My body not yours

“I'm sure a lot of other women can relate to my story because it started with me at my gynecologist's clinic. I sat in the waiting room holding my reports neatly stapled & assembled into a folder. I was so afraid of not knowing why my body wasn't working like other women's bodies. Every woman bleeds regularly, why did my period cycle lose it's discipline? When I met my gynecologist, he said I have a very common case of PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovaries Syndrome). He tried making the solution sound as simple as possible, "Just eat healthy, exercise daily & your period should be on track".

Until then, I wasn't over weight or under weight. I was sixteen & slightly plump: I didn't spend any time worrying over my food intake or exercise habits, and instead had my nose deep into my textbooks.

I was very overwhelmed about having to adapt a completely new lifestyle. My struggle with balancing food & workouts has been on-going, however, my journey to understanding my body would have been much simpler had I not received unsolicited advice from people.

When I began making shifts in my diet, spending more time at the park exercising & unfailingly checking my weighing scale - people began to take notice of how my body & lifestyle began changing. "Why are you dieting? You look fine!" "You've become too thin, get some meat on that waist of yours!" were common comments I heard from around. While I was trying to understand my love-hate relationship with my body, I also had a brief period when I gained some weight. Surprisingly, the same people commented, "Your thighs have become thicker, ha" "Lose that baby fat from your cheeks, you'll look your age then!" This was confusing.

While experiencing this journey of change, I realised I wanted to fit into society's beauty standards so bad. Didn't we all? And like most self discovery journeys, one realisation lead to another, I realised I wore a fringe on my face to hide my forehead because "your forehead is so big, why don't you try to hide it with a new hairstyle?" My family tried so hard to convince me otherwise, but I was so conditioned to want to succumb to society's beauty standards. I always wore my fringe on my forehead & had really long hair while growing up. The rebel in me wanted to understand what it would feel like if I stepped outside this odd comfort zone. So I let my fringe grow & chopped off my hair - I embraced a long bob; and while my friends & family loved my new look that made me look so confident, there were still a lot of strangers who said "Men prefer women with longer hair" "Get a cute fringe!"

Our society has tamed us to feel beautiful only if we look a certain way. Today, I'm all about breaking all those norms because I havn't felt this confident, comfortable & happy embracing who I really am. To everyone who has unsolicited advice about my body: This body is my vehicle, it belongs to me. I will decorate it, take care of it & learn to use it the way I want to. Because, My Body Not Yours.”