The school I studied had a unique tradition to track height and weight of student every quarter. It was documented in a report card and last week, I got my hands on my 2005 report card. I learnt that I reached my ultimate height on that year because I have not grown since then. I am still 5 feet 3 inches. Nothing much has changed lengthwise but a lot has changed on my weight and my self-love towards my body.
I used to weigh 65 kg back then and I think I weighed the heaviest in the class of 2005. There was this feeling of terror growing under my skin every time the teacher announced the date they would weigh us. It was definitely not a personal experience at all. We had to sit on the ground with classmates and the person who measured our weight and height would scream the numbers loudly from one corner to the teacher sitting in the opposite corner. It meant all your best friends and enemies knew how big you were. As soon as I knew the date, which was normally less than a week ahead, I would start dieting. Speaking about dieting, it meant eating 4 meals a day and skipping any additional items that I would normally add every day. Living in a hostel, nobody skipped 4 meals a day. It was obligatory. I have no idea what I was expecting from this few days of diet but I was always frustrated by its failure. I felt ashamed when they screamed my weight and I loathed how I looked after I realized that I was the biggest girl in the group.
With time, I grew bigger and so did my self-love for my body. The journey was not simple and interestingly, it happened naturally. There were multiple factors that played a huge role and one of the biggest factors was a change in the environment. I feel so blessed for having an opportunity to live in Los Angeles during my mid-20s. It definitely taught me to love myself and my confidence grew correspondingly. However, the years before Los Angeles were a bit rough. Since I was a teenager, everyone around me had a piece of advice on how to lose weight. If they did not have advice, they had a comment. I once met an aunty after some years; the second question she asked after my wellbeing was ‘Why are you not trying to lose weight? You have gained a lot.’ ‘Well, I have not lost weight because I do not think I need to. I am living a beautiful life and I love my body’, these were the exact words I wanted to reply to her obnoxious question but I did not. It was unnecessary and unimportant. My weight has even caused drama in my family. Someone told my mother that some cousins were gossiping about my weight and my appearance. After their long discussion, those cousins came to the conclusion that I was a fat girl who was good in studies with lots of pimples. Imagine what happened after these words got to my mother, she defended me and I never understood why did they behave so mean towards me. As years passed, I was wondering why I was not meeting my life partner; a guy friend suggested that I needed to lose a lot of weight to meet him, the life partner. He even gave me examples of the body type. I immediately laughed at his suggestion and made many feminist remarks on the advice but deep inside, I was already hurt me. The advice did its job to make me loathe myself again like back in 2005. On the other hand, none of the advice and body-shaming remarks helped me to lose a pound.
In 2005, I used to pray to weigh less than 65 kg and now after 14 years, my goal is to go back to the same weight. It is also a suggestion by my family doctor. He said it’s the healthiest weight for my height. Why didn’t anybody tell me that I had the perfect weight for my height back then? How did I become the subject of weight loss for my family when I did not need to lose weight? I wish I could go back in time to tell myself that I was in good weight bracket. I did not need to question my body and I did not need to lose weight just to fit the weight range of a group. Again, I feel blessed to have all the helpful information’s now to help me with my positive body journey. Today, I love my body the most then I have ever loved. I feel comfortable in my skin and I feel beautiful and sexy. When I reflect on those body-shaming years that I faced, I think it was never about the number but more about the feelings. I did not feel positive about my body and I did not have a good surrounding to work on it. It took me time and many help to feel positive about my body, to reach this beautiful stage of life. There are still many young teenagers who do not love their body. Even if they are in their best healthy point, they might not feel it due to the many negative factors surrounding them.
Currently, in the United States and many western countries, body positivity is a trendy hot topic being discussed frequently. We have many influencers to look up to and learn from. I am glad it started somewhere because it is an important subject. Body positivity movement is still new to many countries and I do not know if this subject even exists in my country, Nepal. Western media has a huge influence on the Eastern countries and hopefully, this trendy subject reaches my country soon to make everyone feel body positive. Until then, try changing your surroundings and talk to people who actually have knowledge about health rather than listening to people who throw remarks on everything they see but know nothing of.