Shame: "a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety" (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

There is a girl who was born overweight. Let's call her "A". Everyone loves a chubby baby, don't they? So her extra pounds were very well received by her family and everyone else who just could not help pinching her cheeks every now and then. This went on for a while; she was the cutest baby they had seen, some would say. She had a sister, she was not overweight. Let's call her "B". "B" was a rowdy one, always getting into trouble. She was cute in a different way. 

Time went on and "A", while still a cute kid, became worrisome for her family. When "A" and "B" were picked up from school, "B" would sit on the back seat of a bicycle while "A" walked behind the bicycle on her mother's orders. "B" would get an easy ride home while their "Chaacha" walked the bicycle home balancing her on top. Sometimes "A" would get tired and had to catch up so she would grab hold of the back seat to keep up the pace. She did not quite understand what was happening.

Once "A" and "B" went swimming and while "A" took her shower before getting into the pool, a woman asked her  how she got stretch marks on the sides of her legs and tummy slightly visible from the swimming costume she was wearing. "Pregnancy?" the woman asked. "A" was twelve years old at that time. She had never heard the term "stretch marks" before. Needless to say, she was very confused. 

A few more years passed. "A" had two more sisters- none of them were overweight. 

She was 13 when her youngest one was born. By this age "A" was not just chubby, she was fat! She wasn't cute anymore. She was not allowed to wear t-shirts anymore without a scarf and she made the awkward transition to shalwar kameez and dupatta. "A" was holding her baby sister one day while her mom shopped around Chen One when a woman came up to her and asked her, "Is this your baby or your mother's?". Confused and embarrassed, she answered "Mama's". 

"A's" mother put her on a diet the next year. She was no longer supposed to eat the yolk of the omelette she had everyday for breakfast. She hated the egg white omelette and cried a little while she fought with her mom. Her mom and "B" went to a gym one day to try to get "A" to work out a little. "A" tried on that vibrating belt around her waist and soon felt very dizzy- enough to not being able to stand up straight so she had to lie down. In that daze, all she was worried about was the fact that her mother and "B" thinking that she was faking it to get out of exercise. I think she heard faint whispers of them saying so.

A few more years went by..."A" saw "B" wearing clothes she had to give up years ago and resentment started to build up. She never really understood though. She never really understood, why? Why she had to give up those clothes so early on, why was she treated differently? She was just hurt every time someone told her mom "to do something" about her. She did not understand what was wrong exactly- what needed to be fixed. By this time it was not just family, friends at school joined in as well. 

Another few years went by, out of nowhere, without doing anything she lost a few pounds when she was 15-16, she became a constant hit! She liked the attention and the praises but it didn't last. She gained a lot of weight, and then lost it through a diet designed by her all the while struggling with the question of "why?" but she sought conformity. 

Once, her aunt who she was living with at age 19 put her on a diet. For a cheat meal she ordered a pan pizza and when her aunt said she couldn't have it all, she fought her and cried again. Her aunt thought it was funny. Anyone reading this will find it funny. It was not funny for her. It was painful. 

Years went by, she gained a lot of weight again. The timeline here is a little unclear but she also found out somewhere along the road that she has Poly cystic ovaries (PCO) which leads to weight gain. The irony is that in order to keep the condition under control, she needed to lose weight. She cashed out on her luck when she discovered that she also has another condition working against her weight loss: Hypothyroidism. She never let that be an excuse for weight gain though. She just understood her situation better now. She knew what she was dealing with so she started blaming herself a little less.

By 2014, she was the fattest she had ever been in her life. "A" weighed almost 90 kilos. That was when she started feeling the brunt of it all. She started having back pains, her heart rate would peak with very little exertion and she just felt left behind. She could see her friends literally running ahead of her to catch a ride at an amusement park while she struggled to keep up. She started enjoying life a little less.

In 2015, when she graduated and started working out of nowhere, she had a realization that she is not healthy. Her health was deteriorating as the back pains continued and she decided to do something about it. She shifted to a very strict diet that she followed religiously and started working out. Within a few months, she felt a lot better. Her back pain was gone, she had more energy and she just felt good about herself.

In July 2016, she stopped following her diet as religiously as she did before. She still could not get rid of the guilt of eating something sweet every time that she did. She would eat and then wallow into depression from the fear of what it would do to her but she didn't go back to the diet. Every time she felt she has eaten too much, she would follow her diet for a week or two but nothing too serious, you know? She thought she would be fine if she controlled herself and eat moderately. She thought she could return to a more normal lifestyle where she did not have to abstain from everything offered her way with the excuse, "No, thank you. I am on a diet." She never quit her workout though- she loves that too much. Guess what? She started putting on weight again and people noticed! The funny thing is, guess how much weight did she put on? She gained 1.5 Kilos. People still noticed!

She was visiting family once, and someone referred to her as fat at a point in time when she felt good about herself. That crushed her a little. Then she realized that to the general public, people who meet her for the first time and are unaware of the fact that she was on a diet for one whole year and that she does strength training and cardio everyday, still see her as a fat girl because she is not conventionally thin yet. When her friends and family told her she looks great now that she is thin, it was relative to their knowledge of her efforts.

Yes, she does not have a flat stomach. Yes, she does not fit into a "small" size but is she healthy? Yes, she is. She does 4 reps of 10 push ups each in her workout routine. She lifts 6- 10 Kgs dumbbells in her strength training depending on the exercise she is doing. She can hold a plank for almost 3 minutes... well 2 minutes 45 seconds but she can! However, all of that does not count when she still does not have a flat stomach.

We live in a society where lean and tall figures are idealized. These standards are so ingrained in our minds that even people who are fat including "A" tend to judge people on those standards. Once "A" scoffed at a picture of a guy and called him fat in front of her best friend who then made "A" realize what she was doing. Girls look at their pictures and 80% of the time their first reaction is, "God, I look so fat". There is no room for anyone who does not fit our standards of "pretty" and overweight people can never be "pretty" or "handsome".

"A" still struggles with her weight. "A" still struggles with fat shaming. Is it really obvious that "A" is me?

This is not an effort for sympathy, this is not a plea for help and this is not a plight for pity. I will never quit my workout because a) my trainer is so nice and b) because it's my one salvation, it just feels that good! I will say this however; I have learnt to deal with fat shaming in my own way. I am not indifferent to it yet but I hope to be some day. Anyone, anyone at all who reads this, please check yourselves. Shaming someone over how they look is probably the worst form of shaming out there. What all these people do not realize is fat shaming chips away one's confidence, it takes away one's capacity to be comfortable with whom they are and it outright hurts like nothing else. Urge your friends and family members to be healthy instead. Do not allow a few extra pounds to hinder a girl from getting a "rishta" (marriage proposal). Her extra weight does not define who she is as a person. Get to know her, maybe? I bet you, she is an intelligent, caring, ambitious girl who is much more than what you judged her for on account of her weight. I bet she is funny too, most of us fatties are.

Oh, and by the way shaming over appearances includes shaming anyone for their colour and physique, skin, hair, everything and none of it is excusable. Think about it.