When I was born, my grandma said “Ek to chori, upar se kali” (in Hindi) which when translated into English means, "firstly, she is a girl and her dark complexion does not help" I don’t remember hearing it, but it was repeated enough for me to be remembered for the rest of my life.
From a very young age, I remember putting all sorts of fairness creams and homemade solutions to improve the tone of my skin. People were always eager to offer their solutions, some of them even included rubbing a pumice stone on my skin. At some point my being overweight was added to my list of reasons to feel ugly.
This is a picture of me (in the middle) in 2002 when my sister was getting engaged. Now when I look at it, I look pretty. But back then, when I try to recall, I remember sitting there and having that FEELING of being ugly.
By the time I was a young adult, I was convinced that nothing but looks matter. My life revolved around how I looked, and the more I was obsessed with it, the more I started noticing my flaws. The more I noticed my flaws, the more ugly I felt, and the more ugly I felt, the more flaws I attracted. It was a vicious cycle and it ruled my life.
When I was approached by boys in college, I would completely ignore their passes and painfully talk myself out of any attention from the opposite sex. Any compliments were outright rejected.
Eventually, I worked hard on myself, lost a lot of weight, and was looking fabulous. BUT I
STILL FELT UGLY.
When I agreed to get married, it was simply because he liked me. I ignored the fact that we were just not a match in any way - financially, career-wise or even family compatibility. The only thing I was able to think at that time was that he looked alright, he wasn’t overweight, he dressed smartly and he thought i was good enough. Nothing else mattered. I don't even remember how I felt about him. My feelings of being ugly overpowered all other feelings.
As you can imagine, it was not a happy marriage. After 9 years, he left to be with someone else and I was left to pick up the pieces. I simply couldn’t understand why? We had a beautiful daughter, I worked hard to keep the household running and to support him in bringing in the money. Yet he left! Life felt unfair.
Initially I thought it was because of my looks, but it dawned on me - I did not love and respect myself enough. Which is why he never loved and respected me. UGLY was a very strong word. But that is how I felt and that is what I projected on him. I was fed up feeling the way I did. I wanted to turn things around, but I did not believe that it was possible. Though I did not give up. I kept trying. I started reading self-help books, began working on myself, and uncovered a lot of limiting beliefs which there were plenty of. I attracted the nutritionist in my life, who taught me how to eat guilt-free, have a sustainable diet, and most importantly start noticing how I am feeling. I even started enjoying the gym!
Not only did I start accepting compliments from others, but I started giving compliments to myself. They were few and far in between, to begin with, but slowly they started pouring in. I started attracting men like bees :) It is now my choice if I want to be with a man or not.
My journey for the past 6 years has not been an easy one, and I cannot pinpoint the moment when the penny dropped, but it did.
I NOW FEEL PRETTY. No, I haven't lost a lot of weight and I haven’t changed the colour of my skin, but my body has changed and my skin glows from within.
I GENUINELY FEEL PRETTY :)
This has been the biggest breakthrough of my life and even as I write this I feel my emotions welling up. I am not a Size 0, but I still FEEL PRETTY!