Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"You're so vain". No wait, I am so vain!

I have always been one to claim depth, to announce that I am one of those people who are nonchalant about appearances, and who despises those who are "slaves" to their own vanity.

I have lived up to my reputation, at least according to other people's perspectives.

However, I have been a victim of my own hypocrisy. Today, as I stood in a big hall, filled to the maximum with people, who were all listening to an academic speaker talking about orientalism, imperialism and the American standards. As I stood there, with my flat feet killing me, and after running around the hall making sure people are seated, and everything is in order, I had a breakthrough. In the silence of my own mind, and the rush of the situation, I realized how vain I have become.

I realized that I did care about appearances to the extent that it has clouded my life with stress, anger and depression for the last couple of  years, if not for all my life.

Let me first put you in perspective. I.. am... fat (my fingers hesitated on the keyboard). It is not something new. I have always been fat since adolescence. I am the kind of fat that has a somewhat shape, but at the end of the day, even if I look cute, I am fat. It is something I have been dealing with my whole life, and I dare say has been an issue of discomfort and stress. My realization of being fat for the first time in my life was pointed out by relatives and family- at the time I was a child. It was then that I realized that I am "different", and it was also then that I started to pursue diets and sports to shed the "evil fat" that many relatives told me I would be just "perfect" without. You know those aunts who pinch your cheeks and tell you, "if only you were a bit lighter, you would be beautiful."  So, it began. My idea of beauty became something associated with being thin. As long as you are fat, then you are ugly (I still think that most days, it's a habit I am trying to break). The obsession began. I started going to doctors, gyms, hunting down fad diets, and then going off the wagon, and all sorts of hellish rituals in order to pursue the more "normal" shape, which will make me "beautiful". Once, I had some kind of poisoning due to a slimming tea I was drinking. Another time, I almost had an ulcer from all the stress.

However, today midst thoughts about American Imperialism, and modern colonialism, I realized why am I torturing myself?

My fat has never hindered me from doing anything I wanted. My fat did not stop me from hiking mount Catherine in 2008. It did not stop me from cycling around London in 2009 or hiking alone in Scotland that same year. My fat did not stop me from going into the academic life in 2010, nor did it hinder me from publishing two books in 2011. My fat did not stop me from participating in any sort of activity I wanted. My fat did not stop me from being smart, or creating friendships, or being an eloquent speaker. In fact, my fat has been my friend for my whole life. It has willingly gone over, and beyond itself to make me do whatever I want.

So, why all the hate?

I realized that at the end of the day. I am not all fat. No, I have a brain, I have a somewhat career, and I have many blessings that God -thank you , kisses and hugs :) - has bestowed upon me. My fat is a teeny tiny issue in my vast life, which hadn't been anything but compliant. I was the one making myself crazy because I wanted to "fit in", and be "normal". My vanity,which was tainted by the western -now global- idea of stick-thin people wanted me to be "beautiful". My judgmental brain could not wrap itself around the idea of me not being able to solve this "tiny" problem. After all, I am one of those people -despite being fat- who thinks if you stop eating, you will lose weight. The fact is, it is not that easy. My brain has also been tainted by western -and also recently eastern- celebrities who seem to have it all; looks, careers and family. So, I thought, "why can *shallow* (note the judgement), *stupid*, *trivial* people who don't have a single thought in their heads do it and I can't?"   

My vanity has stopped me from enjoying life, and instead I have become a hater of everything that involved people. Why? because I thought I was the elephant (the actual one, not the metaphorical one) in the room. I also thought that I could never be accepted for being fat, and that I would always be an outcast because of it. I even refused to acknowledge this on my blog so I wouldn't taint it with the curse of the "evil fat".

Yet, today I realized: I don't want to fit in, it has never been my thing even as a child. I am born to stand out, and whether it is because of any accomplishments I have done, or because my size, it doesn't matter. I like who I am, and I offer no apologies. So, if according to your standards I am a barbarian, then a barbarian I am. I accept any labels or categorization you put me in, because I don't care.

Enough,no more! I will now start to live up to my expectations, and stop being vain. I will try to be healthier, but not because of fitting in, because it's a good thing to pursue. From now, the mental prison I have created for myself will be demolished, and I shall bask in the freedom of knowing that I have always been true to my beliefs.

So, there. Have a lovely evening.


3 comments:

Maha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maha said...

It's very ridiculous what we are in. It quite often seems to me that the western world claimed to have freed the woman of everything, only to go back and imprison her in her body.if you notice-sure you did-all the Greek statues have women of full shape in them; it indicates that THAT was their idea of beauty. Also, I remember that being "tanned and thin" was mentioned as something faulty in a woman in couple of the novels I read that belonged to other eras.
That is not it: in Eastern countries, fair skin is a sign of beauty, so you get the industry of whitening creams flourishing; in Western countries, tanned skin are preferable, and so it is tanning salons that flourish (!)
If this is meant to show anything, it will be how shallow we are.

Sina said...

Well-said. The world has been plagued by consumerism so that people would always think they weren't good enough, and buy more products to make them conform. It's sad.

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