He Called Me "Fat" And Taught Me a Life Lesson

Riley Blue

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Image Source: Anangsha Alammyan's Instagram

I posted this picture on Instagram a few days back.

A friend of mine commented “Tummy”. It was accompanied by a laughing emoji.

I gulped.

I had been working out for the past few weeks. This gave me the confidence to wear a short dress after almost three months of letting my body go. Even then, I was aware of the flab around my stomach. I had hoped the picture would be able to disguise that.

Apparently, it wasn’t enough.

I felt a wave of bitterness rising in my throat. The picture wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t thin enough.

For a few moments, I wondered if more people would laugh at me because of the flab.

I contemplated deleting the picture thinking it was ugly.

But then, I reasoned: why does flabby have to mean ugly?

Okay, yes, I get it, I am not as thin as I’d like to be, but I’m fit. I am healthy. That’s got to be more important than simply looking thin, right?

Also, why should a simple comment on the internet have the power to make me sad?

Ultimately, the only things that can make us sad are the ones we give the power to. Life is too short and too precious to waste your time and energy on being sad over things that aren’t in your control.

So, it is always better to save your breath and invest in things that you CAN improve - your personality, your knowledge, your skills.

This incident also made me realize that it is ok to have flaws. As long as you aren’t in a job where you make money by looking good, you aren’t supposed to be perfect. You aren’t supposed to be flawless.

Don’t let the beautiful and rich people on Instagram make you feel bad. You only see the fraction of their lives they wish to share with you. You have no idea how exhaustively they might be working on editing out the negative bits.

Don’t give negative comments the power to make you feel sad.

You are you. And that is enough.

This experience taught me an important life lesson. I wrote a poem based on what I learned. I would love to share the poem with you today.

When I was dressing up this morning and I looked into the mirror,
the first thought that came to my mind was —

My thighs look too flabby in this outfit.
Also, I need to tuck in my tummy while posing for pictures.
Maybe this lipstick doesn’t go well with this color?
Oh no! Is that a pimple on my chin?

Just then, I got a text from my friend Anjali.
I had asked her to upload the pictures of us from last night’s party.
But, she told me she doesn’t want to share them.

When I insisted, she said her tummy might be too visible in them.

This made me think — Why are we doing this to ourselves?

Who gets to define what is “too fat” or ‘too thin”?

Is it me?
Is it Anjali?
Or is the hundreds of strangers online that are liking and commenting?

My body has been my home for 27 years.
It has recovered from illnesses,
gone through several cycles
of being ‘borderline overweight’ and ‘normal’,
skipped sizes from “XS” to “M” to “XL and back to “M” again,
and yet,
it has never complained.

I don’t hate my body.

I am proud of the struggles it has faced and survived.
With scars, yes, but healthy.

So ungrateful of me,
that I didn’t appreciate this blessing,
this gift I had been given.

Then, the realization hit me —
like a glass door
that had always been there,
only I hadn’t noticed it.

Social media.
It all comes down to social media.

All those apps we keep on checking countless times in a day.
Over and over again,
through several thousands of posts:
all the actresses with their flawless skin and hair,
those beauty bloggers with the sponsored posts
that remind me my beauty is never complete
without the lipstick they are wearing,
or the winged eyeliner I have to practice for hours to perfect.

We have been so conditioned to believe
hat there is only ONE definition of “beautiful”,
that no other beauty can be enough.

For a girl to be beautiful,
she has to be tall,
she has to be fair,
she has to have long, black hair.

And, she has to be thin.
Let’s not forget the thin.

She has to have zero fat on her tummy,
her arms,
her legs,
but not on her ass.
Even her cheeks have to be toned to perfection.

Anything less than that, and the world will call her ugly.

She herself would call her ugly.

And that’s what I did, didn’t I?

In spite of a make-up kit
bursting to full with cosmetics,
there is ALWAYS the need for something new —
one more concealer,
another highlighter,
one push-up bra,
and then they will attain their standards of beauty.

I don’t need to work so hard
to make my body fit into this box
of unnatural beauty standards
decided upon by a materialistic world.
I don’t need to hammer my body in,
or file its edges to make it fit into a box it wasn’t made for.

It lasted only for a moment,
but, this realization left me sad.
My body doesn’t deserve so much criticism.

So, I held my head high
and posed for pictures
without tucking my tummy in.

Yes, you might say I am not thin enough.
But then again,
who are you to decide?

It’s my body,
and the decision to judge it
belongs solely to me.

And today, I decided to be beautiful.

It happens to many here, almost every day. The people who ‘contribute' have to walk through this sort of fire. I am also trying to be tough. It's a good platform to learn to take negative comments, rejections, or trolls in an unemotional manner. This is the greatest lesson spending time online appears to be providing me.

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