I never took comments about my weight seriously
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I remember the day my daughter turned 17 and we threw her a birthday party. Very diligently I concealed all my fat behind a sari, put on makeup and was ready for the party. “Your Mom looks bomb,” I overheard her friend’s casual comment. I was sure that was a compliment but you never know, it might be a comparison to a round voluminous bomb. I took it positively and we left for the party.
No cameras please
Everything was fine till I decided to get a photograph clicked with my husband, a typical couple pose with hands around each other waist’s or shoulder, for Facebook of course, and my husband, a self-proclaimed enemy of social networks, ruined it by turning it into a playful shot in which he was trying to cap the lens. As a cyber expert, he is dead against my obsession with photo uploads on social networking sites. And I was furious and devastated.
“So now you are avoiding to get clicked with me, na?” My poor husband…I could see the shock in his eyes, completely caught unawares as he was.
“Yeah, I am. You are looking so beautiful. My photo with you will look like langoor ke muh mein angoor,” he replied in jest.
“Is it so or since now I have put on weight, I am not attractive enough for you to pose with me or stand next to me.”
From his expression I could make out that he was trying to decipher my statement. “Did you really mean what you said just now?”
The ‘well-meaning’ relatives
I didn’t reply. That was my way of showing my displeasure and anger. But I also knew well that what I said was not my own thought. It was something that was injected into my mind by my near and dear ones.
“Oh…you have put on weight.” If the comment is coming from some ‘real well-wisher’ a.k.a. the relatives especially the sasurali ones, then it will be something like: “You have become heavier than your husband,” or “It seems that you are eating for your family.”
I know I’ve outgrown my favourite pair of jeans. But the jeans too have worn out and are out of fashion. Anyway I needed a new pair. I know that I have to open the seams of my blouses to fit if I plan to wear any of my favourite old saris. I have a full-length mirror at home to tell me that.
Related reading: How big is your love?: Plus-size women and relationships
A natural change
It’s not that I don’t want to be slim and trim and physically attractive. But when I look into the mirror I still see a beautiful lady who just looks a little mature now, maybe because of the wisdom and experience she has gained in the process of aging. It just reflects my happiness of a life well lived! I don’t think I am as overweight as others make me feel. Come on…I have hit my mid-40s and I can’t have a figure like my 20s or 30s.
What I call body-shaming and which I try not to get affected by is usually followed by a generous dose of advice on how to maintain your figure and yourself in order to keep your husband under control. “Don’t forget that men will be men. It is a responsibility of the wife to remain desirable for her husband.”
But still… I’m human. The casual comments affect me. I tried my best to take it in my stride but finally it seeped into my life. Even I started to believe that losing weight is more important than staying fit. It convinced me that after gaining a few kilos I am no longer attractive. The feeling was so overpowering that it slowly seeped into my married and sexual life. Now in those intimate moments I was more concerned about my body and my weight rather than getting involved in the act and deriving the pleasure from intimacy with my husband. And today my husband is ashamed to pose with me. I felt that I had lost his attention and affection and above all his love.
Beauty in love
In the evening when we were alone he took me in his arms and asked: “Even I have put on weight and have a bald patch. So then, have you stopped loving me or become ashamed to walk beside me or getting clicked with me?”
“What rubbish…how could you even think that?”
“The same way you thought it,” he replied. “If our love was confined to our physical attributes, then do you think you would have loved me? Don’t you think that we love each other as a person and not as a body? Ours is an emotional bonding. When I look at you, I see you as my life partner, the mother of my amazing kids, an elegant lady without whom life would not have been the same and above all I see the love of my life in you.”
He hugged me lovingly and then said, “When I see you I see how blissfully married we have been, not how much weight we have gained over the years.”
The love was never lost; our romance was still there, buried under a few kilos of my psychological weight.