Posted in Renuka, Self-Love

Love Myself? Ok.

Girl, you know you very fat ah; why you don’t diet?

The Lady in McDonald’s, Jan 2019

It’s not the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last that I hear some mangled version of this line. I don’t know when these comments began or how long I’ve been putting up with them that I barely react in public anymore (it’s a whole other story in private of course). A snide comeback waits ready to be fired from years of practice. How many years? I couldn’t tell you. Frankly, I don’t even want to think about it.

Back to the quote at the start of this post. There are so many things wrong with that line that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, the last time this person saw me was years ago, and we don’t even have any proper relationship to speak of, so why is she talking to me about my body? She has no idea about what’s going on in my life, no idea what I’m doing, who I am as a person, what I love or hate. She literally doesn’t know me except as the girl who is part of that Indian family that’s always in McDonald’s – where she works.

So, here I am, surrounded by my entire family – who are all wonderful and what some would call “socially acceptable” size-wise (although no one knows the insecurities that each of these individuals have about their owns bodies). And with a smile she decides to greet me with this beautiful opener just as I am about to dig into my Filet-o-Fish (and Iced latte with no syrup – cos too much of that sugar will do you diiiiirty, girl). Complete with her arms spread out in a mocking pantomime of how big I am. Really?

Honestly – I’m hungry, so my reaction is just a dismissive – “Yah”, as I continue to bite into my burger with a little less enthusiasm then when I first opened the box. Then out of the blue, I am struck sideways by a voice coming from my left side. My dear aunt, who loves me and wants nothing but the best for me, decides that she has to defend me in her own misguided, sweet and caring way.

“Yah la, she got diet la. But still like that”.

With a simple shrug and a wave of her hands as if to say “what to do?”. As if, this is necessary information. As if I need to be defended. As if my very existence itself is a giant question mark.

I’m struck dumb. A rare occurrence, if I say so myself. Where did this come from? Why would you do that?? I want to turn to my aunt and yell at her for her nonchalant answer. I want to get up and leave. I want to melt into the floor and become one with the ugly grey tiles, or teleport away from this embarrassment of a conversation. Instead I remember that it’s 2019, and get annoyed that I still can’t teleport. And I – I keep quiet.

Do not confuse my quiet with resignation though. This is a different type of quiet. This is the type of contemplative quiet that comes once in a blue moon for me – someone who often lashes out before she thinks. This is the type of quiet that is often followed by determination and a call to action.

This is a long-drawn, victorious quiet for I decide then and there – I’m done. I’m done having to be the only one having my food choices questioned while everyone else around me is eating equally as unhealthily.

I’m done having to defend myself and my body. I’m done having others feel the need to defend my body. No more.

I’m done.

And I’m ready.

I’m ready to love myself, and I’m ready to love my body.

My body – you hold all of me that’s both beautiful and unsightly. You hide the shy child that’s inside me that few get to see. You are hardened from multiple battles – surgeries, self-harm, slips and falls, snide remarks and hate – so much hate. A short lifetime spent building walls – a jovial and outgoing exterior cemented with all the hate, to distract them from the constant and on-going chaos inside.

Today I choose to tell my body this: You did well. 

You are amazing and I thank you for staying strong despite everything I put you through. I thank you for continuing to love me when all I showed you was hate.

Thank you. And I’m here for you now. I love you and I will love myself – even if no one else understands. Even when the whole world is confused with the idea of me daring to love this fat, imperfect body. No one else will have that power over my body again because I choose me and –

I love you, Renuka.

Image: Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Posted in Anittha, Thoughts&Revelations

Rock Bottom is Solid Foundation

Hi, my name is Anittha.

I am a writer, teacher, obsessive dog-mum, avid reader, Netflix binger, and ocean enthusiast.

Ocean enthusiast is just my really bratty way of saying that I love being in the water. Floating in it and staring up at the sky is the closest I have ever gotten to peace and tranquillity.

I am also a new entrant into the blogosphere.

In four months, I will be making my unapologetic goodbye to my twenties with my middle fingers raised in salute. My twenties were not kind to me or rather, I wasn’t taking care of myself during these exceedingly tumultuous years.

I had zero direction and somehow managed to stumble across every narcissist in a five-kilometre radius. I put everyone before me because their validation of me was more important than my own. I turned my back on my health and fitness and was fully dependant on others for my own happiness. I was truly lost. A Dora-the-Explorer-like map would not have led me to salvation because I didn’t even know I was lost. That’s what happens when you spend all your time convincing yourself that you’re okay when you’re really not.

But the heart is limited. It can only hold so much pain before it rebels against your choices and demands you take a closer look at your life. My heart staged this great rebellion a year ago. I call this rebellion Rock Bottom.

The beautiful thing about Rock Bottom is that its solid foundation. Nothing is as honest as Rock Bottom. I took a real look at my life. The kind of look that hurts your soul more than your eyes. I made a few changes.

The first one was to stop second-guessing myself about my writing. It wasn’t doing me any favours. The second one was to focus on my life only one day at a time. Tomorrow can wait till tomorrow. The third change was to reconnect and get to know me, regardless of where it will take me.

The third change is by far the most important to me. I’ve realized that the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to take time to really listen and love ourselves – and not just sexually (heh heh).

Allowing myself to say no to people without guilt, turning off my greedy phone and really figuring out what I need for my personal happiness has laid out a whole new possibility for me. For the first time, I can see a life for myself that will be filled primarily with things that add beauty and joy to my life.

But it’s not enough to see this every now and then or only when I’m in a good mood. No. I believe the trick is to show up fully in our individual lives every day. As our own cheerleader. Pom-poms in the air. Cute little uniform. Perfectly executed cartwheels.

Like Renuka, I have a bunch of things in mind that I will like to accomplish this year. But one stands out among the rest and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but kept putting off to some unforeseeable future date.

But I’m entering a new chapter in life where I want to attack life. In a loving way. Perhaps attack is the wrong word but I’m sure you get my point.

I want to run a full marathon. For me, doing it will be the biggest challenge I’ve set myself so far. Running 42.195-kilometres may be just another Tuesday to some but for me, it’s a testament to how much I would have grown. Preparing for something like this requires a strict training schedule, eating the right foods, stretching and getting enough rest. It means saying no more than yes to alcohol. It means saying no to hanging out late at night with my friends. It means fuelling my body properly. It means discipline. It means saying yes to myself and my goals again and again and again.

I’m determined to put myself first in my thirties. To allow myself the freedom and the joy of caring for my soul the way I care for the people I love. Crossing that finish line at the Standard Chartered Marathon in December will mean a whole year of making me happy first. An unprecedented move in my life.

I’ll give you guys updates along the way. Things I’ve learned, how my progress is going. Stuff like that. I figure since I’m going to accomplish something that’s so huge for me, I may as well have things to look back on when I cross that finish line. After all, as it’s plastered all over the Internet, the journey is far more important than the destination.

So, welcome to our blog and to our version of 2019. We love that you’re here and we hope that you check back in with us.

XOXO
Gossip Girl
Anittha

Image: _Mxsh_ on Unsplash.com