My first encounter with body shaming was by some girls in class when I was a teenager.
I thought they were my friends.
They would constantly tell me I have fat legs or I wasn’t curvy enough like a girl should be. That I couldn’t dance as femininely as the other girls. Furthermore, I’d hear remarks about not being fair-complexioned, and that my hair was ugly because it wasn’t silky smooth.
I also remember a few occasions when my dressing sense was commented upon in a not-so-positive way.
Thus, I remained conscious of my body and appearance throughout my teen years and early twenties. This resulted in many subconscious decisions to cope with the fear of body-shaming.
- Pulling up my socks all the way to my knees, and wearing extra long skirts as a part of the school uniform.
- Rarely ever casually wearing dresses, because I didn’t want to reveal my legs.
- Avoiding dancing in public because I didn’t want to ‘not look lady-like’.
- Wearing loose-fitted clothes to hide my body shape.
- Wearing stripes and formals to appear ‘professional’.
- Almost always keeping my hair tied-up in a ponytail.
- Trying unnecessary face packs and hair masks to conceal the flaws.
My method of coping meant associating being ‘girly’ with being mean and arrogant, the way those girls were, who made fun of me in my teen years. This thus meant that I was also avoiding makeup, ignoring high-heels and gravitating towards the label of a ‘tomboy’.
But this finally began to change, once I started feeling more confident in my skin and hanging out around people that saw the good in me.
They saw me for more than my appearance.
I finally experimented with my hairstyle once I was 23 years old, in the office! Not because somebody was watching me, but because I wanted to embrace my feminine energy.
The real breakthrough came when I started shopping for my wedding.
My mom, sister-in-law and husband played a huge role in encouraging me to expand my wardrobe outside the realm of ‘jeans’.
One outfit at a time, one dangling earring at a time, one pair of high heels at a time, my hesitations began to dissolve.
It was the effect of inner work, support from loved ones and building self-confidence that finally cornered this silly notion that fat girls don’t wear dresses.
So here I was. Finally, ready to move beyond my inner critic.
Body positive is not just a fad, it’s a necessity.
Every child and teenager needs to know that they look perfect, just the way they are. And it is the responsibility of every adult to acknowledge everything that makes a child beautiful – not just their outer appearance.
Read More : My Therapy Stories – Inner Child Wounds
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