When an elderly Uncle from the neighborhood forcibly touched you in all those forbidden corners against my wish, and intentionally groped you; or the yoga trainer whom I used to respect a lot, pounced upon you and kept devouring every square inch of yours with monstrosity until you were too numb to fidget anymore, I hated you so bad.
I'd spend hours in the bathroom, showering you and trying to scrub away the touches of all men from the past, who had ever got their hands on you without your consent. I had never felt so uncomfortable in my skin before.
A few years down the line, as my then-boyfriend Ayan was smoking the second cigarette on the bed after the act was over, I ran my fingers across his hairy chest. I was so startled and passed it off as some dirty joke, when he blatantly expressed his desire of calling off our relationship just then, out of the blue.
On being asked why, all he had to say was, "You're so fat and hairy; not my type. I don't think I'll ever get the mental peace from you.". I left his place without a word that night. Came back home, cursed you so much, and kept getting my bedsheet drenched in tears for the weeks that followed.
Ever since, I treated you as a huge burden, from which I needed riddance. I grew exceedingly conscious about what people around me thought. My self-esteem and confidence hit the rock bottom. My hatred towards you increased manifold. I felt pathetic; and so, wasted time trying to fix you to make you look 'appealing' in everyone's eyes.
I hated life, and soon developed an identity crisis. All I wanted, was to escape - from you, from everyone else. Until I came across this particular blog on body positivity. And guess what? I was filled with immense guilt and felt extremely ashamed of myself, thinking how it took few posts on a blog to make me realize your true worth?
Yeah, it's not at all easy to be a woman. Amidst all this chaos and conflicts between the real 'you' and the world's narrow-minded judgemental definition of 'you', I had committed a huge blunder by choosing to overlook all that you've always been capable of.
How could I be so foolish as to forget all the suffering I make you endure, the cramps you bear up with while I bleed each month, the rest you lack because I stay up late at nights with my work, the weight you put on because of my love for food, the slits on your wrist due to some toxic relationship I chose to be in, and so much more?
How could I be so blind, as to ignore the energy you radiate and the fire that gets emanated from your skin and glows through your bones? How could I be so brainless at all?
Well, this society will always have ample examples of people like Ayan with narrow mindsets and chest hairs shaming you for being obese and not waxing, and greedy predators filled with lust to feed on you. But today, I want you to take note, that none of those deliberate non-consensual touches of the past define you.
Your worth doesn't boil down to all those stretch marks around your arms or thighs, flab around your waist, hairy limbs, facial hair, bald patches, dark circles, blackheads, pimples, not-so-fair complexion, and the pieces of flesh protruding on your upper front and in between your legs. You're way beyond every parameter the society deems fit to appear 'presentable' as a 'woman'. It's your flaws that make you more human, and they don't call for disrespect in the least bit.
I also want you to know, I love you and I'm proud of you now. So do me a favor, and smile.
And Love, how about I compensate for my hideous mistake of having hated you for so long, by purchasing that sequin embellished scarlet and golden jumpsuit from Myntra you had your eyes upon, which I chose to remove from the wishlist the other day, just thinking of 'What will people say?'
By Manoswita Bose