I have also written articles that have been published in magazines and other online platforms. I also freelance but have been out for about a few months now. I like to add that I am an avid reader while talking about myself because I feel that reading is an intellectual habit that many wished they had and I am glad to have inculcated that in me since childhood.
Now it is safe to say that you know me and are good to go to step into my thoughts.
Body shaming isn’t just what others say to you.
It is also inclusive of your thoughts and comments on your body when you indulge in comparison with a certain standard of beauty.
This is where I guess I can say – ‘Been there done that’
My experience wasn’t led on by someone else but by me.
I wouldn’t say there was a particular moment that I can pinpoint and say this was the start but I do know that I was insecure about my body for the longest time. Since the beginning of when a child understands things around her and gets to know about puberty and hormones and changes up until graduation, I had subjected myself to believe that I am out of shape and weird looking.
I was not very comfortable with my body shape. I used to feel it’s just not of the right chest to waist proportion – my chest being too broad for my waist thus making my breasts look weird.
I remember not shopping for certain types of clothes just because of insecurities.
Watching girls my age wear bodycon dresses would make me feel ashamed of how I look and thus I found solace in baggy, comfy shirts. I envied them and always ended up overthinking to a point where I was practically conscious and unhappy to dress up. I had issues with my undergarments and with my clothes because I always thought they made me look super curvy in a funny way with my breasts hanging awkwardly.
These are times when one wants somebody to rely on and confide in. As for me, I spoke about this with my mother and she did consider my worries but she never found it to be an issue because the one thing that she was outright and firm about was her opinions so I knew if something was not in place or something was there to be concerned about, she would be the first one to tell me.
And as far as friends are concerned, I didn’t bring this up with them, not that I wasn’t okay with it but just because I didn’t think it was necessary to be a friend talk or friend gossip.
I started liking my body just after I got into college.
That’s 10 years from hitting puberty to entering adulthood.
As I grew older I became more aware of myself and my body type and my style. This eventually made me appreciate myself more and come to terms with all the insecurities to a point where I found myself immensely beautiful and comfortable with all my curves.
All I know as of today is that I missed years through my teenage thinking that I wasn’t perfect, thinking that if only I had the body that added to my personality, I would be unbeatable. In the years where I could have been free and careless and experimenting with dressing up, I was not happy in my skin.
Honestly, there wasn’t much I did to change this outlook, it just happened. Seeing myself every day growing into this beautiful being I just sort of slipped into accepting myself. I became more comfortable with it and thus more confident.
If I were to answer the question – what helped me to come out of this, I would have to say that my mother’s faith is the one factor behind this win because she always said that though she didn’t find anything odd with me, if I was uncomfortable about something she would be open to change and be open to activities that made me feel myself again immediately. Also because I trusted her, I always told myself that there’s nothing wrong with me. The rest of course was a self-driven journey all along.
Being always conscious, looking at myself every chance I get just to make sure I don’t look funny, being aware of every muscle curling up because of the tension – this is not how someone should wake up to just to sleep with self-doubt crawling all over them.
Thinking low of yourself steals away the essence of life in a certain way that makes you doubt your very existence.
Not to mention the toll all that negative thinking and bringing yourself down takes on your mental health!
Trust me, seeing others superior does no good but only harms the good things that are going so well with you.
In my case, I was the one who body-shamed myself and thus I knew the problem wasn’t external so I had this in control. Motivation and self-love and being aware and more interested in myself led me into believing that I am pretty and have nothing to be under-confident or not confident about.
However most of the time, body shaming is an external drive where people make fun of you and call you names and plant the seeds of doubts in your head for you not being alluring or not qualifying to the ideal societal beauty norms. In this case, the effort to come out of this dark place is ten folds because this isn’t in your control. You need to be mentally strong to not let these nasty comments get to you.
I know that speaking about it is easier than actually being in the situation but believe me, do not push your loved ones out. Keep your circle open and let a few people in. The positive around you will cancel out the negative.
Moreover, be it yourself or someone else, never demean yourself extremely or talk self-deprecating things about yourself because psychology here plays a very significant role.
As of today, I can proudly say that I love my shape and it does instill in me the self-assurance of carrying myself anywhere wearing anything. Just being contented changes the way you look at things and alters your perspectives in life. The fact that I am not worrying about how I look or how I don’t look makes my work more focused and better and takes my anxiety levels lower thus resulting in getting through less stressful years.
If you also have an inspiring story or know someone whose story could be motivating, then reach out to us here.
Moksha is currently pursuing MBA and is a freelance writer. She has written articles that have been published in multiple magazines and online platforms.
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