I’m not skinny, I’ve never been skinny.
That’s just not my body type. It’s important to me to be healthy, but I’ve never been obsessed with being size zero.
Growing up in the UK, I’ve noticed that most people are generally polite about body size. If I put on 10 pounds, no-one would say anything out loud. I’m sure they would think it, but it wouldn’t be addressed. Because that’s rude, right? I wish someone could tell my extended family this. Indians have no filter, and it’s getting pretty annoying.
At a family gathering a few months ago, my dear Aunt felt it was appropriate to point out that I’d put on a lot of weight since she’d last seen me. Mortifying, right?
Well, she continued to mention it, like 4 or 5 times in one conversation. I counted.
I was both embarrassed and extremely annoyed, but I kept my mouth shut. Respecting your elders is a huge thing in my community, but damn do they make it hard.
Fast forward a few weeks. My mum is face-timing relatives in India. The last and only time I’d visited India and met these people was as a baby. I haven’t really face-timed before, so I went over and said my hellos, to my mum’s delight.
My Uncle looked at me and said: “Well haven’t you put on weight!”
Erm, since birth? I’d really hope so.
My mother promptly took back her phone and left the room after seeing the horror on my face.
I’m not easily offended or over-dramatic, but these aren’t isolated incidents. At every family function, without a doubt, at least one relative will make some sort of comment about my weight or appearance. They won’t even start with a “Hello” or “How are you.” They just go straight into, “Wow, you’ve gone chubby haven’t you?” It isn’t just fat-shaming either. I’ve seen it happen to my friends who are naturally skinnier; they get told to eat more.
You just can’t win with the Aunties.
These are the same people who take full offense when you don’t finish your food at the dinner table and urge you to eat more. I mean if I eat all those samosas – I’m not really going to be tiny am I?
I suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), so maybe I am a little more sensitive about my weight than others. A side effect of PCOS is insulin resistance which leads to weight gain. I literally can’t help it. Even if I could, it should not be anyone else’s business. No-one ever appreciates negative comments about their weight.
In this day and age, loving yourself is already difficult. This ideology that no-one will marry you unless you are a perfect size doesn’t help. It is not so much the realization that people think I’ve put on weight that gets me. What I’m getting tired of is the fact that people think it is okay to point this out in public casually.
So I’m learning to call out everyone who thinks that they are entitled to comment on my appearance. The aim is to make them uncomfortable by explaining my medical issues in depth.
I want to be the super annoying relative that no-one wants to discuss weight with.
I love every inch of my chubby self, I just really wish everyone else would too.