Self love doesn’t come easily.
How am I expected to love a body which society has made me hate?
For the past two decades, I have been mocked for the way I look. I am over weight. My body does not conform to the “conventional” standards of “beauty”.
For society and culture decide what is beautiful, what is acceptable, and what is a deviation.
I am a deviation. I am ” abnormal”, an abomination, a monster. For I am fat. The dissent was so powerful that I mocked myself the way society mocked me.
I believed I was the hideous creature they said I was. I believed that a view of my thunder thighs could blind people, so I wore longer shirts.
I believed that my jiggly arms would cause disturbances so I covered them, never raised my hands in public. Scarred them, cut them, tried to dispose the adipose.
I believed that my flabby stomach was an eye sore, so I starved myself.
I believed that I could never be beautiful, so I ran from everything remotely feminine. For feminity is associated with beauty, grace and charm and I seemed to have none. I believed that nothing could be done, so I gave up trying.
On reading Foucault, one comes across how Power “disciplines bodies” to be a certain way. Society has that kind of power, it constrains us into boxes. And if you don’t fit in a box, you are given hell. Be it the box of the gender binary, of heterosexuality and of feminine beauty.
Society expects individuals to be extraordinary, but if they don’t conform with the ordinary, it shuns them.
Our world is beautiful and it has diversity. So there are bodies of all sorts, of all shapes and sizes, tall and short, fat and thin. But culture and society prefer just certain types. If you are over, there is fat-shamming if you are under, there is thin shamming.
(I am not promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. There is a difference in being thin and being healthy. People with bigger bodies are also healthy despite their excess weight. )
And after years of abuse nothing pinches. I sat down with my bullies and taunted myself. I made fat jokes and people laughed with me at me.
I am the abuser and the abused.
The scarer and the scared.
The internalisation of conventions is so strong that one does not realise the damage they have done to themselves.
So how does one love one’self?
To love yourself, you have to accept yourself. That becomes difficult when society doesn’t accept you.
Self acceptance is a long, ardous and painful process. It takes a lot of time, patience and determination. One has to mend the self inflicted scars. To break down the walls that surround them. To recast the categories and classifications with which you associate yourself because others put you in a box. Labelled Fat, Depressed, Stupid, Timid, Nerd, etc.
Either throw away the labels that identify you,
or accept them with such passion and rigour that they do not seem condescending and derogatory.
Make that slur your badge of honour.
Yes I am fat, hence there is more of me to love. I am so good, that God made me in abundance.
So what that I have depression? The black dog that follows me, makes me more empathetic. I can relate to people and be a rock in their sorrows. (Just a few affirmative examples of turning things around.)
Your flaws are ”flaws” only till you perceive them through the lens coloured by societal conventions. Everyone is flawed in one way or the other. You need to stop focussing on just your flaws, the way we all have been doing, and look at the brighter side of things. You need to identify yourself differently and not based on the categories which are given.
It is a difficult process indeed. And would take time. For you cannot change overnight- the mindset which has been forged, iron cast, bit by bit for decades.
But there is no harm in trying. Be willing to take the risk, for nobody but yourself.
Miracles happen for those who believe in their existence and for those who can make them happen. Don’t let society,others, your spouse, your family, decide categories and concepts.
They are abstract, relative and maleable. You need to take the reigns of your life in your hands. You decide what beautiful means to you. The day you can see yourself as beautiful, you have won the battle with yourself. ❤
I have after much effort embarked on the path of self acceptance and self love. I have not been entirely successful, I admit that I think of myself in the lowest terms but there are some days when I think I can atleast like myself a liitle.
What do you think? Any tips regarding the same? Let me know your thoughts, and do share your experiences.