I asked Radha to be part of my series because I knew from her Instagram that she would have a good story to tell. Somewhere behind the eyes of her Instagram and the jokey persona she portrays I knew there was a great and heartfelt story about her childhood. I myself am someone who has struggled with my weight but no tin losing weight but in gaining weight and throughout my childhood I was bullied for being too skinny and called pin legs etc etc. So when I read through the blog she sent over I could totally relate, this is a brave story to tell and I am honoured to share it. I am sure we can all relate fat or skinny it doesn’t matter I think every person has had body issues at some point in there life.
When asked by the lovey Ally (who I have yet to meet- can’t wait!) to guest blog about my child hood, I dove into my memories and thought what the hell am I going to give her. I went on family holidays, went around our cousins house over the summer holidays. Nothing really worth blogging about!!
It’s only when I took a step back and really thought about it and thought maybe I was looking back at my childhood with rose tinted glasses.
I’ve been described as loud, bubbly, friendly, sarcastic (yes the lowest form of wit I know, I’m working on it!) and crazy – I think it would shock people to learn that there was a time in my life that I considered self harming…
Being an only child and the first girl of my generation, for the first couple of years I was spoilt rotten by my family. So much love.
My family grew and I soon had an army of girl cousins with a couple of boy cousins chucked in for good measure. I should also mention my amazing but equally annoying sister. It was great.
With my cousins Being sprawled across the uk from Bristol, bath and London to Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester, it was an adventure getting together – which we would manage at least 3 or 4 times a year, getting up to mischief, prank calling and out shopping all the time. Not to mention the endless family functions throughout the year. There you would have seen the crazy girl I described above, having the time of her life with her cousins with not a care in the world.
My parents have always been the shy quiet type who hardly go out to social events and prefer to keep themselves to themselves, preferring small family get togethers and religious events. I guess with me not knowing anything different I followed suit. Crazy with the family but a very very shy introvert to the rest if the world. I wore my heart on my sleeve and was very naive, Not such a bad thing I know, however I remember walking into my first job after uni and on the first day telling people I’m very shy and not really good at talking to people. I got told I was in the wrong Job! Anyway I digress…. In all the fun, in all this madness with the family, I never noticed my weight gain.
It’s only when some elders in the family started commenting ‘…should you really be eating that…’ Or ‘thats not very healthy for you…’ that I started to become a little more self conscious (ultimately I think they were right). They then started to mention it to my parents, that I could turn out to be obese. As I sit here looking through my childhood photos, I can admit, I wasn’t the slimmest young girl but I wouldn’t say I was on my way to obesity. However, 20 odd years ago there wasn’t as strict a regime or constant bombardment of healthy eating campaigns that we seem to have now.
After those comments I didn’t think too much of it until my sister and dad unintentionally made fun of me and used the dreaded F word. I went upstairs and looked into a mirror – i really truly started to look at myself… was I really big? Was I fat? I still dislike that word. Unfortunately it was a word that I very quickly got used to through out my childhood.
As I got older my weight started to creep up. I was kept busy with school and homework and I just didn’t pay attention to it. And then it started again…the comments, the weight jibes and most hurtful of it all, the bullying. Such a strong harsh word isn’t it? Bullying. First it started off playful…silly name calling. I shrugged it off. I wasn’t one of the popular girls at school and certainly not in a clique which I felt made me vulnerable. With only a handful of good friends it was hard to hide behind a big group.
The name calling then turned into throwing paper balls at me in class. Once opened I would find words such as fatty and fat scrawled across them. Oh and the dreaded spit bomb – you take an old BIC biro, pull out the pen so you’re left with the plastic casing put it between your lips and launch a ball of spit at your target. Disgusting. Also, my mum didn’t help by putting hair oil in my hair (standard Indian parents!!) which obviously gave the bullies more ammunition!
Hurt. Pain. Anger. Just some of the emotions I was feeling. All because I was bigger than them. Did they really find it funny following me during lunch time, between classes or pulling my hair, or putting nasty stuff in my bag? Even putting chewing gum in my hair! It makes Regina from Mean Girls look like a saint.
These girls were not exactly perfect size 10 themselves, however they had strength in numbers. Hunting in packs I guess…
As my circle of friends got wider the pressure to diet increased. I desperately wanted to fit in, be liked, wear nice clothes, be thin. You’re probably thinking why didn’t you diet. I tried. I really did. Lost a little however not enough to push the bullies away.
Teachers can only do so much and friends start to back away scared they may be next.
Tears. I felt like no body understood. My parents tried. They really did but only I could see myself going down in a spiral of self pity and digust. So much so that I started to have thoughts about self harm and that nobody would miss me if I was gone. All because someone called me fat and ugly?! Thankfully I didn’t get so far as to self harm. I didn’t want the bullies to win. I knew I could better myself. And I couldn’t face upsetting my parents. I also remembered the role my cousins played in my childhood reminding me of the girl I used to be regardless, of my shape and weight. They have reminded me of the person I am and used to be. The fun, the laughter, the acceptance with no judgements.
A decade later and I went from a size 18 to a 12. Yes I do have a bit of weight round me but I’ve just had my second child. I am much more stronger, wiser , tougher and yes I do still wear my heart on my sleeve, yes i am still a little bit naive but I have a protective shield around me. I like to call that shield my husband. I would like to set an example to my daughter: Look after yourself, have fun while you’re young, enjoy your childhood and don’t let the bullies get to you. You have your mom to look after you, after all she has fought off a few herself!!