Have you ever looked at your body in the mirror and admired or analysed the beauty? To the hundred dear friends I surveyed, 80 of them said “yes, when I am alone”, “sometimes, if there is a big mirror”. Hmm.. As a child, as a little girl, as a teenager, as a woman, as a mother – every stage of my life I always enjoyed observing the beautiful body. As a little girl, I was so fond of actress Kushboo and being a thin kid, I used to wonder why am I not as pretty as Khushboo? Will I ever get the curves like her? My mother is the best person in my life. She is also obese and always relatives used to warn me to make sure I focus on keeping my body in control without getting fat. I was also checking this out on mirror almost everyday. Media and society plays an important role in how we accept our body. During my teenage, I used to try every soap in the ad and wait for my body to miraculously shine like the heroine. I would be afraid if I was not going to be in the right height or shape. As I grew up, I heard about the term body shaming and related posts that influenced me to focus on being beautiful the way I look. There are few people in my life who have given me slap on the face experience to discover my own body and find beauty in the way my skin is, my nose is, my height and overall appearance is. I thought this was a transformation. But…
Now I am in the 4th decade of my life. 2 incidents have stuck me hard. 1. A Facebook post by a new mom who said, she went to attend a wedding after 3 months of her being new mom and everyone commented about how fat she has become, how swollen her face looks, how her stretch marks pop through the saree. She sadly yet strongly mentioned that not a single person appreciated or acknowledged the fact that her body has given life to a new soul, nurtured it safe and brought the baby to the world. Instead of seeing the strength, everyone focused on a definition of beauty.
2. Second incident is when I was at the hospital after my third surgery, the doctors came for a check up and they said, her skin looks pale, check her BP. Her nails look pale, check her haemoglobin, she looks very unhealthy, let her continue the drips and medication another day. And I was shocked, doubtful too but when the test reports came and my blood levels, BP all reflected low counts, I was surprised and curious. Wait, is the skin not about being glamorous but is it about being healthy? Are the nails not about manicure but they display the iron levels?
I have read about all these but once I went through this struggle and then after I came home, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw a tired, exhausted body which needed more strength, more nutritious food and a lot of rest. I focused on being healthy. I could observe the progressive changes in my recovery and also the mirror reflected something totally different. I was no more searching for the beautiful body rather I noticed that me, the same me now found a body that is focusing on a healthy journey. From looking at legs which needs waxing, I noticed weak thighs which needed stronger muscles. From choosing diet that could bring my shape like a model, I now choose diet that could balance the nutrients for me to be fit. I love makeup and I believe in the fashion sense and dressing up to confidence. But that is no more going to hide my weakness of health.
I also realise that, the way we bring up kids, the way we pass a comment to a friend or a fellow colleague – all of these make a mark. We usually comment about the appearance and beauty related aspects. When my child gets ready, the first 10 applause would be ‘you look like a barbie, like a fairy, so pretty, so cute’. Now I ask her daily, if she is healthy today. Is she getting stronger each day?
There is nothing wrong to admire the beauty, to wanting to be pleasant and pretty. Like I have mentioned, I am a big fan of dressing up & carrying oneself charming which makes an impact and ambience. But let us not punish our mind to fit into a definition of beauty, let us not allow this view to hide the bigger picture of health which is primary for existence and survival to be impactful.
Oh my beautiful body, bye bye letting you go… I am now getting to know this body which is trying to be healthier, I feel more respect and connection with this healthy body… Oh hello my healthy body!