Let me tell you something, the world will judge you no matter what you do, so you can either worry about 'what they say' or just say 'whatever'!
Being a girl is a difficult task, you’re skinny or too fat, too dark or too fair, too tall or too short and for those in between, it's worse.
There’s no end to the constant judgment and I didn't realize this until a few years ago. I was a dark girl who was body shamed. I was often called ugly, to the point that at the age of 15, I hated my life because I felt like a loser. That's how badly the world treated me.
During my college days, I was always the alpha woman. I enjoyed it because I was a natural-born dominant personality. Little did I know that people were talking about me behind my back. I realized that I was called ugly and they made fun of the way I looked.
It didn't matter whether I was good at something or had a good heart; the only thing that mattered was my appearance and that made them judge my character.
I suffered from PCOS and life wasn't exactly a roller-coaster ride. It was more of a sea monster waiting to swallow me whole.
I had given up hope on trying to look like other girls or simply look feminine because I never did.
My hormones messed up my face to the extent that I had excess facial hair, almost like a beard. The boys would tease me but I’d act like a strong girl who didn’t give a damn and laugh it off. Trust me, it wasn't easy.
My ride from home to college was a nightmare as I faced the same people who insulted me. There were times when I would hide in the washroom and cry till I was nearly burning with fever. I hated people and I hated college.
After 2 years of college, I joined a law school because I wanted to fight for justice.
I wanted to prove it to the world that though I had an internal disorder, which took a toll on my physical self, it did not make me any weaker.
By this time, I started talking to a guy who eventually became my first boyfriend. I liked him because he saw me when no one did. But just when I thought that he was perfect, he said, "Let's not meet my friends. First, let's try to make you look better and more feminine".
The whole world called me ugly but it didn't really matter until then, until he said, "Let's make you better.”
He wanted to fix the way I looked and make me something ‘better’ because he couldn't show-off his ugly little girlfriend to his friends. I couldn’t bear it any longer and broke up with him.
I cried the entire night but not because of the breakup. I cried because I felt ugly and miserable about my life.
I tried to understand his side and blamed myself because I believed that nobody would date a girl like me.
I felt like the ugliest woman on the earth. However, that was the point when I decided that PCOS will not break me any further. I made up my mind to fight against it.
For those of you who aren't aware, PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing the enlargement of ovaries with the formation of small cysts. You can look it up on Google.
Due to the hormonal disorder, I had thick hair growth all over my body and on the face along with severe acne. PCOS also makes you fat and you can’t reduce without working out. However, women with PCOS need to put in twice the effort to reduce weight.
The condition brought out the worst in my appearance and made me feel horrible. But I didn't want it to take away the best of me.
So I decided to work out. I didn't hit the gym or opt for yoga classes and simply started with walking. I'd brisk walk day and night. I also reduced my diet and ate only healthy homemade food and a lot of fruits.
PCOS had also started darkening my skin and it looked really bad especially because my skin was covered in acne.
People around, especially the aunties could never stop giving suggestions like, "Why don't you use any fairness creams beta?"
I’d just give them a look that said, “I'm happy with my skin tone!"
Along with brisk walking and eating healthy, I also drank a lot of water. In fact, my friends would hide my bottle so I that I didn’t go for a refill. Eventually, I realized that water is the secret ingredient for beautiful, fair and healthy skin.
It's not that I love the fair skin but I was born with a fair skin tone, which darkened because of PCOS. But I mean no offence to those with darker skin tones because they are charming and beautiful people.
Within a year and a half, I dropped from 95 kg to 63 kg. I'm not joking! It was a tough ride and I was almost unrecognizable when my brother showed my transformation pictures to his friends. They couldn't believe it. Some of them even claimed that I had undergone plastic surgery.
When I started going to a few family gatherings and parties, I was recognized as the pretty new girl.
Although I’d been going to these family parties for the past 6 years, no one knew me till then.
