This is perhaps another rant, another confession, another lash out or simply another point of view.
I am not thin, never was and perhaps never will be. Do I care? Yes. Do I want to care? No. It's unfair that I have to hear people pass comments, sometimes sneakily, sometimes openly, in jest, in all seriousness and even in pity! I am not unhealthy, I am not overweight and neither do I present myself in unflattering ways. I am fine as I am.
And yet, every time someone passes a remark, I go red in the face, I smile and press my lips together so I don't give an excuse, counter argue or snap. Imagine meeting someone after a considerable interval and the first thing they say is "Oh! You've put on weight, no?" Really? No, how are you? Oh, I missed you. We come straight to the point about my diet, my exercise routines, my office routine and everything else that doesn't concern them or my weight (even the position in which I sleep).
I am not thin, never was and perhaps never will be. Do I care? Yes. Do I want to care? No.
We are a society that is obsessed with everything -- race, caste, color, weight, financial status, social media presence, non-presence on social media, intelligence, sarcasm ratings and everything else which can minutely describe a person. This is not to say that everyone is obsessed with all of the above but it is true that everyone is particular about one or more of the above. We do find pleasure in the weight gain of an ex partner, a not so good friend and even an actress we don't like much. Honestly, I have a problem not with the attribute that comes with my description but the emotion behind the attribute.
Fat is bad, dark is ugly, thin is sick. Well... shut up. Stop telling people what you think will work best for them. Stop making fun of the amount of space they take up when they sit and please, oh please stop counting their calories for them. I am in perfect physical health and if I have a bad back, it is not because my bums are too big or my thighs can't take the weight of my body (confirmed with the doctor). So no don't tell me to cut down on rice and potatoes and bread and everything else that I enjoy eating.
Don't call me "moti," "golu," "chubs" and don't innocently ask me if I miss my old self. My old self was similar, a little thinner perhaps. But not thin enough to be counted amidst the 'normal' so perhaps I miss my old self but not for reasons you believe I should. Also, I love my new self. Don't pass comments about my weight and don't slyly smile if there is an ongoing discussion on clothes, shopping and sizes.
When and if I need you to order more for me, I'll let you know. No, I don't like chocolates or anything sweet so please don't be surprised every time you offer me dessert and I refuse ("What? You look like someone who would enjoy indulging :P").
I don't want to wake up in the morning and declare to my innocent husband that "I want to be thin." I don't want him to comfort me or pacify me just because someone in office smirked at my "weight problems." I don't want to spend hours trying dresses, feeling horrible if I don't fit into a 4 year old t-shirt. It's okay, I know it's okay.
I don't need advice about diets, gyms or calorie counting techniques. I am healthy, I am as lazy as the next person, and I have a normal appetite. There is a huge difference between being fat and unhealthy, and it's my heartfelt request to please understand it -- and if you can't, be quiet.
Also, if this is in the spirit of helping someone who is "unfit," deep down you know the difference. So let's not put that as an excuse.
We don't think before commenting. And more often than not, out of politeness, no one responds to our caustic remarks. The person in question may spend hours contemplating about her weight and her skin tone, her hair and everything else that you thought was wrong.
Fat is bad, dark is ugly, thin is sick. Well... shut up. Stop telling people what you think will work best for them.
The number of times that we truly compliment someone is embarrassingly lower than the times we notice faults. And all this drama about, "Oh, he's such a good person, just his weight is a problem." Really?
You want to go by the "a spade is a spade" policy, great. Only don't put a collective and accepted norm on the poor spade. Fat is fat, but fat is not ugly, funny or unacceptable. For everyone out there, don't let a little one feel unsure or awkward because she has a few extra pounds. Don't be embarrassed of your girlfriend because she weighs a few pounds more than your friend's girlfriend, don't torment a guy who is plump, don't make fun of your mom because she takes time to get up owing to her weight, don't be uncomfortable going out shopping with your fat friend, and don't share knowing looks with the help staff when she's trying clothes.
Stop everything you are doing that you consider normal and rethink your words because it matters. I used to refrain from calling people fat because of the numerous connotation and emotions attached to the adjective. As time passed, I realized most things come packed with a set of prejudices and in our fight to get rid of them, we end up twisting a very simple adjective. So fat is fat just like thin is thin and the pencil next to me is red.
So yes, I am fat, healthy, plump and everything else you want to call me. I will use the word "fat" without feeling sorry for myself and without cringing. Just as I have short hair, beautiful eyes, pointy nose, I have big bums. And I love them.
A version of this post originally appeared on Youth Ki Awaaz.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.