It is only in self-acceptance and self-love do we see the positives of just being who we are, and not fighting to achieve what the world deems as ‘perfect’.
We’ve been run down, let’s be honest. Across the world and through pop culture, we’ve always been taught the idea of what perfect is. The biggest media conglomerates across the world, along with the biggest shopping franchises, beauty and cosmetic companies, and the general domination of male influence has left us wanting to be something, or someone, just to fit into the general perspective that the world gives us.
While I was growing up, being a size zero was the most ‘in’ thing to be. Everyone’s clothes would be tailored according to the perfect shape and size, and their ambition to fit into it was what encouraged this idea even more. For the longest time, we used to think brands like Fair and Lovely were the solution to all dark skin ‘problems’. So yes, being size zero also meant breaking those definitions and showing the world that there are people besides the perfect type that exist.
When it comes to clothes, if you go to any proper popular franchise across the world, the last size that you would see in the ‘normal‘ range of clothes (even today) would be the 2XL. That was the ONLY size I’d fit in by luck, but mostly not even that.
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I’ve had my fair share of problems with finding bras that actually fit. Until recently, or until a few more foreign companies began to sell their products in India, there was literally no hope of me finding the perfect bra. I’d go to a small shopping center on Hill Road in Bandra, Mumbai, and have a man stare straight at my boobs for a quick half second while he’d shuffle between them and making eye contact. This would help not making the many women who flocked in for his expertise awkward. That man could literally define what would fit, and there is no way to check it unless you went home and tried the bra yourself. I’m not saying he was completely wrong, but not every bra that he helped select, or we selected, were ever the perfect size. Smaller brands in the country were also still struggling between, ‘oh, should we be making stuff for the perfect bodies, and how do we manage working things out for the aunties, or the obese teens?!’ I’m bringing this up because it was a genuine struggle.
But yes. Size was never the most acceptable thing. Every fashion era had its highs and lows, and we do remember the craze for thunder thighs in the 1920-30s. But it never escalated to the extent where, with an exploding population, this sort of discrimination still existed.
So yes, there was a movement that needed to make people understand we exist, and we don’t often fit the tailored perception of ‘perfect’.
Besides a few initial self-esteem issues, I don’t think I ever had a problem with being my size. I mean, why would I? I never felt brought down by my body, except for how uncomfortable I felt not getting to wear clothes in my size, or clothes actually look good on me. In fact, if anything, I felt more confident many times. I’ve never felt unhealthy, I never felt the need to fit into things after a point. I picked up a style statement of my own after a point, wearing clothes that would prioritise my comfort over everything else. There are many things you can tell yourself that will encourage the idea of what people mistake for ‘fit’, but let me ask you – when your physical abilities are not being challenged, or your health is not at stake, why so much emphasis on the physiological appearance?
Being more, I’ve felt more, I’ve learned more.
It’s like I grew up with a much bigger heart. My feelings spread, my understanding of people changed, and more often than you would otherwise see, you tend to look at the person for who they are on the inside, as opposed to how they look.
The day I noticed this for the first time, that I was capable of having unconditional love for myself, everything changed. This was my plus. This was my positive. This is what added confidence to my life, accepting myself. I eat good proportions of food that my body requires, I feel physically fine, and what I learned on the way was that I learned to endure things mentally too, way more than I would have ever before.
Being more can also mean being good. It can mean being better. It can mean owning your existence in a way that not all of the world can comprehend. And anything that makes you feel like yourself is irreplaceable. I think everyone deserves to feel loved more from a mental perspective than a physiological one. Whether you are anorexic, bulimic, or suffer from any kind of bodily disorders or weight gain problems, learn to love yourself. Learn to see the positive in the person you are. Your self-worth and self-esteem will take you places you cannot imagine.
We don’t need marketing campaigns, we don’t need Photoshop, we don’t need feminine beauty ideals to control who we are as individuals, and we most certainly do not need body image concerns. Our physical and mental well-being, irrespective of our size, is the most important aspect for our livelihood, and nobody can change how you perceive yourself with the love and acceptance that you can dignify yourself with.