Close to the end of my twenty-fourth year, I weighed 99 pounds. And, just above five feet in height, I masqueraded as a slim figure in a world that preferred women’s bodies in slender proportions.
Medically, I was underweight in proportion to my age.
During my late teens, I had believed in the firmness of one’s will to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I would exercise at least one hour each day, even during the hottest days of the Indian summer. In my early twenties, I started doing martial arts and managed to keep a trim figure through it. And, I believed that despite the familial inclination to put on weight, I would be able to stay the way I looked.
It wasn’t until my twenty-fifth year that things changed. In that brief span, a series of afflictions morphed my body into becoming its heaviest.
On the inside, where the self is unaltered by the judgment and opinions of others, I feel relieved. On the outside, where filters are drawn by default, I know that I have not yet accepted that my body has changed and that it may never go back to its dimensions that it once had.
I see the futility of this non-acceptance, especially when spaces have been breached to promote a body-positive discourse. I am glad that I have crossed the gore injustice of being an underweight woman at my age. That if I allow myself, I have the means to feel my age in its essence.
But, I don’t know how to enjoy my body’s newfound ability when each remark I hear from people who have seen me in my earlier dimensions are either of surprised derision or even as something that I had done intentionally to gain.
The truth be told, I have only carried my slender self with the knowledge that I was medically underweight. And today, I carry this weight without knowing what really caused it. I don’t know whether the gain is part of the medical condition, a result of a supposed unhealthy lifestyle, whether it has to do with certain procedures that could have caused it, or whether it is the natural course that my body has decided to undertake.
And, lacking this knowledge, I feel uncomfortable and even conscious of the way I look. Part of the non-acceptance roots from this lack of knowledge.
Just simple things like knowing that my old clothes don’t fit me anymore but I do not know whether I should buy new clothes fitting my new dimensions. Or that should I even consider weight loss, if it is not a result of the medical condition?
My present condition is one with doubts, where I want to accept but I don’t know what to. So I cling to the body that I had once and look at myself in the mirror in secret awe but in non-acceptance of what is.