The lake seemed happy with the sun shimmering on softer waves, the kingfisher would exhibit its flawless blue and the ducks left white feathers all over the green grass-tokens of our happy co-existence. At times I like to pick a few and plant them in crevices on tree bark. I imagine them to be white flags, announcing to the world the arrival of peace.
These are the perfect mornings I dream of, when I would jump, hop and laugh along the lake, take rest on the stairs leading to water, stop and inhale the many sounds that describe a new day- the birds, the insects, the people, the breeze.
I wish they were just that.
My mornings in real are nowhere close though, despite the scenic environment next to our house- a place meant for writers and poets, for dreamers and romantic souls; I am preoccupied with thoughts- thoughts about the narratives surrounding my morning walk.
Ever since I have put on weight, everything I do seems to be inevitably linked to it, as if the people around me were informed in their dreams of their true calling- “Tell Poornima, it is what it is because she has put on weight, go tell her, go Save the World!”
If I get tired, its because of my body mass, if I dress up I am not looking good enough due to my body shape, when I am leaving for a walk it is accompanied with remarks on how I must do this to lose weight. If I am angry, its due to weight, if I am happy, that too is due to weight! This is followed by advice on what to eat and what not to eat, to do yoga, to join a gym, which makes me feel that to lose weight is probably a significant and huge task of national importance , much more difficult than climbing slippery peaks or fighting against corruption, at least that is what my neighbors, my relatives, my family and many friends believe it to be.
To lose weight is not an idea that originates in your own mind, it is implanted in your head strategically by the world around you, as if, they bear the burden of your heaviness.
First, they make you realize that you have put on weight, they use metaphors such as balloon, buffalo, elephant, hippo, LalaJi, all depending upon their choice of the level of kindness they bestow upon you. Many of your well-wishers consider it a moral duty to remind you of the fact that you lose your worth with your body fat visible behind your clothes, that you appear less agile, less competent, less worthy of being loved.
They slowly and consistently make you feel embarrassed of who you are, they make you regret your current way of existence, you feel apologetic, you start ridiculing your own self, your taste. Each time you eat, you feel a rush of guilt and shame.
Once it is established that you are growing fat, that your waistline is more than what is expected out of you, starts the next stage of benevolence, where you are made to believe that your every action now should be focused towards redemption, towards the biggest goal in your life from now on, even bigger than career and marriage!- To lose the weight they made you see in the first place!!!
I believe in none of these baseless remarks on the surface, but lately I think I have indeed internalized some of those unsolicited words from society. I live with these thoughts each day,and somewhere they mercilessly influence my self-image.
So in the morning, where I dream of the coolness of breeze, I suddenly feel conscious of prying eyes, I wonder if they too are saying, Oh she is here to lose weight.
NO!! I am here to walk, because I love to walk!! I am not against losing undue fat, its unhealthy, but my life need not revolve around it, my choices need not be dictated by it, I don’t wish to be haunted by remarks during my favorite rituals, is that too much to ask for? Staying fit is constructive, losing weight is out of fear.
But somewhere my wisdom drowns in self-pity and the misery of acknowledging that I am -as per the world- shamefully fat, at least that is how I am supposed to feel out here.
When I lie down on the bed, I am worried that I might be mocked at for my bulging stomach. When I ride a bicycle for fun, I suddenly stop when I see anorexic souls smirking, Oh look at her, she is trying to lose weight on a bicycle, disgusting fat.
So now when I am fatter than what i was, it is a crime to sweat, because sweating is due to fat. I am reminded daily by someone very dear to me, about my thighs, how fat they are, and in a tone so fearful that it makes me feel I am closer to the end, this is it, I am doomed, I am fat, I have thunder thighs, I should apologize to the world and say my good-byes.
I have clearly bought into the paranoia surrounding me, I don’t want to, I really want to be just happy with myself, like myself despite my imperfections and not be so conscious when I am out there in the green. I feel a constant grief of my loss, my loss of being worthy enough weight-wise, my loss of being someone worth being appreciated . Does it not sound so petty and familiar? It is petty, but the society makes a big deal out of it, and even though I am fortunate enough to retain my sanity and critical thinking, somewhere I am unable to fight this demon.
I can’t recall the last time I liked myself, I want to love myself, I shall begin from today.
I got inspired to write about this after reading the post here: http://bellejar.ca/2014/05/14/shaving-your-legs-is-not-feminist-but-you-can-still-be-a-feminist-and-shave/