In terms of my career, I am heading towards a really good place in my life, and I couldn’t feel happier about it. I’m writing, reading and pretty much singing my days away- it somehow feels surreal. However, the only thing that has really always plagued my mind is ‘Weight loss’. We live in a world where despite our best achievements, people love to still assess one by their skin- the more you have it, bigger the ‘loser’ you are with no sense of self-control. I’d been a big girl for almost as long as I can remember, but I don’t remember it bothering me as much when I was a child as it does now. Back then, I was a happy kid just eating, doing regular children things, and that’s about it- life was small, yet satisfying.
Growing up exposes us to the fancies and fallacies of the world, and it was then as if I had a brutal knock to my head, where my euphoria died and all I was left with was a big body with pretty much nothing else to look forward to. I was good with academics, but it didn’t matter, because everybody was deemed to have a flaw, and mine was my weight. I didn’t enjoy the compliments that people threw at me because most of them entailed carefully chosen words like, “that’s such a beautiful wallet. If only you could put it in the back of your denim pocket- you know, the way it was intended.” Everyday was tedious, and I was losing the glow that I thought made me “me”. I left no stone unturned on the internet to find out what was wrong with me and how I could magically cure myself with diets, gruelling workouts, green smoothies, mind-body techniques, and even flushing my body with just water. A negative romp filled my head, drawing myself away from all the amazing people I could have met, and the beautiful clothes that I could have tried. “Damn, it’s mirror time” was something I caught myself saying more often than ever. Long legs, chiselled arms, and eight-pack abs were all I could think about, but getting there was like saying “I’ll climb the Everest,” despite having a heart condition- it’s not impossible, but hard enough that you’ll often wonder if it is ever worth it.
Somehow, by conjuring that every last bit of strength in me, I tried to slim down and tone up, (I even did my little celebration dance) only to realise that I fed my body with greens and hearty salads, but ever-so-forgot to feed the soul. I lived with restrictions passing up on yummilicious food, satisfied with counting calories, and numbering the days till I smacked that 17th pound out of the park. But, I could somehow never associate a sense of heightened happiness when I was thin, and had the body that I had always wanted. Sure the compliments were great, but it was always as if I had lost who I was- the weird fat girl who hid behind her skin had vanished- like the Elves who helped the shoemaker.
A moment on the lips is a fantasy, especially when it is with chocolate mud gently caressing the soft mascarpone cream, stirring a dessert wedding in my palate. That’s the kind of thing that the soul needs, not a desperate inch-tape comparison of rounded hips, chubby knees or thunder thighs. As much as I needed to go through this ‘weight transition’ for my health (which was by the way still at its pink best), I knew that deep down, all I wanted was to walk into a restaurant, order the Big Daddy of seven-tier chocolate cakes, eat in peace and not be judged. We all know that we need to be above the eclectic mix of eyebrow raises, “ahem, this is not your size” commentary, and sullen criticisms, but that’s not always possible in a “civilised society”. Our oomph and charisma lies in who we are and what we do more than how we look. There’s this little squeak inside us passing sermons that we ought to love ourselves more, and forgive the ones that don’t understand this proclamation of self-love- we ought to listen to that little squeak.
There’s this lovely quote by Woody Allen that goes like, “When we lose twenty pounds…we may be losing the best twenty pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty.” We are all in different sizes for a reason, for something that makes us who we are. A Potato is a Potato for a reason, and it can never be Kale. So, good news to you my fellow crispy potatoes- it seems there’s hope for us, after all!