An Open Letter To Everyone Who Has Ever Fat Shamed Me
I am the girl you saw jogging this morning, the one who seemed breathless and could hardly run. I am the co-worker you stared at, in the cafeteria because I was eating a burger when according to you, I should have been dieting. I am your friend’s girlfriend, who you think can do ‘much better’ than me. I am also, your friend who you ‘lovingly’ call ‘moti’ every time you see her.
I have heard everything there is to hear, about being fat. I have had random people lean out of their car windows call me ‘bhains’. I have had my relatives tell me how pretty I would look if I lost some weight. I have had salespersons in various stores tell me that I shouldn’t be looking for dresses for my fresher’s party, instead, I should look for something that would ‘cover up’ my bulges. I have been fat shamed more times than you can think, so, you are no different.
You passed a comment and then walked away. Had you hung around to see what it did to me, you would have seen the little cracks I developed in my confidence...one comment at a time.
I avoided going to parties because I was too conscious about my body, I was scared of going to reunions and meeting old friends because I feared that one line… ‘You have gained so much weight’. I cried behind closed doors when I overheard people describing me as ‘That fat girl’ because that was the best they could do.
And then one day, it hit me. It was never me, it was you. My bulges and my double chin were never the problem, your stubborn idea of beauty, was. My taking up too much room wasn’t the issue, your insecurity about your own capabilities, was. My thunder thighs weren’t a challenge, your ability to look beyond appearances, was.
With my ‘big’ body, I have done a lot of things you did not, because you were too busy drawing judgements about me. I have learnt to fire with a rifle, I have run 5kms at a stretch when it was easier to give up, I stood on the stage in front of 5000 people and spoken without stuttering even once. I have had the Chief Minister of Delhi shake my hand and tell me I would make a good leader.
So I am sorry that I am not sorry for being the way I am. I am done being shy and apologetic about my weight. I want to be healthier and I am working towards that, but that has nothing to do with the shape of my body. For all you know I may be way healthier than you are. I may seem like someone everyone is bound to notice, and trust me, I am. But that is not because of my size, that is for a million other reasons that your tiny flawed mind cannot possibly accommodate. As for me, you are just another face in the crowd. A face that I do not care about.
So the next time you cross my path, in the park, in the cafeteria or at a party, be rest assured, nothing that you say can or will offend me because I do not feel the need to be validated by you or anyone else. Because this time, it is going to be about me, not about you.
Published on Dec 29, 2016