Monday, November 05, 2012


Sometimes I see her
reflected back at me
Her crooked toothed smile
cheeks too round  
Sometimes I hear
inflections of her speech
Snatches of her laughter

I've covered her
Hidden her
beneath words
and blogs
and tweets
Still, she surfaces

I never liked her
Did you know that?
Everything about her
was always wrong
Didn't like her voice
The way she smiled
Mostly, didn't like
the way she hurt...

In 2010, Americans spent $10,677,415,674 on plastic surgery.  91% of all cosmetic procedures were performed on women. Is it just me, or is there something obscene about that number (which, by the way, is so large that I cannot actually read it out loud!) in a world where more than 5 million children under the age of five, die each year of starvation.

Stop. By no means though, am I suggesting that Merkins kill off one of their most profitable industries and redirect all those millions to developing nations.  What I am asking, is why there are so many people, most of them women, unhappy with themselves? So many women whose skin feels too tight, breasts feel too small, asses too big?

The media. I’d hazard a guess, that that’s what many of you came up with in answer to that question. And while the media remains a reliable scapegoat for most of the ills in the word, I on the other hand feel the problem lies within.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Powerful words that bear thinking of. Yet not so easy to believe or implement when you were the kid who was teased in school for being fat/having a big nose/having ‘tata ore’/wearing glasses. And that, right there, is where it all began. If you’re fat, you should at last compensate by being smart in school. Because fat people are stupid, right? If you have a big nose…well…you should fix it. And your ears while you’re at it. And the glasses? Haven’t you heard of contacts?

It doesn’t end there though, does it? You grow up. Turn it the butterfly you were meant to be. Yet every time you look in the mirror you catch a glimpse of the caterpillar. The one you didn’t like.

I was never the skinny girl in school. There was always more of me than other people would have wanted. More of me than I wanted.  I hated it. Hated myself. Yet, today when I look at my high school pictures, I realise that I wasn’t really fat. I just wasn’t thin enough to blend in.

Now, though, I am. But oddly enough, it doesn’t bother me as much as it did then.  Except when a well-meaning but stupid/insensitive contact sends me information about the fantastic weight loss product they’re selling. Or when someone who thinks they’re really witty suggests that I threaten to sit on anyone who tries to walk all over me.  I kid you not. That actually happened. That it was a she, well, I chalked it down to inherent bitchiness.

The thing is, I'm comfortable. As I am. I don’t need sympathy or to share my weight loss disaster stories with anyone. I don’t need to say “ I've had 5 kids and 4 miscarriages, and if that doesn't fuck up your body good, I don’t know what will…”

Realistically, I know that I could do with weight loss, but right now, I’d much rather improve my fitness. Focus on feeling healthier, better about myself. I don’t believe in pills and potions. I do believe in moderation in all things. In balance. And if, after implementing all that, I still don’t lose weight, I can live with that. I am comfortable in my own skin.  And that is an amazingly empowering realisation.

I often think the world would be a better place if we all accepted ourselves. Learnt to love ourselves enough for the opinions of others not to matter. Along life’s way, we are, all of us, bound to encounter those whose religion is ‘Pejorativism’. Those who seek to demean.  The secret, dear friends, is rising above that. Being able to see beauty still, in every soul we meet, regardless of shape, colour or size. When we feel beautiful within, all the world looks beautiful


Saaleha Idrees Bamjee said...


sham said...

Reminds me of my latest blog postie. Sometimes one needs a different type of mirror to see your own worth.

Lady T said...

Your words inspire me.

Azra said...

Amen... life is already so hard... why do we want to make it harder *sigh*