What's in your trunk?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I was all of 16- when I first found out what they called me behind my back.

"Baby elephant"

At 16, I definitely had better legs than that adorable thing on the left. 

A girl filled that as an entry in response to her "Favourite Pet" in my slam book. Looking back, I barf at the idea that I went to her in the first place to have it filled.

Regardless, I was 16. Weighing 49 kilos- an average of over 9 kilos than most girls in my class. Blessed with a round face, filled cheeks and hair tied in a single braid (pretty much all of the school tenure), I was hardly the size of a baby elephant, my arch nemesis at the time.

I don't quite remember what my reaction was (besides shock). Shock, that they were picking on me for my physical appearance. You see, unlike today, there wasn't quite an outlet for "awareness" and making memes such as "best swimsuit size is whatever the fuck you have" and so on.

I didn't have heavy boobage, or legs or waist. Hell, I'd kill to go back at 16 (but with the boobs please) and be the same person. I truly think the 16-year-old me had the kind of spunk that present 25-year-old (thirty kilos fatter and three cup sizes bigger) doesn't have. I digress but this "baby elephant" instance came to me, as I spiralled back into thinking about how trolls are made.

Last evening, I found out that Writer/Comedienne Supriya Joshi apparently put out a thread in response to the trolls who have been fat-shaming her. If this were an academic piece, addressed to people aged 30 and above, I'd explain every fucking term in my previous sentence. However, since it's my blog, clocking in under 50 fucking views, I feel I have the liberty to move on. She wrote a long thread, addressing her issue against those who reduce her body as a currency into shaming her for what she is/she does. Joshi's thread was absolutely compelling read, especially for someone like me, who's been at the receiving end of it.

To begin with, the problem here at point zero isn't trolls alone. The rhizomatic structure from where these trolls emerge always tend to go towards the can of worms, aka conditioning. You grow up to be a person, a reflection of who you were while growing up, by and large. A mirror image of your parents, of the friends who shaped you (aka the asshole from school who started the "baby elephant" label). You've been in a place where you've learnt to point fingers at anyone with a visibly different shape of body than you all your life. A thread on Twitter, educational creatives on Facebook and Instagram can barely help you. They can probably make you sympathize with them for like 20 seconds or more (depending on how thick in the head you are). The discourse moved from pointing and laughing at you after filling your slam book to trolling people online. Bullies acquired a form in Trolls, where faceless identities can do the same to you, what spineless gits attempted in school/college.

For me, the ordeal ended when I left school. During the college admissions, I was convinced of not wanting to go to a girls college because our convent school was a hell hole, nothing short of penance to live through (despite Jesus dying for our sins). Thankfully, people at college, even at 18 were far more mature than cunts from school. To this day, I don't feel judged for occupying space, when I sit, when I eat or when I walk. Basically, I thank all the people I ever brushed shoulder with at college (and believe me, there were quite a few in the three colleges that I attended) for being fucking normal about how I look.

At 25, I no longer am affected by what people say for me, call me or tell me to my face. The only opinion that matters about my body is mine. So, when three months ago, I looked in the mirror and did actually see a stranger look back, I knew I had to take the matter in my hand. After many trials and errors, I'm now attempting to work on my body, mostly because I don't want to subscribe to the same lifestyle I was living in the last eight years of my tenure at different colleges. I want to be able to go back at where I was when I was 16. Look back at the same body and marvel at it.

The most critical thing in looking back, ofcourse, remains facing my demons. I was once told by a dear friend, that kids who grow up fat and are called names for it are forever fat kids in their head. No matter how much weight they lose, or what they turn out to be professionally or personally, or how many packs of abs they visibly sport, the fact remains that a part of their mental health is forever stunted. Somewhere deep down, I knew she was right.

But as someone who wants to look back at being 16, and wanting to change my life, I need to address these bullies and trolls I've encountered in the process.

As Joshi rightly said, when you call someone fat, there's nothing more than a physical description you're explaining. That's an adjective and that's who they are. More often than not, a fat person is pretty self-aware that they're fat. However, when you call someone a terrible terrible person, you should know there's something off about them. Sometime back, a man I went out with (and was actually beginning to enjoy his company) randomly told me that how any Indian family I aspire to get myself married into, will not "traditionally" accept my presence for how I physically look. However, he did add that atleast my skin colour will work in the favour. Was that man a bully? Probably not. Was he a troll? Hardly so. Was he concerned about what the world truly thinks of people like me, ten-twenty-thirty kilos overweight, obese, chubby, "healthy"? Fuck yeah.

If everything came down to looks, Charles Sobraj would make for Nepal's president and not a terrible fucking individual. However, given his sweltering looks and suave attitude, he would surely make an Indian man and his family truly happy. As for that girl from school, I sincerely wish she comes under a speeding car and breaks her triple chin (oh did I point at the obvious now?) that she proudly sports in all her pictures. Umm, is my favourite animal a giraffe? I don't think so. Not that petty, but still, petty (enough to point my vanity and pitch it against hers, convent school women only understand one language).

You know what they say, being bullied can turn the victims into becoming a bully themselves. Aka the plot of Mean Girls. Or, how I'm not sorry about being the venomous, unapologetic asshole that I am. Thank you, moral science classes. You truly helped my personality in its complete development. 

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