‘They say the size of one’s body doesn’t matter, but I don’t agree’


Dear Swastika,
I found out that my boyfriend’s best friend has been cheating on her wife. And apparently, the wife knows, too. They have a son and otherwise look happy together. But there are times when she calls my boyfriend and complains about her husband and even asks him to spy on him. The fact that he’s cheating on her distresses me a lot and I often ask my boyfriend to confront him and counsel him against doing such things, but he simply says he won’t interfere in his personal life. Why does it affect me so much while the wife who’s being cheated on isn’t much bothered?
All our life, we grow up believing certain things about this world. We believe that the sun will rise every morning. We believe that the gravity is holding this universe together and we’re not just going to fall into the space. We also believe that our parents will love us. That once married, people live together and love each other for the rest of their lives. We take fidelity for granted like it were the rule of this universe. We assume, marriage leads to children and a happy family, with some ups and down, we’ll live happily ever after.

The reason someone else’s affair bothers you so much is perhaps because it challenges everything that you have begun to believe about life, family, and relationships. You believe that “fidelity and happily-ever-after” is a default state of marriages and somehow, if things go wrong, you can do push a default button and get back on track.

So here it is, a rude awakening. Life is not linear. Not everyone is headed towards the same direction. Not every marriage is headed towards happily-ever-after. It also doesn’t mean that all marriages are doomed. People are different. Our lives are different. Our journeys are different and so is our destination.

All we can do for others is to not judge them and be there when they need us. We don’t know what they are going through. They could be suffocating. Love could be slipping away. They could be falling down like the earth would fall into space without gravity. They could be waking up morning after morning just to find out that there is no sun in their mornings. We don’t know what their life is like, what their journey is like. Only they know everything that they must do to hold on to what they can and as long as they can to save themselves from falling.
Dear Swastika,

I have always struggled with weight my whole life and people have also always told me that I should shed at least seven kilos. I’ve also aspired to become an air hostess, and I joined the training, too. But they required me to lose weight and two months into the training, I still couldn’t attain the ideal body weight. So I quit. I love wearing trendy clothes but they mostly come in sizes that are too tight for me. I tried joining gym but somehow I just couldn’t motivate myself enough to work out regularly. So that didn’t help either. They say the size of one’s body doesn’t matter, but I don’t agree with it now since it has left me sad and depressed and I have a really low self-esteem. What else can I do except try really hard to lose weight?

I’m with you on that. I grew up being nicknamed “motu.” It would be a lie if I tell you that I’ve never looked at a mirror and wished I were four sizes smaller. I’ve been told what doesn’t look good on me because my thighs are too big, my arms are too flabby, and my belly protrudes like I were eight months pregnant. I’m conscious about the space I take up in the crowded microbus. When I’m with friends who are much slimmer, I feel like I’m a giant and feel as if I have to stoop and shrink somehow to appear smaller. Sometimes in a state of day dreaming, I think to myself if I would burst like a balloon if a needle pricked me.

One day, my sister told me that instead of focusing on hiding parts of my body, I should just exaggerate what I have. I have a slim waist line, beautiful neck line, and a pretty face. So I started to focus on dressing that shows it off and now I walk around “feeling beautiful.” I’ve learnt that feeling beautiful is more important than being beautiful because there’s no definition of beauty. Some might say that the tall and skinny fashion model walking on a ramp in Paris is beautiful and some might say an aging monk, with shaved head, wrapped in plain red robe, and walking around Bouddha Stupa with a calm face that reflects the Buddha, is beautiful. The question is—who are we allowing to define beauty for us? I’ve decided “I and only I will define what beauty means to me.” I’ve decided that I don’t want to look like someone else or fit into the clothes of the models in Paris. I’ve made up my mind that I just want to feel beautiful.

Of course, one must take care of health and stay fit. I value exercising, eating healthy, and drinking plenty of water. But this is about living consciously, of which, weight loss is just a byproduct and not a goal in itself. I’ve consulted Ayurveda and Tibetan medicine doctors who have told me that my metabolism is weak along with weak digestion and circulation. Taking care of my holistic wellbeing has helped me to get back my energy and elixir of life. I’ve lost just few insignificant pounds but I feel much healthier and happier.

Most importantly, I’ve learnt to look at myself and just feel beautiful. Every morning, I put up some eyeliner, a nice pair of earrings, jeans and a comfortable top and look myself in the mirror and yell out to my husband, “I’m way too pretty for you.”

My advice to you: Look at yourself and see for yourself. There’s something that is beautiful in you and about you. Drive all your focus towards it. Dress around it. Soon you’ll realize that every part of your body is in perfect harmony. They’re as big or small as they need to be but that they’re constantly changing. Do seek some medical attention to make sure your nutrition, metabolism, digestion and circulation are all good. Pursue health, wellbeing and happiness. Like yourself more than you like the fashion that is out there. Value what is beautiful in you—perhaps your eyes, or your cheek bones, your chin, nails or toes. Focus on what you find pretty in yourself, and start every day with the feeling of being ridiculously beautiful.


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