Sunday, August 20, 2017

I see me.

We went out for dinner on Friday, Ro, Mon and I, and a propos de I forget what, Mon remarked, "When I look into the mirror, I don't see fat, I see me."

Now this is not going to talk about what an absolute inspiration that woman is (because she might read this and get ideas above her station -- hi Mon!) but that sentence has stayed in my head. She captured perfectly the change I found in myself in my late 20s as I gradually learnt to love my body for all its shortcomings.

Of late, I've been struggling with my knee pain, very few days go by without several hours in bed. At times like these, I used to loathe my body. I still occasionally do feel sad when I see myself in the mirror, but it's the exception, not the norm. I've come a long way from the skinny teenager wishing she looked like anything except the way she did.

Now, when I look into the mirror, I see me. I see my eyes, always the most expressive part of me. I see my hair, dark and thick and covering my bottom. I see my arms, strong though not muscular. My breasts that fed two children and won't ever look like they once did. My waist with its sagging skin and plentiful stretch marks, but just right for sarees. Thick thighs that make me sigh but don't somehow stop me from wearing short clothes. An ankle adorned with my Nakhrewali anklet that jingles faintly as I walk. My nose with its little ring, due to be replaced with my customary solitaire. I'm slowly regaining my interest in jewellery and makeup, always a sign of inner happiness in me. I see marks of age, and signs of a life lived, of desires fulfilled and dreams to pursue.

I see, as Mon put it, me.

And today, I like me. For a while I was losing myself and not liking who I was becoming, but not any more.

This makes a difference to me in ways most men will never understand. It gives me the freedom to dress as I want (as sloppily, boringly or colourfully as the mood takes me). It puts a spring in my step, and the confidence to hold my head high. It insulates me from people's opinions. I don't think I've ever cared as little for what others think as I do today. And that's a lot of growing up for a girl who used to go over and over every conversation stressing over nuances she might have missed. I am not unconcerned about people, I just limit their space in my head.

Mon took this photo of me the next day. Now you can see what I see in my mirror.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Appreciation

My head's been processing a LOT of things these last 4-6 weeks. I suddenly want a lot of things, don't feel the need to bend over for many others and all this change is leaving me a little breathless. I'm doing more than my body can handle, and that's leaving me exhausted. Not unhappy, occasionally overwhelmed, but mostly quiet. For somebody who has felt miserably alone for a long time, I find myself now craving time to myself, time to listen to music and think.

One day I found myself thinking of how grateful I was that I found V. I don't often feel this way because for the most part he is a very annoying person to live with. But at this time, when all I want is my space, he has been graceful about finding ways to let me be. Smitadi, on her last visit, remarked with her smile that she knows why I married him: because he gives me the freedom to be myself. Glossing over my irritation at the thought of anybody 'letting me' be anything, I know what she meant. I think, say and do a lot of things that bother him and I am aware would be deal-breakers in many other marriages. Honestly, I am not sure I could have stayed married to most men I know (or they to me, to be fair). While I'm good at adapting to my circumstances, I'm liable to wake up on odd mornings prepared to chuck off all the adaptations and revert to self. I can see how this might be a major disruption in a marriage because it's disrupted mine a few memorable times.

He deals with it. Sometimes he doesn't deal with it very well, but eventually he finds a way to cope. I know that's marriage but I also know it's not easy. I'm grateful that of all the men I might have married, I married this one who may not be able to give me everything and may not even want to, but who does accept what he gets. I mean, there's a lot to be said for a husband who is resigned to his fate!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Ground Rules

1. Remember that I'm more fragile than I declare myself to be. So if I ask for an affirmation, just give it to me. I only ask if I really need to hear one. 

2. I'm also much stronger than most people realise. So whatever you need to say, just say it directly. It might break me, but I'll survive. 

3. My yes is yes and my no is no. If I say yes, please accept that I have thought it out and made my mind up for myself. 

4. I don't give in to pressure. I give in to the people I love, because giving in makes me happy. Let me do it. 

That's all.