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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Rakel

I know I'm Chubby, You Don't Need to Point it Out :-)

He looks me up and down and I instinctly know the conversation is turning towards weight. “Please don’t” I think to myself, but he does. “Do you remember that party a few years back?” he asks me. He talks to me about how good I looked back then. He tells me he’s going to try and find a picture of me from it, so I can see what I looked like. Apparently I’ve suppressed my memory from my skinny days.

On my trip back to India this year, someone at the resort mistook me for my sister. He said he thought to himself, “she’s put on a lot of weight”.

Another man tells me that if I lose 5 more kilos, I’ll be married within seconds.

I am shocked by how casually people feel they can comment upon your appearance. Not in any of these scenarios, did I bring up my appearance. These are just a few of the latest examples but I’ve gotten many, especially since I packed on the kilos. During my skinny 18-20 year old phase, I was clinically depressed, self harming and contemplating suicide. The only good thing happening to me at the time was that I could comfortably fit into clothes. I remember laying on my bed, looking at myself in the mirror and sucking in my stomach until I could see my ribs. I loved it. But aside from that, life was dreary and sad. I found it confusing when people told me I looked good, because I always wanted to reply “but I feel so terrible”.

Today I weigh 74.5 kilos. At my 18-year-old lowest I was 57.5 kilos (without trying), and I ballooned to 82 kilos in 2016. Before my masters in London I embarked on a holistic trip to India and managed to get down to 71.8 kilos before going back up to 78 kilos. I left for India again this year and since I’ve managed to get some control again, but only just. I live more on a plane than I do in my apartment, and each trip brings its own social events that wreak havoc on my regime. But this is not what this is about.

Weight has been an issue and obsession all my life but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more accepting of my body. What troubles me, is how concerned others are with other people’s bodies. I experience it a lot with my sister as well. People will often start conversations about diet and exercise as if she’s never heard of the terms before and has no clue how to go about losing weight. It’s infuriating. I have close friends and family members who obsessively tell me about their weight loss and what I can do. I stopped buying into fad diets a long time ago. After my trip to India in 2016, I learnt how to live a holistic life that helped me shed weight, and so I stay in my own lane when it comes to discussing weight loss. I prefer not to offer an opinion or comment so as not to feed that conversation. I think weight is a boring topic and I’d rather just not discuss it.

I don’t really know why people find it okay to comment on other people’s appearance in a negative way, without being invited to do so. Aside from my weight, my tattoos have been grimaced at while I have to hear the victim say “I hate tattoos”. When I fried my hair off after bleaching it, people felt comfortable telling me how awful it looked. I’ve recently started wearing colourful wigs. I do it, not to hide behind something, but for the simple reason that I like pink and purple hair, but I’m not willing to bleach my hair to oblivion again and maintain it. Within a minute I can be a long haired pink goddess, and back to brunette before the minute is up. My father thinks I’m having a midlife crisis and others really like to say I look “much better without the wig”. I know it’s coming from a good place, but for fucks sake, could we not? Why is it so difficult to let someone look different, and not let them know if you don’t like it.

But back to the weight. Of course I would love to be 60 kilos again! But no, I don’t need anyone to remind me of how I used to look like. I don’t equate that weight to a happy time, and quite frankly, it just really sucks when someone comments on your weight. It makes me feel like I’m not enough and, in a day and age where we’re all already so critical off ourselves, I just think it would be nice if uninvited comments about your appearance could be avoided. Trust me, I’m already beating myself up about the number on the scale, no extra critics needed. So please, just leave me alone. I know what I’m doing…and a heartfelt “ditto” from my sister.

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