Once I underwent a transformation, everyone noticed me. The boys from my college who earlier teased me had started hitting on me. They wanted to meet me and see it with their own eyes if it were true. But I didn't meet them.
I didn't want to prove anything to anybody.
I hated it when they started flirting with me and when I told them to stop, they said I had an attitude. I was too headstrong for them and why not!
Why should I give a damn about those who treated me like I was both a girl and a boy?
I mean no offence to the beautiful transgender community but when you're a girl, such a statement is heartbreaking.
This was the time when I met one of my college friends; the boy I never spoke to, the one who teased me the most and called me names. We bumped into each other while I was out with my friends and he was shocked to see me.
We ended up getting close and as you may guess, we started dating. It became big news amongst my college friends and they started gossiping and were more interested in minding our business. But this guy wasn't a man at all.
He was a boy while I was the man in the relationship.
He stripped me of my freedom and fought with me all the time for hanging out with my other friends. He was so narrow-minded that according to him, I was dating all my male friends.
My first experience with ‘love’ and all my thoughts about ‘first love’ was nothing less than a nightmare.
Once, he called me s*** for wearing my favourite shorts and a long top because he didn't want me to look pretty in front of his friends yet he wanted to show off that he’s dating a pretty girl! The irony of these small minds!
I broke up after a year of suffering and mental torture from a person who wasn’t fit enough to take care of himself. Depression took a toll on me.
At the same time, my best friend left me because I was getting better at everything I did, better than her too. She left exactly when I needed her the most. It felt like a curse.
Earlier, I felt I was too bad for everything and when I made myself better, I became too good for everything. I was stuck!
That's when it happened. I finally met "the man" after one whole year of going through various ups and downs. I was 22 and we were friends for almost 3 years but I never felt the need to date him.
After a year of hanging out with each other, we fell in love without even realizing it. While most people at our gatherings and parties noticed it, we didn't. I fell head over heels for this guy because he was the man I've always wanted.
For the first time, I felt that I was someone’s first priority. It felt like home and still feels like home.
I felt loved, cared, nurtured and valued. That was the kind of love he gave me, the love that calmed my heart and mind. And that's when it happened. I knew that something around us wasn’t right.
Something was messed up and I could feel its vibration all around me.
I realized it was coming from the people at the parties, those who belonged to my age group. For them, he and I had a vague relationship.
We weren't supposed to be together, as he was too good for me and I wasn't good enough for him.
It went to the extent that our common friend asked us if we were ‘using’ each other because he couldn't stand the sight of us being together.
Throughout my life, I had always faced judgments. Several women tried to tarnish my reputation, as they were jealous and insecure. To the men, I was a bitch if I was headstrong with those that made me uncomfortable.
They hated me for being ‘me’.
I let go of everything that held me to the ground and when I rose like a phoenix from the ashes, even the people who didn't know me were consumed with jealousy and hatred. The only people that supported me during this time were my family and my amazing man who continues to help me heal from all the trouble.
As I grew up and gave it a lot of thought, I understood that as a woman, you will always be either too good or too bad.
You will always have merciless judgment coming your way. "Log kya kahenge" is how most women are forced to think and live in a society like ours. But if there's one thing that I learned, it's that my compassion is my greatest gift and kindness even to unkind people is needed.
You ought to have a rebellious mind and a beautiful heart to face the world because only you can win your battles for you.
If PCOS led to my fall, it also led me to victory. Today I'm no longer the girl that ran to the restroom to cry, I'm no longer the girl that called herself ugly.
I'm the girl that people still call a bitch and 'if' I am one, I've embraced that person too.
So don't let small minds stop you from becoming the butterfly that you are going to be. Caterpillars will keep crawling and people will try to drag you down with them. That's when you choose to either fall or to rise.
Today I'm the warrior that inspires myself, and I’m proud to say that my story has also helped change a lot of beautiful minds and people around me.
Although it may not seem like a great story, the struggle is real and I realized that through all of it, I've always been the woman of my dreams.