Okay, let’s talk about imperfect bodies.
Let me start with myself.
I was recently diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), in simple terms, imbalance of hormones.
If you look at it simply, it’s just means that your hormones are not functioning properly, but on the second look, the consequences can be really alarming.
I was slim back in my undergrad days. People came to me and suggested me to eat and gain some weight. And then I suddenly gained 10 kilos of weight within a week and my face got covered with acne. My doctor predicted that it might take couple of years to find a balance in my hormones.
Naturally, I started worrying.
But not because of the weight gain or the acne. I did feel bad about the sudden change, however, I was more worried about my million unnecessary mood swings that the hormonal imbalance was giving me. I started getting irritated easily and sadness had started to haunt me.
It has already been three months and I am far better now. You will find me happy and smiling again.
But in these, three months, what people noticed was my extra weight and acne. What they failed to notice was that I had stopped laughing, the way I used to. They neither noticed me going through that terrible stomach ache nor how I used to shiver even while I was talking to them. I had other several problems too, but every day I used to get suggestions on how to lose my weight because I am still single. They suggested hiding my acne and my aches just so that I would look appealing when I meet my prince charming.
It irritated me but I could also understand their reasons for saying them. We all–at least my contemporaries–grew up reading and watching stories like ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’. And every day there is a new revelation of products that would hide our acne, and give us those perfect skin tones.
But my question is, what is perfection anyway? Google it, and I’m sure you’ll get millions of definition of perfection.
But for a change, look for stories of imperfect bodies around you.
(She doesn’t want to reveal her name, but she says:)
“My first love said that his possibility of dating me would increase by 90% if I lost my weight. I didn’t eat anything for a week and got really very weak. I couldn’t even stand up; my legs would tremble.”
What a brilliant mathematician he seems to be!
Kabeeta Shah, an undergrad student, felt sad when her tight stomach started bulging out after she couldn’t manage time properly for the sport that she used to play. However, what she chooses now is a fit body over a perfect one these days.
But the concept of perfection haunts men too. Roshan Dhungel, a Teach For Nepal Fellow, says, “Thoughts of having a thin, toned body always crossed my mind.”
He says the six-pack, toned bodies displayed on every hoarding boards and magazines used to make him question his own body during his high school days. He blamed himself for not having the type of body girls would get attracted to, for eating too much and for working out less. The feeling, he says, went so deep that he started hating himself for not being able to attract anyone with his small face, long nose, and thin body with small arms.
Indeed, our lives are filled with blemishes, scars, lumps, invisible pains and silences. Interestingly, while some pinpoint your flaws, others crave for the same features; it all depends on how they perceive you.
Perfect body image is a constant issue faced by everyone. Diplove Gautam, Foundation Director of Bouddha Inn Meditation Center, says the thought of imperfection is an illusion, something our society has created for us. And unconsciously, we become the victim of negative self-interpretation.
All perfect or imperfect bodies have their own story to celebrate. Flawless bodies might have flawless stories to share. But, don’t you think those perfect stories are made-up; photoshopped to show ‘perfection’.
Asmita Gyawali, an MBA student, discloses her story of accepting her body:
“I can state flaws of each and every part of my body; from my hair to my toes. Believe me! But it is surprising, for even me, how many girls come up to me and say they wished they had features like mine. For instance, I never used to like my lips, because they are uneven. But my girl friends say that they’d want nothing else but have lips like mine. Since then, I started to accept that I have best of both worlds; a thin as well as thick lip.”
Accepting our body is about accepting our imperfect bodies completely. It is about embracing the truth, pain and joy our bodies have carved in them, and then transforming them into their own unique stories.
There may definitely be days when we look at the full-length mirror and despise the reflection we see. But the fact remains that they are our bodies, so why not accept it and be happy then? In Asmita’s words, “I am to live with my body, why should I tire myself thinking constantly bad about it? I can just love it!”