Said the glorious (read Gloria) Queen Latifa in an interview to someone few years ago (I swear I Googled it but couldn’t find it). I don’t quite care for the quote as much as I do about Ms. Latifah or her character Gloria from Madagascar series of movies. Both depicting round, glorious, wholesome girls with a kick ass sense of humor.
All of my friends who are on the curvy side incidentally also carry the better part of the humor bandwagon. Probably cuz the thin 1s have no ‘juice’ left in them (that’s me being mean). I’ve been on both sides of the latitude and longitude of the 1 battle we are constantly fighting since puberty – weight. At least the vast majority of us. There is not 1 person I’ve met who hasn’t made a quip or some sorry excuse about control, diet, workout etc. None of it coming from the will to do so but rather the need for it.
I was a scrawny thin kid. Growing up I gradually become a plumpy gal. 1 push and sure enough I would bruise you. Kids are mean. They are always mean and aren’t equipped to handle sensitivity issues or factors. A random few (if you’re lucky) grace that list. I was the kind and sensitive 1. But I was also the angry 1 if someone so much as teased me or any of my circle of friends. Infant crawling-punching years were spent with rowdy boys in a co-ed. All of us were spoilt lil brats and we knew the language of the fist before we knew the ABCs. Mum dad and the teachers would never whimper in my direction cuz I was the ace student who got ace grades. I was special *blush blush*. What annoyed other kids was that I didn’t study or put in the effort either. It was ‘au naturale’ to me. And after having probably had a muddy tussle with me in the playground graced with a few unsavory exchanges, they were dragged up to my doorstep by their mommies to apologize to me and either borrow my HW or get tutored by me.
Once in boarding school, I continued being the same. Except this time we were all GIRLS. My bonding vs exceptional despise for having gal-pals came from boarding school. Too much budding estrogen under 1 roof is a formula for bloodshed, tears and disaster. It was simply our matron (long past the cramps and pads) and the convent-ish rules that kept us unscathed and alive. There were beauty experiments, weight issues (dear lord to the roof), comments (read taunts), fairness ads bombarding us, magazines of the then waif-thin super models, misconceptions from misguided thoughts plagued by confinement in a fortress-like setup followed by impressionable and excessive bombardment of media and the days of MTV grind and newly launched FTv. It was in those formidable years that I was made aware of my plumpiness. 1 will be surprised how much can happen under a boarding school roof and the people it shapes us to become. I was supremely active (hyper). I played competitive basketball for the team, I swam, I dabbled in hockey and finally even joined karate. I did it all and I could do them back-to-back without burning out. Much of it was genuine interest. A small yet significant portion of it came from the meanness I had to deal with from the very gals I lived with day in and day out.
Restricted diet became secret dieting, which is worse when the prefects and matrons check to see every morsel has been wiped from your plate. Uniform pockets were suddenly impossible to launder due to all food groups being hidden in them and then discarded to the garden dogs. Clothes became tighter cutting blood supply but giving the illusion that they fit vs they actually fitting us. Black was an all season color – the slimming color. Most of us looked goth and lost. We drank ridiculous concoctions and devised our own theories and recipes for eternal beauty – boy were we convinced or what. I recall a time when we had returned from a vacation break and sure enough had new clothes and shoes. We decided to set up our own fashion ramp and ‘model’ them clothes. What started out as a weekend time-killer turned into a massive routine production. We borrowed and got ready and fussed over ourselves and each other. Since makeup was a no-no; we used rough towels to rub our cheeks till they turned rouge pink. The end result was a few of us landed up with abrasion burns, which the matron caught and aptly punished us for. Boy did we have a laugh over it.
In all of this and through college, fat-jokes were a routine with me. I was never fat; just plump. I despised shopping and even worse, being photographed. Hence, I wondered what it must be like for the really obese and fat 1s. I am of the theory that much of it is self-brought on while a few genuine cases are genetic or health related history. Sadly, friends and foes aren’t built to think so. If you had money and/or were popular, you were left unscathed. Else, you had to develop a hyde of good humor and sportiness to succumb to all that was thrown at you. I never flinched except 1ce when a boy made especially mean comments about dating me despite my appearance. I still don’t know why THAT particular comment got me but it did – it didn’t dawn on me that the boy himself wasn’t a vision of fitness. What followed was a very dangerous and obsessive need to lose the pounds. I ignored the fact that even though I did yoga, gym, dance and sports, it was my thyroid that held me back. I was convinced that adding few hours to ALL the activities and really altering my diet was the key. It worked. I dropped a whopping 16+ kilos. The bonus was bad skin for the 1st time in my life, some serious deficiency issues which I refused to acknowledge and going underweight – which btw I celebrated. I was perennially disturbed if asked to eat something or miss a workout – it was not part of my mental plan. My body and health were taking a beating for a lousy comment that had triggered a spark in my head and, at the time, my heart.
Now with age and maturity and an art form that celebrates curves, strength, agility and a lot more about just being fit than a prototype image, I find myself so much more comfortable. Of course, the evolution involved behaving like a girl and investing the time and fusses to be like 1 too. This I say thanks to self-confidence and a lil indulgence of praises and flattery. Boys will be boys. But they sure know how to make a woman feel more like so. If I look around I see factory manufactured products. All that is missing is a barcode (which I think tattoos make up for). The boys and girls talk the same, have the same lazy walk, identical looks and have the same IQ. Boys look like Johnny Bravo and clean shaven less than equal to their female counterparts. The girls are essentially toothpicks or some blessed with the antique curves of a lamppost. Same long hair flicked, burned and straightened by salons they shouldn’t be heading to at their age. Pre-pubescent know how to put makeup long before I learned what an eye-liner was. Their exposure and attitude baffles me. I was thrown at a website which offers fat reduction packages to age as young as *drumroll* 12yrs. And more so recently by the ‘kids’ fashion senses at a concert. Sure it was fun and helped Abeer and me kill time, but it left me perplexed that the only way to look good was to have bare minimum covering your body.
I’m glad that at no point I felt the need or insecurity to take extreme (dangerous) measures. There are far too many vulnerable minds and bodies being tortured. I need a healthy point of view rather than a stressed point of view. There is nothing worse than embracing a bag of bones when you need to hold on to someone you love. And yes…. I love love love my food too… There I said it. Hence, round it is for me… *Busy workin it!*